Tuesday, July 03, 2007

USA! USA! USA! Under 20's!

US U-20's demolish Poland, 6-1.

Take that, Poland! Go back and work on your submarines with screen doors!

I should quickly note that Barnyard (who still technically is a contributor on this site) and I were discussing the fact that we are never jingoistic in real life, but somehow soccer makes us so, for those brief moments when the US Soccer team does well. I suppose it is one of the few places where the US is still an underdog, aside from literacy rates, voting acumen, and healthcare.

Should the Polish be mocked? Only when their U-20 team shuts out Brazil and then gets rocked for three goals by Freddy Adu (remember him? He was the future of US Soccer. He's still under 20 years old).

Poland has been a fairly close of analogue of US soccer for the past 15 years or so. They play hard, tough (though not always smart) defense, they have usually one playmaker who makes their team dangerous, and is generally good to enough to beat the teams they are better than, make teams they are slightly worse than work hard, and then look stupid against superior talent. That's the US, to a tee, dammit.

Which is why, this result, though it be only one game, is exciting. Considering the US team currently playing in the Copa Americas has pretty much refused invitations to score, and also opened the door wide open to being scored on (thank you very much, Jimmy Conrad and Danny Califf! Enjoy your farewell tour, for that's what this tournament is. And damn it, off the pitch, we quite like Jimmy Conrad. But at the same time, if there was going to be a player on the US side who makes boneheaded mistakes, and can't keep up with opposition strikers, and writes well, we believe that could be any of us, dammit). That AP article I link to above is at the Forbes website, and I'll bet they have their error fixed by the time anyone reads this. Good thing I saved a copy for posterity.

The thing that the real US team is lacking right now is scoring prowess, and if our U-20's can hang a six spot on Poland, using Adu and Jozy Altidore, and Danny Szetela (his parents are Polish immigrants! Eat it again, Poland!) then maybe we are seeing some folks who can play with Donovan, Dempsey, Beasley, Mapp, and Feilhaber in a few years. Certainly Eddie Johnson hasn't shown himself able to score a hat-trick against anybody trickier than Belize. We need scorers, desperately, and if this U-20 team shows even a hint of ability to finish, we should get excited.

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