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Talkin’ Sash

Chelsea’s new away kit is pretty cool except…

Chelsea recently released their new away kit for the 2012/13 season.  The Adidas duds are primarily white and classy overall – until you get to that baby blue sash.  The sash… arrrrgh!  It’s so overrated and overused in world soccer at the moment.  Nike used it pretty effectively for the U.S. national team at the 2010 World Cup in a nice nod to the 1950 U.S. World Cup squad who pulled off that famous upset of England.  But the last couple years have seen an outbreak of frequently hideous sashes (exhibit A in the hideous department is Sweden’s current away jersey, which resembles a road sign).  And now the sash has infected Chelsea.

Pumped about the sash: Frank Lampard, Daniel Sturridge, John Terry, and two unidentified summer transfers…

The new Chelsea away kit is almost an instant classic with its uncluttered, clean look, and tasteful Adidas shoulder stripes.  Many soccer fans hate all white uniforms, but I’ve always liked them.  The plainer white the kit, the better as far as I’m concerned.  But then they have to go and add that diagonal sash.  To be fair, the Chelsea sash isn’t a disaster as sashes go.  It’s simply unnecessary to the uniform.  Sorry to be such a sash basher, but they always remind me of beauty pageant contestants and dictators.

I also think if you’re going with a mostly white uniform, you need to complete the ensemble with white socks.  But this getup’s socks are black.  Oh well.  It could be worse.  I do like that they went with different shades of blue rather than off-the-wall colors that are totally unrelated to the club’s core colors.  Overall, it’s a mixed review.  Certainly not bad, but I’m not going to rush out and get this one.  Blame the sash.

What do you think of Chelsea’s new away kit?

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Great Scot!

Thoughts on the United States’ 5-1 wallop of Scotland

Saturday night’s international friendly between the U.S. and Scotland in Jacksonville, Florida was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from a U.S. side.  Seriously.  The peppermint-striped Americans looked nothing like the defensive, lone-striker, mistake-prone teams we’ve suffered with over the years.  Instead, this group was energetic, organized, fast, aggressive, and passing out of their minds!  What is going on here?

The Americans’ shooting and finishing was none too shabby either.  Landon Donovan began the scoring festivities (his first of three!), joined later by a long-distance, half-volley rocket from Michael Bradley, and a header goal by Jermaine Jones.  The U.S. absolutely swarmed Scotland, particularly in transition play where the U.S. had many more options than they usually do.  Michael Bradley was fantastic – I never thought I’d be saying this but he might be the third best American player at the moment behind Clint Dempsey (first) and Donovan (second).  Another standout U.S. midfielder last night was Jose Torres.  I hope Torres continues to get starting nods for the U.S.

The U.S. was defensively firm as well, though Scotland didn’t threaten very much.  Even Scotland’s goal was an own-goal, scored after Kenny Miller headed the ball off U.S. center back Geoff Cameron.  Granted, Scotland doesn’t have the urgency of impending World Cup qualifiers like the U.S. does, but it was still a surprisingly (and pleasingly) dominating all-around performance by the U.S.

The U.S. is in a good place right now personnel-wise.  When is the last time a U.S. coach had this many choices at each position?  The most exciting aspect of last night’s victory was the Americans’ purpose-driven possession.  The U.S. has rarely, if ever, moved the ball so quickly and accurately, with plenty of goals to show for the effort.  Last night’s match was evidence that Jurgen Klinsmann is making his mark on the team as he approaches his first anniversary as U.S. head coach.  It was exactly the kind of offensive performance we hoped he would bring to the table.  This new-look U.S. team will really be put to the test on Wednesday against Brazil in Landover, Maryland.

Speaking of new looks, I was on the fence about those new red/white horizontal striped, Kirk Douglas-in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-inspired home jerseys for the U.S….

But after seeing the jerseys in action last night, I’m slipping on the negative side of the fence.  They just look a little too much like a costume for my taste.  The light-gray numbers don’t work for me – I’d rather seem them in blue.  While I appreciate the nod to the American flag, and while I’d like to see more red incorporated in the U.S. kit (which has traditionally been navy blue-dominant), I think Nike was trying a little too hard with this one.

What do you think of the new U.S. home kit?  Thoughts on the U.S. performance against Scotland?