After eight matches this season, we had earned the startling total of 1 point. Our clueless manger was out, and we were left with a squad full of promising kids and a few remaining players who could be best described as "journeymen."
Four people who had not been involved during this stretch, turned that completely around in just a few months, bringing Fulham to at least mid-table respectability while providing interesting football that was FINALLY enjoyable to watch again. Who were those four?
1. Kit Symons -- using the exact same squad that Felix was torturing, he turned Fulham into a side that -- at one point -- was averaging 2 points per match -- up quite a bit from 1/8 points per match.
2. Marcus Bettinelli -- despite his tender age, he inspired confidence and showed forthright courage and no little skill. While nowhere near the finished article, he was at least an equally talented replacement for the recently departed David Stockdale.
I taped this just before I left for a gig and didn't finish watching it until 2300 Saturday night. Grumble, grumble.
First of all, I hate them damned Dirty Yellows. The Hatter in me has never had any good thoughts about that crew, and today didn't change my mind.
Having said that, I've seldom seen such a textbook display of quality passing as we saw from Watford. Long, short, back, forward, sideways -- all of them clear, smooth, and accurate. With that passing acuity against a 10-man squad, it was always going to get ugly early. And so it did.
From the beginning it was obvious that something was not right with Betts. His crap decision making almost cost us a goal early on when Budurov had to jump in and concede a free kick. He completely lost his rag in giving up the penalty. Since when does an early red card become the better option? Whenever the keeper is sent off, two players suffer. With the exception of his weak distribution, our young keeper has...
So, the thing about the NASL is that the majority of their matches are on Saturday evenings. The thing about Saturday evenings is that, even on a very slow month, I have gigs on two of them. And so it is that I finally made it out to beautiful Toyota Field to watch the Scorps [who should really have been named Alamo City FC] play some Canadian side. For those of us who don't know, the NASL is around USL 1.5 level – that is probably English League 2 level. I don't expect Premier League or even MLS quality, so I can enjoy the game … depending, of course.
It was a lovely night for football. The pitch was well groomed – although I think it should have been watered before the match. Of course, this being the USA, the pitch belonged to everyone and his second cousin before kickoff. There'll be a nasty email to Scorpions Leadership about having the colors brought on to the pitch a good 15 minutes before kickoff. While HatterMom and myself stood at attention...