"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Get A Rope

The United States National Soccer Team is officially terrible. They're just awful. Going into this World Cup, we were ranked #5 in the world by FIFA, and if the last two weeks were any indication, we didn't deserve even to be there. Given the performances we saw, we deserved to lose all three games - and were it not for that fortunate Italian own-goal, we would have.

We managed to score ONE goal by ourselves. ONE. This is the BEST team of soccer players we can field?

So, rants aside, what do we do from here, besides take the long flight back from Ramstein AFB and cry?

1. Fire Bruce Arena.
Soccer's one of those sports where, in elite programs, managers are fired for the slightest of
offenses. Fail to give enough playing time to your rising star? You're gone. Tie a couple of games in World Cup qualifying? Prepare to deposit your severance. Bruce Arena, I believe, was the longest-serving manager among all the teams in Germany. He - he just flat out sucks. I am tired of watching Brucie Boy stomp his fat ass all over the sideline while doing his best "I can't believe what's happening" pout. Shut up, Bruce, and coach your frickin team.

2. Force Claudio Reyna to retire.
The U.S. captain is too old. Plain and simple. He's lazy on the ball, lazier off it, and should not wear the armband in another U.S. game. In fact, he should not wear a uniform in another U.S. game. "But he's meant so much to this team!" Bull. He's 33 years old, has played for the national team for 12 years, and has 8 goals. His crosses were terrible, his defense even worse, and his leadership nearly nonexistent, as he spent more time sucking wind than organizing his team.

Arena also has a soft spot for him (among all the soft spots in Fatty McCoacherton's midsection), having coached him to 3 NCAA titles at UVA. Go hug it out somewhere else. Reyna's responsible for Ghana's first-half goal, and his histrionic dive after turning the ball over 60 feet from the net really revealed a lot. Get. Him. Out of here.

3. Stop expecting Landon Donovan to be Superman.
Landon Donovan is an excellent soccer player. He has great speed, a strong foot, and actually plays with some enthusiasm. But he's not going to save the day. This isn't baseball, and Donovan would never, ever, be confused with David Ortiz. Need I remind you that our Golden Boy didn't score in this Cup, and had 1 shot on goal in 270 minutes of play? He needs help - he needs better service, stronger wing players, and a more organized midfield. Which brings me to...

4. Get your act together in the midfield.
Bobby Convey entered in the 52nd and 74th minutes against Italy and Ghana, respectively. He's one of the best midfielders the U.S. has, and should have been out there for far more than 160 minutes over 3 games. Convey plays for Reading in the English leagues, after spending 4 years with D.C. United. He's fast, creative, and young (22). He created several great chances for the U.S. It's that kind of speed and concerted effort that were lacking from the U.S. team in each of their 3 games, and each time Convey came on, the shape of the match changed noticeably. We said our piece about Reyna. DaMarcus Beasley needs a chaperone in the midfield, but put some good touches on the ball anyway. No solutions here - just, get your freaking act together, alright? The midfield is KIND of important. OK, really important.

Long story short, the American squad had an outstanding opportunity this Cup to bring soccer into the mainstream among U.S. sports fans. It really felt different this time - people woke up early, skipped out on work, and chewed their nails down to a nub over this World Cup. People in America. Over soccer. Think about that. Advancing from the first stage would have been enough to set the hook and provide SOME kind of incentive for our country's best young athletes to turn to the sport. Instead, we shrug as an amazing talent like Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick (also 22 years old) is kicked off his team after a DUI and gun charge, then declares, "I'll just move on to the next level, baby."

It will, and ought to, be a long time before anyone takes the Americans seriously in international soccer. We need a new coach, a new perspective, and a new attitude. We must accept that we are not there yet - and won't be anytime soon. Back to work, you disappointing bastards.

Comments on "Get A Rope"


Blogger Selfish Country Music Loving Lady said ... (1:54 PM) : 

I agree with almost all of this. The US-Ghana match (at least the second half, which is all I got to see) was some of the most uninspiring soccer I've ever seen. If anything, we, collectively, as a nation, should be GRATEFUL that we don't have to face the inevitable bloodbath that would be a second-round match against Brazil.

That said, I thought we played quite well in the Italy match last weekend. We WOULD have had a goal -- a pretty nice one! - if Brian McBride hadn't been standing in a stupid place.

Of course, we were awful in the other two matches, so we certainly didn't deserve to advance. (Let's just be happy the Czechs didn't either.)


Blogger Village Idiot said ... (1:57 PM) : 

This is that game where they use the big frikkin' ball, right?


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