Dead-Blogging England v. USA

Gaaaaah. I took my leave from this sad occasion at half-time, after making precious few observations, due in part to the fact that precious little occurred, and in part to the fact that I know sweet FA about football and am only pretending. But, anyway:

—We have a silly team. DaMarcus Beasley is a silly player. Steve Cherundolo—silly player. And note how both also have silly names. Eddie Johnson may be a “grown-ass man,” but he still gets caught in possession just about every time he touches the ball. Silly. In their inability to do a thing with the ball when it comes to their feet, in their fecklessness in the last 40 yards of the field, in their woeful inability to defend a set-piece against a second-rate European opponent, the Americans personified silliness. We will still beat Mexico four times out of five, however.

—Those new USA kits actually look kind of cool.

—I like friendlies, because they only ask 45 minutes of your time. Unlike the three-hour Sturm und Drang of your average Big Final, with its inevitable extra time and penalty hoo-hah, a friendly little friendly offers less than an hour of actual entertainment before the mass substitutions turn the match into an episode of Whose Line Is It, Anyway? “John Smith (who?) receives his first international cap (and his last) here in the 81st minute…” Et cetera. Instead of ruining your whole day with alcohol, adrenalin and disappointment, the friendly gives you the perfect excuse to linger over one (1) pint for a bit, curse the day Carlos Bocanegra (see? silly name) was born, then head back to work. Perfect!

—The atmosphere (or restful lack thereof) at my downtown Portland soccer bar filled me with nostalgia, in fact. About two dozen people held dozy court over mid-day beers and lunch, muttering peaceably at the rare outbreak of action on the big screens. This was vintage Soccerball USA, a refreshing change from the rampacked scene at the same joint during the Champions League Final: the coupla hundred Johnny-Come-Lately fans in their brand-new Manchester United PLC and Chelsea Football Club garb, whooping, hollering and groaning with histrionic abandon. I mean, I love to see that stuff, since it plays right in to the dearest long-held fantasy of the American soccer fan, i.e., that History Is Turning Our Way. But frankly, it can be a bit much, and can engender a predictable longing for the old days, when finding a soccer match on television in this country was sort of like tracking down a covert gay sex club. (Or so I imagine, y’know. Poetic license.) Used to be, every match drew this kind of polite and tiny crowd. And PS, I was totally hip to Bleach before Nevermind came out.

—I see, from the Guardian’s jaded MBM coverage, that England now lead 2-0. Good for them—excellent warm-up for Euro….HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Sorry, couldn’t resist. We’ll be lucky to get past Bermuda. Later.

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About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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