Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Trails #196-192 (CONCACAF Rd. 1 Update)

While the AFC's second round will kick off in a matter of hours we want to take a minute to bid adieu to the North American nations who played...and lost a home-and-away playoff series, thereby killing that faint glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, a tiny island nation might hoist the world cup in Brazil. (It might not be a hope as much as a dream I had after eating Bacon ice cream with a wasabi glaze)

196 "Farewell" Turks & Caicos Islands
Why they lost: Statistically speaking it's a good idea to limit the number of goals your opponent scores. Turks & Caicos did not do that, giving up 10 goals to the mighty Bahamas' Rake n' Scrape Boyz. It probably didn't help that they scored 0.
Who/What we'll miss: The chance to ask Midfielder Gavin Glinton (T&C's leading international goal scorer) how he ended up playing for Vietnam's Nam Dinh team. {I'm guessing drunken bet}

195 "Take Care" Anguilla
Why they lost: I cannot confirm this, but I imagine that Anguilla assumed they could handle the baseball mad Dominican Republic--you don't get bats in would think they'd be okay...but sadly the Dominicans found a way to shut them down...probably by tricking would be shortstops into kicking bigger balls as a training exercise.
Who/What we'll miss: I really couldn't help but dream about a matchup between the Three Lions of England and The Three Dolphins of Anguilla.

194 "Ta-Ta" Montserrat
Why they lost: Because their first round opponent (Belize) narrowly dodged a FIFA suspension that would have killed their team. [EXPLANATION: Apparently Belize's government thought the police should not protect the Monserrat team during the second-leg qualifying match, FIFA thought that was government interference, nearly suspended the Belize team which would have given Monserrat (trailing 2-5 after one game) an unlikely 2nd round berth. BUT FIFA changed its mind just in time for Belize to win the second leg then put them back on suspension. Because that's how Sepp Blatter rolls.]
Who/What We'll Miss: It might be entertaining to play a world cup qualifier with the omnipresent threat of volcanic eruptions mere minutes away.

193 "Goodbye" British Virgin Islands
Why they lost: Clearly because the US Virgin Islands are the superior Virgin islands; just like the US is superior to Britain. Chant it with me! U-S-A (Virgin Islands) U-S-A (Virgin Islands)
Who/What We'll Miss: Awkward conversations with Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas; who got his start leading the British Virgin Islands national squad in 2000 and led them to their highest ever ranking (165th in the world)

192 "Tot Gauw" Aruba
Why they lost: St. Lucia's Jamil Joseph took matters into his own hands in the second-leg. With Aruba having won 4-2 at home, it took a tremendous effort for Aruba to make a game of it and Jamil Joseph's hat trick was critical--forcing penalty kicks. Jelano Cruden's miss during PKs was the only blemish on what might well have been THE match of the first rounds.
Who/What We'll Miss: David Abdul may well be the future of Aruban football. A 21 year old and the only Aruban playing in Europe (with Sparta Rotterdam in the Dutch First Division) capitalized on his first cap with a goal and may mature into a much needed team leader...or maybe he'll remember it's just a game and kick back and enjoy the beach.

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