25 June 2007

In All Probability, the USA will Get Murdered in Copa America. Good.

By now, we've seen the Copa America rosters, and comparing the USA with, say Argentina is certainly a humbling experience. Hell, Columbia and Paraguay's squads both boast several names that even my impaired knowledge recognizes. If we finish third and manage to get out of the group stage, it will be an accomplishment.

So why am I strangely pleased with this outcome. Partially because I'm immature, and it gives me a chance to put the USA back into a familiar context. But also, given that we're going to play our kids, this is the perfect way to get their heads right in four years. The World Cup Finals are a difficult endeavor, played in a different country at an elite level. It is not easy. And perhaps the most recent memories of international competition among the 2006 World Cup players were of qualification (fairly easy in comparison), a Gold Cup win, and a successful 2002 campaign. Compare that to the 2002 squad, who all too easily might recall the debacle of 1998.

Look, I don't want the US humiliated, and I don't want to have the confidence of these young players destroyed, but there is something to be said for the teachable moment. Some of these players are going to be on the World Cup squad in three years. And when that time comes, there will be the memory of the 2007 Copa America to remind them just how big a challenge it is they're facing. And then they can tell themselves "Hey, I don't want to feel outclassed again. I need to take this very seriously, I can't be complacent. But I'm better, wiser, savvier than I was three years ago. And I have some motivation for revenge." That seems like a good thing indeed, and perhaps something we wouldn't have if we took our "A" squad from today down there. Doesn't seem like a bad thing to me at all.

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At 25 June, 2007 20:20, Anonymous Al Michaels said...

Nope. Miracle on grass. You heard it here first.

Argentina 1

At 25 June, 2007 21:55, Blogger The Beautiful Game said...

I call the biggest ass-kicking of all time.

Argentina 4
U.S.A. 0

At 25 June, 2007 23:31, Blogger Oscar M. said...

I think I can agree with you, although I think 2 players who really need this lesson - Donovan and Beasley (to a slighly lesser extent) - won't be there to learn it.

At 26 June, 2007 09:18, Blogger Jason said...

@oscar m.

Do you really think there is any amount of loss that would really teach something like this to Donovan? Beasley might get something out of it (although I somewhat doubt it).

I think Donovan has such an inflated ego about it all that he can no longer understand that he's not always right.

The only thing I can think of that might teach him anything, is being left off squads to really important stuff (to the point where it might be good to leave him off a major tournament squad to do it).

At 26 June, 2007 10:34, Blogger Oscar M. said...

I'm a bit optimistic, having heard a radio interview with Donavan where he said he'd like to go back and play more intensely.

I think part of Donovan's problem is that he doesn't have enough of an ego to make him more competitive.

At 26 June, 2007 18:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, we'll get murdered, but this was a great squad selection in some ways. It's always great to get experience for those young guys that will be fixtures in coming years. It's also good to have some veterans with fewer caps to get the minutes they've always deserved (i'm looking at you Mr. Hat-Trick Hero). There's also a couple of guys on this squad that could be a MNT revelation. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Feilhaber and just seeing Jay DeMerit. Then there's a last group of players who could really be the lynchpin of this team. The last-chance saloon guys. The guys who really need a good showing. I put Boswell in this group along with Eddie Johnson and some of the other promising players who have been given opportunities to distinguish themselves, but just haven't.


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