From planking to scoring - SWP is making his mark
Manchester City ventured into Vancouver for the second match of their US tour, a match that only went ahead following the herculean efforts of Vancouver Whitecaps staff and fans who spent hours clearing the Empire Field pitch of water following a deluge over the weekend. Paul Barber, Whitecaps CEO, explained in an interview on Team 1040 radio in Vancouver that the club had probably sold the city out of screen wipers that were used to help clear the pitch.
The company that the club hired to lay a natural grass pitch on top of an artificial surface, standard practice in the US for such exhibition games, described it as,” probably their best ever installation,” according to Barber. The heavens opened moments after that conversation took place in Vancouver.
Hats off then to the Whitecaps for making the game a reality for the 24,074 sell-out crowd, and it must have been ‘hearts in mouths’ time when Yaya Toure was taken off injured on a worsening pitch, with reports since making it very clear that it was caused by catching another player’s foot. City players were put to the test with a cruel goal from the Whitecaps that took a wicked deflection off Stefan Savic after half an hour, before John Guidetti equalised for City in the 68th minute.
Earlier in the day Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York radio had been discussing the huge boost that soccer in North America had received from the Women’s World Cup, with the USA disappointingly falling to Japan on penalties in front of 13.5 million viewers. Penalties he said were like,” a home run derby,” and no way to finish a competitive soccer match. As word spread that the Whitecaps game against City would be decided on penalties in the event of a draw, up stepped a much-loved City favourite who is determined to make his mark on this US tour – Shaun Wright-Phillips. Five minutes from time Wright-Phillips produced a rasping thunderbolt into the top left hand corner that was reminiscent of many of his long-range efforts of old.
SWP caught the online headlines early in the tour for what was undoubtedly the best planking effort displayed by a member of the City squad posting their efforts online. A goal to finish off Club America was followed in Vancouver by the decider to ensure City notched up a confidence-boosting comeback from a goal down. It has so far been tough to pick out the stand out performers on this tour, but if Shaun Wright-Phillips can adapt his play to the kind of passing game he is beginning to show then it will be a sign of a top player maturing in his trade. As Micah Richards quotes in his daily blog today, ”A class goal from a class guy,” and to view SWP’s humble post-match comments we would have to agree.
The City team have arrived in Los Angeles in preparation for their next match against LA Galaxy on Sunday, with the Galaxy first concentrating on their match tonight with Columbus Crew. A clean sweep of wins on this US tour would be a fantastic start to pre-season.
This article is dedicated to the Real Way Down project :