My controversial, in-your-face opinion of yesterday's Spain game was that we should be far more interested in how Spain looked than the United States, because Spain is the more interesting team facing a tougher test in a tougher tournament. And then I see the trolling bar has been raised yet again. Hence, the headline. How else am I supposed to compete with this?
Maybe it's because I've spent too much time in Los Angeles, but complaining about people not supporting the local is as common as people complaining that the smog is so thick you can't see the person on the freeway you're shooting at. It isn't just FMF fans keeping their old loyalties, as any Angel or Dodger, or King fan can tell you. Even the freaking Riptide probably has to deal with people moving out here to break into the porn or the tar pits industries, but still supporting the [LOOK UP ANOTHER LACROSSE TEAM NAME] [ACTUALLY, NO, DON'T BOTHER] instead of the home team.
The other thing is, and as good Nick Hornby readers we all have learned that you do not pick your club, Your Club picks you. Like cats. It might not necessarily be your local (it wasn't for Hornby)...so why should your home nation have a guaranteed demand for your sympathies if your home town doesn't? Your local has powerful arguments in its favor, but sometimes it's the first team you ever see win on television, or the team that has the neatest uniforms, or you think all of your friends are jerks, or you want to carry on the tradition of your parents who miss their home country so much after the CIA coup and this is your way of making it up to them that you never liked the taste of blood borscht hamster pancreas souffle or whatever the disgusting national dish is.
Besides, it might even vary from sport to sport. This is my confession now, but I actively cheer against US Olympic basketball teams. And when Mexico beat the US 2-0 in the World Baseball Classic, didn't you enjoy the irony JUST A LITTLE?
Demanding unquestioning obedience is for North Korea. If the guy next door wants to support Lapland, great - more room for me at the Barbados game.
Before I segue gracefully into the next topic, I'd like to say that I have no insight or special knowledge or in fact any reason whatsoever to believe that Landon Donovan's injury is anything besides what the official sources say it is. In fact, I think American soccer fans have by and large spent way too much time obsessing on Donovan's groin over the years.
But MAN, I hope he's faking. I hope this is him telling Bob Bradley, "Stop calling me in for these meaningless friendlies!" It almost certainly isn't, I know. And yes, even in the post-Beckham era, the US national team trumps the Galaxy. I understand all this. I just want him to play this Saturday, then get "too hurt" to play Sunday, but be fine for next week. It's not like the guy needs to get in game shape to play in the Home Depot Center, okay?
Besides, I think it would be nice for him to get his 100th cap at home. Since Spartan Stadium isn't available, the Home Depot Center will do in its place.
Oh, yeah, the game. I thought we looked better. We being the United States. I realize Freddy Adu only looks good in comparison with Josh Wolff, but our entire forward pool at this point is just variations of Josh Wolff. Adu has apparently learned to pass at some point in his professional career. Is he World Cup quality yet? Probably not. Name four guys in the US National Team pool who are.
On the other hand, and I should have realized this going in, but Spain wasn't playing soccer so much as don'tgetinjuredball. If I did care about Spain, I'd spend a little more time analyzing the whistles their team got for roughly half the game. Yes, they probably should have destroyed us. But remember those World Cup sendoff games that Bruce Arena complained about back in March 2006? I think we saw the Santander equivalent.
Taking that into account, I should temper the huge sigh of relief that Bocanegra and Onyewu finally looked as if they played for the same team. England had nothing better to do that work us over, Spain has bigger fish to fry. But I do like the look of these young kids Eddie Lewis and Frankie Hejduk. Sure, the defense looked pretty iffy on the goal, but did we really think we were going to shut out Spain?
I suppose the real point of these friendlies is that, after England, Spain and Argentina, CONCACAF won't seem as challenging. But if the point of these friendlies is to reduce our fear of a home-and-home with Barbados, I think it's time to officially call Project 2010 a failure.