Just 3 days to go till the biggest sporting event in this planet get started. I will be watching and closely following the Stars and Stripes. The Gun Slinger (just like SMQ has been doing with college football) has been doing previews after previews writing up the participants for this big shindig and he has this post up previewing our boys in red, white and blue:
Many 2002 players return for Germany, and qualifying was the easiest it's been in modern history. The USA qualified with three matches to go basically, sealing things with a fantastic win over Mexico, which capped a 5 game winning streak, each an impressive win.
The team is pretty well blended between players based in MLS and those based overseas (Germany and England, mainly). Claudio Reyna I still think is the best playmaker in the midfield, so his injury worries me greatly. Keeping remains a strong point, as Keller always plays better in international competitions, occasionally incredible. Howard and Hahnemann give depth few other teams have. Those keepers are definitely helped by the size and strength of Oguchi Onyewu, who may just be the best player on the roster. McBride will probably be the biggest scoring threat, but don't be surprised if Beasley's speed is tough to handle in the Czech match.
But the one to watch is Landon Donovan. Yes, he wasn't able to hack it in Germany before. Yes, he sometimes has trouble with physical, bigger defenders. But he's also the one player attacking on the US roster who has made me surprised by plays I didn't think Americans could do. He's dangerous outside the box. He can whip crosses in. He can slip behind opponents. And he's hitting his prime. Plus, never forget the power of narrative in the World Cup. A young Donovan was pretty much shamed by German soccer. Watch him return and show what they missed. He'll be the best American player.
But the group is just too tough. Had the US gotten Mexico's draw, easy advance. Costa Rica's, easy advance. Even Trinidad and Tobago's, they'd probably advance. But instead they're stuck with two exceptional European teams, and a good African team. No gimmes. And worst still, they play the two big Euros first, and Ghana last. So the US doesn't get the advantage of posting something on the board against the small team for the others to match.
I needed some kind of excuse to link up Bono on BruinsNation. That will work.
Remember 4 Bruins were selected in USA's 24 man roster (most from any D-1 program in the country). Let's hope they can shock the world baby.
That's a video from a fan who got the moments of USA's game winning goal (scored by DeMarcus Beasley) against Mexico in a world cup qualifying match. The bedlam here reminds you of another moment we experienced in March? Doesn't it?
If you are planning to watch these games here is the cup schedule and here is the schedule for Red, White and Blue. The Yankees get started a week from today against the Czechs - Monday, May 12 around 12:00 pm EST. I cannot wait.
USA USA USA!
oh and GO BRUINS.