Bitter Disappointment At The Hands of Ghana (Again)

How disappointing. Yes, as the announcers said, this US team should not hang its head in shame; hold ‘em high boys. Still. What could have been?

Once again the US went down early; this time inside of the 5 minute mark. I just do not get how we can have such poor defensive lapses, which is what happened again on the winner in the first few minutes of extra time as Ghana easily split the last two US defenders.

Making matters worse is that the US just does not have a top notch striker; a finisher who can consistently find the net. We had some chances, but there comes a time and a place where the chances have to find the back of the net. The US just does not have that quality up front that you know given the chance will win the day.

I am not sure where to from here. I’ll have to reflect on the bitter sting of this one for a while, as I am sure Team USA will be doing the same, with the realization that they squandered a golden opportunity.

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2 thoughts on “Bitter Disappointment At The Hands of Ghana (Again)”

  1. Given the population of the country, we should be doing better but soccer is at best the 4th or 5th team sport in this country.

    There are various scenarios to higher profile for the sport in the US. Maybe an American wins several EPL and CL titles, make Americans interested in a foreign sport like Armstrong did with cycling and to a lesser extent Tiger did with golf.

    But while that would help ratings, it wouldn’t help the overall prospects for the US team on the world stage. For that to happen, it has to be a lucrative sport that draws the best American athletes. But we have to start with getting one elite American player in the European leagues, never mind several of them.

    So the other option would be MLS but it doesn’t pay enough to draw players to the sport or if there are elite players, they will end up in Europe. For MLS to get big, it needs big stars with the drawing power of Tiger. Beckham wasn’t it. But it would also help MLS and overall interest in the sport if there were some dominant American players. It’s a chicken or egg problem.

    Maybe an immigrant family which values the sport over other American sports would ultimately produce an elite player. Nike wanted Adu to be the one but that didn’t pan out. Rossi’s family moved him to Italy so that he’d be immersed in the sport but then he chose to try to play for Italy instead of the US team.

    We have tons of Hispanic immigrants but they’re more likely to get into baseball or other American sports as their children go to American schools.

    Maybe something like baseball has to drop out for soccer to have a chance. Because baseball and soccer players don’t have to have mass like football players or be tall like basketball players.

  2. Good debate; worthy of going on the front page.

    I have written about this before. I think soccer as a whole is plenty popular in the youth divisions – everyone plays. The problem for American soccer is that because soccer is behind football, baseball, and basketball, the really talented kids. My eight-year old is one of the best players at his age and has been asked multiple times to move up. He plays with eleven and twelve year old kids all the time because of his older brother; and he is better, more gifted than everyone else. At some point I bet he switches to football.

    I think Beckham was it. You remember what a big deal it was when he came into the league – ESPN pushed him like crazy. The problem was that he came in injured and if I understand things, he was never committed. He always wanted to get back to England and the way forward was via Europe not the MLS.

    You are right that money drives everything. Follow the money and you can see where things are going.

    Charlie Davies’ injury was a tough loss for the US. He was coming into his own and could have made a difference. Still, it is interesting that we cannot seem to develop a gifted striker. If we had one really top notch (not even world class) striker to play up front with Donovan and Dempsey, we would have advanced. Well … there is the defense.

    I am not sure if soccer will ever advance past football, baseball, and basketball – Americans like “our” sports, and soccer is “football” everywhere else. Americans also like a winner, and are willing to follow an underdog. I think even if the US advanced another round or two, the excitement would have eventually worn off.

    So the real key is how to keep our best young athletes in soccer? I am not sure I have the answer. We know we have talented kids – look at our professional sports and amateur teams (i.e. Olympic sports). I bet the US National team would be significantly better if even a small percentage of those kids that take to other sports decided to stick with soccer.

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