Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Still Stunned

24 hours later and I'm still stunned at what happened in World Cup Qualifying last night.  I had no thought that the 4th, 5th, and 6th placed teams would all win.  I figured the absolute worst case was that we'd stumble and either Panama or Honduras would pull a major upset and we'd have to beat the Aussies for our trip too Russia.  More likely I figured we'd play a boring draw and just squeak into the 3rd spot.

There's a lot of hot takes out there right now about who to blame and what the U.S. should do next.  Personally, I think the players take the majority of the blame for only playing a complete game about 3 times in the 10 game hex.  Last night, especially in the first half, we looked like a team that assumed we were going to Russia and didn't have to make an effort.  Outside of Pulisic and maybe Yedlin I don't think anyone on that field deserves to continue as a Nats member, and that includes Howard.

As for what we do from here, I don't know.  There is no easy answer.  Pundits have talked about what Germany did after their failures in 1998 and 2000 and I think the general idea is the right one.  The USSF, MLS, the USL (I'd say the NASL but they're going to be out of business in a few months) and the USSDA need to get together, figure out what the long-term plan is, and all commit to that plan.  That will require some give and take from all parties, and most likely new leadership at the USSF, but its time to examine everything in the U.S. soccer sphere, from the Nats to the Rapids Academy.

Next June/July is going to be very different for American fans.  For the first time in most of our lifetimes, or at least in the part of our lifetimes when we've been soccer fans, the Yanks won't be at the World Cup.  I'm going to be watching the UEFA playoffs next month to see if either of my ancestral sides, Ireland and Sweden, get through to Russia.  If they're both eliminated I'm not sure who I'll back next year, maybe Colombia.


Rod Gallagher said...

Why not Iceland? Seems a natural fit....

Jason Maxwell said...

Too many damn hipsters backing Iceland already