David Ortiz will gladly welcome his two newest teammates to Boston, as will the rest of Red Sox Nation. (@davidortiz) David Ortiz Welcomes $200M Teammates Sandoval and Ramirez to Red Sox on Twitter 14 years to the day of Brady's debut losing to the Lions 34-9, the Patriots turn the tables with a 34-9 victory of their own. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Notes and Observations Week 12: Patriots Continue Stretch of Dominance, Defeat Lions 34-9 Donte Clark, Jabari Hinds (Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe) Minutemen Bounce Back with Win over Florida State Connelly’s Top Ten: Kraftapoolooza – Pats and Revs Win!

Why Did the U.S. Soccer Team Fight?

Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng beats the USA's Landon Donovan to the ball during their round of 16 match in Rustenburg. Boateng scored the opening goal in the fifth minute as he capitalized on a turnover by the USA's Ricardo Clark. (AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev)

If you were a bitter fan, you might be asking yourself that question right now. What was all of that for? Why’d we get excited? Is that IT?

I’ve got good news and bad news for you, U.S. soccer fans. The bad news is that, despite Landon Donovan’s last-minute heroics in the Algeria game to send us into the knockout stages, despite the heart-stopping draw (that was really an American win) against Slovenia, the 2010 World Cup is not going to be looked back upon as the watershed moment that catapulted soccer firmly into the American mainstream. Jim Rome and his moronic ilk are still going to scoff, and you’re still going to get funny looks at parties when you wear your Arsenal jersey.

There’s a silver lining, though, as I said: the 2010 World Cup marks the official arrival of the U.S. as a soccer nation among the rest of the world. American soccer players can hold their heads up high, particularly given the abject and nausea-inducing displays produced by both of 2006′s finalists. The Americans beat Spain and battled bravely against Brazil in the Confederations Cup. They held England – and really, they probably could have won that game – were unjustly held to a draw against Slovenia, and produced an inspirational finish against Algeria this month in South Africa. We’re here. We’re Americans. We can play this game, too.

And in the wake of the Ghana game, it appears that we can see a superb second-half performance undone by a brilliant goal. (It’s an important skill for a major international team to have, I’m told.) But Team USA’s heads should be held high as they leave South Africa. In a generally disappointing first act for this World Cup, their graft and industry – along with their flair for the dramatic – made them standouts and fully deserved group winners.

I wrote a World Cup preview for this Website many months ago. I dismissed any thoughts that the U.S. would do anything but make an appearance at the World Cup as fantasy. As somebody who mostly follows the EPL, I frequently find myself in the curious position of knowing more about soccer but less about my own national team than many more casual fans. So I fell back on the stereotypes I’d absorbed from British media (I’m looking at you, Guardian.co.uk!) about American soccer: they’ll be athletic and well-organized, but they don’t know how to play.┬áDespite the disappointing exit, I’d like to say right now that I got that one absolutely wrong.

As snooty as this undoubtedly sounds, I can pay the team no higher compliment than this: they didn’t LOOK like Americans playing soccer.

About Jon

I used to get along with Cubs fans so much better before 2004. What gives?

Tags: ,


No comments for “Why Did the U.S. Soccer Team Fight?”

Post a comment