Thinking diverges broadly on the status of the USMNT. Tie to Argentina on 26 March? Awesome! Lose 1-0 to Paraguay the 29th? Miserable! Paul Kennedy, writing for Soccer America, makes it sound like this was the US-Argentina match was the worst game he had ever seen in his life (clearly he's never watch Stoke City play). To read Kennedy’s various articles in Soccer America, there is very little that USSF can do right-or has ever done right. In contrast, MLS Soccer's Talk's Daniel Feuerstein raves about the team's style of play after that game and after the 1-0 loss to Paraguay as well. For Feuerstein, the game did not matter much because it was an exhibition, but 19-year-old Juan Agudelo's goal on Saturday was the greatest thing on Earth since Fidel Castro invented the cigar.
Not losing - and not being intimidated by Argentina - a team led by the greatest player currently in the game was impressive. In a game where our veterans (Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, etc. did not play well), Tim Howard's 13,000 saves kept us in the game, and Agudelo was able to notch his second goal in three appearances with the USMNT.
In the Paraguay game, the line-up was a bunch of guys that Coach Bob Bradley would ever start in a relevant match (World Cup, Gold Cup or even an exhibition against Argentina). This is the starting line-up that wouldn’t! Even in this game however, the team played fairly, despite the Paraguayan players hacking down US players every time they were beaten by individual efforts.
On a happy note, a groundswell of support has triggered a multitude of comments from unlikely sources:
- Col Muammar Gaddafi- that Juan Agudelo kid is brilliant, I wish he played for Juventus!
- Dr. Doom: Chandler's crosses are so beautiful, my iron mask almost rusted from the tears.
- Donald Rumsfeld: As I recall, that Bob Bradley assured me there was WMD in Iraq.
- Ghost of X-Mas Present: The Gold Cup is going to be awesome this year!
- Alexis Lalas: Dude, where’s my car?
- Diego Maradona: Tuesday I wished I’d been playing for Paraguay, because I would have loved to kick Clint Dempsey in the knee-cap!