I’m a long-time supporter of US soccer and a big football (soccer) fan in general, so today’s big Confederation’s Cup match between Brazil and the US was very big for me. In the end, it was a huge letdown when the US lost it in the final minutes. But I can’t really blame the US team. They were playing over their heads for 70 minutes and only lost because the Brazil players were, quite simply, better athletes than the US players (save Donovan and Howard) and had more “in the tank” at the end than the tired US team did. As a result, they were able to capitalize on a few mistakes in defense to get the needed goals to secure victory.
How can you fault a team that wasn’t supposed to even reach the semi-final game with Spain, much less beat Spain soundly before narrowly losing to Brazil? The US were phenomenal and deserve all the credit. They played hard and they played well.
At least everyone knows that the US team has the talent to compete against the best teams in the world. People (rightly) dismissed the US after the 2006 World Cup, but I don’t think anyone will be overlooking them come next year’s tournament–which will, I’ll add, be played in South Africa, just like the Confederation’s Cup.
And a tip of my hat to Landon Donovan, the local boy (from Redlands, CA, where my wife was born and where we lived for the first seven years of our marriage) who proved that he is every bit the leader that the US needs heading into 2010. He was always there, always making plays, always making passes. He just needs to realize (as so many point guards do) that the best pass is often not a pass but a shot.