"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." -Oscar Wilde
Once you've finished rinsing off the filthy Orientalist notions in that quote, I have no doubt you'll see its relevance to the national team. Maybe the half-baked title pun will make sense too.
Nonetheless, the U.S. got it done tonight in fairly convincing fashion to wrap up its squeakiest semifinal round since 2000. My eyes saw wing play opening all the doors tonight, and you can read my full schpiel on that aspect of the game over at S365.
- Eddie Johnson has never looked so good in a USA uniform. The kits themselves are still sluggishly growing on me, but the way he's using his body, combining with Dempsey, running at defenders ... those dudes looked scared tonight. Can you blame them?
- Back line doesn't look Hex-ready yet. Yes, we were without Fab, Cameron's been playing elsewhere, these things do matter, but the team cannot go on giving up early goals like that. Howard had a weird day in goal too. He gets a pass for now though.
- Michael Bradley and Danny Williams playing as well as they did together is awesome. Not just because they're too prime-age midfielders, because it enables Klinsmann to on the offensive more in the rest of midfield.
- Dempsey didn't really go anywhere. You can say he's back if you want. Klinsmann's given him the keys to the car. And he likes it.
- O Canada!
- On a related note, this Hex is going to be off the wall. It's the U.S., Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama. You'll read about this in future post, but if you look at the past few cycles of CONCACAF qualifying, the final round tends to shake out in either 4+2 or a 3+3 fashion with the former being more difficult for all involved. This one might just break the mold though. The styles of play, the away venues, the depth these teams are developing. I mean, another trip to The Office might be the easiest away game in the group. Think about that.
And watch all the goals from tonight's game.
- Jacob Klinger