Carling Cup- Labor Day for Tournament Soccer

Posted on September 23, 2009


The Carling Cup is upon us.  Of all the European soccer tournaments, it seems that this one possess the least attendant prestige.  Bragging that a team won the Carling Cup is like telling people that you were voted “Whitest Smile” by your dentist’s office- it’s a nice thing, but it probably won’t get you the cool points to ride shotgun with John Travolta in Greased Lightning.

Really, the Carling Cup is more like Labor Day is in the pantheon of holidays.  Everybody enjoys it, but it doesn’t have the same cachet as New Year’s, or the 4th of July, or that one day in November when everybody goes to the mall  at the same time and somebody always ends up getting trampled.  So I’ll have to be excused that Fulham’s Carling Cup game snuck up on me.  I was looking ahead to Arsenal and then, bang, there it was, a midweek game.  The timing of it couldn’t be beaten for the chances of Fulham laying down and taking a walloping, too.  The boys had just turned in a performance at Wolves that gave new depths to the phrase “unrelenting disaster”.  And now, Manchester City had to be dealt with.  It was like David, fresh off an arm-wrestling crushing at the hands of his cousin Melvin, was asked to fight Goliath’s cockier younger brother and his shiny new spear.

So how would Fulham fare?  Not bad, actually.  Despite losing 2-1 to a full-strength M. City side, Fulham played well.  Roy sent out yet another no-name 2nd string squad, and for the second straight game these 2nd stringers looked better than the so-called first string.  Zoltan Gera’s goal was a juggernaut, just the kind of slump buster that the hard luck Gera needs.  Eddie Johnson got another run around, and our African-du-jour (Kig-something Dikcagoi) made his first team debut.  And Seol Ki-Hyeon (our own Nightcrawler, appearing and disappearing at will) materialized from out of nowhere, making some good contributions in the midfield.  Hodgson said something afterwards to the extent that ‘he now knows which players he can trust’.  After the Wolves game and now this one,  I’d be more interested in knowing which players he feels he can’t trust.

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