Sunday, June 18, 2006
I guess this is all we could realistically ask for. Coming into yesterdays US game I just wanted Thursday to matter. I had taken off the Thursday long ago in anticipation of it being the decisive day in order for the US team to make the second round. (Not to mention the Croatian team later that same day, but more on that later.) In order for Thursday to matter the US had to do play entirely different than they did against the Czech Republic. That had to actually play with heart and with pride. And they did.
In the first 15 minutes I actually found my mind wandering to thoughts of what would happen if this team actually showed up against the Czech's. For a few moments. Then I remembered all focus should be on if tehy could continue against Italy.
Then the US goes a goal down. But unlike before, within 45 seconds of the restart they are back in the Italian end of the field, attempting to create an equalizer. The equalizer came 5 minutes later. An own goal but we will take it.
Then all hell breaks loose. The referee was shambolic at best, at worst an outright disgrace. So it goes. I'm not gonna blame a draw or any result of any game on a referee. In soccer you have 90 minutes, and countless chances to make things happen. The US played a man down the entire second half after two extremely questionable calls. They could have folded their tents, but they didn't.
This team seems to thrive on an underdog role. As I mentioned before they don't play better when expectations are actually there. And yesterday, 9 against 10 for the last 45 minutes, the whole world had to expect Italy to score. Truthfully, I expected them to hold Italy to a draw and maybe even score. The team adopted the us vs the world attitude and came out with a draw. They played with heart, with guts, and yes even skillfully to hold the Italians to the draw.
It's okay to have mixed emotions I really wanted that win. Badly. And it can be argued that the USA team outplayed the Italians. I would be one to make that argument, even. So yes, 3 points would have been much better. So yeah dissappointment is there to an extent. But, once I step back and look at the larger picture, pride takes over. I am just damn proud of the way the guys played, and I'll step into hyperbole for a moment and say every American should be proud of the way they played.
I should also mention. It was fantastic atmospere down at Radio Radio and if you have not been down there yet for a game, get your ass down there Thursday. It's great to see, in Indy, 60-70 people maybe more cheering on the US team in one place. It's really quite a sight and that coupled with the result can't help but make me smile as a fan. Also, thanks to Jim and Mike and Gina for the beers and company.
It was a good day to be a fan, but hopefully Thursday is better. Find a way to beat Ghana and hope like hell that the Italy beats the Czechs.