Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Random thoughts on caffeine: USA soccer

You might think this post is related to caffeine, but I assure you it is not. The title merely reflects the fact that I had a thai iced tea with dinner, and I normally don't drink any caffeine at all - thus I am awake and should be asleep. "thoughts on caffeine" are the thoughts coursing through my noggin using caffeine jet propulsion.

So... I wanted to make a few points about US soccer. I am posting this because the USSoccer.com website is soliciting folks to produce a video on YouTube describing your "favorite moments" from the USA's "fantastic" World Cup run in South Africa. People are talking about Landon's goal in the last second against Algeria - which popped the US from possibly OUT to 1st in Group C in an instant. That was pretty cool. I was pretty stoked at that moment, I must admit...

But... As an avid soccer fan, and a die-hard 100% USA soccer fan (MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR FAN), I am a bit miffed about the post-cup reaction to the USA's "great" performance. Don't get me wrong. Don't jump to conclusions without reading this. Please pay attention.

The media is really excited at our amazing and skilled soccer team that so dramatically defeated England, Slovenia, and Algeria during the group stage, and blah blah blah. I think we sucked. Really really badly. I think we perhaps had our worst performance yet on the world stage, and for some reason - somehow - somebody is using a Jedi mind-trick on the general populace to make them think we played well. I watched the games - every second of them - and some of them more than once. We sucked. We didn't even show up until the second half for most of the games - scratch that - any of the games. We played brilliant for spans of up to (but not including) one minute at a time. We had some great segments of panic from behind and try try try to attack - but failed. I saw about 10 great plays by our guys in the whole tournament. The rest of the time it was WTF? My view of the tournament is for some reason at great odds with the US media's assessment of our play.

Okay. So again to be clear - I am an absolute 100% die-hard USA soccer fan. I love our guys. I love our potential. I will wear red, white, and blue and scream until my throat bleeds every time they play. The problem is, I want to see them play like they did at last year's Confederation Cup, except when the real chips are on the table. We beat Spain. We were up 2-0 against Brazil at half-time. Perhaps the loss of that game was foreshadowing of the stellar play we'd see this year in South Africa.

For some reason they didn't perform well this year and it really bums me out. The USA should have been eliminated by Holland in the semi-finals. That's where their potential should have led them. Instead they absolutely LUCKED into winning Group C and got their ass kicked in their first elimination game by a team they should have crushed.

The USA did not perform well at the World Cup this year. We sucked. It's a shame, because we honestly have a lot more talent than was shown in this tournament, but for some reason the lads were sleeping at the switch until the dying moments of a few of the games. Disappointing.

I'm not going to single out any players - though I do have opinions - I just think we weren't into it for some reason. Vuvuzela noise? Who knows. I am just really confused by the media's ignorance of the game of soccer to not realize how poorly we did. I know the guys know, but I hope they do enjoy this media tidal wave and get as much good press for soccer in USA as possible. I'll sit over here with the real soccer folks and just smile and hope for better times ahead.

We totally *can* kick ass on the world stage. We just haven't yet.

- Joe