U.S. soccer team blows big opportunity

Posted: 06/28/2009 in soccer
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

An hour before Sunday’s big soccer match began, a soccer nut buddy of mine was text messaging me saying that Mr. Sports just had to watch the U.S.-Brazil soccer game.

So I spent two-plus hours of my life watching 22 guys kick a ball around (what was up with that pregame show that lasted longer than some Super Bowl pregame shows?) and could only shake my head afterwards when thinking about the United States’ 3-2 loss to Brazil.

In actuality, the U.S. should have lost 4-2. But when you are up 2-0 at halftime, you should do a better job of protecting the lead when a two-goal margin is akin to a football team being up three touchdowns entering the final quarter.

Yo, Coach Bob Bradley, what the heck did you say at halftime?

Whatever Bradley said, it was about as successful as the Detroit Lions were during the 2008 NFL season. Less than 40 seconds into the second half, Brazil had the cut the lead in half and then dominated the final 45-plus minutes.

A dude named Lucio (yep, one name only) scored Brazil’s game-winning goal in the 84th minute and by that time, the U.S. might as well been down nine runs with one out left in a baseball game because it was evident they weren’t going to win.

Kudos to the U.S. team for the earlier upset of top-ranked Spain (one of the biggest wins in America’s not-so-hot soccer history) but Landon Donovan and company were clearly outclassed by Brazil when the Confederations Cup title was there for the taking.

It was the first U.S. soccer game I had watched since the 2006 World Cup and I didn’t see anything that would make me think the United States will have any chance of surprising any of the world powers in the 2010 World Cup.

At the least, the victory over Spain caused a lot of people like me (those who only watch soccer when the match is big) to tune in and check in on the U.S. team. And there’s nobody who watched the game who wasn’t thoroughly impressed by the performance of goalie Tim Howard.

But sadly, none of us will likely tune in again until the 2010 World Cup begins.

That’s how it is when you reside in a country that doesn’t care about soccer. I will watch more minor-league baseball games than MLS games over the next year and won’t spend a single minute of my time wondering who will be the next Marcelo Balboa or Eric Wynalda.

Basically, let me know when the World Cup is set to begin. For now, I will wonder how a guy named Lucio can ever be a hero.

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