Why the U.S. win against Algeria is the most important moment in American soccer history

I’ve needed to settle down for awhile after that riveting soccer game that saw Landon Donovan score the game winner in stoppage time before writing this post.  I’ve done that, now let me tell why this game (and win) were so important to the popularity of soccer in the U.S.A.

There’s basically three camps in the United States when it comes to soccer.

1.  There’s the “soccer sucks and the only way I’m watching is if I’m being tortured” camp.

2.  The “I’m not a soccer fan, but I watch the World Cup and I’ll go to an MLS game if I get a ticket” group.

3.  The “I have three fantasy league soccer teams with players from the leagues in Brazil, Greece, and Russia” camp.

In the past, the second and third groups have watched the U.S. soccer team with high hopes.  The team has been alleged to be good but in reality have flamed out far below expectations.  Moreover, there have been plenty of opportunities for the U.S. team to get that signature win which makes Americans take notice.  A 1-0 loss to Germany in 2002, A tie to Italy in 2006, and the 2009 Confederation loss to Brazil after leading 2-0.  In each case, the fans were told, the team played well but just was unlucky to win.  We’ll get ’em next time.


It’s been obvious for years that the only way soccer gets any credibility is to get results and do some damage on Soccer’s biggest stage.  This World Cup gave the U.S. the perfect chance.  No overinflated expectations as in 2006, when the U.S. was ranked 5th in the world, nor any “just happy to be here” sentiments.  Win or failure.  An ideal most Americans, even the non-soccer fans, understand.

Then there’s been the way they played so far.  See, the only way Americans are gonna watch a sport they normally wouldn’t is if there is drama and excitement.   They need riveting theater.  This World Cup has given it to them.

First, they come back against England, yes with the help of an atrocious goal, but they came back nonetheless.

Theater.  They showed some true “American” grit.

Then they suck against Slovenia, but come back late to score two goals and the winner, only to be screwed by “the call.”

Theater.  There was action, drama, and outrage.

Everything led up to the game with Algeria, and the stakes were right where any red blooded American wants them.  Back against the wall.  Win or die.

For 90 minutes they let the drama simmer.  Lost chances?   Check.  More villainy?  Check.  The specter of those “unlucky soccer kids who played well but can’t win” hanging in the air?  Definitely check.  Add to that England’s goal that cemented the “win or die” storyline and you have the perfect set up.

And as the seconds kept ticking away, the tension built and built.  We’re talking “will they find the bomb in the schoolyard in time’ tension.

Then….as “official time” ended and all hope was lost, Tim Howard, goalkeeper, saves the day, keeping the ball out of the net and throwing (throwing?) the ball some 60 yards to a streaking Donovan…..


Donovan pass the ball to Altidore…….


Altidore gets the ball in to Dempsey who HAS THE SHOT SAVED!



long pause to hold breath.

DONOVAN SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!  OH MY GOD!!!!!!!

Bars, offices, schools, my couch, erupted in cheers.  The only people not happy were the Hollywood writers who wished they’d thought of this moment for a script.

Even more important was that millions of Americans saw a soccer game, a 1-0 soccer game, that was the total opposite of the “boring, unwatchable tripe” memo that sports talk hosts had been feeding them for years.

Now they understand what the world has known for years.  Soccer can be pretty darn exciting.

So do all the Americans who cheered Donovan’s late heroics start following the MLS?  Of course not, but some will.  And do all those fans leave, if and when the U.S. loses against Ghana, or Uruguay, or South Korea?  Some, but that really doesn’t matter very much because now U.S. Soccer has produced a split second where all Americans, soccer fans and detractors experienced what the game of soccer could give them.  Drama, excitement, exhilaration.

U.S. soccer now has its moment, and nothing or no one can take that away.

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Solving a problem Kevin Costner style

I’m a firm believer in conservation. However, I’m also a capitalist. I have always had disdain for the folks who carry on about “globalwarmingcoolingclimatechange” and then brag about driving their ’68 Volkswagon Bus cross-country, or those that fly privately to far off countries to complain about various climate issues.

You know the ones. The “Enviro-scolds.”

You want me to buy a cleaner car? Make one that takes me up the mountains at 75 like my car now. Make recycling easier and profitable. Incentives work way better than punishments.

This said, you can see why Kevin Costner is my newest idol.

British Petroleum – desperate for ideas – gave the okay to test six of (Kevin) Costner’s gizmos Wednesday, after the Army Corps of Engineers gave the machine a thumbs-up.

Costner’s $24 million centrifuge machine has a Los Angeles-perfect name, “Ocean Therapy.”

Placed on a barge, it sucks in oily water, separates out the oil and spits back clean water.

Awesome idea!  What makes it better is Costner’s quote about his new device.

“It’s prepared to go out and solve problems, not talk about them.”

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Why I’m glad I’m not living in Iceland at the moment

Volcano?  What Volcano?

It’s amazing how the most dangerous things can also be the most beautiful.

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A thought about the Super Bowl ads and the poor treatment of women

Some people are upset about this ad because of the violence against women.  O.K. I get it.  I wasn’t offended by it, but, well, I suppose some people could be.

But for all those who were offended by the violence of the “Tebow” ad, I have a question.

Shouldn’t you mention this ad too?  Or this one?  Or this one?  I guess those acts of violence against women don’t count.

If you’re gonna be against violence to women in ads, be against ALL violence against women in ads, not just one.  It’s almost if you have an agenda of some sort.

And that’s the problem with agendas, they end up making you look like a hypocrite.

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Venezuela, a non-expert analysis

I just got back from Venezuela and had to make a few observations about how things are there.

First, I love Venezuela, but it definitely has some problems.  And it all stems from one person.  El Presidente, Hugo Chavez.

When you´re in Venezuela, it´s hard not to hear from, or about Chavez and his talking about the U.S.  In fact, there´s a great YouTube post (looking for the video, but can’t seem to find it) (It’s there now, in Spanish. thanks to Julia)from the OAS where the representative from Panama told the joke.

“When his wife cheats on him, a right wing fascist will beat her up.  A social conservative will plead with her “Why?” The communist will immediately collect all the stones around and start throwing them at the U.S. Embassy.”

In Venezuela, there is more than a little truth about that joke.

Throughout the whole country, there are rolling power outages and water shortages, all because Chavez long ago fired anyone capable of maintaining these infrastructures who was not Chavista.  So what does he do?  Does he try and fix the problems?


Instead he throws rocks at the United States.  Chavez says U.S. planes are spying on him, that Obama is the same as Bush, and that a U.S. attack on Venezuela is coming anytime.

Listening to all this, there’s only one conclusion I can make.

He wishes the United States would invade.  It’s the only way he can get out of this complete fiasco he’s created for himself.

Think about this.  Ten years ago, Venezuela was exporting electricity to other countries.  Now there are shortages.  So much so that Christmas lights were forbidden in many areas.  Additionally, water is being rationed throughout the country.  In Caracas, the water is shut off so they can conserve.


Ask any Venezuelan about this.  They are tired.  Tired of lines 50 people deep waiting for the money machines with no power.  They are tired of shopping in dark malls because  whole cities lose power for hours on end.  They are tired of storing water so that they can use the toilet, or have a drink of water.  One woman said to me that if she had told people that Venezuelans were sitting in the dark”with no light and no water they would never believe us.”

It’s true.  And they know who’s to blame for it.

Oh yeah, elections are coming up this year, which could spell big trouble for Chavez.

If the elections are clean (a huge “if”, I know) there is a good chance that the congress could have a significant number of opposition members elected.  Why?  Opposition parties who have boycotted past elections in protest are instead organizing and winning.  There were several opposition wins last year for governor and mayors of major cities, including Caracas.  Of course, Chavez usurped the election and took away the winner’s powers, the police, etc.  That will be much harder to do if several opposition candidates gain seats in congress this year.

He will certainly try, but it may just backfire.

Many remember that when the first vote to change the Venezuelan Constitution, in order to let Chavez run indefinitely, failed Chavez tried to withhold the voting results until the military stepped in and said it would not support him if he didn’t acknowledge the results.

I can see a similar scenario unfolding again if Chavez, say, dissolves an opposition controlled congress.

His grip on the presidency is weak right now with many of his former supporters now turning against him.  He must tread carefully if he wants to remain president.

Chavez, of course, recognizes none of this.  He still grandstands, acts impulsively (devaluation anyone?), and still believes (and hopes) a U.S. invasion is coming.   It won’t of course.  And why would we?  Chavez is doing a fine job of losing his grip on Venezuela without our help.

So here’s to a hopefully happy, and Chavez free Venezuela in 2010.


Filed under Politics, Uncategorized, What the F%$#!!!

The word of the day is…..


Just ask Drew Litton

The Real Thing

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Filed under Colorado Football, Just Cool, Just Sports

A thought about the Olympics pick

I found it pretty amazing that no South American country has ever hosted an Olympics and I think it’s about time that they got one.

Congratulations to Rio and Brazil!!!!

And thank goodness ol’ Chavez didn’t get them.  Could you just imagine?

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Shannon Sharpe knows how to make an entrance

Congrats to Shannon for making the Bronco Ring of Fame.

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When racism isn’t

Just saw the transcript of the Gates 911 call and it seems pretty tame.  In fact, I think the thing that struck me most was a concerted lack of labeling Gates and his chauffeur as any type of race.

It won’t matter though as most everyone has already made up their minds about this regardless of what facts may come out.

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Confederations Cup results: A balanced view

When looking at the U.S. finishing 2nd in the Confederations Cup, it is easy to start getting excited about the team.  I think, however, the excitement might be a little premature.

If we look at the tournament in its entirety we see, not a soccer team ready to vie for a World Cup, but rather a team that made the semifinals via the longest of long shots.  Did they deserve to be there?  Sure, they made their own luck, but that’s not to say that they’ve been a dominant team recently.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the victory over Spain was an excellent win, but it was a bit like surviving a siege.  The U.S. were dominated in every aspect of that game except on the scoreboard.  The U.S. will not get very far next summer, or even in CONCACAF letting Tim Howard get shelled every game.

That’s the problem.  The U.S. played the same way for every game of the Confederations Cup except for their game against Egypt, a team ranked considerably lower than them that they should beat every time.

When you look at each game of the tourney, it becomes even more obvious that the U.S. is not nearly ready for primetime.

Game 1:  They go up 1-0 at halftime and then let in 3 second half goals to Italy and lose 3 -1.

Game 2:  They get blown out by Brazil, who score 3 first half goals and cruise.  The final is 3 – 0.

In fact, going into the third game against Egypt, who beat Italy and nearly beat Brazil, most thought it was going to be another blowout.

Game 3:  The U.S. did a great job and finally played to win rather than not to lose, but the 3-0 win only helped them when Italy collapsed against Brazil.

Game 4:  The U.S. scored a goal early, then held on for dear life against Spain, who everyone knows overlooked the U.S..  Even then, Spain had most of the chances and were unlucky to score.  A late U.S. goal makes the final 2-0, but there was no time in that match that U.S. looked equal to Spain.

Game 5:  Finally the U.S. played like they may be ready to do something in the World Cup.  The first half against Brazil was the best they’ve played in months, but 45 minutes doesn’t make a game, and to be fair, Brazil still had most of the play.  If Tim Howard doesn’t make several huge saves, the game is tied at the half.  The U.S. comes out  and gets crushed in the second half when Brazil scores 3 (really 4) goals and ends up with the trophy.

The U.S. really played about 120 minutes of good soccer out of a possible 450 minutes played.  Not really the type of performance we should be expecting out of the 14th best team in the World, according to FIFA.

In fact, I believe that if the U.S. keeps playing the way they did for most of the Confederations Cup in CONCACAF qualifying, they might not even make it to the World Cup next summer.

The U.S. has a lot of work to do before next summer.  They would do well to study their play in the whole tourney rather than focusing on where they finished.

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