That’s all could really do when the final whistle blew in the Belgium game. We were beaten by a good team – a team that could’ve locked the game away earlier had Super Timmy Howard went into God Mode. But there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. 31 teams will be eliminated when this is all over. And if you’re one of them, what matter is the impression you make.
Unlike 2010, I watched just about every qualifier the USA played leading up to this World Cup. I saw what this team went through to get to play just 4 more games in Brazil. Every lineup. Every debut. Every audition. Every last chance. So to see them go home after losing against Belgium is a bummer, but there’s so much more to be happy about. The USMNT played every game with blood and thunder, never-say-die football. Always playing for each other. No diving. No shitty “gamesmanship.” Sometimes the USMNT isn’t studded with individuals talents, but it’s a team. And that’s something they do better better than just about any other team in the world.
After we were placed in the “Group of Death,” nobody gave us a chance of advancing to the knockout round. But we did. We exorcised the Ghana demons. We were seconds away from knocking Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo’s sculpted bronze ass out of the World Cup. And somehow, we made a loss feel like a win against Germany. 4 points. 4 glorious points to escape Death and do what nobody thought we could.
So I’d just like to take a second and address a few people off the top of my head:
- To Jürgen Klinsmann: Jürgen, you flawless tropical sunfish. I love you. Don’t ever change. I disagreed with many of your decisions, and I was wrong almost 100% of the time. I trusted you coming into this World Cup; I trust you even more now. You made football better as a player. Keep doing it as our manager.
- To the American Outlaws: Keep doing what you do. You rock. I’m not an AO member, but I can never watch a USA game without you.
- To Jermaine Jones: I’m sorry I ever doubted you. I’m sorry for all the times I dropped you from the lineup whenever I played with the USA in FIFA. You were heroic in this World Cup. A picture of you needs to be next to the definition of the phrase “busting your ass” (or whatever the German equivalent is). Your goal against Portugal? *mwah* Thank you for leaving it all on the field.
- To DaMarcus Beasley: 4 Worlds Cups! 4 World Cups in a USA shirt! You’re the man, Run-DMB. Thank you for all your service in the name of US Soccer.
- To Julian Green: Did you like your first World Cup? Good. Because now we need you to get better. Much better. You’re not getting a free ride anymore. You need to deliver. Thanks for the goal against Belgium – it helped us all believe again. Remember that feeling. Crave it. You saw what Jermaine did? That’s the benchmark of effort. We’ll see you in 2018.
- To everyone so sure the US would crash out of the group stage:
Courage! Freedom! German!
Beating Mexico in a good ol’ DOS A CERO in Columbus, and with Honduras drawing 2-2 against Panama, the USA have officially booked a ticket to Brazil and qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I’m so fuckin’ proud of this team. They’ve shown they can play good football. They’ve shown grit. They’ve proven they deserve to go to the big show next summer. All that’s left is 2 more qualifiers to hopefully wrap up the top spot in the Hex. USA ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.
Mexico. Not looking good in 5th place in the hex. I’d feel sorry for their downward spiral since last year, but WE’RE GOING TO BRAZIL!
WE’RE GOING TO BRAZIL!
AND NOW THEY’RE GONNA BELIEVE US!
AND NOW THEY’RE GONNA BELIEVE US!
AND NOW THEY’RE GONNA BELIEVE UUUUUUUS!
WE’RE GOING TO BRAZIL!
I watched the Gold Cup final two years ago. IT WASN’T FUN.
But this year, with a new coach, and a new team, not much changed — EXCEPT A TROPHY.
And what a way to win the Gold Cup. Albeit the 1-0 final, the USMNT tore through this tournament: 6-1, 4-1, 1-0, 5-1, 3-1. Considering that this was essentially Jürgen Klinsmann’s “B-Team,” it’s all the more impressive. Going into World Cup Qualifying with four games left, the squad looks much deeper than it did back in February. Just about every position on the field has a guy challenging for it, and here are a few guys I can see booking a ticket to Brasil:
- Mix Diskerud: Cap-tied himself to the USA for life. Proved an invaluable member to this squad. Moved from fringe player to challenging a guy like Sacha Kljestan for a spot (not a bad problem to have.) More luscious Norwegian locks!
- Stu Holden: He returns! Hopefully he comes back from what looked like a pretty bad knock to the knee in the final. If anyone can do it, it’s Super Stu.
- Michael Parkhurst: It’s not impossible. He was a capable right back when he had proper reinforcement ahead of him. Book him a ticket if either Cherundolo or Timmy Chandler spontaneously combust.
- Nick Rimando: GK #3. Can’t see Sean Johnson (and especially not Bill Hamid) taking that spot. Mando will add some hair to our ‘keeper team in Brasil.
- Kyle Beckerman: He’s not the best player, but he did the job. I’m inclined to include mostly because of the leadership he brings as a club captain. Plus, the dreads might be confusing to the opposition.
- Joe Corona, José Torres Torres, Alejandro Bedoya: It feels like I’m splitting hairs trying to choose. Fight it out, you guys.
- Brek Shea: Don’t start him never seems to work out. But subbing him? That’s a way to go. Against Mexico, against Costa Rica, and against Panama. And taking a page from the Beckerman playbook, the space unicorn haircuts will be disorienting.
- Clarence Goodson: Cameron, Gonzalez, and Besler all look likely to go. Not so likely for Onyewu and Michael Orosco Fiscal. Goodson gives us depth and experience.
- Landon Donovan: Just kidding. Was there ever a doubt?
Danke für die neue Trophäe, Klinsi. Let’s get some more.
AMERICAAA — FUCK YEAH! COMIN’ AGAIN TO WIN ANOTHER FUCKIN’ GOLD CUP!!!