SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Viva Los Estados Unidos!

The U.S. men's soccer team beat Panama in Panama City last night, 3-0, and is well on its way to its fourth straight World Cup berth.

I wanted to watch the game live last night, but it wasn't available on pay-per-view, and it was available on tape delay at 1 a.m. on ESPN2. Probably in between strongman competitions and rodeo.

My guess is that certain nightly routines in Panama stopped in their tracks last night because of this game. As they probably stopped in Teheran and Kiev when the Iranians and Ukranians sealed up their World Cup bids yesterday.

In the U.S., hardly a notice. The baseball season is well underway, the NHL had breaking news about its labor problems, and we're about to start the NBA finals. Soccer? Hardly on the radar screen.

Great work by Coach Bruce Arena's squad last night, scoring three goals in the first half and putting the game out of reach. The U.S. has a few games left against weaker teams, but they're well on their way.

And they're a pretty good team, too. Maybe not of the caliber of France, Italy and Brazil, or Germany, Argentina, Spain or England for that matter. But they're up there with the rest of the world, and they're only getting better.

Keep a lookout for them, and perhaps ESPN will end up featuring them live at some point in the near future. A tape delay at 1 a.m. EDT guarantees an almost-zero share on the East Coast and not much more on the West Coast.

Viva Los Estados Unidos!

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't get to sleep last night, and came across the game. I considered watching it, but then I remembered what Panama's record is.

No offense to the US team - I'm a fan, have attended their games, &c. - but I have no interest in watching USC-Temple in college football either.

For what it's worth, Blind Date was good fun!

4:27 PM  
Anonymous SCJ said...

Keller's save was amazing =O

5:17 AM  
Anonymous TigerSoccer said...

Too bad for "anonymous" there was great local atmosphere, reat goals, amazing goalkeeping, ferocious physical play and mature, intelligent defending.

US Soccer is in a funny place right now. It can't be celebrated as "top tier" but neither can its victories be lauded either, now that the talent level and depth have made it a regional power.

It used to be that qualifying for the WC was newsworthy. Now, it's expected. This is great, and shows improvement on the field(I remember sweating out home games against El Salvador, which are now a layup), but makes it hard to make a media splash with anything other than wins agains the big boys.

9:16 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks, TigerSoccer, for the wise words. I think you've summed it up accurately. I hope that the U.S. team can crack the quarterfinals in World Cup 2006, but I wonder what effect even a World Cup win would have in the long term on the U.S. public. Sure, ten years later it could be a great Disney movie, but will soccer ever stick in the U.S.?

11:04 PM  

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