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Venturing an actual US soccer discussion, rather than overly emotional, thread

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Piotr Rasputin, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Understand, I'm someone who always reminds others how lucky we were to advance in 1994 and 2002, that US soccer's quarterfinal run wasn't as impressive as it was a stropke of luck (do we beat ANY team not named Mexico in the Round of 16?). That being said, seems people are getting a little freaked out, as if they actually think we're better than the Czechs and had no business losing.

    Yes, I understand there's 10 pages of complaining on the all-purpose thread. And I get that Almost_Famous and friends want to act like we lost to an inferior team, and that we have been eliminated from the World Cup. Those comparing this to 1998 need to realize we lost to Iran in that World CUp, in the only game anyone thought we would possibly win. Those comparing this to 1990 need to realize that 1990 was a team full of rookies that went three and out with no shame. Times are much different now. Yes, losing all three would be dismal, but soccer in this country will survive.

    After all that, if it's okay, what about some thoughts as to where the team goes from here, and what really went wrong in today's game?


    Oguchi Onyewu was so scared, so much a liability at times, that I was taking to calling him "Agoos Onyewu." His early play was horrendous, his early card was horrendous, and his inability to hold the line in the back set the tone. Dude's face had scared kid written all over it. Hopefully, he can pick himself up off the mat, because he looked like a deer in the headlights today.

    Landon Donovan, as is his custom, disappeared for stretches when they could have used him. He also had a good moment or two.

    The attack would have been a lot better if Bobby Convey's crosses were of any quality, but the bigger Czechs simply batted them away like nothing. Did Cech ever have to make a legit save?

    As for Keller, I don't know. He frankly hasn't built himself an impressive World CUp reputation.

    I liked how they were down early, but they still stayed in it. There was no letdown, no "woe is us." The halftime substitutions made sense for pushing more offense, as did putting Wolff in, but they should have tried to set that tone from the start.

    They simply got beat by a better team, and one they did not matchup well with. The first goal happened when this year's Agoos got burned, and Beasley was too small to affect the high pass and header. The second was a shot that God Himself couldn't stop if He had been playing goal. And the third was a breakaway by a superior player against a team that was desperately pushing forward.

    I personally wondered entering the game if Arena was going to even try to counter the Czechs' size and strength. I read somewhere (laughably) that Oguchi Onyewu was gonna be depended on to slow Koller/Baros and Italy's Luca Toni. I wondered if we would start McBride, who's main strength is winning headers. I honestly thought Arena would instead go with a small, quick lineup, with Wolff instead of McBride, and try to force the action. Maybe the plan was to force it, I'm not sure. As we found out four years ago, an early goal in the opener can cause a team to change its game plan and panic.

    I don't think we panicked, and that's the only reason I still feel we might still make noise. It's a tough group and we frankly shouldn't get through. No one (other than the more hopeful among American soccer fans) thinks we're one of the top two teams in this group. How many things had to go right for us to advance last time around? We're not Italy, Brazil, Germany, Holland, England, Argentina, etc. We're still in the position of needing a few breaks to get through.

    I just don't feel we were dominated as bad as a 3-0 score today. The effort was there, it was just that this time around, our World Cup Greenhorns - other than Eddie Johnson - did not play well.

    We can get a result against Italy. If Totti is out, we can come up with a way to slow them. Arena has shown he is a good coach who knows how to wring results from matches he shouldn't. Italy may relax a bit after the win, and if we can take the lead . . . well, let's just say they and England are the kings of "waiting for the other shoe to drop." We might be able to spring doubt. If we fall behind at any point, it's over, yes.

    And if we enter the Ghana game having picked ourselves up off the mat and with a shot to advance, I like our chances.

    Now, if Italy shuts us out and we fail to defeat Ghana, then yeah . . . break out the tomatoes (1966 Italy World Cup reference there for the historians).

    And as for the incessant "oh, WHY did I wake up for THIS?" whining . . . have a nice glass of STFU and set your VCR, or TiVo.
  2. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Nice breakdown. I freely admit to being in full-bore fanboy panic mode right now.

    Did I hear a stat correctly that Donovan hasn't scored for the USMNT in more than 1,000 minutes?
  3. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    Re: Venturing an actual US soccer discussion, rather than overly emotional, thre

    Let's talk strategy.

    Who saw the Italy game? What weaknesses can we exploit?

    Obviously, we need a start like we had against Portugal last year. But did anyone on Italy get injured? Maybe something will happen with the betting scandal and star players will be suspended?

    Ok, back to reality ... does the US need wholesale changes? I think too much of an overreaction could be costly. Let's face it: We're in a tough group, the early goal was a killer, and shit snowballed into a bad, bad loss.

    I saw against Italy, it's going to be 70% mental, 30% skill.

    Realistically, who gives us any shot of winning? Other than me, of course?
  4. zizzer

    zizzer Active Member

    Yes, Inky, you heard that right.....  Now that he's a known commodity, let's see him take his game to a new level.

    We didn't panic, but at the same time, we're not all that accustomed to playing from behind.  If we don't score first, we're in trouble.
  5. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    Re: Venturing an actual US soccer discussion, rather than overly emotional, thre

    I was just down earlier, but that's subsided. I really had high hopes. Anyway, it's over with, let's move forward to Italy.

    It won't have a decided size/speed advantage. And calling Gooch Goose was pretty harsh. But i'll watch the replay tonight on Tivo and see if you're on point.
  6. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Re: Venturing an actual US soccer discussion, rather than overly emotional, thre

    If it isn't for that three-goal outburst early against Portugal, there is no run to the QF in 2002. It very much is a fine line.
  7. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    "we"? what number do you wear, a_f?
  8. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    Re: Venturing an actual US soccer discussion, rather than overly emotional, thre

    Gotta admit, I personally feel there are two situations where it's okay to say "we" when speaking of a sports team.

    1. When it's the college you attended. NOT the one you root for because you like their football/basketball team, and your only connection is a replica jersey. No, the one you attended. Alums can have stickers that say "Tar Heel for life," you know.

    2. When it's your country.

    All other times, nope.
  9. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    disagree... especially as some claim to be sports journalists... never ok, if you ask me.

    oh wait, my softball team? i can say 'we'. other than that, not so much. unless i join that indoor soccer league someone's asked me about. then that would be two cases.
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    I side with hoops on this one, though I don't come down on those who don't. I can live with it if it isn't a team you're covering.

    I'm the world's biggest fanboy looser. I don't even call the "Nats" we. I'm not a Nat. I'm a fan.
  11. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    Remember that in 1990, the game in which the Americans looked the most competitive was against Italy. One thing the Italians are really good at is taking an early 1-0 lead, then sitting back on it. It usually works, mind you, but they tend to leave the door open. The U.S. is likely to fall behind early; if it can avoid panicking, a draw is completely salvageable. And, really, four points was about as good as the Americans could hope for out of this group.

    The bigger issue here is this: Say the Czechs finish 3-0-0, and the Americans tie Italy and beat Ghana. That would leave the Italians and Americans tied at four points each. Because the U.S. leaked so many goals against the Czechs, they're going to need to beat Ghana by a bunch, not just 1-0 or 2-1. A 1-0, or even 2-0, loss to the Czechs wouldn't have been as bad. 3-0 was.

    Alternately, upset the Italians, roasts the Ghanians, and go through in second.

    And get Brazil in the second round.

  12. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

    Hanzo, it isn't so much that the US lost to an inferior team, which they didn't, it is that they lost in the way they did.

    Beasley was invisible. He should have been pulled.

    Poindexter had been talking up the yanking of Reyna. Up to a certain point, I disagreed. Coming in, despite my fandom, I didn't like the idea of him starting. He does slow the team down. But this idea didn't start until I saw him play with the Nats in the last game, a warm-up.

    Donovan was invisible when the team needed him.

    Gooch, who should have been the big bad American... wasn't.

    Pope played well, I felt. Lewis seemed a bit overmatched at times, but he is out of position.

    I don't know if this team can take on and beat Italy. I would like to think they can, but I'm just not sure.

    I agree that some luck was involved in the last World Cup. But that team played without fear. That team didn't have any expectations; not like this one.
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