04 June 2007

In which I remember I'm an American

US 4 - China 1.

I know this doesn't really matter, and I know that China's lower than Jamaica in the FIFA world rankings, but still. I watched this game, and y'all, the US national team is really growing on me. It helps that a lot of the "name" players were committed to their MLS clubs for the weekend -- leaving aside the issue of MLS not releasing players for scheduled international breaks, I tend to like the national team a lot better when I don't have to see Landon Donovan prancing around midfield. I don't have any kind of statistics on this, but it seems like most of the new players they called up were playing in Europe, which was good to see. I know that the Dutch and Swedish leagues aren't exactly the same as the Premiership, but at least they're established and taken seriously in a way that MLS isn't yet (and honestly, may never be). I'm not one of those people that thinks Europe is always the best place to play, but it's good to see the national team rewarding players who go abroad with callups.

And overall, this was a pretty good game. I really like the new midfield; I was a little concerned about Michael Bradley getting called up, since he's the manager's son and all, but I think he proved himself in this game. That pass to Beasley was pretty much perfect, and indirectly led to the first goal. I also liked Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan (and their podcast, which is kind of hilarious in that stoned-college-boy way), and they both did really well in this game, with Kljestan assisting for Feilhaber's goal and Feilhaber providing the corner that led to the Dempsey goal. The new defenders weren't really tested all that much, but they also did well, and were able to get forward more than they'll probably be able to against better teams (and I pretty much always approve of Jonathan Bornstein, bad hair aside).

Overall, while this wasn't the toughest game that the US will ever have to play, I think it's a good sign that they won as easily as they did. In the buildup to the World Cup, the US was playing teams like Morocco and Jamaica, around the same place in the FIFA rankings as China, and drawing, or even losing. While I know that beating the lower-ranked teams isn't the answer to all of the issues with the US national team, I think it's good to build up some confidence before figuring out the rest of the plan. Honestly, though, right now I'm more optimistic about the future of the US team than I am about England, and that's a weird place to be. I could maybe get used to it, though. Especially if they drop Donovan.

2 comments:

Oscar M. said...

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