The U.S. men’s national team is currently preparing for the Gold Cup and yesterday played Spain in a friendly, before, on Tuesday, the Gold Cup tournament will start. It is questionable, to have a game such as this ahead of an important tournament. On the other hand, it is not easy to get a team such as Spain over to the US for a friendly and “tank” valuable experience. With the right expectations and taking the lesson the right way, the result of the game can still be of help for the US Team.
Reading the news and expert opinions a day later, I am wondering if I have missed some major development in US soccer over the past few days and weeks. It appears, that a lot of people have expected the US to give the Spanish a serious run for their money. Hello, what have you guys been thinking?
Let’s take a look at the circumstances. Three days after the Spain game the Gold Cup starts. This is clearly the event that has the team’s attention. Obviously, the intent was to give some young players an experience of finest international soccer. Looking at the line-up of the US team should serve as sufficient confirmation. For me, as an ex-professional player, it didn’t take that much to understand that the US team is not coming out full speed and trying to land a win, no matter the costs. And if they did, the Spanish would have not played that game. They are coming out of a long season and are all happy that the season comes to a close. They came here to play and give their fans an appearance. Besides that, they have a Euro 2012 qualifier to play, on Tuesday. So, why in the world, would you expect a serious fight from both teams?
Would you seriously expect players like Rogers, Ream, Agudelo and the other talents on the pitch in the first half, would give Spain a serious game even if this would have been, let’s say, a World Cup game? Man, you must be dreaming! These young guys play in the MLS and that league is by far not competitive on an international level. Games such as yesterday’s are supposed to help the kids playing in MLS getting some valuable experience. And that was the purpose of that game, and nothing else. I think we all need to “stay in the pants”, despite our excitement about soccer. The way how things go, we will not be World Champion over night, at least not in soccer.
Sometimes the press has mysterious ways to steer things into a certain direction. The reports about this game could indicate some mind game in the direction of Coach Bradley. If such is the case, this game is not the right way to “dish out”. Wait until important games are played, and lost. Otherwise you are going to create a “British Rainbow Press Environment”, and that we should not do. After all, it is in all our interest that US soccer can take advantage of all the incredible resources available. This should include an informed and knowledgeable press as well.
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V. is an ex-professional Bundesliga player that has learned the game from some of the best. Today, V. is an international soccer and business analyst.