USA 3 Egypt 0: Third Time Lucky, Not Good

21 June 2009

Harry Houdini just rolled over in his grave.

The United States needed not just a minor miracle, but they needed the downright impossible to happen today. Let's ask ourselves this question right now... how many of you thought Brazil would beat Italy 3-0, and how many of you also thought at the same time the US would beat Egypt 3-0? I expect the answer would be not many, if any at all. Once I saw the lineup, I immediately got disgusted.

Again it was more of the same. No Freddy Adu, no Jose Francisco Torres, and the worst of all to me, Brad Guzan in goal. Yes I was glad to see Charlie Davies start up front, but that's where my praise of the lineup ended.

The US had three things going for them today; the first being the absence of Zidan, arguably Egypt's best player. The second being the fact Egypt from the start looked severely fatigued. It was as if Egypt has not played three games in seven days before and it didn't take long for their legs to go. That was further validated once Charlie Davies put the US in front. The final piece of the puzzle was when Egypt had to use all three subs due to injury and not anything tactical.

The second half started off in controversial fashion with Jozy Altidore's shot ending off off an arm and off the line. Replay confirmed the referee made the correct non-call as the shot hit the thigh of the defender before hitting the arm. Not long afterwards, the US had hope. Michael Bradley taught Altidore a lesson in continuing a run and his shot from Donovan's pass made it 2-0. Clint Dempsey's header eight minutes later gave the US the advantage it needed on goals scored.

Then the US did what I absolutely hate, they sat back and prayed, hoping 'just enough' would be enough to advance. Meanwhile, Julio Cesar was being peppered left right and center, doing a fabulous job preserving a 3-0 shut out. While I liked the sub of Conor Casey, I knew it wasn't going to be in an attacking sense. As the seconds ticked down, and the corner kicks added up, I was just expecting the inevitable to happen. Thankfully for US fans, that didn't happen.

Yes the US were lucky this afternoon to get through to the group stages on goals scored, but there in lies a major fundamental problem with the US National Team. Until the US National Team can get past using the back door to advance in MAJOR international competitions (and the Gold Cup is not), the US will always be in the middle to lower of the second tier of footballing nations... if not at the top of the third tier. US fans have got to grow up and realize that this is unacceptable behavior.

Look I completely understand the US is still a growing program, but how much longer can the US be 'a growing program'? Everything was building to World Cup 2010, and the US still looks like the same program we've grown frustrated with. Even during the post game show we got the same line we haven't heard in quite a long time 'this team played with heart'. I don't think it was heart, it was more salvaging personal pride than heart. I think the players knew what would have happened had they finished on less points than New Zealand.

When it's all said and done, it's difficult for me to congratulate the US for using the back door into the semi-finals. However, it's made less difficult when Italy choked big time in an eight minute span against Brazil. Yes this was a group of death, but the United States drew position two. Pretty, absolutely not. Daring, never. Did just enough to advance, what more do you expect. I just hope the US has learned it's lesson going forward; advancing based on other results cannot be the MO moving forward.

It's more likely to lead to heart break instead of joyous rapture.

1 comments:

eplnfl June 22, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

Good, not great, and desire showed. Egypt and Italy did not show up, the US did to their credit. IF going into the Cup you said the US would advance would any of us cared how. NO.

Give credit where credit is due. The uS men showed up bigtime!

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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