- Dec 16, 2010
This is 100% my favorite post ever.Yeah, legendary result. England consider themselves the stewards and top exponents of the game and their team is eternally top 10, sometimes top 5, in Elo rankings. For all of our meaningful progress in building a national soccer culture and development program, we are a relative small fry. How do you think they're feeling today? Go browse the ThreeLions subreddit if you want a sense. And however they're feeling, we should be feeling the opposite. Do you remember last time we played them in a World Cup?
And this wasn't one of those scoreless draws where we withstood a 90-minute siege, either. We weren't being bombarded and having our goalie stand on his head or getting bailed out by defensive block after block. No, we took the game to them, neutralized their attack with some impressive tactics, and created the better of the chances. So, yeah, be happy. It's OK to give yourself permission to be happy.
"you can't draw yourself to advancement in the knockout stage" -- I'm sure I don't have to tell you how frequent it is that matches go to penalty shootouts, and you know what happens then? One team wins the shootout. Ask Croatia from the last world cup: they beat Denmark in the R16 on penalties, beat Russia in the QF on penalties, and then was tied with England in regulation before beating them in extra time. Not conceding goals is a very important part of the game, and one which we have not been good at at this level.
The fuck is this? I don't recall seeing you around these parts over the last 5 years as we picked ourselves up from the swamp of Couva, rebuilt the program with a youth movement of talent who ended up being world class in their own right, filled holes in from some brilliant dual-national recruiting, and slowly forged a team together basically out of nothing. You show up at the moment they're really tested having no idea of the team's narrative arc, and think you can write it for them, negatively, after 90 brilliant minutes vs England? Which was collectively probably the best they've ever played? FOH with that nonsense.
This wasn't "let's have the same core ride again" like in 2014. This team has, for years now, been trying to find the right chemistry with each other, been trying to achieve consistency - same with very young players and young teams in any sport the world over. The first time Yunus Musah stepped on a field for the US, in a friendly against Wales in November 2020, everyone's eyes bugged out seeing the MMA midfield for the first time and how they absolutely bossed the game. For the first time, things clicked and we basically had the run of the place against a Welsh team that is - to be clear - very, very good, roughly our peer by ranking and result. And you know what? We didn't score that day either. But the building blocks were there, and that's what's important. We've gotten plenty of empty results, I'd rather have real predictors of future success.
Our progress was measured over the last 5 years mostly by Mexico, our real pacing challenge. The depths of the post-Couva lows were set by our losses to them in the 2019 Gold Cup final and then a subsequent friendly, where we largely got slapped around. That was basically the last time anyone heard from most of the players who played those games. Instead, our future team spent time building up chemistry, which went well enough that when the A-team faced them in the Nations League final in June 2021, we basically stunted on them aside from an early error by Mark McKenzie. Then our B-team did it again a month later in the Gold Cup, with a heroic defensive effort for 120' and a late-in-extra-time winner off a set piece. And the momentum continued into World Cup Qualifying, where we played basically the best match I've ever seen the USMNT play in our home game vs Mexico in Cincinnati - we slapped them around for 90 minutes, and the 2-0 scoreline frankly flattered Mexico. Everything that our talent predicted that we should, someday, be able to do, our guys went out there and did.
But it hasn't all been a bed of roses. We've had collapses, we've had failures to score, we've had boneheaded errors. We're a very, very young team, I think the youngest at the WC by some distance. That means inconsistency, as it always does in any sport. We had a shocking loss to Panama, we had Canada largely dominate two games against us, we had a disappointing showing in our finale in Costa Rica. Oh, and we had a game in the Azteca where Mexico was running scared, Gio Reyna put the fear of god into them with a run where he dribbled the entire team, but they somehow managed to keep us out of the net for 90 minutes and drew 0-0. Sound familiar? Point is, we've seen this team grow. If you've been following them the last few years, you've watched a team coalesce from nothing, from a bunch of raw teenagers, who do things like talk about their fish tank for their 3 minutes of fame. We've watched Antonee Robinson go from "too raw for a call-up" to "too good to leave off the field". Sergino Dest now pays attention at least 80% of the time, a massive improvement. And our entire team is still young, young enough that they'll continue to improve, this isn't the best they'll get individually, nevermind as a team that knows how to play with each other.
So yeah, dude, we're all happy to be here. Happy that we could qualify with a bunch of kids, after the disaster that our over-the-hill veterans wrought last time around. Happy that we could show our potential in a few key games along the way, rise to the occasion more often than not. Happy we could work out the bugs and inevitable setbacks, get through some injuries. And we're damned happy that when really put to the test, going up against a team with absurd talent like England, we could go toe-to-toe and give as good as we got. Because England is a team where their fans can only be happy with a trophy and are fucking miserable on all other occasions, and that's just a no-fun way to go through a sports fandom. Whereas the USMNT has been on a steady, if inconsistent, rise for the last 30+ years, and keeps getting better and better, and anyone who's been following the team for more than a week can measure its progress at times like these. It is rewarding to follow this team, to see where it's going, and where it's going to bring soccer in America to. Stories like those of Matt Turner, Shaq Moore, Ethan Horvath, are the kind of underdog storylines we can all root for, as opposed to the England team full of guys who were anointed as the next-big-thing at age 13. This team is for people who can dream on a squad, dream on a performance, dream on a world where we're a player in world football. If you don't want to dream - if you want to jump straight to "entitled, never-happy fan" - then hop right the fuck off the bandwagon, nobody will miss you.
Nobody other than Wynalda has come out that strong, but a lot of people saying something is wrong going on between those 2 including Jimmy Conrad who is considered pretty clued in.
Ah yes--that's right. It was Wynalda on the radio because he referenced not playing against Brazil.Wynalda would love for a different USMNT World Cup personnel scandal to displace our current all-timer, I suppose.
Heard that same clip as I drove home from the bar. Whoever-it-was (I don't recall) said that he'd "try to get to the bottom of it", because they argued that something had to be up, that if you're of the talent level Reyna is, and you've played 12 of 180 minutes so far, most anyone in that position would be in the manager's office having it out with them. So it was total speculation, maybe with some logic behind it but they didn't have any hard info, they made that much clear.Someone was on SiriusXM's soccer channel post-game yesterday saying some of the same things. I missed who it was, but I know it was a former US player, so it's possible it was Wynalda.
Here's the thing, you're not wrong, but every time I've watched Scally on Gladbach, he's solid and puts in the hustle on D, he's got ideas going forward, he's got some finesse... and then 2-3 times per game, he absolutely falls asleep on the cut or run he needed to be picking up, and has to be bailed out by his CBs. Totally understandable if you're 19 years old and not like a Gio Reyna level savant, right? But we don't have the luxury of having him bailed out by our CBs, we're relying on our RB to do his job.I’ve been unimpressed so far with Yedlin and Shaq Moore off the bench at RB. I hope either Dest has played himself into 90min fitness or we see Scally as next man up for that substitution and he can give something.
Interesting spot they are in:
On one hand after the draw came out or even a day before the tourney started if you gave the US the current situation, beat Iran and you are through, I am pretty sure they all would have signed for it.
However I see a lot of “well if they can’t beat Iran then they don’t deserve to go through..”
This isn’t Algeria. Algeria was a well below average team with nothing to play for,US should more than expect to beat them.
Iran is a fully functional squad, capable of more or less dominating Wales from start to finish which the US couldn’t do. They have 4 goals through two games, the US has one.
The is also the nightmare scenario for the hardcore soccer fans vs the newbies who pop up every four years. “You didn’t win one game in the WC, all you had to do was beat Iran, do they even have soccer in Iran, and you couldn’t do it.” What are we doing here..Soccer is not a credible sport in the US.
All that is coming if they don’t win this game.
I asked the false 9 question earlier because they need to find a way to get their best players on the field. Sargent/Wright playing while Renya/Aaronson sit makes no sense.
There were so many moments of passing out of the back, into tight spaces up the sideline and through the midfield, where I reflexively tensed up just waiting for the obvious turnover and then…they would find the next pass, work it upfield, find a switch.I want to add one more thing: the lack of end product in the England game was frustrating, but USMNT was not at all playing boring soccer. I mean, I know it's subjective, but most of us have seen A LOT of USMNT games and a lot of soccer games in general.
This team was balling out. They were circulating the ball well, they were combining and breaking defensive lines with back-of-the-heel flicks and no-look backheels. Tyler Adams was performing at a build-him-a-statue level of epic. This wasn't a hang-on-for-dear-life tie. This was a performance, if you know where to look.
It's a violation that could lead to a 10 match ban because of a social media post?So some genius fairly high up in USSF decided to show support for the protesters in Iran by removing the symbol of Allah from the Iranian flag in social media posts. The Iranians are obviously upset. Technically this is likely a violation of FIFA rules that is punished by a 10 match ban.
Nobody will get banned because FIFA never enforces any of those but it's multiple official statements from an official channel so... Probably the whole team if they went by letter of law. Especially given the statements that it was planned and not just some PR person going rogueIt's a violation that could lead to a 10 match ban because of a social media post?
The team gets banned? The person that tweeted?
So just playing along--say the team gets a 10 match ban. How does that actually work? They forfeit Nations League? If they forfeit and therefore don't advance in tourney, and they have no qualifiers to play for the WC, where are the games coming from?Nobody will get banned because FIFA never enforces any of those but it's multiple official statements from an official channel so... Probably the whole team if they went by letter of law. Especially given the statements that it was planned and not just some PR person going rogue
Hypothetically... The US would forfeit their 3 matches in WC 2026 as the host.So just playing along--say the team gets a 10 match ban. How does that actually work? They forfeit Nations League? If they forfeit and therefore don't advance in tourney, and they have no qualifiers to play for the WC, where are the games coming from?
There is zero indication that the Iranian players want that. It's just another example of Americans suddenly caring about what is going on in the world and making it about them.I hope the players are arranging with Iranian players behind the scenes to jointly kneel at the start of the game, as a prayer for peace in Iran. Something demonstrative but where they don't go too far in making a show of support for the protesters specifically (but everyone gets the message). Where FIFA can't claim it's some sort of political statement, because it's identical to what went on for years in the top leagues (and especially the EPL) after all the George Floyd protests. And it's not something that they wear, so FIFA doesn't have the usual leg to stand on to sanction them.
Odds of something like that happening are probably pretty low, but it would be a Tommie Smith and John Carlos-level statement that I think would be viewed as both appropriate and courageous.
The Iranian team has played 2 matches, they have given dozens of interviews. If they had any interest in protesting their government they have had ample opportunity. The idea that they were just waiting for the US (widely despised in Iran) to show their them how is the worst kind of American white savior bullshit.I'm not sure either of us know what the Iranian players want, but from what I've seen they'd like to express solidarity and also would like to not be thrown in prison when they get home. I'm sure it's a delicate situation to be in.
Calling a (hypothetical) expression of solidarity "making it about them[selves]" is an odd and uncharitable choice of how to frame it, though. Maybe the Iranians would prefer nothing of the sort be done because of their own personal risk assessment, but I doubt they would view an offer of doing something like that to be a self-centered gesture.
https://metro.co.uk/2022/11/21/iran-players-at-world-cup-speak-out-in-support-of-protests-at-home-17795896/amp/The Iranian team has played 2 matches, they have given dozens of interviews. If they had any interest in protesting their government they have had ample opportunity. The idea that they were just waiting for the US (widely despised in Iran) to show their them how is the worst kind of American white savior bullshit.
OK I missed a few, doesn't really change the point that the Iranian team as a whole hasn't shown any intention for a mass statement and certainly wasn't waiting on the USMNT to get involved
I don't disagree with your point that the Iranians don't need the US to "help" them, but I think it's pretty clear from their actions, and in some cases, words, that they seem to genuinely care about the situation. Of course none of us know for certain what their private views are, but let's put it this way...has any Iranian player in Qatar come out in favor of the regime? I think the answer to that question is probably the most instructive of their views. I don't know if it's fair for us to criticize this or that player's lack of public statement on the issue, as we have no idea who is in a safe enough position to be openly critical.OK I missed a few, doesn't really change the point that the Iranian team as a whole hasn't shown any intention for a mass statement and certainly wasn't waiting on the USMNT to get involved
I'm talking about the National team. If they were kneeling before games then yes, it would be a nice supportive gesture to say "hey is it cool if we kneel as well", but when the team as a unit has NOT done those things, it's not really a supportive gesture, it's an outsider stepping in and saying "hey we know what you should do", and in particular it's Americans, who have a long history in that part of the world of saying "hey we know what you should do" right before they make things worse. The whole point is that the starting point of the whole thing isn't "hey the Iranian team is doing a thing, let's support them" it's "I want to show my opinion on this so let's do something". Same as the original thing which was the flag, nobody asked them to do that, they chose to. And they did it in a way that was likely insulting to a number of Iranians who don't support the current regime.I'll add that the US is "widely despised" by the Government of Iran, because that's part of their original claims to legitimacy; the beliefs of the average Iranian are far more mixed, in poll after poll. In a trivial but illustrative example, the authorities paint US and Israeli flags at the entrances to buildings, so that people have to step on them, and lots of passers-by assiduously avoid stepping on them.
All the protest organizers have said publicly that they don't want the US to overtly give material support to the movement, they want it to be organic, and not have people questioning whether it's really some CIA-backed plot. Fair enough. But that's a far cry from "soccer players with billions of eyes on them shouldn't make a gesture of solidarity".
I don't know where you're getting "white savior bullshit" and "[not like they're] waiting for the USMNT to get involved". The protests have been going on for months now, they're not "waiting for" anything. At the same time, in a controlled media environment, average Iranians have a more-limited ability to find out the truth of what's happening - to discern whether it enjoys mass support or is (as the regime surely claims) the work of a few isolated provocateurs. Gestures by their national team are a big deal in that regard. Whether they'd find a modest supportive gesture by the USMNT to be helpful or not, I can't say, I'm just saying I hope we've offered.