Monday, March 31, 2008

Salt Lake & Galaxy - contrasting fortunes

Okay, sat myself down in front of the laptop and watched these two games. Not something I have done much in recent times but since I have declared that MLS is the sport of summer I had better start.

Salt Lake were unlucky not to get a win against Chicago Fire on Saturday.  Only a last minute equaliser by lardy winge bucket Cuauhteomoc Blanco (being honest I looked that up) put a damper of a winning start. An unlucky 71st minute own goal by Bakary Sourmare gave RSL the lead, although it remains debatable if they deserved the lead. That mistake could have been avoided had the keeper done better in advising the onrushing defender to let the ball run clear.

Having not watched RSL before I thought that they worked well as a team with the midfield creating a number of chances. Of course I cannot compare to last season and I type without really reading about the thoughts of RSL fans but I do feel that overall the club should be happy with this performance.  The defence at times did allow too much space which the Chicago forward line worked and this may be something that will have to be worked on. A more mobile forward line will take advantage of this and from what I have seen so far this risk is out there. I was concerned about the number of silly cautions that were picked up but will put that down to those particular players wanting to make an impact. On the positive side the link between midfield and the strikers was very good with no-one lacking confidence in taking on the player or getting a shot off. 

As for Deuchar, didn't really get into the match once he came on and I suspect that it will take 4 or 5 games before he fully tunes into his colleagues.

In the end it would be hard to disagree that both sides deserved this result.


What of Galaxy? It didn't look bad, it was terrible. Okay Sir Beckham played much like he did for England .  In what would be a disappointing performance in France was acceptable in this game. The right back overlapping Sir Beckham was pointed out after the international and was again picked up after this team implosion. Maybe we are starting to see the way in which the future Sir Beckham will play, relying much on his ability in getting the crosses into the correct area's . Without doubt he can still do this and cause trouble for the opposition but it is up the the coaching staff to make sure that they get the best out of this service. Without doubt Sir Beckham was the best player for this first look at a very disappointing Galaxy side.  The biggest shocker was Xavier. At one stage I noticed that this central defender was playing right midfield closing down an opposing player, 20 yards outside the Rapids penalty area! What was he doing there? By that stage though the visitors had not only lost the game but shape. I only hope the bus was easily located outside the ground.

The cause was not helped by a referee whom I think didn't work hard enough and appeared a bit dazed by the record crowd. The penalty is open to debate and my view of this was poor due to the quality of my Internet stream at the time. You can see that the referee was losing control and a more proactive approach to cautioning players much earlier could have avoided the dismissals. The Rapid sending off was easily a red card and I have read that Xavier was sent off for bumping the referee. If he did do this then his ban should be extended. Maybe this would be welcomed by Gullit, who now has the toughest job in football. After all King Keegan has started winning at Newcastle. I also suspect that the 3rd goal was offside but this did highlight where the biggest problem is. Two central defenders who appeared not up to task and a midfield which got lost.  And judging by Sir Beckham's face as he walked off maybe he realized that too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

DC United v Kansas City

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The KC 2nd goal should have counted.  The goal scorer was not offside when the ball was played forward.

The DC goal was offside and as I type KC have gone 2-0. It is a poor game and the commenter is crap !!

Real Salt Lake v Chicago Fire

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First time watching a game on First impression is that the picture can be a lot clearer but overall appears to be a good service. Network speed is good although I have muted the sound as I am also watching EPL on Sky TV.

Also the first time I have watched the MLS team I have chosen to watch, Real Salt Lake. First impression - what the hell is that pitch. Lines markings everywhere !!


3 min's in and RSL appear on top in what looks like a 4-4-2 formation.

5 min's - good movement by RSL creates a chance at the near post following on from a cross from the left wing.

Just noticed that the touchlines are very close to the stands. How many players have clashed with the advert hoarding's?

Loving the Chicago shirt sponsor - Best Buy

10 min - good advantage by ref which allowed a good try at goal for Chicago. Their No 10, moaner?

Corner flags not in the correct position.

14 min - Great chance for RSL after the No 9 (?) got a lucky break of the ball which resulted in him booting it over the bar.

Correction, corner flags in correct position.

16 min - another good advantage by ref who is [so far] having a good game. I am enjoying this.

20 min's - got a problem. Match of the day has started which I am also having to watch online (BBC website). Wife wont let me watch on normal TV.

Good first goal by Bolton v Arsenal.

22 min - Chicago No 10 asking the ref to book the player from a foul. NO !!. Not acceptable behaviour by 10 who is also the captain.

25 min - game opening up and another good shot on target by RSL, whom need a goal to back up the chances they have had.

27 min - foul by RSL, nice try by ref to play advantage but called it back.

Loving the fact you can get real time stats on this game using the MLS site. UK - take note. froze. Buffering.

now on 3rd Guinness.

Bolton could be going down.

Re-loading webpage

Got coverage back after missing 4 min's.

33 min - Chicago No 10 getting too much room.

Effective use of the wings by RSL but need to get the ball out there much quicker.

36 min - RSL cross in from the left in lacking support from midfield.

Man U - Villa now on MotD.

38 MIN - another foul by RSL, wont be long before a yellow appears.


40 MIN - no foul called by ref on RSL player.

Half time

What is it with Chicago 10? As mentioned earlier he should have been yellow carded for asking a player to be booked. And now he is mouthing off.

RSL will be disappointed with not having taken the lead. Chicago have become more into the game as the half has gone on - a did finish the stronger. RSL need to cut down the amount of Chicago ball in midfield and get their own ball out to the wingers much faster. Ref is having a good game but will need to be on his toes for the first 10 - 15 min's of the 2nd half. Enjoying this game.

Precious win by Birmingham against Man City.

I predict that Chicago 10 will get booked.

Also liking these half time interviews with players and coaches.

Have a look at the save by Gordon for Sunderland v West ham.

2nd half starts.

46 - Chicago 10 crying lying on the pitch, who are also on top

48 - RSL: why didn't the forward take the ball inside after clearing the right back?  Would have drawn the central defender leaving his team-mate with a better chance.

49 - again on the left wing. RSL carry the ball after beating the full back. Cause the problem.

Sorry for not knowing any names but I am finding it easier like this.

51 - wild shot by RSL over bar. no 11 (update that could be 77)

4th Guinness started

Losing interest in MotD - Derby - Fulham on

54 - RSL into it more.

No penalty - went down too easy.

57 - RSL no 9. Get up and stop rolling around.

Derby down

59 - RSL need to make a change in midfield or up front. Not enough support coming from midfield.

61 - ref missed foul on Chicago, near touch line - push

62 - RSL sub

64 - foul on Chicago player - push in chest

Close game, RSL sub appears to have made a difference. No idea if there has been a change in formation as it is hard to tell on, but better play from RSL.

66 - v good ball down right wing by RSL

MotD - Reading - Blackburn on

CSI NY on Sky +

One goal will win this game

70 GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL RSL - looks like an own goal. It is after a right wing cross by RSL 21.


Unlucky Fire 4, a better shout from your keeper would have solved your problem.

crowd looked bored

75 - RSL are sitting too deep

Is it cold there?

77 - Is it a penalty for RSL? No, good call ref and correct booking.

I thought it was live but replay proved me wrong.

RSL are open to the through ball from midfield.

82 - better play by RSL moving the ball around.  Saw a header in scrappy play. I have noticed that both teams are playing with the ball on the ground. Note to MLS website stats. A tackle from behind is a sending off offence. The correct term for the two bookings so far is 'Unsporting behaviour - tripping'.

87 - RSL are still too deep. Should be a booking against RSL 5

Deuchar is not in this game yet but be warned, he can score.

Noticed Deuchar is breaking laws. His under shirt should be the same colour as his strip. Can be a booking offence.

91 - Goal Chicago. Had to be their 10. Good strike.

Still not impressed by his altitude.

93 - RSL player should be booked for that check on Fire player.

94:34 Final whistle, good game, fair result.

Friday, March 28, 2008 - Is it worth it?

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As a recent convert to the MLS, if only to follow Real Salt Lake forward, Kenny Deuchar, it it worth me buying into

Is it worth the expense?

Is the quality any good?

MLS Fanatsy Team

Enter here


I have entered the league set up by USA Today soccer blogger Beau Dure. You can read his post regarding his league, with entry details here.


Here is my team



Pat Onstad


Gonzalo Martinez

Patrick Ianni

Shavar Thomas

Nat Borchers


Maurice Edu

Christian Gomez

Claudio Reyna



Juan Pablo Angel

Kenny Deuchar


Kenny Cooper

Rob Valentino

Josh Lambo



Steve Nicol


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In reply to 'Behind the shield'

Have a look at the original post by Ian Joy here

Copied by comment below

Good spot over your Man U result last week and as it so happens I said an Arsenal win. However glad Chelsea won as it has kept the EPL title open.

Manchester United vs Aston Villa
This week I expect that Manchester Utd will win against Aston Villa, but Villa have been poor lately and this match could get them going again. Man Utd to win.

Liverpool vs Everton
Liverpool - a week in the life off. Owners falling out, players getting into trouble and a poor showing by their England internationals. Everton - Cahill out for the season, along with Chelsea shafted in a fixture arrangement. One of the biggest blue - red derby's in recent times with the winner taking a massive step towards the final European spot.  A Liverpool win gives Benitez a more secure seat. But an Everton win gives Moyles a chance to make his club into the cities top side.
I could duck this and go for a draw but that's boring. Everton win.

Rangers vs Celtic
Not my most popular teams and the main reason Scottish leagues suffer. (Support your local teams - but that is  a different story). Not often a lot of skill during the game but great for passion. Draw. 3 sent off, 5 yellow cards. 75 arrested. 1 attempted murder.

Besiktas vs Fenerbahce
What is normal in Glasgow becomes extreme in Turkey. Do they not slaughter goats during their games? Fenerbahce, very strong and can't see them losing this one.

SC Paderborn vs FC ST PAULI
Goggled Paderborn and discovered that they were one of the teams fixed by the referee. Look up St Pauli and discovered that they are on YouTube and have a great Wiki write up. St Pauli for a win - if only to please Ian.

Powys NHS Review

Having read in full the Clinical Governance Support and Development Unit Phase II report into the future of local National Health Services (NHS) in the Machynlleth area, the future looks bleak for the local hospital.

Aside from the map, Machynlleth is mentioned on pages 9, 13, 16, 23, 24 & 33 of this report.

Page 9 details that Machynlleth tends to care for acutely ill patients whom are under the supervision of local GP's.

According to this report, "acutely ill patients should be cared for by an NHS trust consultant led team , providing 24 hour medical cover, and supported by a health service infrastructure for acute service".

In general it views that GP's don't have proper accountability towards Powys Local Health Board (LHB) for the service it provides to acutely ill patients. Due to the Service Level Agreements (SLA) between the practices and LHB not being more specific towards this treatment, degrees of involvement vary throughout the area.

Currently Machynlleth is not able to offer this type of care due to the lack of staff not just in the local area but as pointed out in the report, in Powys in general.

The 'Community Hospital Age Care Service Consultant Service' is led by three Age Care Consultants (ACC) whom have access to 105 beds at six sites, including Machynlleth.  They are assisted by GP's providing a committed service to the older people and are held in high regard. The downside to this service is the lack of 'out of hours' (OoH) support offered by the consultants who usually provide advice over the telephone. Any direct support during this period relies on the OoH GP service with 'Shropdoc' being its main provider. A service which the report points out can lack experience is a number of areas. The ACC view is that "community hospitals are now meeting much less of patients' medical needs than in the past. They foresee the need for a, Community Geriatrician in the future to work with patients in the community and care homes rather than in hospitals as they do now". A view support by the report.

Regarding the nursing service in the community hospitals the report concludes that "the current situation of 10 nursing workforces [one workforce at each community hospital] is not sustainable, and places nurses in an unacceptable position. There is too little experience for nurses to maintain the wide range of skills expected of them; from acute emergency care to the rehabilitative care of the elderly. In order to develop their skills, nurses providing acute care need to be part of an acute care directorate outreached from an NHS Trust, whilst nurses providing rehabilitative care and nursing care to the elderly need to be based in the community or in care homes".


In general it recommends that Machynlleth Hospital acute services is provided by a NHS Trust near to the local area. Our strong links to Aberystwyth is mentioned.  Which (apart from Ystradgynlais Hospital) is a different recommendation for the all the other sites in Powys, whom are advised to be under the control of one NHS Trust. It points out that these recommendations are likely to require the support of the Welsh Assembly.


A sentence in the report which I found amazing is it estimates that "at least half of the patients in the community hospitals do not need to be in hospital". Suggesting that local support in either the patients own home or admission into a care home would be the better, modern day solution.  This waste of bed resources has occurred because of a number of reasons. The lack of transport to attend an out patient clinic was one reason. The use of ambulances to ferry patients to these clinics is a complete waste of time and money when this service can be done locally.  I have copied below an area of the report which I think causes the biggest problem in this area.

11.5 The challenge of providing services for elderly citizens and others in rural areas

We appreciate that in rural areas where community services are under developed, and short term care is not always available, the community hospitals have provided a valuable service in the past and have traditionally filled this gap. Furthermore there is great attachment to the buildings themselves, but this attachment may now be holding up the development of modern Rural Health, Rehabilitation, and Social Care Centres, that could benefit both the elderly and the younger residents of rural communities.

The community hospital beds in Powys cost approximately £2000 per week. The Wales average cost for a rehabilitation bed in 2006 in a District General Hospital was approximately £1400. The nursing home that currently provides beds to Powys GPs costs approximately £700 per bed per week. Transferring the care of those patients who need nursing care to a care home setting would provide the patients with a better environment, and release resources to develop extended local health, rehabilitation, and community care services to benefit all members of the community.


The Minor Injury Service (MIU) in Machynlleth has on average 2 new patients per day and the reports says "not sustainable as a stand alone MIU.Most of the nurses providing this MIU service normally staff the wards and are skilled in the care of the elderly. Asking them to change roles increases the risks to nurses and patients because staff are not able to maintain their skills, which could result in a poor service to the patient.

Currently the LHB are talking to the public about the future of MIUs but Machynlleth is asked to talk to local GPs to provide this service.


My conclusion

Machynlleth Hospital has a bleak future ahead of it. Its obvious that the LHB wants to move the acute services to the Ceredigion & Mid Wales NHS Trust because of its remoteness from central Powys. The MIU will only stay open at the current site should Aberystwyth decide to keep the acute service wards in Machynlleth.  This can only be done with the Welsh Assembly covering the excess cost.

The MIU service does raise one question. What will happen if the local GP's refuse to take it over? I cannot see any MIU service being maintained in Machynlleth unless they do.


So what of the future?

1. The main hospital building being closed and sold for low cost housing or a new care home with acute services being moved to Aberystwyth. The MIU transferred into an extension of the GP Practice, so that the GPs can provide a quick response. The selling of the building to provide the funding for this new MIU.

2. Current hospital building being redeveloped into a GP Practice (includes all the additional services the current building offers) which will enable to retention of the current MIU facilities. This will also allow the facilities to become the centre point of community health services in Machynlleth. Current GP Practice redeveloped. My preferred option.

3. Aberystwyth keeping open the acute services with support from the Welsh Assembly. The MIU staying where it is on the understanding that there will be a wait until the GP arrives.

4. Keeping the current status quo. Not an option in my opinion.



So what do you think? A big blog (sorry) and not something I talk about but it is one area of my life I have an interest in.

Leave your comments.



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