Monday, June 12, 2006

History repeats itself


“Lacked urgency.”




These were the comments repeated ad nauseum made by the English and Spanish-language broadcasters to describe the U.S.’ effort in the 3-0 loss today to the Czech Republic. I’ll add one more that I made shortly before the third goal:

“Fucking humiliating.”

From the first minute of play we were outmatched, outplayed, and outclassed by a far superior Czech squad. We played in a manner unworthy of being ranked 5th best in the world. It was a shameful exhibition that did not come close to meeting the immense amount of hype seen on ESPN and advertisements over the past few weeks. Our defense was caught napping several times aside from the three goals scored against us. Our midfield did a terrible job with ball distribution and war far too complacent against the Czechs. Our offense did very little to change the rhythm of the game and were ineffective aside from Reyna’s long distance screamer off the post late in the 1st half. Goalie Kasey Keller’s exempt from criticism since he played solid and was helpless in the three goals that went into the net. The Czechs played exceptionally and I congratulate them for their stellar effort. At the same time, we were absolutely terrible and disappointing. Simply put, it was an effort that was almost as bad as 1990 when Czechoslovakia beat us 5-1 in the group stages.

The aftermath of today’s debacle is clear- regroup and win on Saturday against Italy. A very difficult task, indeed. Italy is not going to bend over and take it just to give us a break. It will be a game where we find out if the U.S. Men’s National Team is made up of unworthy professionals who got lucky four years ago or a team that can live up to its expectations and be considered one of the world’s best.

For my part, I’ll be there every step of the way as should every fan of the U.S. squad. We have the talent and experience to qualify out of such a difficult group and into the next round. We can do it, and hopefully history will not repeat itself when Italy beat us in the group stage in 1990.

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