Monday, June 26, 2006

No One Ever is to Blame

Apologies to Howard Jones....

I was in Tampa over the wknd, at the in-laws. No internet access, so I couldn't update my postings. Remind me to get a laptop one of these days, if only b/c the idea of adding things from a remote location has a certain romanticism to it. It's probably good I didn't post Thursday afternoon or Friday, b/c I had so much on my mind about the Ghana game and the US performance in general.

That being said, I don't think any particular person or persons are to blame for the US not making it out of Group E. We all knew going in that it would be tough, that we'd need some breaks and great health from our players. Well, we got a few breaks/missed out on a few others, some key players like Gibbs and O'Brien were hurt, and we still had a chance to make it to the 2nd round with a win over Ghana.

But, I digress..

People talk about Blaming the Refs, but I don't think anybody is really doing it. The Refs have been quick to show yellows and reds, but that's how FIFA wanted it. Basically, if you want to blame a referee for your team losing, no matter what sport.. get in line, pal.

Bruce Arena said some things after the Czech game that I didn't think were typical of him, but it's not his fault that his team couldn't muster much offense. We were outplayed. Beasley wasn't in form; Donovan was guarded well, and McBride got headers, but couldn't do much with them. I think the whole tournament was shaped by the 3-0 loss to the Czechs, but that's not really Arena's fault. People are saying that he didn't prepare his team well enough for that game, but if you're a pro athlete, nobody should have to prepare you to play a big game.

So, I really think it comes down to talent. When we needed more offense after the first game, what were the US choices - Eddie Johnson, who hadn't done much, ditto for Brian Ching and Josh Wolff. If you're in a World Cup, and you're offensive choices when you need goals are those 3, you're in trouble. We have good players, but no great ones. Many of our players have certain skills - speed, crosses, dribbling, but not enough of them. Maybe these games verify for some of us what we've thought all along - that as much as we love this team, we're still a ways away from where we need to be.