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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Thug life

When I saw this AP story titled "Soccer star who hit teammate hopes for World Cup spot", I honestly thought it was about some other team with some psycho whose roid-rage rendered him unable to resist randomly clocking his fellow players, and was generally considered to undermine his fine play with menacing outbursts. Then I clicked the link and I realized the piece was about our own pugilistic phenom, Clint Dempsey.

I suppose the writer was just looking for a hook, but I really doubt that any other serious MNT fan thinks of Deuce as a "player who hit his teammate." The one-off fight with Franchino is familiar (if old) news, of course, but there's no pattern of behavior there, and from what little I know about the Revs, Franchino is a bit of a hothead and I had always assumed he kind of deserved it.

Weird framing aside, this is actually a pretty good article. It gives a good account of Clint's accomplishments (both in fisticuffs and on the soccer field), and recounts the anxiety surrounding his possible trip to the World Cup.

And on that note, I have to voice disagreement with much of the media and some posters I've seen around the boards. I don't at all regard Deuce as a fringe candidate to make the World Cup. I say he's got to be a lock. This time around there are basically two new players who I think will make an impact at the World Cup: one is Gooch, and Dempsey's the other (actually, include Convey in that group too). Sure, Clint's still a little raw, but he brings a flair and passion and confidence that few of our other players possess, and his record in the pre-WC friendlies has been stellar (two goals, including the game-winner against Poland, and generally high-level play).

My predictions, in order of certitude: Clint will make the roster; he'll see meaningful time in the Cup; he'll score a goal; he'll start a game. I wouldn't be surprised if all four happened.


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