Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Win or Go Home, Yankees.



OK- I realize I have not done justice to the World Cup. Some of you are mad at me, and some of you are thrilled. Either way, we are almost done with group play. One game left for the Americans, but it is Win time for them (0-1-1) against African Giant Ghana. 9am on ESPN Thursday Morning, so don’t expect to see me in early, Tom…

US Must Beat the Black Stars


In order to qualify for the second round, the U.S. must defeat Ghana, and hope that the Italians defeat the Czechs. Any other result in the Italy-Czech match will see goal difference come into play, which would require the Yanks to defeat Ghana by a big enough margin to make up for their earlier, heavy loss to the Czechs. With a loss or a tie, the U.S. will head home, confirming the suspicion that their quarterfinal run in 2002 was a one-off that does not signal America's impending ascension.

Of course, such thinking ignores the fact that the Americans are in perhaps the most difficult group in this World Cup. While much attention has been placed on Group C, which contains Argentina, Holland, Serbia and Montenegro, and Ivory Coast, the fact is that the Americans' group has turned out to be much more competitive. Heading into the last round of games, not one team in Group E has clinched a spot in the second round, nor has a team been eliminated. No other group can make such a claim.

But head coach Bruce Arena isn't concerning himself with such trivia. His task is simple: Win the game. And that means having the U.S. come out with the same attitude they displayed against Italy.


Football world amused by US

Time Magazine breaks down the game


Roman Abramovitch, the George Steinbrenner-like owner of the big London soccer team Chelsea, so prized Ghana's exquisite midfielder Michael Essien that he splashed out 36 million pounds to pry the man loose from the French league champions, Lyon. Essien was worth the money, his presence on the pitch helping Chelsea to the Premiere League championship.

Let's see, converting to dollars at approximately $1.896 to the pound, he'd be worth exactly — well, more than the entire American team. And that's no knock on the U.S. players. Their star power is not the high-wattage variety, but as they proved against Italy last Saturday, when you combine all your team's skills with maximum effort, the result can often defy the betting line. That was the case in their scintillating 1-1 draw with Italy in Kaiserslautern, in which the Americans finished with 9 men on the field, (that would be 2 less than they started with, if you're keeping score) after Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope were thrown out of the game for rough tackles. The Americans were thus forced to play a man short — Italy's Daniele DeRossi got the gate earlier for trying to rearrange Brian McBride's face with his elbow. McBride looked like a hockey player who took a stick in the mush, but he soldiered on as the U.S. played desperately to preserve the precious point that kept their hopes alive.

Controlled desperation is what it will take again on Thursday when the Americans play Ghana, the class team among the African entrants. It's very simple for the Yanks — if they don't win, they don't advance. And even if they do win, they'll need help from the Italy, who must beat Czech Republic. "We're alive, we know what we have to do, and there's no hiding the fact that we need to win," says U.S. coach Bruce Arena.


USA, USA, USA

37 comments:

Bob's Latino Cabana Boy said...

Its a question of heart, does the US have it, I don't think so. Sorry, Uncle Sams.

P1 Pat in Rockwall said...

LCB, I think that heart had a stake driven through it in the match against the Czechs. I'm not sure if the Americans started believing their own hype with that lofty and frankly overrated #5 FIFA world ranking, but they were a deer in headlights against an experienced, cohesive team. My problem with that ranking is that they didn't earn any of it by playing any traditional European or world powers, save for Mexico, in friendlies or tournaments to legitimize the #5. Sure, we have several guys that play club football in Europe and that is valuable experience in the environment, but I question the cohesiveness (that word again) of the US boys. I don't know man. I hope they win again Ghana and at least save a little face coming out of Group, but I don't see much past that, especially considering they get Brazil if they somehow do advance to the 16.

p1dean said...

Hey Bob...I'm no soccer fan, but I've heard all the theories about how the best US athletes hooking up with BBall and football contributing to the lack of soccer goodness.

My question is this...is the globablization of basketball, baseball, and even in the early hours american football starting to affect the world's soccer product as well? Or are the Manus and Dirks and such just freaks?

2nd sports question...speaking of Euros...has England produced any basketball players? Ever?

thanks...p1dean

Edge said...

Here we go again, relying on someone else to get beat and crossing our fingers that we score more points than the other guy.

~Jef

AttnyDan said...

Sigh.....I know this is a soccer blog sometimes, I'm just not over the Mavs yet.

Ghana scores once in the first half on a 30 yd touchdown pass and then ices the game in the 4th when USA throws an interception and they run it back for a TD.

Ghana 17
USA 3

Phil said...

I never really understood the knock on calling the game "soccer." At least, the knocks that Brits would give it.

The term was coined by Brits as a shorter name for Football Association (assoc - soccer). True story. It's called Soccer. Quit scoreboarding us with "football."

Garbage Time said...

I think the USA needs to take the ball to the rack every time. All this hanging around at the top of the penalty box firing off brick after brick is not going to win a championship. Sure, I know what a lot of you will say; FIFA has already designated Michael Essien as the next Zidane, so he gets all the calls on his reckless drives to the goal, while our guys get hammered and, voila, no yellow cards. But, as Bob always says, the refs aren't going to hand out yellow cards when a team is just standing around the perimeter kicking long range bombs.

Brad said...

Ah it's come to this. Summer is here. I wish it would go away...

Hey I wonder if I won the raffle for game 7 tickets????

steve said...

Any idiot who watched the US-Italy game can't question this team's heart....just ask Mexico (1-9-1 last 11 against us).

Anonymous said...

What? No Mavs talk? There IS a God. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The Italy game was a fluke..everyone knows that Reyna's foot was in the crease.

Robert Bentley said...

Dean,
Former Magic forward John Amechi is British. I think he was on the Rockets' roster this season, but he logged zero minutes.

Bob's Latin Caban Boy said...

I can question the heart, 180 minutes of footy and how many goals have the U.S. players scored, NONE! Thank you steve, try again. I guess we'll see how the cards fall.

Kipster198 said...

Very, very funny, attnydan. Gave me an audible laugh. Thanks!

But, seeing as how I'm patriotic, even if not a huge soccer fan.


USA! USA! USA! USA!

David Doyle said...

Back to soccer - the sport that invented the dive. Here's to Joe Papaleo getting the shutout.

The World Cup - There's a reason we schedule it after basketball and hockey and before football

Anybody catch the umps call on Michael Young last night. Damn refs.

"A parade?!?" Riley screamed. "I forgot about that. We're going to have a parade!" - ESPN.com

Luis M said...

day two of mourning...still sucks today, but i guess it has gone from a 10 to a 9.5 on the This Sucks Meter...

Maybe a US win can spark some happi cited, but do they really have a chance?

Shawn in Lville said...

USA's problem? no one name guys. Brazil has Ronaldo (fat), Ronaldinho, Robinho, the poop guy and my favorite, Fred. Oh and they had Pele.

Even if we lose I would like to score at least one goal for the tourney.

Kipster198 said...

David-

Now all the conspiracy theorists out there can turn their attention away from the Mavs and the NBA. They can spend all their time now focusing on the Rangers and MLB.

Seriously, is there anyway that Teixeira's homerun was foul on Tuesday? They should have called foul just for sheer distance-- I don't think I've ever seen a ball hit that far! And, Dale had a great still-footage shot of Young's hand on homeplate last night.

Two nights, two botched calls (in one run games) against the Rangers. At worst, they walk off with a win on Tuesday, and go to extra innings last night.

Down with Selig! His freaking league is fixed!!!!!!! (Notice the sarcasm there)

steve said...

GGGOOOOAAALLLL!!!

It's tied now boys!

And Italy is ahead, so we are right there for the taking!

shawn in lville said...

now we are down 2-1. effing a

Julie Foudy's Sports Bra said...

P1dean... We hear that theory all the time, the "Best US athletes play football and basketball". I think that it's a crap theory. The very best athletes here in the US are all about themsleves, not just after the game but DURING the game... look at the NBA, it's all about D-Wade; clear out and let him take it to the rim.

Soccer requires a more coordinated effort to score (in general) and talent doesn't always prevail... it comes from team effort.

Landon Donovan won't play against the best talent in the world (pro Europe leagues) to become the best he can be... because over there he's just another midfielder. Here in the US he can get the sweet Nike deal, play in a crap MLS league and disappear in the World Cup. It's all about HIM.

And by the way... the quality of soccer players worldwide will never suffer. Because we live here in the US our ideas about sport popularity are skewed horribly. Soccer is the most popular sport, period. To put it in terms you all can understand, it's like the Cowboys coverage here in Dallas. It will always be top of mind.

Mike said...

I don't understand Arena's tactics. Why only 1 striker? Donovan is no striker. Dempsey is an offensive threat, but hey need a second striker. McBride is a good target, but he doesn't bring much else offensively. The US once again is in a defensive formation in a game that they needed offense. Arena has done a good job over the years, but he has had a terrible World Cup. It is time for a coaching change after this World Cup.

Brad said...

Thank you U.S. Soccer team for taking my mind off of the Mavs for about 2 hours... and now youre going home

Im going back upstairs to stand on the ledge and ponder....

Anonymous said...

Wynalda blames Bruce Arena. I think it's equally shared between Arena and the U.S.'s key players.

Did Landon Donovan ever leave the U.S. in this WC? I saw a dude out there on the field with his jersey, but I didn't see a guy playing like Landon Donovan.

That might be as much Arena's fault for the boring ass system he played in the WC as much as Donovan's for not showing up.

ONE FREAKIN' GOAL IN THREE GAMES. Pathetic.

Brandon at GSR said...

The Rangers are 1-25 in games umpired by Bill Welke, now.

BCR said...

Honestly, I don't care if it's the world's most popular sport or not, because it's not even on the radar here.

Just as I'm sure those in Ghana don't give a rip about how Tony Romo is looking in mini camp, we don't give a rip about how Montenegro's midfielders are looking this year.

Tatu said...

I could have scored 10 goals in these three games all by myself.

AttnyDan said...

Who is Monty Negro?

Anonymous said...

Now that the World Cup is over, can we get back to RED BLOODED AMERICAN SPORTS?

F-soccer. A game where teams are happy to tie is BS.

looking for an ice bath said...

The sports gods have not been kind to my sports nuts this week...

Time for Arena and his 4-5-1 "counter attack with people who can't string 3 passes together" tactics to go.

That said, I'd still rather watch Peruvian 3rd division soccer than MLB.

Jay Clendenin said...

basketball playoffs over...
reverse power down drop

F Bennet Salvatore said...

Did anyone make it to the Mavs Parade? It started at 11am today, right?

I also like Tuesday's half-page ad in the DMN where Foley's (or was it Dillard's) was advertising they would have Championship merchandise after Game 7. Money well spent.

Anonymous said...

Mavs, USA......This has been one of the worst sports weeks of my life.

Inject AIDS now!

Mulv said...

anon...the world cup is not over, douchey.
the first round is not even over yet.

Anonymous said...

Viva Mexico!! Did mexico advance?

Let's just root against Brazil and their many fine women.

It's that or WNBA. Watching baseball in June is a beating.

Anonymous said...

NHL Draft is Saturday. Maybe the Stars can replace Turco?

Smiley said...

:)