The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

why i’m not as excited about the U.S. as you are

Thursday, 24 June 2010

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i’m as happy about the united states making it through as everyone else within a 3,000 mile radius of my door step, and the nation-wide elation that’s come from landon donovan’s extra time goal has been really pretty awesome to behold. but, here’s my problem:

that was way more exciting than it needed to be.

unlike most years past, the U.S. men’s national team is legitimately good. the team is easily in the top half of the countries participating in the Cup this year, and they have a class of players that (while not the super-elite) they are certainly regularly competing in the top tier of football/soccer.

so, while the U.S. advancing to the round of 16 is great … it’s also the bare minimum of what they should do this competition.

a united states draw against england would normally be a good result, but considering it was (at the time) the worst game england had played in the last two years, a draw just isn’t good enough for the talent that is on the U.S. squad.

they should have won, and won outright.

during the next match (against slovakia) they again fought for a draw against likely the 6th worst team in the competition. commentators can say all they want about the (wrongly) disallowed goal that would have give then U.S. the win, but that misses the point — they should never have been in the position to need that winner in the first place.

the coverage of the final match especially drove me crazy, the now “legendary” 1-0 win over Algeria (the 8th worst team in the competition). commentators referred to it as the U.S. “superbowl” of the Americans’ world cup, and landon donovan’s winner as the “greatest goal in the history of U.S. soccer.”


our “superbowl” at a minimum is the upcoming match with Ghana — even though our opponents’ are ranked worse than Algeria, they should have a strong home continent advantage being the last African team in the Cup.

our “greatest goal in the history of U.S. soccer” will be the goal donovan scores to win a (still hypothetical) next match with Uruguay or South Korea to send the U.S. to the semi-finals.

one of the things that drives me the most batty about U.S. Soccer, is that we always play down to our competition. we fight, we work hard, we run everybody else to the ground. but, in the end, we don’t think we’re good enough, and everybody else is all too happy to help make that come true.

don’t get me wrong — it’s good that the boys advanced through the group stage, and even better that they finished at the top of the group. but “top of the group” should have been with two (or even three) wins, and “advancing” is what we knew we should do way back in early June.

for the U.S., the “real” world cup starts now.

PHOTO: by g55 (Ginger Gregory), courtesy of a Creative Commons license.