Friday, March 09, 2012

The Five Greatest US Soccer Team Moments

In the wake of the United States soccer team's first-ever victory over Italy on February 29 (in Genoa, where the Italians had never lost), The Guardian's Sports Blog decided to compile the USA's Five Greatest Soccer Results. It's hard to quibble too much with the list (and really they take into account any alternative results, though it's hard to ignore the Algeria game in the 2010 World Cup that advanced them to the knockout stages) and I suspect that over time the win over Italy will recede, if slightly.

The list also brings a couple of thoughts to mind.

First: It's not exactly a rich history.

Second: Nonetheless, the trajectory is clear -- in the last twenty years or so, and especially in the last decade, the US has risen to become a legitimate second-or-third-tier presence in the Beautiful Game. And no, I don't intend that as a backhanded compliment. In a generation or so we have gone from being a backwater and punchline in the world's most popular game to being a team that can play with even elite teams without fear of being humiliated. Or at least without fear of being humiliated too badly.

Perhaps the biggest sign of the burgeoning respect our national team has earned? The Guardian blog post is not ironic, patronizing, or tongue-in-cheek and the comments are worth the read, which is truly rare in this day and age where bile is the default excretion online.


Ken said...

I agree with your broad comments on the US soccer team. But I suspect some of the Guardian respect comes from its recent change in business model to chase US advertising revenue (see hiring Ana Marie Cox and the whole operation). In the same way that it's realized there's a niche for giving decent generalist coverage in the UK of US sports, so the same runs the other way. Never bite the hand that feeds you!

Anonymous said...

I never understood why football(soccer) didnt become popular in the USA, like it did in south america and africa. After all, the usa and canada were born from the uk, the creators of the sport. Always a mystery that out of all the british sports, america chose Rounders(baseball) as their national sport.
nevertheless, it is true that you are improving, and doing so vastly. Though when you look at it, a rich nation of over 300 million,SHOULD be doing well at football. If america only took it as serious as Brazil does, the usa would have atleast 2 or 3 world cups to their name.
still, in a generation or two, i think that will start to become more of a reality, though i hope it doesnt. nothing against america, just england has enough rivals(who we secretly know are better than us) without another coming along.


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