I could call it “situation”, but really it’s a debacle. A horrible and confusing predicament that we have been put in as a nation. The World Cup has begun, and there has already been a lot of drama around upsets, bad calls, dramatic finishes, and the like. The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) has almost completely been thrown to the side and discredited as one that has zero chance of making it past their group play into the elimination stages. As we officially begin to wade into the Cup with our game against Ghana today, here are some things to consider as a citizen of the United States:
1. You need to be proud of your team.
Every other nation on Earth wants to have a team make it to the World Cup. The fact is, we usually make it to the Group stage, but we take this for granted. There are countless other countries that long to have their national team make it to the World Cup. These nations care a lot more about soccer than we do, and yet we still make it just because of the resources that we are able to pour into our national teams to make them at least somewhat competitive on the world stage. Even though our own coach has said that there’s no chance that we could make it out of our Group, much less winning the whole thing, we almost have an obligation as a people to remain as optimistic as possible and provide the support to our team that they deserve. These guys train all their lives to make it to where they are today, and it would be shameful to have them go to Brazil and lose out completely just because of the lack of support from their own country.
2. Forget about Landon Donovan. For now…
I know that the decision to not put Donovan on the final roster was a controversial one (especially given his performance 4 years ago) but that ship has sailed. The media made a huge deal out of it, and now we need to start thinking for ourselves for a second and just MOVE ON. Moping about it and wishing that we had him on the roster won’t change anything, and we need to focus on the future. He could still make it again in the next cycle. The guys who are in Brazil right now obviously represent the best that our country has to offer, or they wouldn’t be there. Those in charge of making the decision to leave Landon Donovan at home obviously made it for a good reason, or they wouldn’t have made it.
3. NOTHING is impossible.
For those of you who watched the Netherlands vs. Spain game, you know that heart and determination can trump raw talent and pedigree any day. The Spaniards were the defending world champions, and were expected to have little to no trouble disposing of the Netherlands in the first game of this year’s Cup. They came out expecting to win, and the Dutch obviously had other plans for the day. They dealt Spain the worst loss that a defending champion had ever had to endure, and therefore brought doubt into the equation. There is now more variability in the field. Brazil came out flat against Croatia and played sloppy, allowing for a more exciting game than they had originally planned for. The Swiss upset Ecuador. The air is heavy with uneasiness for the favored teams, and that bodes well for the USMNT. We have a chance. There’s always a chance. If we can beat Portugal or Germany, we can get into the elimination stages and give ourselves some momentum to possibly go on a run.
USA! USA! USA!