Sunday, June 25, 2006

 

Football vs. Futbol

Well, the world cup is over for the US. They went out with a whimper, not a bang. You can criticize the players for not showing energy. You can criticize the referees for some questionable calls. The most criticism, in my book, goes to Bruce Arena who stuck with a lackluster line-up for far too long. Jim Litke of the AP agrees.

I disagree with his analogy, however. He compared the penalty kick to a free throw. It's worse than that. Free throws sometimes account for half of the shots taken in a basketball game. Unless they happen with 1.9 seconds left (think Dwayne Wade in Game 5), they're not going to have a major impact on the flow of the game.

The players for Ghana were flopping all over the field. There were at least 2 occasions when the ref could have given a yellow card for deliberately taking a dive. The penalty on Onyewu that drew the PK is akin to Michael Irvin drawing a pass interference penalty in the end zone. It gives you 4 chances from the 1 yard line, and you are pretty sure to score. It also deflates a defense that may have, up to that point, shut out an offense. It is one game-changing mistake that is hard to overcome.

So, the US will drop out of the top 10 in world rankings (being #5 was a stretch anyway). There will be a big turn-over in players for the next World Cup drive. And it's not even for sure that we'll qualify.

Bruce Arena is a great coach. But, he had his shot. I think it's time to start fresh with a new round of players.

Anyone know if Freddie Adu has become a US citizen yet?

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