Saturday, June 26, 2010

U.S. Deservedly Out of World Cup

Well, today we saw a game that shows that the U.S. has a lot further to go than we thought.

Ghana scored in the first 5 minutes. Clint Dempsey was brought down in the penalty area, leading to a penalty-kick goal by Landon Donovan and extra time. But in the 3rd minute of said extra time, Ghana scored again, and it drained the life out of the U.S.: 2-1, and we're out, and fairly so.

There can be no excuses:

* Can't blame the weather: It wasn't bad, and Ghana also had to play in it.

* Can't blame the opposition's rough play: It wasn't especially rough.

* Can't blame the officials: They weren't very good, but they did give us the one penalty we deserved, and they didn't wave off any fairly-won goals, unlike the last 2 games.

* Can't even blame bad luck: The bad luck we had with that winning goal waved off against Slovenia was an "equalizer" for the good luck we got with the Hand of Clod goal against England, which (it can now be said) we did not deserve.

The game had the result that it did because the U.S. played like a team that was satisfied just to be there, and because Ghana played like a team that wanted to win. In fact, if Michael Essien, one of the stars of Chelsea's Double-winning side, had been available for Ghana, it might've been 3-1 to them in regulation.

The U.S. once again played like a good second-half team. But soccer games have two halves, and we didn't play well in the first half in any of our 4. We got exactly what we deserved: Into the knockout stage, and no further.

We were ranked 14th in the world, and that's about right. We are not one of the best 8, and it showed today.

The first part of America's struggle with soccer is over: The game has been sold to the country. Now comes the more important part: Finding players who will not be content to merely show up in Brazil in 2014, but will observe the Herman Edwards Rule: "You play to win the game."

France and Italy, two major powers of the game, were laughably bad, even scandalously bad, in this World Cup. We weren't. But we were still not even close to being good enough. And there's a lot of work to do before we will be ready for Brazil '14.

*

It could be worse: At least the U.S. didn't start The Great Johan Santana against his former team, the Minnesota Twins, and lose 6-0 at home, to a 3-hit shutout pitched by... Carl Pavano, The Yankee Who Wasn't There.

The Mets are a joke, and I don't care how close to first place they currently are.

And Dustin Pedroia, so soon after hitting 3 home runs in a game for the Red Sox, broke a bone in his foot, and will be out for several weeks.

The Yankees, baseball edition, are doing fine. The Yanks, soccer edition, not so much.

*

Days until the World Cup Final: 15. 2 weeks.

Days until the New York Football Challenge at Red Bull Arena: 27. 4 weeks.

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 600th career home run: 30 (estimated). 1 month.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series: 41, starting Friday night, August 6, at Yankee Stadium II. 6 weeks.

Days until the new English Premier League season starts: 49. 7 weeks.

Days until the first football game at the new Meadowlands Stadium (still unnamed): 51.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 70. 10 weeks.

Days until the first regular-season Giants game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 78. 11 weeks.

Days until the first regular-season Jets game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 79.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 89. Under 3 months.

Days until the Devils play hockey again: 105, on Friday, October 8, at home at the Prudential Center in Newark, against the Dallas Stars. The schedule was released this week.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 121, on Sunday, October 24, at Madison Square Garden against The Scum. Then the Rags come to the Prudential on Friday, November 5. The first game of the season against the Islanders is on Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, at the Nassau Coliseum, followed the next day by the first game of the season against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers, at The Rock.

Days until Rutgers and Army play the first college football game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 112.

Days until the next North London Derby: 148, on Saturday, November 20, at New Highbury. The English Premier League schedule has been released as well.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 153.

Days until Derek Jeter collects his 3,000th career hit: 328 (estimated). About 11 months.

Days until the Rutgers-Army football game at Yankee Stadium: 504.

Days until the last Nets game in New Jersey: 659 (estimated).

Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 747.

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 845 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 1,108 (estimated).

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 1,317.

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,771 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,795 (estimated).

1 comment:

"Nutball Gazette" said...

A J Burnett Channeled his USA Soccer Player tonight.