Red Zone Cuba (Yaks-Cubs R)

Amusingly enough, ussoccer.com doesn't have a link to the Hall of Fame induction announcement. Maybe they're ticked off and embarrassed about Earnie Stewart and Joy Fawcett, too.

What ussoccer.com does have, of course, is Matchtracker, which is why I've dialed it up. Matchtracker has improved over the years, to my eyes, but it's still not the optimum way to enjoy a game. Sadly, the Satellite of Love that sends me Fox Soccer Channel has apparently crashed into Gamera, so I'm stuck following along.

Here, this is a good sequence from Matchtracker. It's not enough to cancel FSC over, but it's really great to see personality from what I assume is a typist, and not Soccer House's experiment in artificial intelligence:

That's pretty entertaining stuff, even with the two Dixie Cups and string feel to the whole thing.

Sometimes Matchtracker can draw a picture, sometimes it can be maddening - here's a perfect example of both, right next to each other:

Can't do WHAT, Dad? On the other hand, that's one evocative sentence of the frustration the Yaks must have felt about the tying goal. Especially to close the first half which, apparently, we dominated.

We, meaning, the free world. Matchtracker is also calling us "we", which I adore. Yeah, we're not PLAYING, but I love it when reporters with a rooting interest admit it. And I especially love Editorializing Matchtracker:

Classic. If Cuba fans don't like it, let them invent their own Internet.

The other way of following a match that you can't watch is, of course, through our fellow posters. Note with interest, around page 15 or so, the extreme variance in the interpretation of the Charlie Davies yellow card. Between Matchtracker and, well, you guys, if I didn't get the whole picture, at least I can sort of see where it went right and where it went wrong.

For example, the score. Didn't see this coming. I don't think by any means we had our best players, and I don't know whose fault that was. But I never thought an A-/B+ roster would flop against Cuba.

How am I dealing so well with the prospect of a 1-1 tie against the worst team in the tournament? Dan Loney Says It All is Powered By Prozac. Be like me - be a Prozac Achiever! Prozac. It does a body good.

Thou Shalt Not Draw Conclusions About a Match From Matchtracker is a sub-commandment of Thou Shalt Not Draw Conclusions About Matches Thou Didst Not Watch, but it sure looks like Nowak is, in fact, did get the best out of Freddy Adu. On the other hand, without watching the game I can't conclusively say Nowak's an idiot for starting Ianni ahead of Wynne. I can sure assume it, though.

Then there's Jozy, given the quick hook in favor of Robbie Findley (positionally; Sacha Kljestan as far as actually being on the field goes). Matchtracker said he had a tough time up top, which seems probable, but was it because he was being fouled all the time?

The US won't finish third or fourth in the group (will we?!), but second sets up another all-or-nothing semifinal match with Mexico, who are better than we are. I wasn't confident of that matchup back when I thought it would be the championship. If we don't turn it around, we are cold cuts.

Assuming the worst for a moment, the narrative for this tournament will be (a) Peter Nowak either being unable or unwilling to make room on the roster for Michael Bradley and Benny Feilhaber, two players with Full International (TM Jack Edwards) experience, and (b) the Fed and/or SUM either being unable or unwilling to schedule practice matches the way they could for, to pick an example entirely at random, Hugo Sanchez and Mexico. Perhaps too little blame will go to the players themselves. Apart from Freddy, it read as if every Yak substituted their Gatorade for the cool refreshing waters of the River Suck, and drank deeply indeed.

Bright side? Um, sounded like Freddy was okay. And we still live in the BEST DAMN COUNTRY IN THE WORLD! USA! USA! USA!

*crickets*