Monday, June 12, 2006


The atmosphere was awesome, here in Gelsenkirchen. At the Fan Fest, I´d say that the Americans outnumbered the Czech by 25% or so but the Czech were pretty loud due to their great chants. All we could muster was the old U-S-A!, U-S-A! while they had sweet songs: simple, loud and catchy. It was pretty clear that this was going to be either one of my favorite sports memories or one of the most painful.

When Czech got that early goal I felt confident. It was a simple letdown and we´d definitely rebound stronger. When Reyna´s shot hit the left post I felt even better. It was only a matter of time before we equalized, despite losing every ball in the air and despite Beasley´s obvious discomfort. Even after they scored the second goal I had faith. The Czechs in the crowd were getting rowdy but one goal would shut them up and give us the momentum we´d need to salvage a tie. I´ll admit, once it hit the 70th minute I started to panic, and once Czech scored their third goal I gave up all hope. There are few things more painful than losing a game like this in that type of atmosphere. The only thing worse would have been paying a scalper 600 Euros for a ticket to the debacle. I kept telling him all I´d pay was 100 Euro but he only came down to 400. Still way too much and it would have made this feeling even worse, if that´s possible.

The thing that frustrated me the most about the game (disclaimer: I think Arena is awesome and I don´t really know much about soccer) is the fact that we continued to make 40 yard passes downfield even though their defenders and midfielders were winning every single ball. I don´t think we touched a single one of those. I don´t know how to come back from 2-0 against a good team but having Eddie Lewis futily lob balls into the 18 definitely isn´t the way to do it. I know they started playing small ball toward the end but I think they should have been working it on the ground for the entire game.

All we need to do now is win 2 straight against Italy and Ghana. Easy, right?

I´m catching a train to Berlin at 11:10 tonight and I´ll get there around 5 AM. I think I´ll sleep in the train station then get breakfast and basically waste time until my hostel is available. But the important thing is that I do have a hostel for two nights.

I´m off to watch the Italy game. I think I want Italy to win so that they´ll be more relaxed this weekend. I don´t think they´re happy seeing a desperate US team and I don´t want to see a desperate Italian side. Until they´re eliminated, GO NATS!


Anonymous said...

They needed a tie from Ghana/Italy. Now if they tie Italy they have to kill Ghana to go through on goal differential. This is assuming Czech goes 3-0, which from what I saw, they likely will. They play some good soccer, I'm looking forward to watching them more.

Tomorrow's the real game to watch. I'll be wearing my canary yellow jersey, you should too. I know you like rooting for the underdog, so if you're rooting for Brazil to lose, at least appreciate their play. This should be a fun Brazil team to watch, and hopefully they can come out and play their best. If they do, we're in for a treat.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the commentary, B. Arena is taking big flack on the journalism board. Do you suppose Lebron James could be talked into converting to soccer? Too late, eh.