The US National Soccer team will fail in Brazil. That is our prediction and we believe that they will not so much fail but fail fairly miserably without aplomb, or even verve. It doesn’t really matter anyway because we’re all grown men watching a child’s game but it’s fun and we like to watch it and make predictions. Sure, we will even spend thousands of dollars on plane tickets and Cachaça and travel to distant lands for it so it must matter a little bit, right? The DJ reminds us that we still must live our lives with just a little passion, for what else is the point?
We’re all Americans here for the most part and as such we enjoy cheering for our countrymen. I’m sure people cheer for Brazil in Brazil and for Spain in Spain, for Italy in Italy, for les Bleus in France. The US National team will be painful to watch this summer, indeed they have been excruciatingly painful to watch for a really long time. As horrible as the 1994 US National Team was it is forever seared into memory as the most entertaining American team to ever take the pitch, a colorful cast of oddballs and amateurs bumbling their way to the knock-out stage with personality and luck. Leonardo fractured Tab Ramos’ skull and US Soccer has never been the same.
With the exclusion of Landon Donovan, the 2014 US National Team World Cup roster is virtually unrecognizable. Who the fuck are these guys? Sure, we recognize a few names. Clinton Dempsey comes to mind. Timothy Howard. We’re even familiar with the goal-scoring journeyman Christopher Wondowloski. At a stretch, we can recall a quality cross made by Mix Diskerud. But who the fuck is Alejandro Bedoya? DeAndre Yedlin? John Brooks?
Landon Donovan is an easy cat to hate, what with his constant whining and what-not, but the fact remains that he is the most recognizable American soccer player of all time. We remember Tab Ramos, but no one else does. And for all of his so-Cal douchiness Donovan was the most entertaining and productive American player to watch over the past decade and perhaps ever. For the all the chat about Lando Donrisian having lost a step or two, remember that speed does not a great player make and that young Landon, now old Landon, has grown and matured into a very, very good soccer player. The same cannot be said for so-called better players, once hailed as prodigies, who fizzle out too soon.
Watch Donovan’s pass at 3:54. A perfectly weighted, delectable one time touch pass which completely destroys the Costa Rican defense. It looks painfully simple and to the unappreciative eye is just a forgettable blip which comes before Brek Shea’s awful, sloppy finish, but the truth is that few players have the ability to make a pass like that; for it is not just the pass itself but the drawing of the defenders away from the streaking Shea, the hitting of the ball one time on the half volley at the just right time, and the sheer accuracy of the pass which defines Donovan the player of today, how good he is, and how much he has grown as a player. With the exception of maybe Bradley, there is no one else on the US team that can make a pass like that. And indeed, it is likely Bradley who will captain the ship come June; and while we support him in his captaincy, there is no mistaking who is really behind the wheel.