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Archive for November, 2007

Jars of Clay: Christmas Songs

Christmas Songs When I received an email announcing the new Christmas album by Jars of Clay, I immediately pre-ordered it; Jars of Clay is my favorite band and I am a sucker for Christmas music. Part of my excitement was fueled by Jars of Clay’s Little Drummer Boy single, which remains one of my favorite Christmas songs. Each year I buy at least one Christmas album to supplement my itunes Christmas playlist. I was so excited about the album that I broke my rule of not listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving so I could sample the album when I first received it. To my dismay I was disappointed at first listen. The album seemed overly somber. The two most traditional songs on the album, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem” and “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” do not resemble the songs we sing in church each Advent season. A month later it was still the first album I got out to listen to as I prepared blueberry pancakes the morning of Black Friday.

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South Africa 0 USA 1: Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup

Stevie CelebratesSteve Cherundolo’s 27th minute goal was all the US needed to claim its first ever victory on African soil and its second consecutive 1-0 victory on a foreign continent. It wasn’t the prettiest of games; the altitude and heat seemed to take a toll on a US roster that was comprised mostly of players acclimatized to the cool, gray weather of England. That said, the team played cohesively, defended well and created two other clear goal scoring opportunities. DaMarcus Beasley and Freddy Adu, in his first start for the full side, both got behind the South African defense; Beasley’s blast was saved and Adu’s badly mis-hit shot trickled wide.

Three of the four spots on the backline seem to be locked down with Cherundolo, Onyewu and Bocanegra. The consistency and familiarity will be important when World Cup qualifying begins next year. The only question mark is at left back. Heath Pearce is staking a claim to the position. He played well against Brasil and showed well again in this match. Fox Soccer Channel analyst Christopher Sullivan highlighted a few occasions that required more composure than Pearce displayed, but that should improve with experience.

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Houston 2 New England 1: MLS Cup 2007

In a rematch of last year’s final, the Houston Dynamo defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC to become repeat MLS champions. The atmosphere at RFK was pretty good; there were a little less than 40,000 fans in attendance. I sat on the side opposite the fan groups amidst mostly neutral fans, many who didn’t seem very knowledgeable about the teams or sport. It was cool to see on the opposite side, from left to right, the New England supporters, DC supporters, and Houston supporters on one side of the field. In the first half the DC supporters chanted “You guys are boring <clap> <clap> <clap> <clap> <clap>” and “Borrring, Borrring” which I enjoyed. Several “D C U-ni-ted” <clap> <clap> <clap> <clap> <clap> chants broke out at odd times, even on the quiet side.

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2007 DC United

DC UnitedIt’s been a week since DC United’s season came to a screeching halt thanks to the Chicago Fire. In a thrilling two game series Chicago eliminated DC from the MLS playoffs by an aggregate score of 3-2. DC battled from 3-0 down to make it 3-2 and only needed a goal to force a 30 minute overtime. Christian Gomez looked to have evened the series with just minutes remaining but referee Jair Marrufo called a handball on Gomez. The ball clearly hit the arm of Gomez, but the rule says that the handball must be intentional for it to be a foul. Gomez and Chicago player Dasan Robinson were furiously battling to get to the ball that DC captain Jaime Moreno flicked on; the contact the ball had with Gomez’s arm was incidental. A photographer from the Washington Post brilliantly captured the moment.

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