Gray shirts are cursed!

Before this year, I can think of three gray shirts ever used in soccer:

Chelsea away a few years ago:

That one Manchester United shirt they wore when they went down 4-0 to Southampton and changed at halftime (pictured are Ryan Giggs and some youth player Ferguson was giving a shot):

And that one England shirt for Euro '96 (I think) that they said was gray but looked a lot more like the US 1994 "denim" to me:

All of which were fashion and on-field disasters! Now we're wearing gray - and the same thing is happening to us!

("Dear Dan, Liverpool used to wear gray on the road, and they won all the freaking time. Do you ever do any research?")

Shame, because I like the anthrax - sorry, anthracite - we have now. It's a shame we're going to go winless on the road in qualifying with it.

Last night I didn't just watch us stink up Wembley, I went back and watched the Toulon youth games. Well, fast-forwarded through. In the words of Jeremiah Wright, "God bless America? Oh, no no no!"

The one thing we did learn was something we already knew - the United States will go exactly as far as Landon Donovan takes us, and not one step farther. No pressure, Lando. We were bereft of ideas without him, just completely adrift. Oh, and we need to nationalize a forward, or conquer and annex a country that does have one. If I never see Josh Wolff and Eddie Johnson play together again, then I never will have seen them, because you can't call what they did yesterday playing soccer.

Then there's the defense. You'd think Bocanegra and Onyewu wouldn't be so horrible together, wouldn't you? You'd think Cherundolo would be measurably better than Hejduk (number 27 in your program, number 1 in your heart) by now, wouldn't you? If Jermain Defoe goes onto be one of the game's 21st century legends, then I'll feel better about how badly he kept beating us. At least he didn't turn down England for St. Lucia or Dominica, because the last thing we needed was him in CONCACAF.

Oh, so that's why people like John Terry. He's much better at the game than, to pick some examples at random, the guys he was covering and the guys who were covering him. I had to wince at the provincialism John and JP showed - the Armband and the Captaincy of England is indeed an honor - sorry, "honour" - but no, a goal in a friendly against a wayward colony does not, in fact, make up for gagging in the European championship. I'm sure he'd say the same thing if you ask him - or, more precisely, slur and grunt some monosyllables to that effect. (I'm not a big John Terry fan.)

It's good that we're playing friendlies against teams vastly better than what we're likely to encounter in qualifying - Barbados will seem pretty easy by comparison, knock on wood. Because if the team doesn't tighten up quick, ESPN is going to need a Supreme Court ruling to show the Spain and Argentina friendlies - right now televised executions are illegal, you see.