Before we demand that Los Angeles never host another important game ever again, I would like to speak up in our small and tiny defense.
The attendance for this game's equivalent four years ago: 9,137.
The attendance for today's game: 11,476. And that seemed about right, for you attendance conspiracy theorists - fairly full in the sunshine on the TV side, scattered pockets of fans in the expensive shady seats, upper deck closed, north end closed.
Four years ago was also Father's Day, and I brought my dad along to Columbus. I was still getting press passes at the time, and the USSF also wrote up a pass for my dad, just for the occasion. It was a neat memory. The next year, for the September game in Mexico, my dad badly hurt his back, so naturally I left him at home while I went to see us clinch qualification. Still the right decision too - Dad'll forgive me someday. Happy Father's Day!
So across the street from the Home Depot Center, in one of the apartments, was a Barbados flag, and what was obviously a qualification match party. Can you possibly imagine. Your homeland manages to get this far in World Cup qualification. (They don't always, for reasons that on the basis of this afternoon's game are not exactly mysterious.) They draw the home and home with the United States. The USSF puts the game in the stadium literally across the street from where you live. You have a big, big party. Because this is once in a lifetime stuff.
And your team gives up two field goals and a safety. That better be some damn fine onion dip, to get the taste of that out of your mouth.
Plus for the rest of your life you wake up in the morning, look out the window, and see the place where your national team re-enacted the Tobias Beecher role from the first episode of "Oz."
Did anyone learn a damn thing from this game? I'm not the most insightful and analytical guy out there, granted, but we might actually know less about the national team now than we did this morning. Oh, okay, Matt Reis really is ahead of Dominic Cervi on the depth chart.
But don't get complacent. West Indies teams play very well in the Kensington Oval.