Heartbreak Kid

There is no joy in Mudville...

As I sat there watching Sunil Gulati and Jack Warner shaking hands with some bunch of guys before heading off to the VVIP room Gala Reception Dinner Dance, the only image I had in my mind was Clint Dempsey, holding the Bronze Ball trophy like it was infected with the Black Plague and trying manfully - and ultimately unsuccessfully - to hold back the tears.

Like the man says, it's not the fact that they lost but rather how they did it.

But I'd just like to say that coughing up three second half goals - and the Championship - to Brazil, while painful as hell, isn't what the US takes from this game.

This tournament has finally, at long last, made us fall in love with this team.

It was a long, hard struggle. They called and wrote, they knocked on our door, they sent flowers and candy, they got down on their knees and begged.

And we rejected them. No heart, we said, no soul, no pride in the shirt. Sure they can beat Granada on a bad day but come on; they'll show us a little leg every now and then but they'll never deliver the goods.

Say hello to the goods.

The talking heads and keyboard pounders are going into overdrive even as we speak, with a long list of the "lessons" the team will take from this game and about "growth" and "maturity" and blah, blah, blah.

That's OK. They get paid to say that stuff.

But to me, the thing they won was not the second place trophy which "they would have been happy with a week ago".

No, what they won was more than that.

What they won is our respect.