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Hey Neven – Enjoy the Rest of Your Summer, and Other Random Thoughts on the US Victory

June 23, 2010 - Tshwane/Pretoria, Guateng, South Africa - 23 JUN 2010: U.S. fan. The United States National Team defeated the Algeria National Team 1-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match.

As the US team prepares to face Ghana in the round of 16, and the rest of us recover from yesterday’s game and steel ourselves for Saturday, a few random thoughts:

Neven Subotic can now work on his tan.  Subotic joins Giuseppe Rossi as potential American soccer players who would have had a far more satisfying tournament had they chosen differently.  Rossi is the striker that was born in New Jersey who was cut from the Italian team at the last minute.  Subotic is the Serbian-born American who played on the US U-17 team before declaring himself for Serbia.  Had both of them declared for the US senior team, they would both be likely starters against Ghana on Saturday.  Gloating would be ungenerous on our part, but many US fans can’t help but smile a little at how well this summer is going for the US team and how disappointing it must be for Rossi and Subotic.

Donovan is the local boy who made good. As a LA Galaxy season ticket holder, I have no illusion about where the Galaxy and Landon Donovan fall in the local sports pecking order.  This is Kobe’s town, and the great local rivalry is not the Galaxy vs. Chivas but UCLA vs. USC.  Having such a skilled and gracious athlete like Donovan toil in the relative obscurity of MLS is a reality that Galaxy fans confront with every game.  Fans know that Donovan, when interviewed, is as honest an athlete as your are bound to find.  They also know that despite his effort and loyalty to the Galaxy, you are likely to see 20 Beckham shirts for every Donovan jersey.  He has always had a great personal rapport with the fans and was largely overlooked outside of the Home Depot Center.  To see him have such a glorious moment yesterday brings a special satisfaction to MLS fans in general Galaxy supporters in particular.

It had been a long time since the US had taken a lead in a meaningful game.  You have to go back to October 10, 2009 against Honduras.  Since then, through the last WCQ game against Costa Rica and the three World Cup Group C games, the US is undefeated but had gone over 360 minutes without having their nose in front of their opponent.  It says something remarkable about this sport when the US can play three World Cup games and be behind or even for all but three minutes and still win the group.

The US is owed a break from the Soccer Gods.  Bad referee calls are as much a part of soccer as round balls and green grass.   Officiating mistakes are an unavoidable fixture of the sport, and I try hard not to get too fussed about them.  Nevertheless, after scoring two goals that were incorrectly disallowed, getting two yellow cards (to Findley and Beasley) for hand balls that were never handled, and having a penalty and red card for a fist in Clint Dempsey’s face go unnoticed, we are ready for a break.  If the Law of Averages would be so kind, I would not mind collecting some of that payback on Saturday.

Ghana’s run kind of reminds me of the US run in 2002.  Ghana won its opening game against a good European team (Serbia), drew its next game against a Pacific based team (Australia), and then lost against another European team (Germany) and qualified thanks to some help from others.  That is almost the same pattern as the US run eight years ago (beat Portugal, drew South Korea and lost to Poland).  Let’s hope the similarities end there.

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0 Comments

  1. dan

    June 28, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    ummm as I remember… Neven chose Serbia because the US weren’t letting him play. OK so he should be far happier being at home watching the world cup and supporting the US than playing for Serbia, yes that makes sense. Why not just go for broke and say that ALL SOCCER PLAYERS NEED TO PLAY FOR THE US, that way the US wont even have competition and will win the World cup by default.

  2. Pakapala

    June 25, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    ” Subotic joins Giuseppe Rossi as potential American soccer players who would have had a far more satisfying tournament had they chosen differently. Rossi is the striker that was born in New Jersey who was cut from the Italian team at the last minute. Subotic is the Serbian-born American who played on the US U-17 team before declaring himself for Serbia. Had both of them declared for the US senior team, they would both be likely starters against Ghana on Saturday. Gloating would be ungenerous on our part, but many US fans can’t help but smile a little at how well this summer is going for the US team and how disappointing it must be for Rossi and Subotic.”
    by Eric Altshule

    So US soccer fans bash Rossi for being born in this country, yet choosing to play for his parents country. Yet when Subotic does exactly the opposite (play for the country of his birth), he also gets called out?
    Which is it?

  3. Charles

    June 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Great point Erich B. I think I am in that catagory with the rest of the nation.

    I am very glad that it was Donovan that scored. I always failed to see how soccer IN THE US was helped when some guy that left for Europe was a hero in the WCup.
    Thank God, I think that it is safe to say that Donovan is at the level when only the big clubs can sign him…and with his age they probably grab someone else with the millions they will spend.

  4. jose

    June 25, 2010 at 10:21 am

    not that im bitter but, to rossi & subotic, don’t tread on me.

  5. Erich B.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:52 am

    How soon we forget that we were gifted a goal against England.

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