Thursday, June 22, 2006

Maybe next time the US won't suck.

Unfortunately, the US crashed and burned at this edition of the World Cup. As the Cap’n pointed out, it’s not France 98, but close. I wasn’t able to see the US-Czech Republic debacle but I did watch ,most the Italy-US game and all of the Ghana-US game, so here are my thoughts.

1. The US couldn’t even buy a goal. In two of the games (US-Czech Republic and US-Ghana), the US players (Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride) were denied potential tying goals when their shots hit the post. Other than that, our shots just went over the net or right into the goal keeper. The only really moment of what the US could do was the goal against Ghana. That was a fantastic goal and the keeper could only stand there and watch it sail past him.

2. We need some more strikers. Although was have guys like Brian McBride, Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beaselly, we need better strikers that can be counted on to bury the ball in the net. We might have good goaltending, a good defense and good midfielders, but our striker corps suck.

3. The Would Cup Seeding System. The way they set up the groups is yet another way to tip the advantage to teams that FIFA wants to win (Brazil, Germany, Italy) against teams that FIFA would rather not have win (the US). That’s why Brazil got patsies in it’s group and the US got the group of death. Of course, FIFA knows that having Brazil in the same group as Germany and Italy would ultimately cost them TV revenues, so for the same reason that the World Series and Stanley Cup Finals always seem to go six to seven games, Brazil gets to sleepwalk into the second round.

4. But the biggest reason that the US is out of the World Cup has to do with officiating. One game does not a trend make, but after watching the US get screwed by piss-poor officiating in two games, I’m convinced that anit-americanism runs deep in FIFA, so they instructed the refs to make sure that the US doesn’t get out of the second round. The first game was all our fault, so the refs didn’t have to get involved, but it can easily been see that during the second game (two questionable red cards and a denied goal) and the third game (a bogus penalty shot), whenever the motmentum of the game started turning to the US favor, here comes the ref to screw things up. Even with all our problems during this World Cup, we could have still been close to going thru to the second round if it hadn’t been for the officiating.

That’s about it. At least it wasn’t as bad as France 98. Although we finished with a point, we at least played tough in two of the trhee games. We just had some bad luck, bad playing and most importantly, bade officiating to content with. Now, that the US is out, I’m routing for 1) Italy, 2) Sweden or 3) anyone playing against Brazil. Forza Azzurri!!!!


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