Posted by kevinccp (1629 days ago)
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It happens every four years. I kid myself into thinking the U.S. has a shot to make some noise in the World Cup. As a tuneup, the U.S. played in the Confederations Cup tournament this week in South Africa.
In their first game, the U.S. held a 1-0 halftime lead over defending World Cup champions Italy. However, a red card against the U.S. gave the Italians a 11-10 advantage for the second half, which ended up translating into three goals and a 3-1 win. To make matters worse, Giuseppe Rossi, who grew up in New Jersey, scored two of the goals for Italy.
In the second game, the U.S. had arguably a tougher task in five-time World Cup champions Brasil. The U.S. fell 3-0, and once again saw a red card. If their was any silver lining, the U.S. hit the crossbar twice in the final ten minutes.
This all led to today's (Sunday) game against Egypt-who beat Italy and lost to Brasil by a goal. As luck would have it, the U.S. still had a shot at advancing to the semifinals, if they won by a score of 3-0 or worse and Brasil beat Italy by a score of 3-0 or worse. This outcome would see Brasil and the U.S. advance to the semis, while Italy and Egypt would be packing their bags for the trip home. The odds of this weren't a longshot, they were astronomical. However, as we all know in sports, anything is possible. The U.S. came alive on offense and won 3-0, while Brasil disposed of Italy 3-0.
While this is a minor miracle, the U.S. gets top ranked Spain on Wednesday. To hope for a win is not probable, but as seen today, anything can happen. I can only hope the U.S. builds on this performance and uses it to A. qualify for the World Cup and B. get past the first round in South Africa next year.
I also hope that head coach Bob Bradley starts to take a look at some of the players on his bench. The U.S. has a tendency to give players in the MLS a shot before players who play professionally overseas (which are generally better leagues). Freddy Adu has the ability to become a superstar, not just for this country, but internationally. Tim Howard remains one of the top goalies in the world. Landon Donovan is one of the top players for the U.S., but as seen today, doesn't have the killer instinct to be selfish and finish inside the 18. Jonathan Bornstein and Jay DeMerit are ok, but Carlos Bocanegra and Frankie Hejduk have been sorely missed on defense in this tournament.
All in all, besides being Father's Day, it was a great day to see the U.S. advance to the semis. I'll hope this tourney somehow helps their confidence as a team, and translates into success at next year's World Cup. The game on Wednesday will most likely be on ESPN or the duece; it isn't a crime to tune in and root for your country on an international stage.
***Blog was Edited on 6/21/2009 6:55 PM PT***
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garascia commented 1628 days ago
Agree with most everything you said. Could not believe that Italy lost 3-0. Its kind of a crap way to get in, but you take it nevertheless. I would like to see some progress that we all were expecting after the 2002 World Cup. Maybe then you would see an all-world guy like Rossi play for the United States instead of a better European team.
schoenke commented 1627 days ago
A win against Italy will change everything of course.
sdmartin07 commented 1411 days ago
This blog is rather old, I know, but I'd like to comment on some of the points you made. As far as "kidding yourself goes," US Soccer is on the uprise. As evident in our win over Spain and match against Brazil. Bradley has made some major changes sense taking over the helm, and they seem to all be working at the moment. The biggest devil's advocate to American soccer is not the players ability we posse, but the injuries that keep popping up to our rostered players. Soccer is no different than any other sport, at the end of the day team chemistry wins championships.
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