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Where's The Cheerleaders At
Mike Grella here United's under 20 American international on the sidelines just before the third round League Cup game with Liverpool. Grella made a late appearance in the game played on the 22nd September, 2009 replacing Luciano Becchio on 81 minutes, enough time for the United striker to have several efforts on goal.

New Yorker Mike Grella an American International at under 18 and under 20 level joined Leeds United on February 2nd, 2009 after impressing manager Simon Grayson while on trial with the club. Grella who has Italian heritage initially signed up till the end of the 2009-10 season but that was soon extended in the Summer in a new three year deal after good showings in the reserves and the 11 occasions when he was pulled off the bench to show for the first team. Grella scored a hat-trick in his first reserve outing against Barnsley and followed that with two in the next match against Grimsby. Grella went on to impress in United's pre-season matches scoring his first senior goal for the club in the 2-1 friendly win away at Burnley. Just two days before Grella extended his contract on August 12th, 2009 he picked up the Man of the Match award in the Football League Cup game with Darlington.
"I'm absolutely delighted to have signed the deal. The dream when I came here was to sign a pro contract, It is good to know that the club have instilled a bit of belief and confidence in me. I want to be part of the group and play as big a part as I possibly can in getting Leeds promoted so we'll have to wait to see how it plays out. I am sure the goals will come for me..."

Leeds were playing Liverpool in the third round of the Football League Cup at Elland Road. Rafa Benitez the Liverpool manager put out a team primarily made up of fringe players for this League Cup encounter with the Whites but of course for a top four Premiership team that invariably meant that United were facing a team made up of eleven internationals with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres on the bench. United started the game in a positive fashion matching the Premiership big boys in every department. Robert Snodgrass in particular shined down the right often humiliating his multi million pound opposition as he delivered some excellent crosses. Michael Doyle the United midfielder should have bagged the first with his head on 11 minutes after a Snodgrass cross but his effort went wide of the mark. United did soon find the net with a Jermaine Beckford effort from a Robert Snodgrass corner but the goal was ruled offside after Luciano Becchio who was in an offside position at the time was seen by the linesman to have helped Beckford's flick over the line. United continued to push the Premiership side, playing with confidence and entertaining the packed house at Elland Road with some exhilarating, top draw football. Becchio had a couple of efforts before the half time break, the United midfielder benefitting the most from those Robert Snodgrass crosses but the half eventually ended all even. United again started the second half on the up taking it to Liverpool with Luciano Becchio and Jermaine Beckford both having having several good efforts on goal. But then around 15 minutes in there was a stoppage in play after Javier Mascherano the Agrentine midfielder literally gave a back handed compliment to the Whites as he deliberately whacked Jermaine Beckford on the back of his head. The incident was not seen by the officials and Mascherano got away with what should have been an automatic red card. Ironically it was Mascherano who instead of soaking in an early bath was celebrating on the park after he delivered the pass to David N'Gog the French International who scored for Liverpool after 65 minutes. This did not deter United as they continued to push with efforts from Bradley Johnson and Mike Grella but it was not to be as Liverpool held on to their slim lead until the final whistle. Simon Grayson and his men left the field to a standing ovation at Elland Road as the 38,168 crowd showed their appreciation and applauded the magnificent display by the Whites singing the manager's name.

Leeds United: Higgs, Crowe, Kisnorbo, Michalik, Doyle, Howson, Johnson, Hughes, Beckford, Becchio, Snodgrass.
Subs: Kilkenny for Hughes, Grella for Becchio, Showunmi for Doyle.

Thanks to Mark for this great pic.



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Where's The Cheerleaders At
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