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.
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.”
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!”
Thierry Henry has been named Player of the Week after his brace against Colorado.
Women’s Pro Soccer
Amanda DaCosta writes about being with Sky Blue in Japan.
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.