Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Same old Arsenal?

Arsenal sent their U19 squad to participate in the 32nd Dallas Cup held each April in Frisco, TX. The tournament featured dozens of teams from all over the globe, age groups from U13 to U19. We saw the Gunners win 5-1 over a Dallas team on Sunday. They won their group with 6-0 and 3-1 wins over teams from Panama and Bolivia. This set up a Friday semi final against Eintract Frankfurt, to which I dragged the family.

There were lots of Arsenal fans present, evidenced by the famed red and white shirts. A "Come on Arsenal" chant broke out at one stage - otherwise the crowd was quiet. The U19 team is coached by Steve Bould, a warrior at center-back in his day. Unfortunately, Arsenal's two leading scorers Luke Freeman and Josh Rees were injured and did not play. It also seemed like a fourth game in six days was taking it's toll. The Germans were better, stronger, faster and cantered to a 2-0 win - it would have bee a lot more except for the heroics of Arsenal goalie Damian Martinez. For the Gunners, Roarie Deacon and George Breslin-Hall also impressed.

What worried me was that the U19's are clearly coached to play the same as the senior squad. So lots of crisp passing from the halfway line until the opponents penalty box and then nothing. Frankfurt defended against this with two banks of four and both their goals were on quick breaks. Sound familiar?

In the second semi, Tigres from Mexico destroyed a Dallas team 5-0. The final on Easter Sunday was cut short by some of crazy spring weather and was stopped after 65 mins due to the lightning. Both teams were declared co-champions.

Dr. Pepper Park in Frisco is a really nice modern stadium. The entire complex has about 15 fields and the facilities seem top class. One day we will try and figure out Major League Soccer and take in an FC Dallas game.

Steve Bould - Fashionista

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