Not ready to come home.
No, this U.S. Men’s soccer team is not ready to return home yet.
That is the story I wanted to write. In a way, I am writing that story. Just not in a way I had hoped. I’m left wanting.
As is the team. Wanting. Wanting to make that crucial pass. That crucial kick. That crucial touch.
The difference maker that would put Team USA ahead. For good.[tweet https://twitter.com/ChrisWondo/status/484127148849238016 align=’center’]
Chris Wondowlowski had his chance.[tweet https://twitter.com/SBNationSoccer/status/484092689898430465 align=’center’]
That’s what the U.S. gave too many of in this game. They gave Belgium too many chances. 38 to be exact. Of those 38, 27 were shots on goal. Goalie Tim Howard had to play otherworldly to stop 16 of them. Two, well, he couldn’t quite be other-universally could he?
And yet, the U.S. still had a chance. But, that’s how it is with U.S. Men’s Soccer. There’s always a chance. And we, as Americans, fully embrace that notion. Every four years we embrace it. Less, for those of us who follow the game closely. We know that it’s not a wait until 2018 mentality. We know there are games between now and then that are important with a lead-up to Russia in four years. But, for the casual fan this was the chance.
The chance to embrace Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, DaMarcus Beasley, DeAndre Yedlin. The chance to wear the colors of our flag with pride. To fall in love with a team that could unite us under one umbrella. To conquer a mountain established by the world’s game that always says the Americans are not ready for the elite level of football (futbol, soccer).
It was a chance to show we belonged.
*[tweet https://twitter.com/jwondo/status/484132029408104449 align=’center’]
As Chris Wondolowski’s dad reminds us above (tweet was retweeted by Chris’ MLS team the San Jose Earthquakes), the heart of this team was inspiring and amazing. We should be proud of how this team handled the Group of Death. Proud of how they held their own against the likes of Germany, Portugal, Ghana and yes, Belgium. Watching DaMarcus Beasley, at age 32, running like a boss from his left back position, drawing fouls and playing full speed from kickoff today…that’s the spirit die-hard and casual fans embrace in this country.
Was it the outcome we were looking for? No. Were there questionable line-up and substitution decisions made? Yes. Now that there’s no “World Cup tomorrow”, there will be plenty of time for analyzation and over-analyzation. We wanted it to be them not wanting to come home because they’re still playing feeling, not this.
Instead, we’ll wait another four years (again, less for the die-hards). For now, all we can say is:[tweet https://twitter.com/ussoccer/status/484105385348182016 align=’center’]
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