Well, that's the danger of anticipating something too much. In case you couldn't tell, I was absolutely pumped for this match. I'd developed a proper hatred, and it was at the perfect level heading into Sunday. I woke up at 7:30 and was only tired for a few minutes. Then the adrenaline kicked in, and I was wide awake. There is nothing quite like the thrill of a rivalry day. You run on an energy that is equal parts nervous, vitriolic, and ecstatic.
In the past, of course, I've had this feeling for plenty of games, but they have been of the American variety; they can't end in a tie. You either end the day feeling as if you've been punched in the gut or on top of a mountain. So I hadn't even considered the possibility that the Second City Derby wouldn't give me that sort of emotional payoff. After all, even a loss reminds you of how much you care.
But no, we got a draw. In a game that would have soccer critics screaming and pointing at the screen.
Critic: There's too little scoring in soccer, see?!?"
Me: Yeah, but even in a goal-free game, there is crisp play and incredible defense. It's interesting even without scoring.
Me: ::kicks dirt::
There was absolutely no defending this game. It was boring, slow, and with almost zero truly compelling moments. Sure, the teams got chippy, but so do grumpy U-8 teams who just want their fruit snacks after the match. The high-drama point was finding a feed that would be something other than unreliable.
But there is still something to take away. Look at the second half before John Carew came in. For about 10 minutes or so, Villa were fun to watch. When this team can get a fluid counter going, it's what truly makes watching enjoyable. Sadly, it didn't last for long. But we get another crack at the Scum later this month. I'm not sure I can work up the same level of excitement, but it'll be close. This time, a trophy is on the line. Sure, I'm disillusioned now, but there's no way it can last very long.