The US national team is on its ‘winter break’ from competition, after winning its last game 3-2, which it desperately needed. I have said from the very beginning that Kinsman’s plan and style would take a while to implement, and I still fully believe that. I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the victory several weeks ago, which was a good moral boost for the team as it headed into its break. The team was finally looking like they knew that they need to do, and people were looking more confident in their positions. Timmy Chandler definitely needs more practice at left back, but seeing as that is not his natural position, he has picked up on it fairly well, and I can’t blame him for taking some time to get used to it. I just hope he gets used to it before the games actually mean something and aren’t just friendlies.
If anyone follows La Liga, they would know that Barcelona and Real Madrid are the top two teams (by far) in the league. It has recently been a race between the two for the league trophy, and also in the Champions League games. The past few years have been dominated by Barcelona, however some people agree that a power shift is happening before out eyes. Jose Mourinho was brought in by Real last season, and his team came in second, and did fairly well in the Champions league, however in both competitions being knocked out by Barcelona. History is in his favor though, because for the previous teams he has coached, his second year has been by far his best, and so far this is proving true. They are undefeated in league play, and have rarely been troubled by any of their opponents. I can’t wait until the first Clasico coming up this week. It will be Real’s first true test against a good opponent.
It finally happened, the mighty Barcelona have been beaten in La Liga. They lost 1-0 to a lowly Getafe side a couple weeks ago. Getafe’s only shot on goal provided to be the difference maker, a header in the second half. However, in the following two games, Barcelona has won 4-0 , and 5-0 respectively. After watching highlights of the Getafe game, it was clear that it was just not their game to win. Even in dominating possession, they did not just seem to have a comfortable feel with the game. They had a goal called back because of an offside as well. And to give Getafe credit, they did put on a strong defensive show, and did not grow impatient with the lack of possession that most teams do. They have shown the world that Barcelona can be beaten with the right tactics.. But how much luck was involved in that win? A Barcelona team that was clearly not up to its regular standards, a spurt of greatness from the underdogs? When Barcelona plays Real coming up in the next week or so, it will truly be one of the most electrifying sporting events this year. I can’t wait.
I was surfing the web this past week, and came upon an interesting blog. On a sports website a guy was going on a rant about how people become fake fans during the world cup. He was SO angry that people cheered for the US during the world cup, and called everyone fake fans and stuff.. I don’t understand why would care so much about people liking soccer and having parties when the US would play in games? It brings a sense of nationalism, and the country together. And during these hard times in the country, who can argue with that? It brings popularity to the sport, more income, generates fans, and gives people more general interest in the sport. If he IS a true fan of soccer, then it shouldn’t bother him.. Plus this happens in EVERY sport not just soccer. Imagine how many ‘fans’ st. louis cardinals had after they won the world series.. It happens to every sport everytime something major happens. So stop complaining about bandwagon-ers.
FIFA.com had an interview with the greatest soccer player of our time, Lionel Messi. Now some people may dispute that and ask about the Ronaldos, Rooney, Neymar, and who ever. But to me, the triple Balon d’ Our winner, la liga champion, and champions league victor is one of the greatest player of all time. I’m going to post a link to the interview, because I don’t want to post the whole thing. But in the interview, he shows why he has millions of fans. He’s not a cocky, arrogant SOB like some other world class footballers, hes a down to earth, nice superstar. Here’s the link to the interview: http://www.barcaforum.com/showthread.php/6091-FIFA-Interview-with-Lionel-Messi
Another long, despairing game for the United States mens soccer team. After the most recent 1-0 loss to France, people are going to start asking questions. Jurgen Kilnsmann is going to have to do SOMETHING to turn this US offense into a legitimate team. While we’ve only allowed 5 goals in six games (which shows that the defense is pretty solid), the offense and mid-field have been extremely lacking.. If anyone was watching the game this past week, you probably noticed that the France goal keeper had next to nothing to do throughout the game.. Where are we going to get that offensive spark thats going to starting putting goals in the net? Alot of people have thought that going into the mexican-american talent pools would be a smart thing to do, with such a vast array of talent. With the world-cup qualifying coming up in a few months, something needs to start to emerge, or the US will quickly drop to the bottom of the soccer world.
While looking for books and articles for my research essay, I stumbled across a book called
“Soccer in a football world : the story of America’s forgotten game”. It was written by a man named David Wangerin, and was actually published right up in Philadelphia. The reason that I found this book so interesting was that it was based on AMERICAN soccer.. When most people think of soccer they think of the European and South American teams, not of the US teams, and with good reasoning. US soccer has been.. rather embarrassed by soccer clubs of other more soccer prone countries.
The book goes over soccer from the beginning in the United States, going over all of the ups and downs of the NASL, the great teams that were in the US, and even some of the world cup bids. Overall it as extremely well written book with lots of great info, and i’m definitely going to check this book out to aide me on my research paper!
A mere three days separated the matches between the US’s two matches this week. While one was an awesomr game for the US, last nights was…forgettable to say the least. Another game where the US was held scoreless, and another game where one moment of poor defending led to another defeat for the US. Kilnnsman has to be wondering what to do now, with a decent first half, and a decent second half, but which ultimately ended in the US defeat. I’m not sure if anyone has the ‘right’ answer with what to do.. I read an interesting article the other day on foxsoccer.com about how we should embrace the Mexican-Americans that live in the United States, because they represent a vastly untapped well of talent that we desperately need. Its a good thing these first few games have been ‘unimportant’ for the US, but Jurgen needs to get his players together, before were left in the dust by the other footballing nations.
Also, just a quick update; I watched the Mexico Brazil game the other night.. and wow, Brazil won a stunning game, 2-1, while being a man down for over half the game.. Props to them, and their coachfor never giving up.
Finally, they’re at the top, but how long can they stay there? With Real hot on their heals, several key players out, international duties, and the Champions League all in the next few weeks, can we stick it out and still stay on top? I honestly can see the red and blue losing a few games along the way… Not to mention Pep constantly changing his mind about wether to stay or not. Its gotta be tough coaching THE best team in the world, with having pressure from all over to win, every game, all the time. The drive one must have to coach, or play at the top flight is tremendous, and Im surprised that more people aren’t burnt out sooner. Anyways, a lot of key matches coming up in the next few weeks, and I hope that we can get back a couple key players, especially newly acquired czech fagrebas.. Once we get all our of key players back to full fitness, I have no doubt in my mind that we can pull together, and make this season a positive one.
If anyone was watching the game on saturday, I think you’ll agree with what i’m gonna say. For Jurgen, it was a win he desperately needed. A scrappy team without Landon Donovan, they did extremely well against a tough Honduras team. Clint Dempsey scored the only goal in the US’s 1-0 win and it was rather nice. I little cut back inside the 18, and a thundering shot with his left into the top left corner. Although its apparent there is still changes and tweaks to be made, the US team is finally starting to get in synch and winning. I personally think its going to take years before the US has a top tier soccer team, but the future is extremely bright and I can’t wait to see whats going to come.