116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Spittin' Nails

"We've got a chance now, and we're excited about that. You betcha come four or five days we're gonna be spittin' nails again." - Kasey Keller, fired up (as he should be) following the USA's 1-1 draw with Italy.

Today is a great day to be a U.S. soccer fan. Sure, they didn't play a perfect match, and their lack of discipline nearly led to their demise, but in toughing out a 1-1 draw, with nine men, against an Italy side that had solved our defense by the 70th minute, they achieved quite the spiritual victory. The spirit that was so lacking on Monday was abundant in spades against the Azzuri, and our national pride, as well as belief in our players, was restored. Now we face another do-or-die situation, facing Ghana on Thursday, with our heads held high, and with the ability to talk $#!+ to every Italian we meet for at least four years, knowing that they couldn't beat us with nine men.
Clint Dempsey and Oguchi Onyewu get the game balls. Deuce gave the Americans the kind of swagger Landon Donovan can only talk about, and his confidence on the ball really set the tone early, making the USA an attacking force from the beginning. Gooch came up huge, fouling, shoving, knocking and generally beating up Luca Toni (aka "The Juggernaut, Bitch!"), reducing him to a complete non-factor. Beyond singling those two players out, the entire team effort in the face of two red cards was fairly spectacular. Watching the U.S. Men throw themselves about the field provided the most inspirational performance I have seen in this Copa Mundial, and Kasey Keller, your save on Alessandro Del Piero was the stuff of legend. What a fantastic match! Even if the U.S. ultimately fails to move out of the group stage, perhaps this will be the World Cup in which the U.S. soccer team captured the hearts of the nation, simply by standing up for each other.


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