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Random Thoughts From USA 2 – Costa Rica 2

 RFK 9 225x300 Random Thoughts From USA 2   Costa Rica 2

Some random thoughts from RFK…..

DC soccer fans are among the best in the nation.  My only previous experience seeing a soccer game at RFK was when I saw Norway play Mexico in the 1994 World Cup, so last night was my first chance to see the DC soccer fans in action.  They do not disappoint.  I was sitting in the lower bowl just behind the Costa Rica bench, and nobody form the lower bowl sat all game.  They were always on their feet, usually jumping, singing and cheering from the first whistle to the last.  Even though it was not a sell-out, those that were there were completely into it. 

The outcome was no less than the US deserved.  Last June at Saprisa, Costa Rica beat our boys 3-1 by out-competing the US.  Last night was a different story.  The US worked hard, won every loose ball, kept possession well, and never stopped pressing until they had gotten those two goals back.  Several players, especially Altidore, Donovan, and Casey, had off nights with their finishing, but they made up for it with their hard work and industrious play.  Had they taken their chances better, we would have kicked Costa Rica into the Potomac.  Furthermore, it was a sign of class to put out our best squad and keep fighting until the end in a game that was, for the US, basically inconsequential.  Honduras owes us all a beer.

I’ll root for Costa Rica against Uruguay.  In the end last night, Costa Rica buckled. Once they had their lead, Costa Rica became a negative, time wasting pile of compost.  Furthermore, they forgot rule #1 in diving – the more writhing you do on the field the less injured you are.  Have you ever been injured?  Rolling around makes it hurt more!  The referee stopped believing their diving and time wasting, gave the US the five minutes extra time they deserved, the Costa Rican coaching staff went mental and were sent off, and the US’s unremitting pressure finally made them suffer. For Costa Rica, this draw felt like a loss and they must feel like they have completely failed.  And so they should. Nevertheless, I will root for Costa Rica against Uruguay. The more Concacaf teams, the better as far as I am concerned.  Also, Bryan Ruiz was an absolute treat to watch play last night, and I want to see more of him.

We are headed to Denmark without our central defense.  Looking over the last year, it seems our best back four are Bocanegra, De Merit, Onyewu and some combination of Spector and Cherundolo.  For the friendly next month against Denmark, Gooch and DeMerit will be out and Chad Marshall will probably still be with Columbus if they running deep into the MLS playoffs.  That probably puts Jimmy Conrad on a plane to Europe, but the point of these pre-World Cup friendlies is to allow teams to gel, not to see how the line-up can be improvised.  And before people start moaning about how shallow the talent pool in the US is, can you imagine cursing of the gods that would be going on in England if both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were injured.  Speaking of Gooch….

Where does Gooch get his playing time before World Cup?  Gooch will probably not get off the training table and out of the pool until January and will not be match fit until February or March.  AC Milan will almost certainly buy someone during the January transfer window to fill his slot, but even if they don’t, it’s not like a healthy Gooch was getting a lot of playing time.  Can Gooch really perform in South Africa without have played 90 competitive club minutes in the previous year?  I doubt it.  Gooch needs to get loaned out during the transfer window, and it should be to any team, even a lower division team, that will play him.  The best solution?  He should be loaned out to a MLS team until the World Cup.  The MLS pre-season matches almost perfectly with the time that Gooch can start kicking a ball on the field.  Don’t be surprised to see Gooch back at RFK with DC United, at least for a few months, next season.  

The question about Charlie Davies that nobody has yet asked.  Nobody deserved to be in that crash Tuesday morning.  Not Charlie Davies.  Not the driver.  Certainly not the girl who died.  It is a total tragedy.  Nevertheless, there is an unspoken question surrounding this whole disaster.  What was Charlie Davies doing at 3:30 in the morning in a speeding car the day before a WCQ game in complete violation of the team curfew?  The punishment does not match the violation, but Charlie Davies will know that he will have missed this World Cup for reasons that are almost certainly foolish.  That is a real shame.  I hope his body heals because I am sure he will be a far more professional player when he comes back.

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19 Responses to Random Thoughts From USA 2 – Costa Rica 2

  1. C Webb says:

    Good stuff Eric.

    On the Davies issue, it absolutely is a question that needs to be asked, but just not right now. Let the man heal then dole out the punishment, if anything comes of it. Somehow I think Charlie is suffering enough punishment.

    As for the Gooch issue, he wasn’t playing much anyway. I don’t think it will be that big of an issue and I’ll tell you why. The European season will have approximately 4 weeks off between the end of their season and start of the World Cup.

    No one is going to be “match fit” because most, if not all teams involved will have a 3-4 week camp prior to the Cup. So, in essence, all players will be out of match fitness.

    It’s not much to hang your hat on but it will be level across the board for all players. I think Gooch will be back April or so and at the least will train with AC Milan prior to being called into US camp.

  2. Eric- thanks for posting this- people forget Steve Sampson cited Harkes drinking two days before a game in Brussels at 11pm local time as one of the reasons he cut him from the team. Davies was out a 3 am two nights before a game- not acceptable. We all sympathize with him and want him to get well, but those tough questions need to be asked.

  3. Matt says:

    Eric, I completely agree with you about Charlie Davies. What was he thinking?! The whole situation is tragic and, at the same time, completely stupid. Although there is one question that I haven’t heard asked yet: who fills his void? We’ve seen the skills and limitations of the other strikers currently on Bradley’s roster, but is there anyone else that could take his place? Eddie Johnson maybe? We need to replace his speed somehow, or else it’s going to be a very disappointing summer.

  4. todd says:

    lol, Gooch in MLS? thats crazy talk.

    more important for World Cup are the players that have a high chance of moving overseas during the January Transfer market, including the Dynamo Duo (clark/holden).

  5. CleartheBall says:

    I wish CD the best in his recovery. I love the guy as a player. There is no positives in regards to the death of a person. As someone who has lost loved ones in a car accident, my heart really goes out to her family.

    Regarding CD, I agree that the silver lining may be a valuable lesson learned by a young guy. Being a real professional is more than what you show on the pitch, its how you act off the field, with the fans as well as on your own time. If he can recover fully physically, I have no doubt he will be a better player for this experience.

  6. Joey Clams says:

    It is absolutely appropriate to now ask what Charlie was doing out that late. It is also appropriate to ask why he was even in the car. Now is the time. Let others know that breaking curfew, partying – yes, partying – enouraging another to operate under the influence, and speeding are not only not acceptable but wrong. I feel bad for Charlie but he’s alive. He’s a big boy who earns well. He can face some music. In the meantime, to ask question is entirely appropriate. He wasn’t on his way back from an adoration chapel, after all. Or was he?

  7. C Webb says:

    Yes, the question needs to be asked. Just not right now. He’s not physically able to respond. He only responds with blinks and hand squeezes. In a week or so, yes, ask the question. But for now, let him rest..

  8. EastLAChiva says:

    I was reading what the Mexico fans were commenting on the ESPN deportes report on Davies and many were asking the same question. I mention this because many were were in disbelief and quite sympathetic to the situation.
    Kind of ironic.

  9. Johnathan Starling says:

    Eric,

    Going to the Charlie Davies point, SOMEBODY HAS WROTE ON THAT SUBJECT, ME! Wrote on it Tuesday night. Then again it doesn’t shock me you hadn’t vetted that out all the way.

    http://www.thethirdhalf.org/2009/10/charlie-davies-lesson-in-personal.html

    • Joey Clams says:

      Nice one.

    • Eric Altshule says:

      Jonathan-

      Sorry about that. I never Googled “really touchy guys who have also written about Charlie Davies” before I posted my article.

      • Johnathan Starling says:

        Eric,

        Don’t flatter yourself with touchy. If anything, be upset at yourself for not looking all the way.

        Then again, I shouldn’t really be angry at you, just at the others who have went with the side of ‘oh give him a pass’. Just based on what we already know (tox reports with holding), it was a serious error in personal judgment where personal responsibility should be accounted for.

        Then again, we don’t seem to live in that age anymore.

    • Sticky says:

      It’s about attitude, JS. Instead of attacking Eric, you could just say “wow, I thought the same thing myself and posted a blog entry about that – check it out! It was right after the accident”

      I’ll grant both of you that I hadn’t seen comments of this sort on any of the sites I typically read (Ives, Goff, Fox, ESPN, Goal.com) before this.

      You’re not drawing traffic this way, because now you’re “the guy who whined to Eric about one of the many points he made in his postmatch analysis on MLSTalk, as if he was writing a doctoral dissertation on the topic.”

  10. eplnfl says:

    Eric:

    Many good points here about the future of the USMNT. Even a Captain American type like myself has to say great we made it,we won the group but improvement has to be made to several spots on the team before next June.

    1. Share your concerns on the defense. Let’s just hope Gooch is fit for SA. Yet, did the absence of Jay DeMerit hurt us. It appears so. Will we see good Carlos or bad Carlos Bocanegra next summer. Can injury ridden Jon Spector remain fit, history tells us no. If all are present and fit then we will be ok, but a big if.

    2. Midfield: love what Landon Donovan has done, will Michael Bradley grow up, yes, it’s more grow up than anything else, will Client Dempsey be healthy and consistent. Is Torres ready for the best competition in the world.

    3. Fowards: Conor Casey plays so hard, but is that enough. Altidore has such great talent but can he truly develop it to the point necessary for the big show in SA., after that it’s a question mark. I love Ching’s game but he has more of an off the ball game than an actual scoring touch. Davies will be missed.

    So I am a happy guy but know that come next summer the job is a tough one, if we but can get a seed, which is unlikely, that would help, but let’s all realize that getting out of the next group is a mountain to climb.

    Go USA!

  11. jayoh says:

    Thank you! I have been asking the same thing about Davies…nothing, I mean NOTHING good happens after 2:00am…especially for athletes…the whole situation is a tragedy, but the media really should have said at least something about the whole 3:30 in the freaking morning/speeding car thing.

  12. Tim says:

    The atmosphere was amazing and it was perfect for my first USMNT game. I was in the lower bowl, and everyone was standing the entire game. Seriously at no point did anyone even consider sitting down.

  13. tavo33 says:

    AS A TICO I AM BROKEN HEART FOR THIS LOSS, BUT 1 THING I CAN TELL U IS THAT IN CENTRAL AMERICAN ONLY THE COSTA RICA LIKE AMERICANS AFTER THIS IS OVER, EVEN CELEBRATING OUR MISERY W FIREWORKS, BUT LIFE GOES AROUND, AND NEXT TIME THAT ANY OF YOUR TEAMS PLAY HERE IS GOINT TO BE DIFERENT, YOU WILL HAVE A HELLLLLLL OF A TIME, U DID IT UN PORPUSE EVEN SEND HOWARD TO SCORE , THE FUNNIEST THING U SEND HONDURAS TO WC THE COUNTRY THAT HATE U SO MUCH,, NOW WE HAVE W HONDURAS SOMETHING IN COMMON

  14. Bolacuadrada says:

    You are wrong tavo33. The Honduran people do not hate the USA. I am sure of that. In fact of the rivalry Mexico vs USA, almost averybody in Honduras picks the USA to root for. Sure, sometimes fans do not celebrate with class but that was not the case for the USA fans. It happens in other places though. I remember in 2005 when Costa Rica came to San Pedro Sula and got a draw to eliminate Honduras in the series prior to the final round of Germany 2006 qualifying. I turned to Costa Rican Radio (Columbia, Monumental, Reloj, etc.) for information because I was not able to access the Honduran radiostation sites. For hours I heard the comments of many (all) Costa Rican fans that instead of celebrating the ticket to the next round, they spent all their time making fun and enjoying Honduras fans misery. That was really a sad. That they Costa Rica moved to another continent for me. Better yet, that day Costa Rica moved to another planet for me. Just like Mexico with Bora Milotinovich as the coach did when they lost on purpose back in 1996 against Jamaica to eliminate Honduras from France 1998 qualifying. If you play Australia in the World Cup, I will for sure root for Australia. That same would be if Mexico plays Japan for example. The only exception will be in the playoff next month. I will be with you, no because I like Costa Rica. I will do it because I am tired of the Southamerican media and fans putting the CONCACAF down. Besides, I do not like most south american teams, except Brazil and in some degree Colombia and Venezuela. That is it.

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