For starters, congratulations to my local club the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on a (revived) club record 7,653 in attendance for the renewal of the old NASL rivalry with the New York Cosmos. The Flight 19 Supporters Group, which I am a member of, unveiled a TIFO that gained attention and helped create a great atmosphere. It was a special night for me as the last time these two sides had played in Lockhart Stadium, I was a ball boy. That was in May 1983!
On the topic of American soccer, I am hearing rumblings from well-connected sources that Major League Soccer will announce multiple expansion franchises at this year’s MLS Cup. One team is almost assured — the current third division champions Orlando City, who just attracted 20,000 plus fans to the USL PRO title. The other(s) could be Atlanta and/or Miami, but we will keep you posted here at World Soccer Talk as we learn more.
It’s always great to win the derby but before City’s support gets carried away about beating a Manchester United side without Rafael and Robin van Persie, it’s important to note that Manchester City still has only one point in two away matches against likely bottom half sides. Furthermore, if the match proved one thing, it proved City is completely different when Vincent Kompany is anchoring the back four. Kompany’s recent injury and suspension record coupled with continued fitness worries for Micah Richards and Gael Clichy mean the Blues are far from consistently being solid at the back.
Manuel Pellegrini has rated David Silva higher than Samir Nasri early in his tenure, something I don’t agree with. Thankfully for City on Sunday, Silva is injured, forcing the manager to pick Nasri. He responded with the most brilliant creative display a City player has had in a derby in years.
Nasri operated as a horizontal playmaker despite beginning on the left side of midfield. He was able to drift and find space, linking up well with Aleksandar Kolarov and Jesus Navas. Manchester United’s impotent central midfield seemed helpless to stop Nasri’s movement. Michael Carrick had his worst game in recent memory, though I understand he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. That should have motivated the newly signed Marouane Fellaini to impose his will on the proceedings. But Fellaini was ineffective, despite having won more league matches (as an Everton player) against Manchester City over the course of the last three seasons than anyone in the Manchester United squad.
Alvaro Negredo’s inclusion in Pellegrini’s team sheet was surprising. But he was very effective and direct in his play, linking up well with Sergio Aguero and holding up play effectively. He also was a danger on set pieces, setting Yaya Toure’s goal (City’s second) with a clever header.
Ashley Young’s lack of influence over big matches continues at Manchester United. Shinji Kagawa has not played a single minute in three big league matches David Moyes has faced in the last month, which is an absolutely shocking statistic.