Monday, June 12, 2006

Round One: In which the US are, frankly, humiliated

So, what do you do when your own national squad, who, God love em, are in no danger of approaching the rarefied air of the finals, goes up against one of the countries you actually do realistically hope might make it all the way?

Well, you watch it at home in your living room, for one thing.

Ambivalence (or perhaps just a lack of appropriate enthusiasm) about the national team, however, does not mean that one is still not somewhat embarrassed by today's lackluster performance. Where to start? We played like we were jet-lagged. Landon Donovan barely showed up, which happens; more surprising was that Brian McBride didn't either, with a few exceptions--one of which was when he appeared to be the only defender marking a Czech player in front of the box, the problem, of course, being that McBride's not a defender at all. Where was the defense? Where was the offense? Where was the squad? Eddie Johnson had a couple of decent chances and that was about it. And it was painful to see those shots get past Kasey Keller, who is probably my favorite player on the national team.

Just a bad day, or the shape of things to come? Trouble is, there are no allowance for bad days in the Cup (unlike in the MLS, from which half the players are drawn, which is basically a season of meaningless friendlies leading up to the play-offs). And Marcello Balboa didn't make us look any more soccer savvy by commenting more than once that at the 1990 World Cup they were "just a bunch of college kids" who "didn't know what the World Cup was." Really? I mean, you're playing at the level of the US national team and you really don't have a grasp of what the Cup means to the rest of the world?

Are we really that isolationist? Wait, don't answer that question.

You think I sound cranky? Go see what Zach has to say about the debacle.

The Czech Republic, on the other hand, looked magnificent, definitely a team that could go all the way to the final. Congratulations to them and I wish them all the luck.


ausurfer said...

Bad luck USA. :-(
But what about those Aussies???
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! :-)

sal said...

"humiliated"? that's awful generous of you. they got their asses kicked and sent home with dirty underwear to their mommas. if they're lucky they may get some leftover stale bread.

Zach Dundas said...

I've simmered down a bit, but only slightly. I don't mind losing. I expect to lose. What I mind is the completely limp way we lost, which I'd call a huge indictment of Arena's work in the run-up. Maybe Latvia, Angola, et al weren't the best practice opponents?

Lynda said...

ausurfer-Congratulations to the Socceroos, you looked a lot better than we did. Sal, can't argue with you.

Zach--yeah, exactly. On another board some non-Americans (that looks weird, but it was people from several different countries) were pointing out to me that there's no shame in losing to a team like the Czech Republic, and of course there's not--but I think we might've done just as well to send over a USL team. If we'd lost 5-0 but played with half the spirit of, say, T&T, it would be different.

sal said...

it all just shows a good reason for american futbol fans to have real teams to cheer on and let the us team hitch thier trailer as a second thought. i'm pulling with the dutch boys, as well as mexico and italy.

Zach Dundas said...

I'd say 1-0 or 2-1 or even 2-0 with a good, honest effort would have been acceptable. Doe-like terror and complete lack of cohesion and inventiveness is not. I actually had a similar thought re: a USL team, i.e., that USA looked like a USL team up against an MLS side.

Ghost Dog said...


I was paying more attention to Rosicky, though, and I have to say I'm pretty stoked about what he'll bring to the Gunners next season.

The Manly Ferry said...

Yes, it was ugly. I pulled together a couple of rants (LINK and LINK). I think the second one gets closest to describing what went wrong.

Derek said...

Ghost Dog said: I was paying more attention to Rosicky, though, and I have to say I'm pretty stoked about what he'll bring to the Gunners next season.

I'm looking forward to watching him play with the Gunners myself. With Koller and Baros out for the next game against Ghana, Rosicky will really have to step up again so as not to leave "old man" Nedved all alone. And it's good to see young Rosicky get out of troubled Dortmund and head off to a club that could use him.

Chigger Christ said...

the lovely folks at the Tabor cart (makers of delicious goolash & dumplings) were undoubtedly overjoyed. Maybe they'll sell them 3 for the price of one. I don't know. I just wanted to join in.

Lynda said...

Ghost Dog, I actually thought of you when I first heard Rosicky had signed--I saw him score a great goal last year during Czech Republic's qualifiers and I've had an eye on him ever since. He is going to be a fantastic addition to the squad and a good replacement for Pires.

CC: mmm, Tabor...I must go and get some dumplings, I mean, stop by and congratulate them.