This past Friday night, the United States Men’s National Soccer Team played their first match since defeating Mexico in Mexico City last month, a feat they had never accomplished. Winning in Mexico City is hard, friendly match or not. Well the US men cemented another first while playing Jamaica in Kingston on Friday, they lost to the Reggae Boyz. Tonight they play the Jamaicans in the second leg of their home and home World Cup qualifying tie. What if they lose again? Only a 56% chance of making World Cup 2014 in Brazil and what would appear to be a catastrophic blow to our men’s team program. It would conclude a year where we didn’t qualify for the Olympics or the U-20 World Cup.
More than likely, we’ll win tonight. The game is being played in Columbus, OH, where fans have historically shown up loud and proud, and with the importance of not only the match but today’s date involved, it should be an electric atmosphere.
The Jamaicans will be fired up and their athleticism is a threat that cannot be ignored. They are fast, but that’s not surprising considering Jamaica’s role in creating the fastest human being to ever grace this wondrous planet of ours. Thank God, Mr. Bolt is not a good enough soccer player to be involved in these proceedings. There are some sky is falling critics dwelling on the ESPN Soccernet Press Pass set in Bristol, CT but they would do well to recall the most recent Gold Cup. The Americans, looking unreasonably vulnerable in the group stage, met the Jamaicans, who were on a hot streak, in the knockout rounds. The US walked out comfortable 2-0 winners, but this time around there will be no Michael Bradley and no Landon Donovan.
A couple of years ago the absence of Michael Bradley would not have upset a large portion of the US fans, but his progress as a player combined with our lack of midfield options makes his absence far more meaningful than our all-time leading goal scorer, Landycakes. It was Bradley’s passing and possession that the US missed most on Friday night, as a combination of a very poor field in Kingston and the lack of control in the US midfield led to possession being given away over and over again.
I know what you MTGU dwellers are thinking: Irv we don’t really care. I know you don’t, but that won’t stop me from trying. You’re probably also thinking: how the hell did we lose at anything but the 100 meter dash to the Jamaicans? Teams have bad days. They just do, unfortunately. Ask all those Arkansas Razorback fans who are probably still reeling from the choke job their team performed last weekend.
The main reason you should care, at least those of you who are sports fans, is moments like this:
Lose tonight and no World Cup and no massive celebratory moment. No Rudy music. No Sir Ian Darke saying, “Go! Go! USA!”.
So get home tonight. Eat a steak. Pop open a delicious cold adult beverage, brand of your choice of course, but how about a delicious Sam Adams Octoberfest (the perfect beer to drink while pulling for the USMNT since we have a German coach), watch a 9/11 documentary, shed some tears, wrap yourself in the flag, and turn on ESPN. If we lose, just comfort yourself with the image of me running naked through a field of high grass crying uncontrollably as I try to get the West Nile Virus.
Go! Go! USA!