wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Germany 4:1 US--Final thoughts

Before this game, Kasey Keller did an interview with German press in which he responded to some snotty question about the upcoming game by saying, "No one wants to get their ass kicked." Then, of course, that's exactly what happened to the US. The response has been like nothing else I've seen in the aftermath of an MNT game. Bruce Arena apologized (at least, took responsibility) for the decision to play the friendly at all. Kasey Keller had a sweary tirade with the media in which he excoriated his teammates for their poor play. The same video shows downcast US players struggling to say anything positive about their loss to Germany.

But was it really such a disaster? Despite the disgust I felt immediately after the game, which is reflected in my first post about it, there's quite a bit that's good to take away. If Cory Gibbs can continue to play that well in his natural position of centerback as he did at left back against Germany, I think we have our backline straightened out: Dolo--Gibbs--Gooch--Lewis (though some might be more skeptical that Eddie is the solution at left back). We also have a great left wing supersub (starter?) available in Bobby Convey. And then there's the notion that this team was able to play Germany to a virtual standstill for seventy minutes. That is, of course, not close to sufficient in a ninety minute game, but it's still not bad given the second-string lineup we trotted out.

Another interesting point is that Bruce and crew were so mad (or bummed) after the loss. There was a time when the US team would have said "Hey, no big deal, we lost to Germany--that's to be expected." Even after our 4-2 loss against the same team back in 2002, the response was basically sanguine--we were outclassed, it was to be expected, c'est la vie. This time, the sense seems to be that no US team that ever takes the field should ever be humiliated. That was my feeling after the final whistle blew, and it seems to be reflected in the response from Bruce and the squad. It may not be a reasonable expectation under the circumstances, but it shows that standards have raised considerably. We've come a long way in terms of quality and reputation, and now we have the expectation to go along with it.


Blogger mirarchi said...

Good column by Jen Chang on soccernet here:


Rarely do I ever agree with a post-match analysis as thoroughly as I did with Chang's.

In particular, I agree with Chang's point that the Germans did us a favor by exposing our weaker players, and that it was not a mistake for Bruce to have scheduled this friendly:

"This game came at exactly the right time. The caliber of opposition was a welcome step up from the recent friendlies against teams such as Guatemala, Canada and a second-string Norwegian team. The game was a defining moment for many fringe U.S. squad hopefuls whose limitations were exposed. If anything, Arena probably should thank the Germans for making it clear which players just aren't good enough for the World Cup."

5:06 PM, March 27, 2006


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