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Mexico’s 2-1 defeat of the U.S. last night is the talk of the town (Du Nord rounds up all the coverage). In his usual fashion, Jamie Tecker at Fox Soccer rips into the governing body for the defeat, writing that “U.S. Soccer seems unable or unwilling to make a change at the top, so it won’t likely be the coach.” Trecker sees the defeat as part of a pattern of failure in big games, also citing the losses to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final and to Mexico again in the Gold Cup final.
By the end of the piece, Trecker has connected these dots into a pattern threatening the entire future of the sport here.
Keep in mind that sports fans have been burned repeatedly by the hype. They keep tuning in after being told they’re going to see something special. And every time (outside of the Spain match), they’re presented with a group of guys who can’t win the big game. The fact is, these performances — if left unchecked — will kill the sport in America.
That fact seems lost on soccer executives, who keep claiming that these failures are “learning experiences. They’re not. They’re confirmation of America’s inability to grow up and take this sport seriously. And that’s why the USA will continue to lose the big game.
This seems a rather remarkable conclusion. It seems to be based on the premise that fans do not understand the context of each big game: everyone watching the Confederations Cup final knew the quality of Brazil and that running them close was an excellent performance. Most who took the trouble to tune into the Gold Cup final (which wasn’t exactly hyped to the moons) would have realised the U.S. was not fielding its first team. And everyone knew that winning in Azteca was not something the U.S. had ever done. Moreover, if the U.S. is destined to always lose the Big Game under Bradley, how does he explain the 2007 Gold Cup final win over Mexico, the 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus just six months ago (which was far more of a must-win than last night’s game, as the U.S. never banked on taking any points from the Azteca) or the win over Spain in the Confederations Cup?
- You can see what the win meant to Mexico in this excellent compilation of newspaper covers at Kenn.com, via newseum.org.
- US Soccer and the World Cup bid committee has launched its World Cup bid website, gobidusa.com, a flashy site with a neat timeline of US soccer history and a rather obvious play on words plastered all over it (The Game is in US…Get it?).
- But while a huge amount of money is being pumped into the bid and the future of American soccer, the past is in danger of being forgotten: the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, New York is in danger of being closed down. The The 40,000-square-foot facility was opened only ten years ago, but the facility is not paying for itself and in the short-term will be reducing public hours and may be closed altogether.
- Benfica signs Justin Mapp! And many other strange and curious players! In an amusing stunt, Benfica’s official site was hacked so that users could announce their own official signings on the site. Hilariously, MLS Rumors bought the story and published it; when they realised they had been fooled, they didn’t do the simple thing and issue a retraction, but simply took the page down altogether. Brilliant! (and here it was)
- BBC Sport has a beautiful interactive map of the origins of Premier League players, comparing this season with twenty years ago. As you’d expect, the difference is stark.
- David Bentley of Spurs was arrested last night for drink-driving, after he veered into a lamp-post. His statement of contrition says that “I fully appreciate that as a professional footballer I have a duty to behave in a reputable and responsible manner” is a little odd — if he wasn’t a footballer, would he not have to be responsible and be free to drink and drive? Whoever’s doing his PR should really consider a new career.
- Livingston, now under new ownership, are continuing to fight against their relegation to the Scottish Third Division, now appealing to the Scottish F.A. against the decision by the League, will again refuse to fulfill their fixture this weekend.
- Burma’s nascent league, which we wrote about a couple of months ago, is reported to be in trouble — the government funded and controlled league is reportedly struggling to bring in enough income.
- Romario is coming out of retirement to play for second division América in Brazil.
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