Letter from America: typical Sunderland in Sacramento – great day spoiled by football

From the club's website
From the club’s website
Malcolm Dawson writes….we have Paul Pattison to thank for our first hand account of the second pre-season game and the first of a three game tour of North America. Paul was there and bumped into a few Sunderland fans including the wife of the club’s owner. Here’s his account of an experience that those of us on this side of the pond can relate to. A great day out and then we went to a football match!.

After a 3 hour drive from Half Moon Bay we finally made it to Sacramento. Drove by Capital and on to the Grid to start the day of with some brews at the Rind and Firestone brewery. Temperature is a pleasant 85F. Really mild for a summers day in Sacramento. The locals will be going round with their sweaters on. Did some sightseeing in Old Sacramento then headed off to the Bonn Lair Pub in East Sacramento. About 15 Sunderland fans in there. Good crack. After about 10 minutes in walks Ellis Short’s wife Eve. She was in meeting up with her girlfriends from the nearby University of the Pacific and taking them to the game. She was really friendly and had her picture taken with fans in the bar (see also https://safc.blog/2015/07/about-about-eve-owners-wife-joins-usa-red-and-whites-in-sacramento/). Excellent PR!

Red and White Army in Sacramento
Red and White Army in Sacramento

Seven o’clock and off to the game. Bonney Field is located in the California State Fairgrounds and has an amusement park behind one of the goals. It is a small stadium holding 11,000 fans and by kick off it was barely a third full with probably about 200 Sunderland fans in attendance. The atmosphere was totally flat. The only noise came from a about a hundred Republic Ultra fans and the screams coming from the amusement rides located behind one of the goals. Really weird atmosphere. Maybe the lack of atmosphere combined with jet lag impacted Sunderland’s display as it was a very anaemic performance. Not a lot to say about the game.

Bonney Field
Bonney Field

Possibly the highlight was Matthews performance who looks very good going forward and set up Sunderland’s only real chance of the game when Fletcher got on the end of one of his crosses only to see it bounce off the bar. He really was a handful going forward down the right wing.

All those contributing to the Sunderland Out West series belong to the Sunderland SAFC North American Supporters’ Association. Check out the association’s Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/safcnasa

The second half was horrible though I suppose having a back line of Rodwell, Brown, Beadling and Bridcott it was to be expected. Sacramento scored 15 minutes into the second half with a 20 yard shot from Iwasa. Mannone could and should have done better. After this goal Sacramento could easily have had 2 or 3 more and Mannone was fortunate to stay on after handling outside the box. Sunderland never really looked like scoring with their best effort in the second half coming from Watmore who came on for last 20 minutes, having a strong run into the box and finishing with a shot that the Republic keeper saved well.



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This time it was only yellow - a red would have meant a trip to Burger King
This time it was only yellow – a red would have meant a trip to Burger King

An amusing incident in the second half occurred when Cattermole got booked. Everybody in one section of the crowd got a yellow card allowing them a free McDonalds, something the Republic do whenever an opposing player gets booked. Cattermole would prove to be be a very popular player if he played in the USL. All in all a very disappointing performance considering the Standard of the opposition but to be fair the Republic played a tidy short passing game and were missing their best player Rodrigo Lopez. Still their recent home defeats suggest they are no better than the third tier English League in my view. This was a typical Sunderland away game. A great day spoilt by the actual match. Even though it is the start of the pre-season training and taking into account Sunderland’s lack of match fitness it is all are too obvious that there is a lack of pace throughout the team and the absence of real quality in midfield is frightening.

Anyway on to Friday. It will be interesting to see how Sunderland compete against Pachuca. Pachuca are a considerably stronger team than Sacramento, recently making it to the last 4 in the playoffs in Liga Mexico Clausura. They should be up for the game as they will playing infront of a large raucous Mexican crowd. I hope we are.

Dick’s post Sacramento Advochaat: it’s just pre-season!

Malcolm Dawson writes…..In his first post match missive to M Salut and the world in general since agreeing to his one year deal, Dick Advocaat reflects on the defeat to a team which our sources rate as no better than a lower Division side of the likes of York City or Hartlepool. Of course it’s only pre-season and what matters is getting the side ready for the upcoming season but I am uneasy about this tour and one or two other goings on at the Club. Maybe it’s just the fact that fifty years of following Sunderland means optimism sits uncomfortably on my shoulders. I’ll save my misgivings for the comments section below. Meanwhile here’s what the big man had to say…..

The return of Advocaat. Dick, by Jake
The return of Advocaat. Dick, by Jake

SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC 1 SUNDERLAND 0

Dear Colin,

Obviously if you lose it’s not good, but for me it’s more about getting in the right shape for the opening game of the Barclays Premier League season against Leicester.

You could tell that Sacramento are in the middle of their season and we are not yet at the same place and we also had to change the team at the break. A number of the international players have only been back a few days, but we still have another two games here.

We need to get into better shape and we will get there. The result is never as important in pre-season. The players are training hard and that’s more important than the way we play at the minute.

Thanks for your support,

Dick Advocaat



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All about Eve: owner’s wife joins USA red and whites in Sacramento

eve
Eve Short checks the transfer news


Bob Dylan’s Zimmerman Blues revisisted.
Sunderland played Sacramento Republic and lost (1-0) in the first of three games in the trip our west.

And the Zimmerman in question, given a dose of the blues after seeing the Lads go down to admittedly better prepared opponents, was Eve, wife of Sunderland AFC’s owner, Ellis Short.

Read moreAll about Eve: owner’s wife joins USA red and whites in Sacramento

Sunderland Out West: Annfield Plain to Sacramento, Mark Twain’s City of Saloons

safc nasa

Thanks to Degsy – otherwise known as Derek Aspinall, who runs Sunderland AFC North American Supporters’ Association (see footnote for contact details), the branch for fans in the United States and Canada – Salut! Sunderland brings you the first of a series of reports from the Lads’ three-match pre-season tour. Here we introduce Paul Pattison, who will be at tonight’s match versus Sacramento Republic (it’s 8pm local time but they’re eight hours behind the UK; it’s still Monday night, for heaven’s sake, as I write after breakfast on Tuesday!).

Check out the Sunderland SAFC North American Supporters’ Association Facebook pages – https://www.facebook.com/safcnasa

safc nasa 2

Read moreSunderland Out West: Annfield Plain to Sacramento, Mark Twain’s City of Saloons