This match report will be split in two – in much the way my heart was for the match. It was so odd watching my home town club’s second team play my adopted club’s first/second team (while it was fabulous to see Cisse, Sissoko and the rest out there, it made it that much more insane to see them go down 3-1 in the first half and give up three straight goals). So, the Yank’s report will go first, the ex-pat’s second…
The evening started well enough with pints at one of our local pubs and an early goal off a burst of speed and pinpoint cross from “man of the match” Aarons. But the joy didn’t last long. The positives that can be taken have been identified elsewhere: Aarons is still young, but shows great promise; Wijnaldum looks to be the “real deal” as us Yanks might say; and, though it’s not a positive it’s certainly a semi-positive, the back line we saw on Tuesday will not be the back line we see on August 9th. As for Aarons, he’s quick as lightening and showed time and time again the ability to create on the wing. The big question I have is whether he can do this regularly against EPL defenders (as opposed to USL defenders on a team currently slotted in eighth place). Make no mistake, not one regular from the MLS Timbers side played on Tuesday, so it’s not like he was working against even MLS level competition. As such, it was a bit disappointing to not see more from Sissoko or Cisse in the first half.
As for the club as a whole – I think the best word would be uninspired. And why wouldn’t they be? Half way around the world, in a half filled stadium, playing on turf, likely wishing you were training at home? Not sure it’s a recipe for brilliance on the pitch. There is no doubt that Ashley is making good on his word to improve the club – I suspect even the most cynical of supporters would agree with that assessment, but Tuesday night was not the night for showing off any of that improvement on the pitch. And now a more brutal assessment from a former Newcastle resident and the man who paid for pints prior to the match…
The best he could do was send me two emails that went as follows (and I quote):
“Match report? Here ya go:
In the first half we were shit. In the second half, however, we were shite. If it wasn’t for wor Jamaican kid (who was miles out of position &, thankfully, didn’t seem to be doing what he was told), it would’ve been 4-1. We still can’t take or defend a set piece. If we play like this in the prem we’ll get larruped. End of story.
Succinct eh? ”
“ I agree. We looked clueless. MacClaren is saying that he didn’t like the pitch & didn’t want to “risk” our players on that surface. Brings into question why they arranged the whole tour to start with? It should’ve been three easy games for a workout. If you’re gonna do that tho’ you could playing three teams within thirty miles of St James park that would be similar quality teams to those we played & that would be on an excellent grass surface. If you’re gonna practice for a league that plays on grass why travel 5,000 miles to play on turf fields? I don’t buy that they are looking for more exposure in the US. Performances like last nights are more likely to sell Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, shirts than our shirts!!
I dunno if I have it in me to attempt a write up of that. I feel totally let down (again, actually it’s not even “again”, I should say “as usual, I feel totally let down”).