Wednesday, September 11, 2013
At This Point, Qualifying For the World Cup is a Formality; It's Time For The U.S. Men To Take The Next Step
Let me be clear: tonight is rightfully a time of celebration after the U.S. men's national team beat Mexico 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Columbus Crew Stadium. Coupled with Panama's 2-2 tie with Honduras, the Americans have reached the World Cup for the seventh consecutive time and 10th overall. That got me to thinking: it's about time that we started striving for more.
Being a Top-3 team in CONCACAF is not that difficult (Costa Rica also clinched a spot) and heaven forbid the U.S. comes in fourth, then they get to wipe the floor with a patsy from Oceania. What I'm trying to say is that now that we know what Jurgen Klinsmann (25-9-6) is all about, why don't we start demanding greater success at the World Cup? I'm sick of the U.S. struggling to get through the group stage then bowing out to an average team (hello Ghana in 2010). It's silly to think they can win the World Cup next summer in Brazil but why not make an unlikely run to the semifinals?
Mexico is a dumpster fire that looks destined for a date with New Zealand in the playoff after tonight's loss which was preceded by them firing their coach last weekend. To complete qualifying, the U.S. will meet Jamaica (Oct. 11) and Panama (Oct. 15) but this evening's results took all the intrigue out of them (which is what we were hoping for).
It was scoreless at halftime but the U.S. made it 1-0 on Eddie Johnson's powerful header (from Landon Donovan's cross) in the 49th minute then fittingly Donovan iced it in the 78th minute with a redirection from Mix Diskerud. Clint Dempsey had a chance to leave it at 3-0 but his last-second penalty kick missed the net.