The US played their final group stage match against Guadeloupe. It seemed like a no-brainer that the US* would win. And they did. 1-0. To Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is a nation that cannot even compete in the World Cup because it’s really France, and therefore is not a FIFA member. The best Guadeloupe/Guadeloupe-heritage players (Thuram, Henry) played for France. Not to take anything away from the Guadeloupe Football Team, but this is the kind of opponent the US should demolish easily, particularly when Mexico is regularly putting five goals past opponents. This match was a perfect opportunity to send a message, and it did: “we suck.”
I had never understood why fans of other national teams would jeer their players off the field such as when the English fans did after the World Cup match against Algeria or the Brazilians regularly do. Now I kind of get it. It comes from an anger of disappointed expectations unfulfilled promises. The US team has shown such a paucity of ideas and spirit in this past three matches, that my national pride has been wounded. I suppose that for the growth of the game in this country, this is a good thing, although the more results like this the less the growth.
I have come to the conclusion that no outcome in this tournament will be good. Even winning the Gold Cup will be a disaster for the US because it will paper over the very deep cracks that have appeared. Bob Bradley’s job would be safe, he can continue to pick his pet players, and everyone involved in US football can pretend everything is hunky-dory. Meanwhile the inevitable disaster of World Cup 2014 is looming on the horizon.
* The US needs a decent nickname. All the cool countries have nickname. Even England has a nickname. The only ones I can think of are “Yanks” (which I hate), “Yankees” (which is too baseball), and “The Red, White, and Blue” (which seems too long). Anyone out there have any ideas?