America, it is with a heavy heart I must confess that I let you down last month. On August 29 at Miami-Dade’s Tropical Park, after nine grueling rounds, I lost a penalty kick shootout to the British Consul General in Miami by a score of 7-6.
“But Kenny,” you’re probably thinking, “you went toe-to-toe with that limey Scot for four sudden-death rounds and you don’t even really play soccer!”
While I appreciate the rosy spin, America, it was still a Yankee loss on Yankee soil to the tyrannical empire; it is simply unacceptable.
And so I shamefully present the highlights from that dark, sunny day.
Scottish Defense/Dress Code
McGurgan wore his traditional Scottish kilt for the shootout. As a gesture of goodwill, I promised to wear something utterly American. Best I could come up with were the pair of patriotic T-shirts you’ll see in the video below. The blue one I’m wearing reads “American Resolve.” The red one, worn by U.S. goalkeeper Michael E. Miller of the Miami New Times, reads “76 Freedom.” The shirts each cost $5.00 at Walmart.
But the highlight of the match for me was the following moment, when U.K. goalie Shane McKendrick reminds McGurgan that the kilt can be used as a distraction. (Remember, this is a British diplomat you’re watching…)
After two rounds of kicks the score was tied 2-2. McGurgan and I wore head cameras for the next two rounds (that’s what you see on McGurgan in the previous video).
McGurgan and I were tied (4-4) after the standard five rounds of penalty kicks and so we went into sudden death. Round six: we both made our shots. Round seven: again, two makes. Round eight: I pulled the ball left of the goal and missed. Mike Miller made a remarkable save on McGurgan’s shot and kept the U.S. in the match. For this final round, for dramatic effect, I’m adding in commentary from Juan Arango, television announcer for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
In case you couldn’t hear, McGurgan’s celebratory cry: “Freedom!” (I’m assuming he was speaking as a Scotsman and not the British Consul General in Miami at that moment.)
(Small) American Victory
After the match McGurgan insisted we follow soccer’s international friendly tradition and exchange jerseys. I can’t emphasize enough this was not my idea. But it certainly shook out in my favor.
McGurgan, of course, wound up with the “American Resolve” T-shirt I paid $5 for at Walmart. My new favorite shirt? McGurgan’s pristine, $70 Scotland jersey.
Below is a full video of the shootout with full commentary from Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ television announcer Juan Arango.