After an amazing performance on Wednesday June 24, 2009; The US Football (soccer) team finds itself in an unfamiliar position, the finals. No one, including me, could envision the US in this position. Now the question is can they do it again. The US has a history of winning one big match every several years. The 1950 win over England, and now the win over Spain. People seem to be forgetting there is one more match to be played.
The win over Spain was was a headline in every newspaper, and the lead story on every sports show- outside the US. The sports pages in the US were talking of the upcoming NBA draft, and giving a run down of Major League Baseball scores. Even with one of the biggest upsets in the history of FIFA competition, The US victory was reduced to a byline on the second page. ESPN did give the victory the proper place on it’s sport center show, but that was it. The interesting situation is what the win means to the rest of the world. The rest of the world is familiar with names like Villa, Torres, Fabregas, Alonso, and knows how talented they are. It could be that this victory earns a small amount of respect for the US team. Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Tim Howard are recognizable in Europe; but are unheard of in their own country. Guiseppe Rossi knows the score; that’s why the New Jersey native has played in Europe since he was twelve. A win against Brazil just might be what it takes to get the US team a little recognition in their own country. Fernando Torres said of the American team “When you play against Spain, everybody are watching the game; So maybe all the people can see they have fantastic players, a fantastic team.” I hope he is right. The only complaint that I have from Wednesdays match was that according to the New York Times Spain refused to exchange jerseys, as is customary.
Before a Seattle Sounders FC (of the MLS) match the club held a march to the stadium through the surrounding neighborhood. The march was full of people drinking, waiving scarves over their heads, and singing. There were even wannabe hooligans punishing people that had on jerseys from the opposing team. The problem is that football (soccer) is so new to us that we don’t even have our own traditions; we have to copy Europe. As the sport continues to grow in the US so will support of the US team. One of the joys I have is hearing both positive and negative comments when I wear my Manchester United Jersey. Those comments tell me that the sport is being recognized in the US. I sometimes feel like an evangelist when I come into contact with people explaining the excitement of football (soccer).
As far as a prediction for the CONFED cup final, I can’t give one. I am just happy to see the US do so well against a team comprised of starters from The English Premier League, and La Liga. Now about that prediction: my logic says Brazil, but my heart says USA.
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