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Cup, Part 3

Well, the US went out with a whimper. Rats. As bad as the refereeing was in their match with Italy, it was, as far as I could tell, pretty consistent during their contest with Ghana. The one obvious missed call, of course, was the phantom push that resulted in Ghana's second goal.

It's hard to get worked up about it, though, because (a) it was clearly a dumbass decision on Bocanegra's part to try and clear like that on a breakaway play, and that set up the play that resulted in the "foul," and (b) if the US couldn't score when they were a goal down, what makes us think they would have with the score tied? They should have been taking more risks a goal down, and they weren't. Beasley's pass was the single best kick of the Cup for the US, but they spent so little time over three games putting themselves in those kinds of positions.

I'm not among those calling for Arena's head, but I do think that this Cup demonstrated a couple of things. First, the MLS is not the place where the next gen of US soccer players should be honing their skills. They need to be competing with the best players in the world, and the MLS is not there yet. That was pretty clear. Second, there needs to be some emphasis on creativity. The US team played competently, but couldn't handle really creative strikers, and couldn't generate any offense on their own.

I'm disappointed, but really, I'd rather see Ghana advance than the US--they were a much more entertaining team to watch. And so, I'll be watching the knockout rounds--I've been seeing so much of the group play that I'm genuinely interested, even without my home team...

That is all. Back in Syracuse soon...


So here is the question. On the one hand we can send our best players to Europe and hope it boosts the skill level of the national team to the point where they can win on European soil. But will this doom the MLS to be forever a second-rate league with all the best US players skipping for Europe? After all, the MLS works year after year to expose more people to soccer while the WC comes up once every fourth year. I'm split on this question. If you want check out the first post of my fledgling blog: http://vulgar-esoterica.blogspot.com/2006/06/number-one.html

Hi, Tim. Thanks for stopping by.

I'm split too, for the reasons you offer. But the MLS is already a second-rate league, I fear, a reputation that the Cup is going to cement every 4 years, unless something changes. I'd like to think that it'll only take a few key players, and that eventually, the MLS will improve to the point where it's comparable to the Euro leagues.

One thing I really got sick of, though, was the mainstream sports media's shtick on soccer: we're not the best, so we don't like it. Oh. My. God. There are times where I think that we'll never be competitive precisely because competing (as opposed to dominating) runs counter to that kind of arrogance...

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