Welcome back to Part Two of my Generation adidas journal, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and like me are looking forward to the New Year, and of course the 2009 MLS Season!!!!
We left off last time with the Champions League game between Chelsea and CFR Cluj, won 2-1 by the Blues.
Wednesday rolled around, and after the excitement of the game the previous night, we prepared for our own game against Chelsea Reserves. We were hopeful also for the appearance of one of our strikers, Yura Movsisyan of RSL. He was delayed through visa problems (no problem of his making) and was semi expected at the game!!
Chelsea put out a very competitive team against us with Scott Sinclair, Miroslav Stoch and Mineiro, who have played many first team games, in the lineup. We made a few changes to our team that started the game against Reading. With playing two games in two days we wanted to give everyone a start, and some guys some rest also. It was a competitive game from the first whistle with early scoring chances for both teams. Final result was a little unflattering for the young Generation adidas side, going down 4-0. In truth it could quite easily have been 6-4 to either side. It was an entertaining game and we were beaten by a very good, experienced team. With the amount of scoring chances we had throughout the game, we were encouraged for the game tomorrow against West Ham United. (Yura's flight was delayed and was to meet us at the hotel.)
Seeing as though it was a morning kick-off, we all had the rest of the day off. Our hotel location was in a great part of the city, and only 10-15 min by tube (underground) to any of the wonderful and busy streets of London.
Our game against West Ham United was quickly upon us the next day; this would require an hour and a half bus ride through to the other side of the city. We had to play this game at a non-league ground (away from the West Ham training complex) and thus the ride took a little longer than expected. Off the bus and quickly into the freezing and cramped changing rooms, kick off had to be delayed a little to enable us a decent warm-up.
West Ham (like Chelsea) had a strong line up to play GA, Kieron Dyer (England), Diego Tristan (ex Deportivo La Corona & Spain) and the USA's own Jonathan Spector all featured.
Again Frank changed the starting line-up around a little; Yura Movsisyan was partnered up front with Davide Somma. It was Somma who got GA on the board early with a well taken goal after an exchange of passes with Ciaran O'Brien. West Ham got back into the game soon after, with a well timed header from Spector off of a corner from Dyer.
Goal of the game was 10 minutes before half time from Somma, after great footwork and shot from Movsisyan, the rebound fell to Somma who executed a well timed volleyed from outside the box, to put GA 2-1 ahead at the break.
Unfortunately our delight turned to despair when GA gave up two late goals (one of which was a penalty) in the 2nd half to lose 3-2. Certainly not the way we wanted to end the playing side of the tour, but after three games in four days, another performance to be proud of.
We have to remember that this Generation adidas tour was taken outside of the season, and to compete against some of the best young talent in England and to play as well as they did, is a credit to the talent and development of these young players and the MLS as a whole.
Friday was a well deserved rest day; we went to observe the Chelsea first team training session in the morning and then proceeded to the center of London where the players & staff went on a little site-seeing trip around this amazing city... Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to mention a view of the historic sites.
Saturday (last full day), the players and some staff went all the way up to Liverpool to watch them play Hull. Unfortunately the weather had finally turned on us and was a miserably wet, not fun when you are traveling 3-4 hours one way on a bus to a game!
Frank (Yallop), Ian (Russell), Joe (Dincecco, SJ Manager), John Doyle (SJ GM) and myself didn't venture north, instead we spent the day visiting with our 'Sister' club, Tottenham Hotspur. We watched an Academy game (U19) in the morning and then got to spend some time with their Academy Director John McDermott and U19 coach Alex Inglethorpe, where we discussed various aspects of their Academy and Coaching development. From there, after a traditional pub lunch, we took in the Spurs v Man United game at White Hart Lane. Now being a Spurs fan myself, you could say I was in heaven, and after buying my baby daughter a Spurs outfit...she now has a favorite team!!!
Well as you can see, we had a very busy but entertaining trip to London, the players certainly did themselves, coaching staff, and MLS very proud with their performances and behavior throughout the tour.
We, as a staff, would like to thank Casey Armstrong and the staff at adidas and MLS for making this all possible.
Hope you have enjoyed the journal; it was a pleasure to be on and write about the trip. Enjoy what 2009 has to offer in the MLS season!!