DON’T BLAME THE COACH
Everybody’s calling for Bob Bradley’s head after the USA gave up four straight goals to Mexico. Not me. I think he came to the gunfight with a squirt gun full of red sugar water.
America peaked two years ago at the Confederations Cup. The Yanks humiliated Spain, broke Egypt’s hearts, and nearly knocked off Brazil. I’ll admit it – I drank the Kool-Aid too — for a while. It was looking like US Soccer had finally arrived. A world championship was just a few years away, wasn’t it? After all, we were on a surreal run that started in 2002 with the defeats of Portugal and Mexico at the World Cup, and featured an orgasmic, decade long run dominance of our southern neighbors. The Stars and Stripes was the undisputed monster of Concacaf.
But my jaw dropped and I spilled an entire pitcher of Kool-Aid on my lap, when three years ago I purchased Fox Soccer Channel, and started watching the sport as it is played in Europe’s power leagues. Reality then set in. US Soccer had been boasting that several of its stars were under contract in Europe, playing for such teams as Sunderland, Rangers, and Fulham. How was I to know that those clubs were the equivalent of the Cincinnati Bengals? I was crushed. But hey, we were still kicking the crap out of Mexico, and that was good enough. Knowing that the USA had mediocre soccer talent made the 10-2-2 record against El-Tri hilarious.
Saturday night, America had only 3 players on the field that could deal with Mexico’s speed and athleticism: Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Jones. All three are respected in Europe, but not exactly household names. Dempsey is the closest thing to a star in Europe that America has ever produced. He’s classy with the ball on his feet, tough as nails in the air, and cocky – but nobody’s banging his door down, offering huge amounts of cash to steal him away from Fulham.
So stop complaining that Bob Bradley should be fired. If you’re actually upset or flabbergasted that Mexico finally kicked our ass, watch a Barcelona game. Then you’ll understand.