Tuesday, June 23, 2009
US shows fight in Confederations Cup
I know that there were a number of US Soccer fans who were ready to jump off the Bob Bradley bandwagon after the past month, looking at medicore perfromances in three of our last four CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, and two losses at the FIFA Confederations Cup - despite being a man down in each match for long stretches.
After an inspired 3-0 victory over Egypt propelled the US into the semifinals against Spain on Wednesday, Bradley and his staff have every right to feel vindicated. US Soccer president Sunil Gulati was quick to rationalize the performance of the US.
“I think our fans, for the most part, understand that Italy was O.K. and Brazil was bad,” Gulati said. “We get hammered for the Italy game; we got hammered for the Brazil game. Tonight was as good” as the previous games were disappointing.
“I hope they realize that,” Gulati said. “This is like a professional team. There’s going to be ups and downs. There isn’t going to be progress right through, just like there isn’t for Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, England, Italy or anybody else.”
We as a footballing nation have the ability to compete against any country, but need to have a certain level of work-ethic, attitude and effort to be able to accomplish that.
“The fair assessment is that we played a good game against Italy for 60 minutes,” Landon Donovan said. “We were undone by a red card. Brazil was a one-off we didn’t deserve to win.”
The sublime desperation shown against Egypt displayed “the effort we can give,” Donovan said, “and when we do that, we have a chance against anyone.”
After Sunday’s win against Egypt, the players described their unlikely advance to the semifinals in distinctly American terms.
“We showed what you can accomplish by fighting hard and sticking together,” midfielder Clint Dempsey said.
Posted by Mike Jacobs at 11:27 AM