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

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ten things I hated about US-Jamaica

So we all know that the US tied Jamaica 1-1 in a disappointing friendly this past Tuesday. Commentators have already wrung all the salient points about the game, but I didn’t have the chance to chime in, so here’s my top ten list of what sucked about this game.

  1. I had the result spoiled when I was leaving a restaurant and passed through the bar, which was televising the game in its ninetieth minute on a big-ass plasma TV. Normally, I would have been happy to know that the demand among the bar patrons was for US soccer (though I don’t know if anything else was on tap), but this time around it just sucked.
  1. It’s a drag that LD is so clearly our best player. No one (at least, no one on the field that day) has anything like his vision and skill. As he goes, we go. Thank god he’s been so resolutely healthy so far; I hope it stays that way.
  1. My damn TiVo recording of the game was static-y as hell. I’ve since fixed the problem, but it was like watching the match through a heavy snowstorm.
  1. I’m jealous of Jamaica’s physical presence. Their players are bigger, stronger, and faster than ours, even if they’re less skilled on the ball. I think all sports is moving in the direction of picking bodies first and developing them into players, as opposed to picking skilled players regardless of stature. Jamaica’s size and speed helped them earn a draw against us despite not being the “better” (i.e., more talented) team.
  1. It bugs me that the players that stepped up their game were likely so far off the radar screen that they’re not in a position to make an impact at the World Cup level. I like Ben Olsen, but he’s not truly international material. And Chris Albright would be a passable backup to Dolo in case the latter got hit by a truck or something, but Hejduk can fill that role as well, so I don’t see Chris doing much for us in Germany either (assuming he makes the roster, which is likely), which is no major tragedy, despite his aerial presence in the box.
  1. I’m bummed that my prediction that this would be a goal-heavy game with the forwards putting in major performances was so wrong. I think our forward play was the weakest part of the game. These guys have been torching defenses in MLS; why then the disappearing act against Jamaica?
  1. It’s irritating as hell that Josh Wolff can’t play onside for the one good moment he’s contributed to the US in the past year. The goal he scored (actually, didn’t score) wasn’t one that took any meaningful advantage of his coming from an offside position. He just lost concentration and failed to play even with the last defender. You know it’s the forward’s fault when he doesn’t even make an effort to challenge the offside call.
  1. It kills me that we couldn’t beat Donovan Ricketts more than once (other than Wolff’s called-back goal). That goalie has the ability to make some great saves and some asinine errors. The Olsen goal was a gift, and Ricketts should have handled the Wolff shot as well. It seems as though he does well only against high-quality shots like Albright’s two headers. In the future when we play Jamaica, we should essay to get only crappy shots on goal in the expectation that Ricketts will spill them into the back of the net.
  1. I forgot to wear my new “Jamaican Me Crazy” shirt while watching the game. I bet it would have brought good luck.
  1. Can’t the USSF figure out that Cary, NC is a graveyard for our guys? The past two times we’ve been there we’ve had to scratch back for a draw against a clearly inferior opponent. (First the 2-2 draw against Richmond Kickers in 2002, and now this.) For the superstitious among us, this is clearly not the Nats’ venue of choice.


Blogger Jarrett said...

Point 10. On the other hand, you could point out that the last time the team spent any significant time in Cary was just before our amazing run in the World Cup 2002.

I'll settle on the superstitious side of "they should train here as much as possible" (maybe just not play games).

3:50 PM, April 16, 2006


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