Day of the Long Knives

It’s time for a few of our boys to consider ritual suicide—it would be the only honorable thing to do.

Jeez-us. I am not the biggest football expert even in my ZIP code, but I feel confident in pronouncing THAT THING the worst—and certainly most embarassing—American performance at the World Cup level. And yes, I include everything our Cub Scout all-star team did in 1990, and everything Steve Sampson wrought in 1998. Today, the United States was simply abominable. We should send an NCAA Best XI if that’s the kind of work we’re going to see.

It’s not just losing, of course; it’s how we lost. You could see the bed-wetting fear in Oguchi Oneywu’s eyes during the national anthem, and just like ’98, we played like we were scared of those big, imposing men with funny accents. We played with very little pride and certainly no precision—who could count the number of stray passes or I-dunno-whadda-you-wanna-do? balls back to Keller? Did Donovan even register a dozen touches? Is DaMarcus Beasley already updating his resume or thinking about going back to school? Those two set the gold standard for utter uselessness. I’d give decent marks to Eddie Johnson for showing some verve—and landssakes if he wasn’t the only one—but everyone else rates no higher than 4/10.

What now? This is the true test of Bruce La Bruce. A ’98-style collapse, or some freakin’ fighting spirit? We’re on our way out of the tournament, it would seem, but can we at least go out in style?

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About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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2 Responses to Day of the Long Knives

  1. Derek says:

    Brutal in every way for the U.S. team. But I would be shocked if Arena didn’t draw some passion out of ’em for the next match. Still, it’s gonna have to be a brilliant win over the Azzuri to wash away the stink.

  2. This comment turned into a post on my own blog. Here’s the link to that in case you’re interested. I can sum up quickly, though: yes, it was horrible, but I think a certain loss of perspective about the U.S.’s capability as a “footballing nation” has something to do with the depth of the funk. Sure, it was an awful performance. But, given our group, three-and-out was never an impossible situation. In other words, bad as we were, the flip-side of that is that the Czechs are, in truth, a very good team.

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