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“Unimaginable:” No Olympics for US, Union rankings, more

Photo: Courtesy of  AP/Sporting News

Well, on the bright side, the Union will have Freddy Adu, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams back ahead of Saturday’s match against Vancouver…Nah, not working, too soon. This still sucks.

US

In need of a win against El Salvador on Monday night in order to advance to the semifinals in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, US U-23 coach Caleb Porter said, “There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to get the result.”

After a shocking 2–0 defeat to Canada on Saturday, the US chances of advancing to the winner takes all semifinals were buoyed when Cuba managed a 91st minute equalizer against Canada earlier in the day. A win not only would not only see the US through, it would give them the top finish in the group and so avoid Mexico in the semis.

Instead, the US coughed up a 94th minute equalizer to be eliminated from Olympic qualification for only the second time since 1976. (The last time was 2004.)

“No doubt” had turned into “To be seconds away from getting the number one seed…..It’s unimaginable.”

Freddy Adu, who recorded two fabulous assists, said after the game, “This is probably the worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my life so far as a pro athlete. This is going to be hard to get over. But at the end of the day things like this happen. For me, I never want to feel this way again, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to never feel this way again.”

El Salvador coach Mauricio Alfaro said Sean Johnson, who replaced starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid in the 39th minute, should have saved the equalizer. “The shot didn’t have much power.”

When asked what he said to Johnson after the game, Porter said, “I just hugged him. Cried with him. What more do you do?”

Soccer America says of Johnson, “he was hardly the only one to blame for the epic collapse.”

Cheap play abounded in the game, including Terrence Boyd being bloodied by a El Salvador defender in the 81st minute. It should have been a penalty kick but the ref did not see it. The AP reports that Mix Diskerud and Adu told reporters that they had been bitten during the game and showed marks to prove it. Said Diskerud, “Part of the game, I guess.”

Sporting News writes, “Let the regret and recrimination begin.”

ESPN says that Porter must receive the brunt of criticism. “His lineup choices were curious and he didn’t respond decisively as the tenor of matches changed. He likely will be a very good coach at an advanced level, but he isn’t yet, and U.S. Soccer’s decision to appoint him last fall, whether or not Jurgen Klinsmann pushed for it, should be examined.”

SI says, “Four players on this U-23 team — Zarek Valentin, Perry Kitchen, Amobi Okugo and Joe Gyau — were part of the favored U-20 team that did not qualify for last summer’s World Cup. That’s not to say that it is a clear indication of the future, but it’s far from a comfortable development to cultivate a culture of coming up short. And failing to get the chance to compete in international competitions means these players are missing out on the chance to go up against the world’s best and continue their development.”

Player ratings from Soccer America, SI, and ESPN. All of them hold Okugo responsible for his part in allowing the equalizer.

Philadelphia Union

Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas says of Dominic Oduro’s goal, “It was good for him to beat a guy and finish in the air. Normally, that’s not one of his strengths, but his timing, the jump, the way he headed the ball was perfect.” Let’s see, good to beat a guy, normally not one of his strengths. Yeah, I definitely feel better about the goal.

Oduro’s strike is up for Goal of the Week. To recap, in the first week, Kris Boyd’s header against the Union was the winner, edging out Sebastien Le Toux’s goal for Vancouver. The two goals surrendered by the Union against Colorado were apparently nothing to write home about but Oduro’s header put the Union back into the gallery of pain.

Dave Zeitlin’s Inside Doop column at CSNPhilly has storylines for the upcoming week.

Power Rankings: At Soccer America and Goal.com, the Union drop from 17th to 19th. Rantsports.com has the Union at No. 18. At SI, the drop is from 13th to 17th: “This supposed contender is an absolute mess.”

Looking at the Union’s result against Chicago, DC United blog Black and Red United says, “Good news, guys. A spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs has opened up!”

MLS

Thierry Henry has been named Player of the Week after his brace against Colorado.

Women’s Pro Soccer

Philadelphia Fever have announced their second signing, former University of Memphis midfielder Brittany Baldwin. Their first signing was former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Leanne Champ.

Amanda DaCosta writes about being with Sky Blue in Japan.

Elsewhere

Liam Stacey, 21, university student, idiot, has been jailed for 56 days after being found guilty of inciting racial hatred for comments he tweeted following Fabrice Muamba’s collapse, the first of which read, “LOL. Fuck Muamba. He’s dead!!!”. The Guardian reports that after others sent tweets critical of his remarks, “Stacey branded people who criticized him on Twitter as ‘wogs’ and told one to ‘go pick some cotton.’” Stacey says he was drunk. “”I was at the bar when I heard what had happened to Muamba. I don’t know why I posted it. I’m not racist and some of my friends are from different cultural backgrounds.”

Concerns are growing as fan violence continues to escalate in Brazil where there have been two soccer-related deaths in little more than a week.

15 Comments

  1. DarthLos117 says:

    Not the first time Okugo lost his mark. Cultivating a culture of coming up short…Ouch!!! I hope not.

    • The fact that this is your take away from this entire experience is sad.

      • DarthLos117 says:

        Awefully presumptuous of you to assume that is what I “take away from the entire experience.” Eli what should I take away from this experience? WTF are you talking about anyway? What experience? Im talking about Okugo’s historic inability to lose his mark. Thats it. I also said that I hope we are not cultivating a culture of coming up short.

        • So many mistakes were made. Just seemed an odd choice and odd time.

          • DarthLos117 says:

            I fAckinig hate that we lost this and that we didnt make last years world cup. American soccer needs our national teamS to perform/show NOW not tomorrow…

        • okugo’s historic inability to lose his mark? that was an easy, easy, easy save. johnson makes it and nobody ever mentions okugo.

  2. I didn’t watch the game, thank god, but my take away is that failure is part of the process. Its fair to criticize, but everyone need to realize the sights are set on the future. Honestly, I think in the future we will look back at this period not as a massive failure, but as the first time a American team played beautiful attacking soccer and started to grow into the new era of American soccer culture.

  3. question of the day. Adu williams and okugo. Back to philly for the vancouver gay? Boom

  4. First of all Johnson should have saved that ball. He actually did and prevented the looooong ‘hail-marry-last-shot-of-the-game’ from going in but then somehow the ball spun out of his hands and flipped upwards into the goal. It was just an incredible sight.

    I thought the goalies and defenders were just terrible throughout the last 2 games and I can not believe that Porter picked them. Believe that on the 2nd goal Honduras scored, our left defender was just ball watching while the attacker ran past him and scored that goal; just incredible that we have HS type defenders play Olympic qualification games.

    US Soccer is hitting rock bottom with the failures of the U20 and U23 teams and Klinsman’s numbers are also not yet very rosy, except for that win against Italy. Recent changes in the youth development and coach appointments need a serious look.

    • Regarding you last comments (and Los’ comments about USA teams needing to win now), WTF!?!? No way man. I assume you both know/follow international leagues or teams regularly, so you both know how far behind America is. Not just in skill set, but in the soccer culture. In the respect it gets.
      To say stuff like we need to win now/a BRAND NE youth system needs a “serious” look is nothing short of asinine. We aren’t simply trying to fix up a former world class team here guys, we are trying to CREATE something that isnt here right now – an American soccer culture.
      And right now, the obvious best choice is to play attractive, possession soccer, and adjust the youth system to make better use of our world class athletic talent (that is on display in all other sports).
      So yes, they deserve to be criticized, but to say anything else at this point is crazy. I’m not even sure how you two can think like this. Jeez, do you also drop out of a class when you get a C- on the first homework assignment too? Some perspective is needed here.

      • James, you got a major issue of you think the U20 and the U23 recent results are acceptable and are part of the evolution. There are some major issues that need correction. One of them may be that it is maybe not such a good idea to get guys from all corners of this earth. Did you ever hear Corona (#10) talk? He barely speaks English … In the past they may not have had many skills but at least they played with heart and team spirit; something they lacked last few days. Getting guys together who know each other better may have turned into a better result. I mean we made the Olympics every time since 1974. Now suddenly not; is this acceptable since we are working ‘on a project’? a big NO!

        • Your whole argument falls apart when you realize this team DID show heart and spirit when it came back after giving up two straight goals … and Corona was involved in setting up one of our goals too.
          Also it’s never a good idea to base an argument on your xenopobia, going into this tournament all we heard about was how well this team played together and how good the chemistry was.

        • Ed Farnsworth says:

          Not to comment on the points either of you are making about current concerns, but this is the second time since 1976 the US has failed to qualify for the Olympics, the first time being 2004.
          Note that the US did not qualify for the World Cup for 40 years between 1950 and 1990. Not qualifying for the Olympics in 2004 followed the best US showing in the World Cup since finishing third in the the first World Cup in 1930.
          What does this mean? Other than the question of whether the quality of coaching is able to best take advantage of a cycle of emerging talent, I don’t know other than to suggest that junior and senior squad accomplishments don’t necessarily follow, or depend, one another.

  5. Not qualifying is disappointing to say the least. It is what it is at this point. US needs to continue to develope and invest in its youth system. MLS needs to continue to grow, and quality of play needs to improve. Its disappointing. They should have qualified.

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