Aaron is having trouble getting excited about Saturday's game against Sweden, is he?
Well, I'm pleased to tell you that at least ONE BigSoccer blogger isn't spitting on American flag. Loyal fans know that when you fail to support the United States 100% of the time, all the time, it's exactly the same as voiding your bowels on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
But I'll have you know, Mr. Stollar and your fellow terrorists, that the annual POS Scandinavian January friendly has a long, proud history. In fact, the ratio of actual factual historical events in these games to how interesting these games were to sit through - nothing short of remarkable.
Fire up the Way-Back Machine, Sherman.
Before finding its current home in Carson, the US played Sweden in Orlando, Florida, in 1998, and won an entrancing 1-0 victory that provided a glowing portent for future success that year. I'll let Grahame L. Jones' article of the time paint the picture:
And that was just the beginning!
Once Phil Anschutz built the National Training Center for the X-Games, the annual POS Scandinavian friendly found a permanent home. Why, the very first US game ever at the Home Depot Center will be forever remembered. Which is why I have to look it up on the USSF site in order to recall any detail, even though I was there.
Ah, I remember! The opponent was mighty Denmark! The US achieved a magnificent 1-1 victory! Landon Donovan, scoring a penalty kick to lay the groundwork for his triumphant return to Bayer Leverkusen! A sellout crowd, give or take 20,000!
It was such a majestic, glorious performance, in fact, that next year the US played a midweek friendly in Fullerton against Colombia rather than return to Carson. But the allure of playing a European national team whose league was on a winter break would not be denied!
In 2006, the United States returned to the Home Depot Center to play...crap, let me look it up...Norway. Oh, I remember this game! A sellout crowd, give or take 15,000, saw the US outshoot the Norse 24-2. (No, really. 24-2.) Taylor Twellman's hat trick sealed his place on the World Cup roster, and the United States left Carson and embarked on one of America's banner soccer years.
That was far from the last time history was made at a POS Scandinavian friendly in January. Bob Bradley's very first game as head coach was a 3-1 win over Denmark. The sellout Home Depot Center crowd, give or take 20,000, cheered wildly for Juergen Klinsmann. Landon Donovan scored on a penalty kick. Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper scored in their debuts. I brought a sign that said "Eat the Danish" on one side, and "Hans Christian Anderson was a HACK" on the other. The world press was present in force, and descended on Bradley and the US after the game to ask about David Beckham.
How could last year's annual POS Scandinavian friendly hope to compete? Why, by repeating the same formula as always! Another historic day, as Landon Donovan set the all-time scoring tecord on, wait for it...a penalty kick. And Eddie Robinson got his first goal and his first cap, an achievement that impressed Bradley so much that he...hasn't called in Robinson this time. (At least Bornstein and Cooper got calls this month.)
And now Aaron is telling me he's not excited for Saturday? Who KNOWS what will happen?
Yes, Los Angeles, despite hosting so many great and terrible moments in American soccer through the years, is still the US National Team's answer to Dien Bien Phu. The rest of the country appreciates and relishes the visits from the Nats, while Southern California fans put the "meh" in America. I don't know how many of us even know the difference between American Outlaws and Sam's Army. (There is one, isn't there?) (Do I even want to know?)
Nevertheless, since we have nothing else to look forward to, except yet another Mexico game in Columbus - boy, talk about a rerun! YAWN - why not enjoy the balmy sunshine...er, no, looks like it'll rain this weekend...why not enjoy the thriving nightlife of Carson, California...hm, Columbus is sounding better and better.
Look at this way. Every US game, after all, is a chance to finally get US supporters to sing "We're An American Band," or "Kids In America," or Neil Diamond's "America," or "America - ******** Yeah!" from Team America: World Police, or ANYTHING besides "Saints Go Marching In" for the ten billionth time.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must come up with a clever chant rhyming "Ikea" and "diarrhea."