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10 Things We Learned From Sampdoria

tmpphpnvgs6d.jpgSince it's the first leg of a Coppa matchup and I liveblogged it, I'm cheating and going the easy route.

Roma can play some footy with 10 men.

For much of the game, Roma was the better side. They fell victim to the fact that they had one less man at times, but as much is to be expected. The fellas still controlled much more of the match than they probably should have under the circumstances (also being away from home), and flat out took it to Sampdoria in stretches. And if Mancini could have finished, we're talking about a huge lead heading into the return leg.

I think the best way to describe that performance was "professional". They knew what had to be done, and for the most part, they did it. Can't ask for more down to 10 for over an hour. Standing O.

Mancini needs to be signed at nearly all costs.

I don't know what happened over the winter break, but Amantino has been an entirely different player since. He not only gives a shit, but wants to throw this team on his back when it's need. That pass to Mirko was inch-perfect, and we'd be talking about two dimes if Mirko could get a proper header off, the other being from that glorious cross.

Even if he has just another 6, 12, 18 months at Roma, this is the difference-making Mancini who seemingly went on sabbatical for the first half of the season. At times tonight, he was the entire offense, and beat two and three men with regularity. The vision was there, the ball skills were there, the finishing could be improved, but hey, it happens. It was a great performance from a great player. They really need to get him under contract.

And dammit, Gilmar Veloz needs to realize Mancini is worth every single euro of that 25m buyout clause.

*- I understand it was unintentional and it wasn't in malice, but Hugo Campagnaro should've absolutely been red carded for that boot to Mancini's face while he was standing up.

The only person who should be chipping people on this team is Jesus.

If I've said it once, I've said it a bajillion times: stop trying to chip keepers. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was fatigued with those two shots, but you don't beat three defenders at a time when you're fatigued. Maybe the angle was tough, but still, stop chipping. And this goes for everybody.

Old Man River tells Simone, "Eat your fucking heart out."

In the first game against Sampdoria, Simone dropped that lollipop from just outside the box which was brilliantly saved by Castellazzi. Well that was nothin'. Mirante had to make nearly the exact same save on an OMR shot today....except his shot was from about 30-35 yards out, and from the wing, no less. Seriously, that's one of the best almost goals you'll ever see.

Of course, our bubble was burst about 12 seconds later by Philou's second yellow.

(Highlights would be welcome...I can't seem to find it.)

This club needs a vice-Tonetto who can play some CB.

Yes, it's been a rough year injury wise (alright, that's the understatement of the century), so maybe this is just an aberration, but I get the strong feeling that, even with 3 RBs and two who can fill in for Max, as well as iTunes, the club could really use another defender with some versatility. OMR ain't gettin' any younger. Max ain't gettin' any younger. Andreolli ain't coming back from the dead. Seems like, for occasions when shit hits the fan (circa right now), a guy who is adept at switching over would help.

The return leg back line, while probably not the worst thing we've ever seen, is probably going to look something like this:

Cicinho, Panucci, Cassetti, Tonetto.

Which translates to:


Or we could be seeing DDR....

Mirko Vucinic can finish...

...he just doesn't always do it. That was a very good goal, as he had to fight off two defenders to get what little space he could, before he placed the ball perfectly with the outside of his boot into the back of the net. That header should've at least been put on net, almost definitely finished, but we've seen worse, much worse, this season - unfortunately.

Vucinic hasn't been very confident of late, and even more important than the actual goal itself may be the mental boost it gives Vuci, especially given the fragility of the entire squad this season (particularly You Know Who). Hopefully this is enough to get him in the right frame of mind and back to his Vucigol ways.

My prognostications (non)skills are back to normal.

After hitting the jackpot two games in a row with the right scoreline/goal scorers and Totti's first goal against Torino, all is right with the world again. I predicted Totti would score a triple against Catania and be the runaway MOTM...he didn't play. I predicted Philou would score a goal and win MOTM....he was sent off via two yellows within the first 20 minutes. Ah, it feels good to be oh so wrong again.

Cassano + Roma = drama. Always.

Antonio Cassano's tackle was a split-second too late, and it probably looked a little worse than his intentions because he had such a running start. But damn, Max sure took offense to it. Going apeshit on Antonio and having to be seriously restrained by OMR and a few others. Max is the consummate professional, a nice guy, so he must've been really pissed about the tackle.

I agreed with the GolTV "pundit" (who was pretty much shit all night and mispronounced everyone's name in at least 3 different manners*), that is seemed a little unnecessary from Max. Maybe there was more to it. But either way, it's nice to see Max get a little feisty.

* - I think there was also mention that Chelsea wanted Mancini for the RB spot before they went after Dani Alves last summer? Or was it next summer? I missed part of it. But either way, that's just ridiculous to put that type of info on the air.

Curci won't give us any definitive answers.

I thought he was decent, but not tested often enough. Seemingly made smart decisions and composed himself well, but he wasn't tested nearly in the way that Doni has been over the last however many games. He wasn't stopping that goal, and neither was Doni. So....nothing to go on, really. A good game, but didn't give us any answers, other than allowing us to make the assumption he's not going out on loan.

Roma is heading in the right direction.

After the break, they went from a hard fought, sloppy 2-1 victory to a 4-0 drubbing of Torino to complete dominance over Catania, to being the better squad despite being down a man without Juan, Perrotta and Totti. These are great signs heading into the second half. Especially with that second run of calcio hell coming up.