Copa E. Howard Hunt - first leg aftermath

Wait, people died in the Bay of Pigs debacle, therefore making jokes about it is tacky, tasteless and cheap? What the hell am I supposed to do for a post title, then, huh?

At this rate, I'll never achieve my dream of writing headlines for The Sun. "Super Cally Go Ballistic - Celtic Are Atrocious" belongs in Bartlett's.

By the way, 12,000 for a qualifier? Move Cuba!

As you may have guessed, I'm hitting the tangents like Bing Crosby hit his kids* because man, what the hell do you say about a 1-0 game that was worth every peso? They got the game in between hurricanes. And Wrigley Field has a manual scoreboard, too, and nobody says Wrigleyville is a third-world dictatorship. (Maybe I should run that by Peter Wilt, though.)

It's been a few days, and I still haven't read any reactions to the game apart from wire service reports (not even Havana Pravda's "Glorious People's Team Defeats Imperialist Running Dogs By -1"). I'm assuming, though, that I'm going to read a number of requests for Bob Bradley to spend more time with Fernando Clavijo's family. But, my friends, that's not change we can believe in.

Maybe it would be easier for me to join the torch-waving mob if Cuba had gotten their goal, but the US has played either up to or down to the level of its competition since Caligiuri's Shot Heard Round The World. Apart from serious outliers like Barbados, or we don't blow out anyone, and we don't get blown out. Even the Barbados example is instructive - we only won the second leg of that game 1-0. Over the years, we've gone from being just good enough to qualify to being just good enough to win the Hexagonal.

It might be time to realize that the fault does not lie in ourselves. You know who else doesn't blow out Caribbean and Central American teams on the road? Mexico. Because we're the one federation that divides its members into tiers of competence, Mexico and the United States don't get to pile on chew toys like Barbados and Dominica more than once every four years or so. There's also no way to prove this short of a worldwide tournament of bad teams...which I would so gladly pay to watch it's not funny...but I don't think our worst teams are that much more disgusting than the worst teams in any other fed. We just don't play them as often. The Hexagonal probably isn't going to include a team as awful as, to pick an example completely at random, Andorra.

Also - and this probably hasn't escaped people's notice - our bad teams tend to have bad facilities, which is yet another kind of equalizer. The Home Depot Center after the X-Games looks like the best fields in the Caribbean...at least, that aren't cricket or baseball fields. And don't get me started on home field advantage.

I still want us to go into places like Cuba and work them over like Easy, Cheap, But Classless Reference To A Bay In The Southeastern Portion Of The Island. I said I wanted a basketball score last week, but at some point I'm going to have to accept that's not what we're after, that's not the nature of qualifying, and that's not the nature of the sport today. Our world champions are kings of the 1-0 win, after all, and Australia left Oceania because they were tired of the kind of scores we seem to be demanding.

Okay, I'll meet you halfway. If Michael Bradley looks as if he's only on the team because he's Jeff Bradley's nephew...if DaMarcus Beasley flunks What's My Shoe Size again...if we put in another 4-5-1...if Landon Donovan is closed down like the Captain EO ride...if all this happens AT HOME, then I'll consider hopping on the Fire Bob bandwagon.

Probably not, though, because then we'll be talking about things like "Replace so-and-so with WHO, exactly?" that American coaches have faced since God was a boy. And while the guy's been great recently, are we REALLY surprised that Bob Bradley isn't falling all over himself to call up Edson Buddle? It's not like Bob doesn't give his former club players a fair shot.

*Too SOON? Oh, COME ON.