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We lost yesterday to Vasteras SK, 2-1. I came off the bench for the second consecutive game in the 66th minute. I felt much better physically than I did in my last sub appearance and I had many positives in the moments that I had the ball. Hopefully I can play from the start in our next match.
The game itself was actually pretty good. We played one of our best games of the season, even though we were missing Kerim Mrabti, who had started every game so far. That allowed Ernesto Ferreira to step in, and he did a very good job. It’s been clear to anyone paying attention that Siggi has been itching to put Ernesto into the starting lineup, and now I see why. Ernesto is our oldest player by far, but he is also probably our smartest. His introduction brought with it a calming effect on the team. For the first time since preseason, we were moving the ball from left to right and penetrating the other team’s defense. Ernesto was instrumental in pulling the strings in the #10 spot. He was clearly our man of the match and I hope he can continue to be so influential for us. With Kerim missing due to injury and the fact that our captain Tom Noden had to pull out of the warm-up due to a migraine and didn’t play, we now have only one player who’s started every game: Robert Kjellman. That’s a pretty extraordinary turnover considering we only have a 22 man squad, and from that three players haven’t played at all. Anyway, the game was very even with a lot of possession from both sides, but no real attacking threat either way. There was the odd chance, but the first half was played almost exclusively in the middle third. Vasteras scored the only goal of that half on a questionable penalty. They got the ball wide and the winger put in a cross that hit Philip Zamayeri on the arm. There was no question that it hit his arm, the question was in whether such an infraction warranted a penalty kick. His arm was tucked in on his body and there was no way he could have avoided the contact. I don’t like the “ball to hand” rule in soccer, but it exists and this was a textbook example of ball to hand. In my opinion it should have been a no call.
The second half was a bit different in that we had to chase the game. By the time I came on in the middle of the second half, we were essentially playing 4-2-4, with both wingers and Ernesto pushed up alongside Erik Andersson. I came on as a left winger, which was kind of new since I haven’t played there since preseason. I’ve been used this season exclusively as an option to run behind the defense and put in crosses. By playing on the left though, I was given more freedom to come inside and play almost as like a 2nd #10. For the tactical soccer nuts out there (I’m in that category. I love analyzing various tactics) I was playing a role similar to the 2 in a 4-3-2-1. That’s not the formation we were playing, but that’s what I was doing. I like the role because it combines the two positions I’m best at: winger and withdrawn/2nd striker. I felt instantly more comfortable than I ever feel as an out-and-out winger. I was also able to be more dynamic and unpredictable which made me far more difficult to defend.
In other news, I have been getting more boring by the day. If my life was a tv show it would get canceled at this point. I hang out with the same people in the same places almost every single day. And I have no real desire to go out and meet new people in Enkoping. It’s not a knock on the town, but I’ve already got a handful of really good friends here now and I feel no need to make new ones. In short, I’m boring, which is why I’m shocked at myself for bringing up the idea to go to Stockholm a few days ago. Just spontaneously at lunch with Daniel, Linus, Joel and Fabian (look them up on my Meet ESK link. Fabian’s not on there just yet) I blurt out, “I wanna do something. I kind of feel like going to Stockholm.” Daniel, a native of Stockholm, immediately jumped on the idea and was ready to go. I on the other hand, had already soured on the idea once I considered the time and money involved in a half day trip to and from Stockholm. I want to visit Stockholm, but not on a tight schedule. Long story short, I was convinced to compromise on a trip to a “fotball golf” course in Stragnas. I’ve butchered the spelling of the town since I don’t know how to put the dots over the a’s. Well, once we got to Stragnas we saw this:
This fotball golf course was more like an abandoned amusement park. We played the course anyway and I finished 2nd. Daniel won and he was all to happy to let everybody know about it. I’m glad I went out with the guys. Sitting at the Poorhouse (my apartment, keep up) wouldn’t have done me any good.
The last thing I’ll talk about before I go is the ridiculousness that is the Eurovision Song Contest. Now if you’ve never heard of this, then congratulations, your life is better than anyone in Europe. But also sorry, because now you’re going to hear about it from me. The Eurovision Song Contest, which I insist must be pronounced “the motherf’ing European Song Contest” in the same way as the Catalina Wine Mixer from the movie “Stepbrothers”, is something that I don’t understand at all but I will try to explain it. Essentially it is American Idol, just that the people performing create their own songs. People watch the performances then vote for their favorites. There are no live judges from what I can tell. I’m pretty sure that the artists have to be amateurs and cannot have the backing of a music label, at least when they begin the competition. Each European country has their own competition and declares a champion, then that champion competes at the international level to see which country will have the winner. Sweden’s representative was Loreen with her song, “Euphoria”. I really like the song and apparently so does the rest of Europe because she was voted champion! This was a big source of pride for Swedes, with probably half of all Swedish people I’ve spoken to in the last month have mentioned that Loreen was a favorite to win the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, a competition of the top 20 countries. Now I’ve never been a big American Idol fan or any of the similar shows, but at least I understand them. It’s cool to see someone go from unknown to star in front of your eyes and partially with your help. This contest though doesn’t seem to have that quality. I’ve been hearing “Euphoria” on the radio since I got to Sweden. I am 99.9% sure that Loreen has a recording deal with a music label and that her song is on an album. That makes this seem more like a vote to see which country has the artist with the #1 song in Europe at the moment. I don’t see how that could possibly be popular but what do I know. Maybe only Sweden was interested because they knew they’d win! Anyway, I can’t talk so much about a song and then not post it, so here you have it: Loreen performing “Euphoria” at the Eurovision Song Contest Finals. See you guys.