Contributed by: Brett NortheyLast weekend the US national side, the Revolution, took on the pride of Canada, the Northwind, in the 49th Parallel Cup, named after the latitude that marks much of the border between the countries. The US continued it's winning run. The following report is from US Footy and gives the American perspective
The American Revolution has maintained their undefeated streak against their northern border rivals, the Canadian Northwind. This was the 6th success in six years for the Americans. It was the Americans turn to travel to Toronto. Since the European teams were unable to travel to the Atlantic Alliance Cup, a new format for the weekend was used. Both countries presented two teams, their representative team and a development squad. In the single largest representative squad for the Revolution 48 players traveled from across the United States with two aims; beat the Canadians and earn a berth to Melbourne for the 2005 International Cup.
The Saturday saw the development squads tackle each other first, followed by the International that counted.
The development squads showed extreme heart and fought like men possessed to win the ball. It was a close game through three quarters before the Americans (maybe we should call them the Uprising) pulled away in steady fashion. In the end the scoreboard did not reflect the tightness of the contest. Best for the Americans were Daryl Butler (St Louis), Jon Loring (Philadelphia) and Bruce Beilfuss (Milwaukee). Coach of the Uprising (and Revolution Assistant) Rob Oliver (New York) was very proud of the effort put forth; “A number of players really shone today and we identified some young talent that will eventually become starters for the Revolution”.
It was now time for the game we had come to see. It is a pleasure to hear the anthems before a footy match and the players receiving their first cap were both edgy and full of adrenalin. The Northwind stunned the Americans with a goal in the first minute. It was a glorious start for the Canadians. But the Revo’s quickly got it back. It looked like it was going to be a high scoring match, but the quarter settled down into a slog for front position and the ball. The Canadians dominated the quarter and the wall kept the ball in their forward 50, but they were unable to capitalize. This would prove crucial in the final analysis. In fact, the Revo’s lead at the first siren courtesy of a running snap from Dustin Jones (Florida).
The second quarter was another tight affair with neither team being given the opportunity to play run-on football. Such is the nature of the desperation shown in International matches. At the long break it was the Americans by one. The third quarter saw the Revo’s get a jump start with two snapped goals from James Brunmeier (Milwaukee). It looked like the back of the Canucks was broken, but to their credit they stuck around and scored a goal on the siren. The Revo’s lead by three, but was it to be enough!
The mood at the third quarter huddle was surprisingly somber for the Americans. They knew they had a game on their hands. Revolution Coach, Alan Nugent (Boston) pulled the team in tight and barely a whisper left his throat. Those around the huddle can only imagine what he said and how he implored his players, but only the Revo’s will know what passed his lips.
The Northwind had the wind in their face but kicked two quick goals to put the wind up the Americans. In the coaching move of the day Nugent brought back the other Brunmeier, Jarrod, off the bench and onto the far wing. Within minutes he had picked up three kicks and slotted the ball into the forward line where the Americans goaled. It was the steadier they needed. As time ran away the Canadians could not make up the distance and finished two straight kicks behind the Americans - USA 9.7.61 Canada 7.7.49. Best for the Revo’s where Chris Carroll (St Louis), Dustin Jones (Florida) and Brad Rinklin (Boston).
The Canadians were disappointed, but valiant in defeat. The Americans sang the song with gusto, but know there is a long way to go to Melbourne. The teams spent the evening at a downtown establishment imbibing on copious amounts of water, and maybe a beer or two. It was an early night as two more games were to be played.
On Sunday the Revolution took on a spirited Canadian development team. It was a close first half before the Revo’s ran away with it in the third. It was then onto the Northwind versus the Uprising. It was a torrid affair with the game in doubt until midway through the last quarter. The Uprising showed heart the size of Phar Laps, but dubious decisions under pressure kept them from taking the lead. The Canadians had finally found their win of the weekend. After a final word from the Revolution coach the team now turns all of its attention to the International Cup starting August 5th, 2005.
It was a fantastic weekend for the sport. The Revo squad is deep and spirited. The honor of wearing the stars and stripes has never been so sweet.
Scores and pictures will be available in the near future at www.usfooty.com.
A full report from the Canadian's is also available from the AFL Canada website.
World Footy News