Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you enjoyed a cornucopia of soccer this weekend, with an eye towards what is to come this week — including the Friday night return of the Caps (hope you’re mentally prepared because I’m not).
The weekend’s activities were marred of course by the events in Copenhagan, when Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch, only to be revived by a heroic medical team and stabilized to the point where he could actually Facetime his teammates and urge them to complete the match.
The events were shocking, disturbing and, as these types of things do, minimized the importance of sport. Not to resort to clichés three paragraphs into the column but if a person who is as fit as could be, someone playing at the top level of international sport could have their life hang in the balance during a moment like that, it shows the fragility of what we all have in our lives.
The medical staff were the obvious heroes but it is disturbing to imagine what could have gone differently if a number of other things hadn’t gone exactly right. If Anthony Taylor, the referee, hadn’t stopped play when he did. If Eriksen’s Danish teammates, as well as the opposition, hadn’t emphatically signaled for medical attention. If that care was not delivered just in the right way, at just the right time.
Most everyone wound up covering themselves in glory during the darkest moment imaginable, including when players from both teams, who formed a human shield to protect Eriksen’s privacy.
The only party which did not was UEFA, who insisted on continuing the match (or playing it early the next day) when it was clear both sides, who had witnessed a particularly traumatic incident, were not in condition to do so. The fact that some of the Danish players were clearly emotional returning to the pitch (as well as a handful of individual errors which cost them the result), it was obvious that restarting the match was not the move.
These are scenes we mercifully have never seen in MLS and hopefully never will (it sadly does happen in American sports, particularly basketball, but better detection of heart conditions has helped cut down on its frequency). Hard tackles are a part of the match and sometimes result in serious injury but there is some expectation of that when watching a match or stepping onto the pitch.
Saturday was something much more gruesome and I am going to make the least controversial statement ever when I say that it is far better to talk about the action on the pitch, rather than matters of life-and-death.
Speaking of on the pitch, the Caps had their final “hey, remember what it’s like to play competitive soccer” friendly on Saturday, with a much more encouraging 4-0 result over Ogden City SC, a USL League 2 squad.
We have pretty limited highlights that don’t tell us a ton about how the squad looked but if you want to see Brian White banging in a couple goals (!), as well as Kam Habibulah with a bicycle kick finish, well, the club has you covered.
Friendlies (against basically a semi-pro team) don’t tell you a lot and I would have liked to see a roster breakdown of who Marc dos Santos trotted out there, as I suspect it will be similar to what we get Friday night against Real Salt Lake. Given that we have to use our imagination, if you have #takes on what the lineup should look like, leave them in the comments. I suspect something to this effect:
Gutierrez — Godoy — Veselinovic — Brown/Nerwinski
Teibert — Alexandre — Bikel — Caicedo
White — Dajome
But maybe an old dog learned some new tricks over the break? It will be fascinating to see.
Best of the Rest
Canada put themselves in pole position to move past Haiti into the Octo, with Cyle Larin’s first half goal bagging a 1-0 away win. Meanwhile, El Salvador has a foot in the final qualifying round after a 4-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis, while Curacao pulled back a big away goal late in their 2-1 loss to Panama.
What does Lucas Cavallini’s success for the national team say about how he has been used by the Caps?
Nashville appear to be nearing a deal for Monterrey’s Ivorian attacker, Ake Loba. Seems like a great pickup