Club America, Inter Milan provide meaningless entertainment

Inter Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Inter Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Club America's Juan Carlos Silva

Club America's Juan Carlos Silva

Inter Milan's Marco Materazzi, right, and a teammate leave Stanford Stadium on Sunday.

Inter Milan's Marco Materazzi, right, and a teammate leave Stanford Stadium on Sunday.

STANFORD – You can only walk away from an exhibition game like Club America and Inter Milan played on Sunday with mixed emotions.
I mean you just got to watch up-close the best Italian Serie A team over the past four seasons and you know deep down to them it was nothing more than the Grapefruit League. The real goalie (Julio Cesar) wasn’t even in northern California, the backup goalie (Francesco Toldo) sat on the bench in street clothes and the top scorer in Serie A a year ago (Zlaton Ibrahimovic) didn’t start, didn’t even walk onto the pitch until the 55th minute.
And Inter lost in penalty kicks (5-4) to CA, a team that finished 8th in the Primera Division in Mexico a year ago.
Didn’t matter. No one cared. In fact, the players watched time expire in regulation and then traded game jerseys. They didn’t even know there would be a shootout until the refs told them to put their shirts back on.
Notes along the way:
– The crowd of 31,026 at Stanford Stadium, was 90 percent pro CA. If we had the passion in the U.S. for the game that those fans showed… Real question is, will we ever have that passion?
– The revamped Stanford Stadium is a great place to watch a soccer game. No bad seats.
– Don’t know if it’s like this after all big-time soccer games, but the interview procedures are drastically different than in the U.S. The players from both teams wonder out of their respective locker rooms into a “free zone.” In other words, they walk out, behind barricades and if they choose to chat they do so to hordes of media. If not, they head to the bus. You have to be lucky someone will talk and then lucky you can hear them. Maybe a little cooperation with the media would go a long for the sport.
– Certainly would have loved to have asked Inter’s Marco Materazzi if he has traded any Christmas cards with Zidane lately. But, alas, I didn’t even see him exit the Inter locker room after the game.
– CA’s Juan Carlos Silva, a midfielder, made a remarkable left-footed volley shot off a corner kick to give CA the early lead. One of the best goals you’ll ever see.
– What is this World Football Challenge? It’s a six-city, round-robin tournament featuring AC Milan and Chelsea FC in addition to Sunday’s two teams. Next match is Tuesday at the Rose Bowl where Chelsea will face Inter Milan. The tournament champion will be crowned based on total points. Teams receive three pints for a win in regulation, two for a shootout win and one for a shootout loss.