USA v. Ghana – Thoughts.
Well, that was quite a run. An excruciating, enjoyable, perplexing, rewarding, and ultimately disappointing run. And that’s the World Cup, and I thank my lucky stars that it is here for another two weeks, and that it will dawn again a mere 1,500 days from now. The last few years watching the boys was a joy, from the blowouts against Barbados and Grenada to Rico’s laser in Trinidad, Dempsey’s header in Sandy, and Bornstein’s equalizer at RFK. I welled up today for the first time in years, and right now, at 7:22 PM EST, there’s a sole thought occupying my mind: I cannot–cannot–wait for the next match.
Like most fans, I’m a bit caught up in it all, and don’t have many coherent points to make. I’ll leave with some straight-forward thoughts on today’s game only.
Before that, a quick note. Thanks to all of you for reading. This thing is only four weeks young, and was initiated with the sole purpose of airing some thoughts. Instead, for some reason, a healthy number of people started reading. So, we’re not going to shut it down, as was the initial plan. I’ll continue through the WC and beyond, with a focus on the international game, and the United States in particular. As the World Cup goes on, there will be a special focus on England (hopefully past tomorrow), for a plethora of reasons that can wait for another time.
Anyhow, check back at your leisure, and thanks.
1. I’m really, really not sure what Bob Bradley was thinking. I’ve already worn down a new keyboard with rants about how and why Robbie Findley was not ready for this level. I’ve lost my own internal breath screaming about why Maurice Edu needed to be on the field in place of Rico Clark. And yet, that’s what we saw. It spoke for itself.
2. I want to give a big, big round of applause to Jonathan Bornstein and Steve Cherundolo. If you had told me six weeks ago that they would be our starting backs, I would’ve accepted a point in the group stage. Cherundolo was fantastic–quite possibly the United States’ best player. And Bornstein? I really can’t put into words how impressed I am. Like every other fan, I was taken a bit aback on Wednesday morning when he appeared on the team sheet, with memories of Honduras and the Netherlands helping to resurface old pains. Instead, he was fantastic. There were no nerves, no jitters, no deadly mistakes. There was a guy utilizing his speed, closing down attackers, and positioning himself well. I’m shocked, and I hope he keeps this up.
3. Dempsey was immense today. He needed to be in that forward role from the beginning, but we’ll save that for another column. There were a lot of OK efforts today–his did not fall into the category of abject mediocrity.
Finally, one more thing. We’ll be in Rio in a shade under four years. Michael Bradley and Jose Torres will be 26, still a few years short of their primes. Maurice Edu and Charlie Davies will be 27, just hitting their stride. Jozy Altidore will be a ripe old 24. Benny Feilhaber will be 29. Donovan will be a late-peaking 32, and Dempsey 31. They’ll be complimented–or supplanted–by a wealth of new talent.
The last four years were fun. The next four? Well, get on board–it’s gonna be a helluva ride, and I couldn’t be more excited.