heartbroken

Image result

I know it’s a game
Eleven players per team
A field and a ball
But my broken heart
Will miss the red, white and blue

belief

Bloodied, bruised, broken and strung out after three grueling battles, you emerged from the fray when all but a few had written you off.  The odds were against you.  The world was against you.  But, your fans believed.  And you believed.

As the sweat of the jungle poured from your aching limbs, you advanced across the pitch towards a fourth foe.  You would not advance further.

Image Credit: AP
Image Credit: AP

 

Casualties took their toll and the probing speedy attacks finally found the chinks in your impressive armor, those weak spots where wars are truly fought and won, or lost.  Even then you battled on, refusing to accept that all hope was lost.  The odds were against you.  The whole world was against you.  Your fans believed.  And you believed.

If there hadn’t been a time limit on this particular battle on this particular day you would have found a way to regain the ground you had lost.

So hold your heads high, be proud of what you accomplished.  Enjoy the triumphs of your first battles.  Revel in the glory of having succeeded where so many others would have and did fall.  Care to your wounds.  Spend time with your families.  But, keep your swords sharp and your wits about you, because you will be called upon again.

And next time, though the odds will be against you, and the world will be against you.  Your fans will believe.  And you will believe.  That love of the game, that passion, that never-say-die attitude matters more than the rest.

Image Credit: Getty
Image Credit: Getty

less beautiful

Oh, what a Cup it has been.  Upsets.  Goals.  Drama.  Highs.  Lows.  It has been a testament to what the game should be.  Interest has peaked in places it normally doesn’t.  The whole world is watching.

It has been beautiful.

Enter Luis Suarez…

I hope the proper authorities are reviewing the footage.  And, if it is found that he did in fact bite Giorgio Chiellini, I hope he is banned from the game for life.

Bite a player once, and apologize, okay fine.  I don’t understand it, but, maybe it can be forgiven.

Bite a player twice…  Well, I can’t really explain how you are still playing.  But, benefit of the doubt, sure… Okay.  We’ll give you one more chance.

Bite a player three times…

Please, FIFA, ban him for life.  Make the game beautiful again.

 

love, lust

The whole world in a cup,
Wrapped in gold, glory.
A month long quest,
Of cheers, jeers,
Love, lust,
Goals.

The battles call to me,
From the true green pitch,
Nations fighting,
Flags waiving,
Honor,
Pride.

Samba dance with a ball,
Ninety minute songs.
I hold my breath.
The whistle,
Controls,
Me.

Moving on up

… to the hexagonal.  And from there to Rio 2014. 

What are we talking about here?  The US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT), of course, and their quest for glory at the next world cup.  You know: soccer, football, futbol, calcio, etc…

So, where are we now?  We’ve finished the first round of qualifying, topping our group, and our headed next to the hexagonal qualifying round where we will face off against Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, and Jamaica.  Good times.  The top three teams in that mini-tournament advance directly to the finals in Brazil and the fourth placed team has to win in a playoff spot to advance. 

We should be fine…  Although, we need to hope that Clint Dempsey can stay  on his current form during the next run of games and that Michael Bradley continues to be a dominant force for us in midfield.  We could also hope for the return of a fit and feisty Landon Donavon and that Eddie Johnson can continue playing the way he has been recently.

I’m not going to provide a play by play breakdown on last nights game against Guatemala, but here are some thoughts and other musings: 

Did Tim Howard seem shaky in goal in the second half to anyone else, or was that just me? 

An obvious and ungiven hand ball and an obvious and ungiven penalty when Bradley was bundled over in the box (though he did make the most of it) sure make it hard not to think that the refs don’t always give the US the calls they should. 

Clint Dempsey (Deuce!) had a good game, and bagged a brace and an assist, but I worry that without the good combination he was having with Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi he wouldn’t have been anywhere near as potent in front of goal. 

Eddie Johnson’s dribbling up the left flank led to some of the best highlights of the match, we need more players that are willing to dribble and take on the opponents. 

I found it very disconcerting that our backline was made to look foolish almost all night long by an aging striker who doesn’t even have a club team at the moment. 

Sacha Kljestan… well, I’m just not sure at all why he is still getting playing time for the national team.  Maybe that’s just me?

The Kansas City crowd at Livestrong Park was absolutely fantastic: passionate and loud, and it all came through great on television.  It was a job well done for the American Outlaws.  I hope more and more of our home games going forward can match that level of intensity and become the twelfth man for our national team.

It seems our best defense at the moment is a good offense.  If nothing else that at least should make our hexagonal games entertaining, if not completely stressful, nerve-wracking, nail-biting, to watch.  That being said, hopefully Jurgen Klinsmann has some sort of plan in the works for addressing our defensive frailties.   

That about covers it.  If you have questions or want to disagree with me feel free to share what you want in the comments section.  I’ll be here all week.

Well, I’ll actually be here much longer than that…