After a poor showing against Spain last week, the entire U.S. starting lineup redeemed themselves with superlative play against Canada last night. Granted, it was Canada — a team that’s only reached the World Cup once in 1986. But it was an encouraging start for the Americans in a tournament that’s worth more than just bragging rights. The winner will represent CONCACAF in the 2013 World Cup warm-up tourney, the Confederations Cup.
Next up: USA plays Panama on Saturday (8pm Eastern / Fox Soccer) followed by Guadeloupe on June 14 (9pm Eastern / Fox Soccer).
For any who excuse the team for not having won a game this year because they’ve only played in “friendly” exhibitions, please explain why elite teams win most of their friendlies. In other words, if we want to be an elite team (aka win a World Cup), we should start demanding more wins, friendly or otherwise.
That said, the U.S. will have a tough time getting their first win of the year from their next game. They play Spain on June 4 at Gillette Stadium (4:30pm Eastern, ESPN). After that, it’s on to the lovable Gold Cup, where they meet Canada (June 7), Panama (June 11), and Guadeloupe (June 14) in the opening round.
So far this year, the U.S. have drawn with Argentina and Chile while losing to Paraguay at home. Slightly worse than we finished last year.
CARSON, Calif. — Teal Bunbury converted a penalty kick in the 75th minute for his first international goal, giving a young United States team a 1-1 exhibition tie against Chile on Saturday night in the Americans’ first game of the year.
Estaban Paredes, the only player on either roster to play at last year’s World Cup, put La Roja ahead in the 53rd minute with a 7-yard volley inside a post, off a cross from Felipe Seymour after defender Marvell Wynne overcommitted.
Juan Agudelo, an 18-year-old forward who like Bunbury made his debut in November’s win at South Africa, was tripped one stride into the penalty area by Sebastian Toro. Bunbury, whose father Alex scored 16 goals for Canada from 1986-87, slotted the penalty kick in as goalkeeper Paulo Garces dived the wrong way, to his right.
The politically, economically, securely, and infrastructurally sound England and USA were expected to win the respective bids. But that didn’t happen, amid widespread allegations that bribery played apart in the voting process.
Ironically, despite a total population of just 1.6 million, Qatar has the second highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the CIA.
Reaction to the announcement was subdued to say the least. FIFA.com visitors rated the Qatar announcement with 2 out of 5 stars, while the Russian announcement was greeted with 3 out of five stares. And although FIFA.com stories typically enable user comments, they were disabled for both announcement stories.
Say what you will about the U.S. soccer team, but they played worse this year than they did last year—never mind the last minute 1-0 win over South Africa today.
This year, the national team underachieved at 5-5-4 to finish with a .500 winning percentage. Last year, the team managed a respectable 13-8-3 to finish over .600—about where they typically are on the world stage. I realize the competition was stiffer this year, but not by much. Not enough to justify the .100+ drop in productivity.
More depressing: the two youngsters who assisted and scored today’s goal—a creative Mikkel Diskerud to speedy finisher Juan Agudelo—are still eligible to play for other national teams, given their dual citizenship status.
In other words, we’re still young. We can’t buy a good coach. We have few prospects. And we play like the world expects us to: not very good.
Oh, well. There’s always next year, right? Right!!??
The U.S. men’s national team will play their first game of 2011 against Chile on January 22, US Soccer announced today. Kick off is at 6 p.m. Pacific at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Broadcast information to follow.
Like the U.S., Chile made the round of 16 at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa, before being sent home by Brazil.
U.S. Soccer will be looking for its first win next Wednesday since beating Algeria in at the World Cup in June. But it will have to do so without its marquee players, as the federation today announced the following “development” roster to face-off against South Africa in an exhibition next week:
DEFENDERS: Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia), Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Bornstein (Tigres), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Kansas City Wizards), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)
Since the World Cup, the U.S. lost 2-0 to Brazil in August and drew against Columbia and Poland in October. The game against South Africa takes place at 2 p.m. Eastern (Nov. 17) on ESPN2 and Galavision.