By Ryan Fleming
We’re a nation that loves winners, grimaces in the face of losers, and at times loves jumping on the underdog’s bandwagon. After the United States were embarrassed in the first round of the 2006 World Cup, many think the Yanks are now losers and certainly underdogs.
That’s not a bad thing, is it?
The “losers” title doesn’t sound too pleasant, but that’s because we demand winners and we’re in a all-or-nothing trance and cannot get out of it.
The United States Men’s National Team aren’t one of the favorites to come away July 11th holding the Cup and nor should they be. To expect the Yanks, a group of youngsters, some unproven, to beat a team like Brazil, Italy, Spain, Netherlands or even England, who they play first, is unfair.
Yes, just last year the U.S. defeated Spain – arguably the biggest win for the U.S. in their short history of the world’s game. So, it could happen again. Our mouths could be left hanging in awe or we could be burning all sorts of calories – jumping up and down, hugging strangers, screaming at the top of our lungs in our favorite pub.
Expecting the Yanks, who are suffering from injuries, which lead to the loss of forward Charlie Davies, to win it all is too much. I’ll even say ignorant.
They might surprise the country with a game of awe-inspiring play, beating one of the world’s best, but to do it three, four times? Sorry, not happening.
A realistic goal for this team would be making it out of the group stages. In Group C the Yanks will have to play Algeria, Slovenia and it’s first opponent in the tournament, England. If the U.S. plays to it’s potential, they should finish second in the group and might, might, give England a run for their money.
After that, who knows.
The likelihood is all the world’s powers will be there: Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Netherlands, etc … For the players, it will be another moment to play the underdog, to upset one of the best, to prove the world wrong. It’s hard not to get excited, but the U.S. is still a young country, still developing within the game. Maybe in four more years we can talk about the U.S. raising the gold trophy, but for this year, let’s see them leave Algeria and Slovenia behind.
Hey, why not England, too?
Ryan Fleming is a writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. If his point of view seems silly, which they might be, let him know. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.