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10 Things We Learned From Bergamo

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captf8ee0bd2a63e4ad1a1457a8bf7e34217italy_soccer_brg108.jpgThis is in lieu of a regular recap, because I was completely exhausted watching the game, paid little attention to the second half, and am still feeling like complete arse.

1. Why is it anytime contract talk is flashed in the press a guy comes out and has a huge game......

I'm kidding (kinda), but there should be a college major devoted to the study of impending contract discussions and its effect on the performance of athletes. How many times have you seen an athlete (I'm looking at you, NBA and MLB) have a monster season right before they hit free agency? Or in mid-season, then when the contract comes they start blending Krispy Kreme donuts into shakes and drinking it as a pregame meal? There's a reason why many clubs/organizations will take the stance: no contract discussions in-season. The end. Too much of a distraction.

Anywho, what a welcome performance from Amantino, hot on the heels of his life becoming tabloid fodder once again. And damn, it's nice to see those stepovers result in something every once in a while. Though I was more impressed with the power generated on the shot.

Amantino also found himself on the receiving end of plenty of scoring chances (that should help with the girlfriend thing - or not) throughout the game, but I've decided that there is one pair of boots for the left wing, and those boots have very inefficient finishing abilities. Whoever is out there, Manman or Mirko, we get to see their finishing in all its non-glory. But good work rate, and he gave a shit. Really started the year off on a good foot.

2. Brazilian keepers? Love 'em. LOVE 'EM.

Doni was a stud, I don't know how much more there is to say about it. He did well cutting down the angles and played within himself, which is always nice. I can't recall any heart attack moments, and considering the conditions (or supposed conditions - I was rocking the Vaseline-smeared stream), that is nothing short of an act of God. We need those every once in a while, at least for our health. I have no idea what next week will bring, but Doni is like the Brazilian goalkeeper version of AIDS: some days are good, some days are bad, but the only way to get through it is one day at a time. (Or so I hear.)

(And he wasn't at fault for that goal.)

3. The linesman wanted to make sure my scoreline stayed intact with that offside call.

First of all, after all my complete misses this season, I think my accuracy percentage has been upped to 0.7%. And I'm not sure I can take credit for the goal scorers when I picked a guy who averages one a game, Roma's second leading scorer for the past two seasons, and one of like 3 options on Atalanta which had a decent chance of hitting the back of the net. But I'll take the credit and like it. Now lower your expectations for Wednesday. (That's half a joke, I know everybody comes here with expectations at rock bottom. I'd have no readers otherwise.)

Daniele De Rossi should've had another goal and dropped the heartrates of the tifosi a few hundred thousand beats per minute in the process. Bastards

4. Moris Carrozzieri is a big ass lug.

I know I've noticed this before, especially against Inter and Juve this year, but I've never really paid attention like I did today: holy shit, is Moris Carrozzierri the antithesis of athlete or what? He makes Optimus Prime look like the principal dancer at the Bolshoi Theatre. I was convinced he was going to be sent off in the first half just because he couldn't help himself. And I can't buy that he's 27. He looks like he's a 42 year old logger who drinks whiskey for breakfast with a 2 pack a day habit.

5. If David Pizarro was an NBA point guard, he would've been benched for his turnover-to-assist ratio about 6 months ago.

If I go gray by the time I'm 30, I'm suing him. Maybe it's a color blind issue, but for some reason, his balls typically end up with the wrong jersey waaaaay too often. Had this game been in October, I'm not sure a lineup including Doni, Zampagna and Inzaghi would've allowed this game to stay at a 1-2 scoreline with all the counter opportunities they were provided. More likely we're looking at a best case scenario of a draw. Luckily....

6. King Alberto couldn't have come back at a better time.

Hard to tell an impact in 4 minutes, but he certainly has a presence whenever he's on the field - and not just for the fangirls. Made the most of his time with that yellow and offside goal, as if to say, "I'm not here for a long time, I'm here for a good time". Looks like a caged animal, ready to go and unleash his abilities on unsuspecting Serie A defenses.

I think we'll probably see him in the starting XI either Wednesday or this weekend. Cannot wait. It isn't often you get to say you're watching a living legend grow up in front of your very eyes, nevermind two.

7. Matteo Brighi is the Michael Jordan of AS Roma.

He's the only person from what I can tell who is always is chewing gum like he's mad at the Bubblicious, or something. I'm not sure I've ever seen him on the pitch without any in his mouth. Now if he can just stick out his tongue whenever he shoots we might be on to something here.

8. Oh Cicinho.

Is it safe to say he's the most expensive guy in Europe who has been relegated to domestic cup duties after throwing out mostly impressive performances? (And who hasn't slept with the coach's wife - we'd assume?) Not that Panucci deserves to be dropped after a break, while knowing Langella is one of their main (only) offensive weapons out on the left, but come on, 88th minute? They could've used him throughout that craptastically sloppy second half, especially after Langella went off in the 66th. I'd expect him to get a run on Wednesday or next weekend, and if not expect all hell to break loose. At least here.

* - Actually, just make that Wednesday. I don't expect Cicinho to start against Juan Manuel Vargas' flank on Saturday. That is, if Juan Manuel Vargas is still on Catania by Saturday........

9. More second half squadoosh.

A big reason why I didn't pay as much attention during the second half was because I just had this feeling the scoring was done. It seemed perfect, with Mancini scoring a "go ahead" goal in Bergamo in the 45th minute. Not only do they take the 3 points in Lombardy, but they do so without having to score in the second half, which they're fatally allergic to, or something. And if they did, the only person it was going to be was Totti, who kinda sorta reclaimed his "closer status" during the Sampdoria game.

Can this squad ever score in the second half wit regularity? Maybe it's time Rosella stopped looking at tall center forwards and looked for a motivational speaker to sub in for TGIP in the locker room during half time. Someone who's really turned their life around. Like O.J. Simpson.

10. Roma likes goal celebrations laced with homosexual innuendo.

I mean, what else can you say? To each their own.

SOCCER-ITALY/


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