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Something Worse than Milan


It seems that with Milan’s terrible preseason performances, there wasn’t much to do but to cower in fear ahead of yet another meaningless friendly. But then something ridiculously magical happened: Milan found something worse than them. And that spurred them on to a 3-0 victory and a much improved performance against Chivas Guadalajara.

#WorseThanMilan


So what in the world could possibly be worse than Milan? The pitch at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. I have seen some really, really bad pitches before, but this one was the worst. So bad, Milan deliberated whether or not to even play on it, causing the game itself to be delayed.

We were told that it was an artificial turf surface which had been covered recently in actual grass. (And by recently, it seemed like maybe they did it at 4:00 pm the same day, with a kickoff of 8pm local time.) It wasn’t just the completely obvious seams filled with sand which gave it the look of a green brick wall with sand-colored mortar. The surface was not level or smooth, and we were told that it was very heavy, that the ball didn’t bounce well on the surface, either. The strips of sod were in varying shades, indicating possibly different kinds of grass or grass in various levels of health. It was absolutely atrocious.

Inzaghi must have smelled victory in the air when he stepped off the plane in Houston...
...either that or it was the manure from the sod being laid at the stadium

Milan, on the other hand, were refreshingly not atrocious for once. Still have miles to go to reach a Champions League spot this season, but better than the other friendlies. The sand they kept kicking up from the scandalously horrible pitch must have worked as some kind of magic pixie dust. Passes were completed… sometimes. Chances were created and shots taken… often enough to give Milan a 3-0 win. I think I even saw something in there that could be mistaken for defending a couple of times, too.

The goals were scored by Niang (yes, you read that right, he scored,) Balotelli (on a sweet free kick that mocked the wall,) and Pazzini on an assist from Essien (even if he was nicely set up by Honda.) And yes, you read that correctly, Essien got an assist. Even more astonishing is that Milan got the clean sheet, despite the presence for about 30 minutes of one Agazzi. (yes, the pitch was even worse than him.)

Highlights from the Chivas-Milan match 

So there you have it. If you believe in magic or whatever, then we should start slicing and dicing that pretty San Siro pitch now and sprinkling on the sand. Because if the pitch being so poor was truly our inspiration, we are going to need stadiums full of this kind of luck all season long.

Thank you, Milan for letting me go to bed without indigestion after one preseason friendly this summer. Thank you boys for stepping up and beating a substandard Chivas Guadalajara side. Thank you Niang, Balotelli, and Pazzini, all of our potential center forwards, for scoring for us. And thank you to the “groundskeepers” in Houston (who probably no longer have a job) for showing people worldwide that there actually is something worse than Milan this season (maybe they can get a job at a golf course making sand traps and other hazards.)
  

This post inspired by the music of Danny Elfman’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” Soundtrack