What? I didn't give away the game results. For all you know Guatemala and Canada are going to boycott the Beijing Olympics on humanitarian grounds.
You know, if enough CONCACAF teams boycott, then Cuba can go to the Olympics with their, like, nine players. And they'd be all, "Great. We finally make it to the Olympics, and it's in a place where even we wouldn't want to defect. Where will it be in 2012, freaking Pyongyang?"
Okay, enough politics. Spoiler shield.
For once, soccer justice was done, as both Guatemala and Canada got the proctological exam from the Fickle Finger of Fate. Yes, I agree, Guatemala laying down to screw over Mexico was the funniest thing in the history of the world, but it was also Bad Sportsmanship, and if there's one thing the Olympics represent, it's the ideals of fair play and good I'm sorry I realize this is supposed to be a comedy blog but I just can't finish that sentence.
I'm happy for Honduras, and I hope they do well. (Translation: they're gonna get embarrassed.) I also hope for comedy value they include Carlos Pavon as one of their overage players.
You all laughed at me when I said Peter Nowak gets the best out of Freddy Adu, but who's laughing now? Slightly more seriously, at least I grasped the obvious that, whatever Adu's limitations against those old enough to rent a car, he has invariably outclassed his own age group. The biggest hurdle is yet to come, but I'm still suffering from lingering effects of Adumania.
I wish I could wholeheartedly recant my skepticism about Nowak and the US team, but "Wow, CONCACAF sucks worse than I thought" isn't really the apology they deserve. The guy I think we're all genuinely excited about that we didn't know about going in is Stuart Holden. Houston fans can say "We told you so," and he was the guy who's penalty shootout kick won MLS Cup 2006. But I double-checked, and upon seeing he only played roughly ninety minutes more than Pat Ianni for Houston last season, I no longer feel embarrassed that I didn't focus more on him. (Curiously, his home country is listed as "Scotland" on the Dynamo roster web page, but that's probably ethnic pandering on Houston's part.)
And I suppose I need to rethink my attitude towards Sacha Kljestan. I still think he's making way more bad passes in red, white and blue than he does in, um, his other red, white and blue. His fouls also seem worse in a USA uniform than they do in, um, his other USA uniform. (I'm CERTAIN there are people who watch Chivas USA on TV - like, from Wyoming or something - and think "WOW, look how PATRIOTIC they are!" Stop me if I've told you that one.) But you can say that Kljestan won the game for the US. Had Sacha not lost his man and made the run on the goalmouth, Wagenaar almost certainly would have saved Adu's free kick, and Canada would have continued to play their hilariously unwatchable defensive shell. Have we given any thought whatsoever to turning Kljestan into an honest-to-Peter Crouch forward?
While I'm thinking of Wagenaar, was anyone else annoyed at his posturing towards Altidore in the first half? I'm aware that the keeper must protect himself, but if you don't want forwards diving in on you, maybe you shouldn't keep giving up soft rebounds. He looks like a slightly older Napoleon Dynamite, I think there are several good reasons why he doesn't have a club, if Toronto signs him they'll win two games this year, and I can't be bothered to look up his first name. And he was the best part of Canada's defense.
Anyone else concerned that Kljestan's goal was the only goal during the run of play? ("No, Dan, you idiot. Free kick goals are earned because a team makes productive offensive runs that unbalance the defense and force them to make fouls. Goals from set pieces are a function of an effective offense, not a sign that the offense isn't working. If the fouls aren't committed, then those same plays actually do lead to run-of-play goals. Have you NEVER seen a soccer game before? Godalmighty.")
...okay. Man, you guys are strident.
I'm also going to rethink my attitude towards Dax McCarty. Now, this might be a BIT of a stretch, so you are all going to have to work with me here. Instead of being all skeptical about him, I'm going to go completely the opposite direction and think of him as a young Didier Deschamps. Dax does vaguely resemble Didi, and his height and weight are remarkably similar. So, logically, I will expect Dax to captain the US to a World Cup win. I actually do like him a little more than I did in Canada last year, and he is all upside, so I might as well be the first to put insanely unreal expectations on him. Do me proud, Daxidi.
So, that's it until China - what do you mean, there's another game? What's the earthly point? Might as well have a freaking third place game!
....they DO have a third place game?
You know what, I'm on board with the third place game, in this case. Mexico fans can celebrate Easter by descending on Nashville, storming the field, and basically recreating the end of "The Bacchae" with Guatemala and Canada playing Pentheus. Plus, the Grand Ol' Opry.