Bob Bradley for President

Boy did I WASTE A GREAT HEADLINE the other day.

"The Miracle of Bloemfontein" would have been such pure joy just to stand back and admire.

What's more, that would have been plenty. The whole post. Done and done. Maybe dig up a photo of Jozy yanking off his shirt (Um, son? Yeah, um, look; don't do that again, OK?) and call it a day.

I would have had so much extra time I could have done Loney's whole piece too:

"Holy effin' shit! Did you see that? I mean, holy effin shit!"

At the first USSF coaching class I ever took they showed some film clips of goals and then asked what all of them had in common. The right answer was "defensive mistakes"

I don't know if they still do that but if so I have some new film for them:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ngz84MTtFo"]YouTube - USA - Spain 2-0 All Goals & Highlights [High Quality][/ame]

The question: was that ONE OF THE FIVE GREATEST TEAM UPSETS IN US HISTORY?

The answer: who the hell knows? Who the hell cares?

Of course the smart move is to write the usual bloodless YEAH, SO WHAT? post: sure, sure, nice win boys but let's get real here. It's only the Confederations Cup, it's only one game, the US got out-shot, out-cornered and out-hairstyled by a bunch of ridiculously rich guys with fabulously beautiful WAGS who drive $200,000 cars and wipe their butts with $100 bills, while the US is a nice bunch of decent lunchbucket carriers who you'd maybe let date your daughter as long as they had her home by 10:30.

In other words, they're still good, we're still lousy, and nothing that happened yesterday changed anything.

To all of that I can only say, as professionally and respectfully as I can: bite me. Any one of those guys can date my daughter as long as they have her back by Tuesday. Wednesday at the latest.

Except for DaMarcus Beasley, who American soccer fans owe a debt of gratitude they can never repay.

This is because Beasley makes it possible for the legions of fans who've been demanding that Bob Bradley be fired to salvage some dignity out of all of this.

One of their biggest complaints (apart from the type of guy who writes 2000 words on why a 4-4-2 is better suited to the USA's talent pool than a 4-1-4-1 or a 3-2-3-whatever-the-balance-is-I'm-crappy-at-math. Those posts make my eyes begin to glaze over. In fact, I stopped reading them around 2003) was regarding DMB and how only a total moron would be starting him.

So Bradley stopped starting him, the team goes crazy on the field and everybody gets to say "See, I was right!". The "Fire Bradley First" crowd can walk away with their heads held high.

As for Bob, he might as well take a few days off next week and get familiar with Jo-burg's better retaurants. His ticket for next June is printed.

And for DaMarcus, it's really unfair to point out that after two utterly dismal performances with him in the first eleven, he gets sent to the bench and the US immediately cranked out two of the greatest, most spectacular wins in it's history.

Has anyone ever been buried deeper on a bench than he is right now? What possible combination of injuries, plane crashes, family emergencies and natural disasters could get him back on the pitch for the US? We'll see Brek Shea first.

Hell, we'll see Dan Loney first.

And while nobody has yet been quoted as saying that Howard's game “was the greatest performance I’ve ever seen by a goalkeeper. It was an honor to be on the field with him” a la Romario referring to Kasey Keller in 1998, I have to say this:

Howard won the job back there a long time ago on the basis of his talent. Nobody was going to take it away.

But with yesterday's performance he has proven that he deserves the metaphorical gloves passed down by two of the greatest - maybe THE two greatest - players in USMNT history: Keller and Friedel. He very much deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the two of them, and there is no higher praise.

And maybe it's not a coincidence that Howard's accession to the hallowed halls of great US Keepers has happened at the same time the team itself finally found out who it is.

As the incomparable DUNORD quoted the BBC last night:

"What was starkly apparent on the Free State Stadium pitch, was the superior athleticism of the Americans."

Maybe you'd rather they said "skills" or "talent" instead of "athleticism" but I'll take it.

So now the US has made the finals of a FIFA tournament for the first time ever. Not even Sepp Blatter's idiot band of corrupt, incompetent referees were able to stop it.

Someone once said that soccer is a game played with two legs and a heart. Yesterday the US proved that it has both.

Does it matter? yeah, it sure as hell does.