Monday, March 31, 2008
I'm a Senior Software Test Engineer with over 8 years of experience in the industry. I have extensive experience with test automation software, particularly Borland's Silk line of test automation products. I've worked on web and Windows applications, Java, C++, and .Net code bases among others.
I am looking for a similar position at a company in the Denver area, or one that would allow me to work remotely from here in Denver. If you have any leads or recommendations, please let me know.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The big news is that View From the Couch now has a View From the Sidelines as part of the reason my life has turned upside-down is that last week I moved from Scottsdale, AZ to Thornton, CO. I had a great seat in Class VI's Section 108 last night to watch the dismantling of the Galaxy and went back later to review the FSC coverage of the game.
Let's look back at my Keys to the Game to see how we did:
- Is the defense helping out Bouna Time! more than last year, or we'll we be surviving based on Bouna's play? - Well the defense showed up big last night, even while missing 2 starters in Mike Petke and Ugo Ihemelu. While they still showed that they're a bit green, the defense covered for each other's mistakes and completely took David Beckham out of the game.
- Can C. Gomez bring the spark we need to jump-start our anemic offense? - Gomez had a slow start, mishandling a number of balls early and not quite getting in sync. After the first 20-30 minutes though he was controlling the midfield. However, the player that really got us going last night was Terry Cooke. 1 goal, 2 assists, and had the through pass that set up the PK as well.
- Does the team as a whole have an attacking mentality, or is it still the "Defend and hope for a goal on the counter to win 1-0" style of play? - After our first half goal it felt like we were dropping back to our old habit of trying to protect the lead for 80 minutes. Time and time again we fouled players near the box so Beckham could step up for the free kick. Luckly for us the Galaxy couldn't capitalize and whatever was said at half worked as w came out more agressive and moredetermined in the second half. Once we got the second goal we smelled blood in the water and didn't back down until the Galaxy were dead and buried.
- Free kicks near the box. Beckham is the best dead-ball specialist in the league, we have to minimize the Galaxy's free kicks. - As I said, we didn't do a good job on this one i nthe first half, but Beckham and the galaxy weren't on their game and didn't make us pay. One thing we did do is that when we gave up a free kick they were rarely in a location where Beckham go take a shot, instead having to cross the ball in to hope a teammate could get a head on it.
- How tired are Beckham and Donovan at altitude after their midweek national team games. - Beckham looked average, at best, and PrimaDOnnavan couldn't get any service until it was too late. I'm not sure iff it was the altitude, travel or the midweek game but something took the fire out of the Galaxy almost from the opening whistle.
- How well does Colorado use the large field. Reports are they've narrowed the field by 5 yards this season, which I think is a mistake. - I still think it was a mistake to narrow the field, but the Rapids used all of it last night as Clark and Cooke were constantly making slicing runs and crossing balls in from the outside. The Galaxy defense, which is approaching ancient in age, couldn't keep up.
Critical Matchup: Burciaga Jr. & Cieran O'Brien vs. Old Spice - Turns out it was actually Colin Clark and Burciaga Jr. vs. Old Spice, and they got the job done. They did it by going on offense and causing Galaxy right back Chris Klein to need help. Beckham spent a good part of the game playing right back to cover for Klein, which limited his effectiveness going forward.
Fact of the Match: The last time the Rapids scored 4 goals in a regular-season game was July 23rd, 2005, beating Chicago 4-1. The last time the Rapids won by 4 was May 5th, 1996 in their second-ever home match, beating KC 4-0.
- The Rapids started 5 players with a total of 6 starts between them. The Galaxy started 3 DP-level players. In spite of this the Rapids won 4-0.
- Bouna Time! apparently learned a great deal from his stint with the Senegal National Team and training with Arsenal. He was better positioned last night, and still showed no fear when he was called upon to mix it up.
- Abel Xavier, (aka Chia Pet) was lucky to be in the match as long as he was. He was far to agressive on his tackles, and his dissent probably should have gotten him tossed before it did.
- The PK was soft, but not completely uncalled for. Chia Pet's trailing leg did clip Cummings while going for the ball, and a defender can go down, back to the CR, in the box and expect to get away with any contact. Much like the bogus penalty on Erpen against Chivas last year the call might have been weak, but Xavier gave Abbey Okulaja the opening.
- Has Abbey called a game in the last 2 years without controversy?
- Chia Pet will be suspended another couple of games, you make contact with the ref, you're going to sit.
- I wouldn't be surprised to see O'Brien also sitting for a couple of games. his tackle merited the red card, and while I'm not sure the tackle itself is worth an additional suspension I'm sure the injury to Ruiz and the fact it was late in a blowout game will bias MLS into giving a longer suspension.
- Alan Gordon should have seen more than yellow for his tackle on C. Gomez early in the second half, and PrimaDonnavan should have gotten a yellow for going to O'Brien's throat after O'Brien's tackle on Ruiz.
- Solid quiet play from our young duo of DiRaimondo and LaBrocca in the defensive midfield. Never really caught out of position, no serious mistakes, and good transistion work.
Man of the Match: Terry Cooke, without a doubt. Winning goal, 2 assists, sets up the PK. Think he has a chip on his shoulder about Beckham or something?
Friday, March 28, 2008
The Rapids signed Kelly Gray and draft pick Scott Campbell today. Gray is a 7th year player who's played for the Fire and Earthquakes/1836/Dynamo. He'll give us still more cover on the pack line. Scott Campbell was our last pick in the SuperDraft, a midfielder out of North Carolina.
This gives us 2 goalkeepers (Plus the MLS Pool goalkeeper who trains with the Rapids), 10 defenders, 14 midfielders, and 4 strikers.
In order to make the roster limit requirment of 28 players, the Rapids placed Conor Casey and Mike Petke on the disabled list today due to their injuries. This means that they will be ineligible to play until May 10th. At that point, assuming they are healthy and nobody else is seriously injured, 2 Rapids will be out of a job.
The Rapids host the Galaxy at The Dick at 7:30 tomorrow night (FSC). It looks like the injury report is not favorable to the Rapids:
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: FW Conor Casey (L knee); DF Ugo Ihemelu (R hip); DF Mike Petke (R foot); DOUBTFUL: MF Mehdi Ballouchy (L hamstring); FW Jovan Kirovski (R hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: MF Rafael Gomes (L hamstring); MF Colin Clark (L hamstring); MF Nico Colaluca (L groin); PROBABLE: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle)
Given that, I predict the following lineup:
- Is the defense helping out Bouna Time! more than last year, or we'll we be surviving based on Bouna's play?
- Can C. Gomez bring the spark we need to jump-start our anemic offense?
- Does the team as a whole have an attacking mentality, or is it still the "Defend and hope for a goal on the counter to win 1-0" style of play?
- Free kicks near the box. Beckham is the best dead-ball specialist in the league, we have to minimize the Galaxy's free kicks.
- How tired are Beckham and Donovan at altitude after their midweek national team games
- How well does Colorado use the large field. Reports are they've narrowed the field by 5 yards this season, which I think is a mistake
Prediction: 1-1 draw, goals by Christian Gomez and David Beckham (off a free kick)
My life is still up in the air, but I think it will settle down now. Expect more consistant updates starting next week.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Here's a recap of the interesting news of last week as we head towards the season opener against LA on Saturday.
- The annual Burgundy & Blue game was played at the Dick on Wednesday. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in the 60 minute game, with goals coming from Jordan Harvey and Jovan Kirovski (With his head no less!).
- Colorado played Chicago in Jackson, Mississippi yesterday with the Rapids dousing the Fire 1-0. Keel got the only goal of the game. The formation looks like it was the 4-5-1 we've been seeing most of the preseason, with a number of expected starters getting little or no playing time.
Kimura - Erpen - Keel - Burciaga Jr.
LaBrocca - Gomes
Cooke - C. Gomez - DiRaimondo
- Gargan, H.Gomez, and Pablo all got some playing time in the second half as they recover from their injuries. Petke and Ihemelu appear to not be in game shape yet, while Clark has tweaked a hamstring and missed both the games this week in order to make sure he's ready for the opener.
- Based on the info we have right now, it doesn't seem like any of them, other than Clark, will be ready for starting the opener.
- Both David "Old Spice" Beckham and Landon "PrimaDonnavan" got a call up for the midweek national team matches in Europe. They'll play mid-afternoon on Wednesday (Denver time) then fly back to Denver to meet up with the Galaxy. That should be a beneift for the Rapids.
That's it for now. If things settle down I'll try to get a Weekend Roundup posted on Tuesday. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a preview of the Galaxy game.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Kimura - Erpen - Keel - Burciaga
DiRaimondo - Gomes
Cooke - C. Gomez - Clark
That's 7-8 of the 11 players you would expect to see start the season opener in 2 weeks. Missing were Petke, Pablo and the winner of Gargan and Ihemlu for the right back spot. The possibility is that Herculez might get the starting up top. All 5 of these players are recovering from injury still, Pablo and Petke didn't make the trip while Herculez and Gargan got 34 minutes of work replacing Clark and Kimura.
All in all, not a good result for the team. Hopefully this one can be chalked up to the end of a long road trip and a game they were originally intending to play. They have one last preseason friendly, against Chicago in Jackson, Mississippi next week that should give us a good feel on who the stating 11 will probably be.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So why Queen of the South? They're a 1st Division Scottish club that play in Dumfries in the SW of Scotland. There's nothing there that immediately explains the attraction.
The attraction is the fact that its there though. I happened to ctach both the geneology and soccer bug at the same time in 1998. The Maxwell name is Scottish, and Lord Maxwell was granted the title of Ward of the West March and their family seat was located near Dumfries. Naturally when I started following British soccer I looked for a team in or aound Dumfries to follow, and found Queen of the South.
At that point they were in the Scottish 2nd division, and pretty much impossible to follow. The only details I could get were the weekly website updates and sites like Live Score to get results. Outside of goal clips on YouTube I've never seen them play a real game. I did see them play in A Shot At Glory a British movie starring Robert Duvall and Michael Keaton as the manager and owner of a small Scottish football side that makes a Cinderella run to the Scottish Cup Final. They face Queen of the South in the semi-final, and the movie was filmed at Queen's home of Palmerston Park and most of the Queens squad in the movie were played by Queen of the South's actual players.
Despite all of this, a picture of me has actually appeared in the Queen of the South matchday program. In 2002, when Queens won both the Second Division and the Scottish Challenge Cup, the club sold jersies commemerating the "double" and I picked one up. During the summer the website sponsors "QoS On Tour" and encourages the fans to send in pictures of themselves on holiday with their QoS gear. I took a picture of myself at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners and sent it in. It was chosen for publication in the matchday program, and the club was nice enough to send me a copy, along with a few others from that season. The caption that went along with it stated that the editors didn't know how they had a fan in the Seattle area, but given my surname maybe I had connections to the Dumfries area. ;)
Now Queen of the South is a solid 1st Division squad, and have advanced to the semi-final of this year's Scottish Cup. With some luck Sentana will pick up the Scottish games, I'll actually find a bar that will be showing it, and finally get to see my team play a real game.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Dumferline striker Tom "Tam" McManus trained with the team while they were in London over the past week and multiple reports have him flying back to the States with the Rapids. No official confirmation on his signing yet though, it sounds like they are still working out the terms of his contract.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Queen of the South - QoS had a home match against fellow first division side Dundee. Dundee is currently in second place in the 1st Division, trying to catch Hamilton for promotion. Saturday thay faced each other in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals. Rain and wind made the first half 45 minutes to forget. Neither team looked parituclarly dangerous and the teams went to the locker room still level at 0. Shortly into the second half Queens opened the scoring on a Stephen Dobbie blast that found the back of the net.
Queens had to hold off the Dundee attack for 39 minutes, and it took every last second before the Doonhamers could get the fatal blow as off a last second free kick with Dundee's keeper joining the attack the ball fell to Ryan McCann. 70 yars from goal he let fly and gave Queens the insurance goal that sent them through to the semi-final. Their opponent will be either Aberdeen or Celtic and the game will be played on April 12th. Tuesday night Queens faces St. Johnstone in a league match.
Blackburn Rovers - Blackburn faced off against Fulham FC (aka Fulham USA) in the battle of "Who's Americans are better". The 22 players who started the match included 5 Americans. Big Bad Brad Friedel for Rovers and Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, and Kasey Keller in goal for Fulham. Also on the bench for Fulham were Americans Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride. The first half was similar to the first half in the Queens game, with the wind and rain neither side particularly impressed and the score was still 0-0 at the break.
The second half started out much better, with both sides hitting the posts in the first 15 minutes. Jason Roberts came on for Blackburn and paid immediate dividends as 2 minutes into the game his cross was met by Morten Gamst Pedersen's head and directed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Fulham made a change of Americans, pulling Clint Dempsey and replacing him with Brian McBride to partner up top with Eddie Johnson. The added pressure paid off late in the game as Christopher Samba got caught forward and made a clumsy kick on a high ball and being called for dangerous play just outside the 18. The resulting free kick from Jimmy Bullard went directly into the back of the net, and Blackburn walked away having given up 2 points that were there for the taking.
This leaves Blackburn a full 10 points out of the last European space with only 9 games to play and with the likelyhood of extra spots being available going down after this weekend's FA Cup results, the window for qualifying for Europe is closing quickly.
Tenerife - Tenerife went on the road to Cordoba, currently 15th in the Segunda. Unfortunately Cordoba decided to show up sooner than Tenerife did, and with goals in the 20th and 58th minute had Tenerife looking at a long trip back to the Canary Islands. CDT didn't let their heads drop though and 7 minutes from full time they got a lifeline in a goal from Iriome. This was followed on the stroke of full time with a second from Arruabarrena and Tenerife salvaged a point from what looked like a lost match.
However the draw didn't help the team's promotion chances. They stay in 9th place and are still looking at a 9 point gap to the 3rd promotion place with 14 games to play.
Ebbsfleet United - Ebbsfleet hosted the first leg of the FA Trophy semi-final against league-leading Aldershot Town. Just 6 minutes into the match Ebbsfleet drew a PK, the Aldershot player lucky to only see yellow, and made no mistake, taking an early 1-0 lead. Aldershot still seemed to be resting on their laurels and 'Fleet was focused on making them pay. After a number of good attacks finally in the 37th minute John Akinde got free in the area and was tugged down before he could get a shot. Again the Aldershot player was lucky to only get a yellow card, but McPhee steped up and put away his second PK of the half, doubling the Ebbsfleet lead.
Aldershot finally woke up in the second half and had numerous good chances in front of Ebbsfleet's net, but they were unable to break through until the 78th minute with an unmarked header from the far post finding its way into the back of the next and getting Aldershot back to within 1 goal. The Fleet wouldn't be denied though and hit back almost immediately with a long ball down the left side leading to a loose ball in the box that McCarthy stepped up and slotted home to regain the 2 goal lead. The Fleet had chances to extend the lead even further but couldn't quite get the final shot. They take a 2 goal lead into the second leg on the road next Saturday, with a trip to Wembley for the FA Trophy final at stake. Before that match they face Rusheden in league play Tuesday night.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Kimura - Zambrano - Harvey - Ward
Peterson - LaBrocca - O'Brien - Colaluca
H. Gomez - Kirovski
Only Hughes played the full 90, H. Gomez came off after getting his first 23 minutes of playing time this preseason, everyone else was subbed at half. The Rapids gave up a goal early, in both halves, but managed to get one on the board late. Colin Clark put it away with an assist from our trialist Tom McManus.
The Rapids return to Denver on Sunday, with one more trip to Jackson, Mississippi planned before the start of the season.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
The biggest move was signing Brazilian defensive midfielder Rafael Gomes. This was a long rumored signing as he's been training with the teamm all preseason.
The Rapids also waived a number of players, defender Chase Hilgenbrinck, midfielder Scott Campbell, defender Brandon Prideaux, midfielder Jose Cancela, and defender Cliff Wilmes. Trialists midfielder Daniel Antunez and forward Kevin Forrest were not given contracts either.
Finally some players were signed to new contracts. Defender Jordan Harvey got a senior roster contract and John DiRaimondo, Nick LaBrocca, Mike Graczyk, midfielder Brian Grazier and defender Cesar Zambrano got developmental roster contracts.
After all of that, where does it leave us?
Well first of all we've signed another defensive midfielder to a team with one of the best defensive midfielders in the league in Pablo, and we used an international slot to doit. This means we'll either be wasting an international slot on a bench player or playing Pablo out of his natural position, probably on the back line. Its great were adding depth, but I'm not sure this is the way to do it.
Secondly the sighning, then waiving of Chase Hilgenbrink is puzzling at best, and more of the same comedy from the team of Fernando Clavijo and the Rapids Front Office. Anyone remember Yerland Macdonald from last season? Nope, neither do we, he was brought in from the Costa Rican National Team and his Norweigan club side then waived before the season even started. What's the point of going to South and Central America if all that results are players that can't even manage to make it to Opening Day, or if they do they're cut midseason like Roberto Brown? Once again the Rapids FO proves its the most clueless in the league.
None of ther est of the player moves stand out. Prideaux was dead weight midway through last season, Cancela was actually let go in the offseason it was just made official today, and the rest are reservists that may or may not turn into quality MLs players.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Queen of the South - Queens faced the league leaders, Hamilton Academical, at home and knew they had a tough mountain to climb. Hamilton immediately put the Doonhamers on their heels and struck first at the midpoint of the first half. Queens were not push-overs though and scored twice before the end of the period to take a lead into the locker room. In the second half Queens had the run of play but couldn't convert, then in the final minute it all came apart. Hamilton scored after a questionable non-call for a foul on Queen's Andy Aitken and in the hubub after the goal Tosh was given his second yellow for dissent. With the limited time remaining and being down a man Queens had to settle for the draw, a result they would have been happy with before the game, but they have to feel somewhat unlucky not to get the full 3 points. QoS is still in fourth place, 4 points back of 3rd and 15 points from the leaders, but also 15 points from the relegation zone. 9 league games to play, and next week Queens faces Dundee at home in the Scottish Cup Quarterfinals.
Blackburn Rovers - Rovers went up north to face Newcastle this week and left town having stolen 3 points. Newcastle had the run of play for most of the game, with Rovers only forcing 2 significant saves out of the Toon's keeper. Meanwhile at the other end only the ability of Big Bad Brad Friedel and Newcastle's inability to put anything on target kept the scoreline even. In particular Newcastle's Alan Smith couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, from the inside.
With 88 minutes gone it appeared the sides would settle for a 0-0 draw when 2nd half sub and new father (his wife having given birth to twins 48 hours earlier) Matt Derbyshire broke free down the center of the park and was fed the ball in stride by David Bently. A clinical finish past Newcastle's keeper gave Rovers the 3 points and left the Toon staring at relegation. Rovers now sit in 7th place, 5 points behind Liverpool (who have a game in hand) for the last guaranteed European spot and 3 points behind ASton Villa in 6th.
Tenerife - Tenerife faced relegation candidates Alaves with a chance to pick up much needed points. In a quiet match Tenerife got the necessary goal and the 3 points. This kept them on pace with the upper part of the table, leaving them in 9th place, 7 points back of the 3rd promotion spot. With only 15 matches to play and 6 teams to pass time is running out for CDT. Next week they go on the road to face 14th place Cordoba in what is almost a must win situation.
Ebbsfleet United - The quarterfinal FA Trophy match was last week and it took 210 minutes to separate Ebbsfleet and Burton. After a scorless 90 minutes on the road Ebbsfleet had the replay at home and after another 90 minutes without a goal it went to extra time. With 4 minutes to play Stacy Long got the winning goal for the Fleet and they booked their spot in the semi-finals. The two legs will take place over the next two Saturdays, with Ebbsfleet hosting the first leg. The winner will face York or Torquay in the final at Wembley.
After the replay on Tuesday Ebbsfleet had a short week before their match against Northwich on Saturday. The first have was quiet until the end when Northwich pounced on a rebound from keeper Lance Cronin to have Victoria the lead at the break. It went from bad to worse for the 'Fleet after the break when MacDonald gave up a penalty and saw red just 3 minutes into the second half. The penalty was put away and United was looking at a two goal deficit. Fleet clawed one back, only to surrender a third and all signs pointed to a loss. Right after Northwich's third goal though Stacy Long, the hero from Tuesday night, got Ebbsfleet on the board again and the tyeam pressed for the equalizer. They would get it 2 minutes from full time as Chukki Eribenne got his first goal in two months to salvage a point from the fixture.