We're all still reeling from Steve Zakuani picking one of the Congos over the Nats - this is exactly the kind of Afrosnobbery that I find infuriating.
But the USMNT marches on. Via DuNord and others, I'm sure we all enjoyed South Africa fans whining about the low quality of our roster, and the Bafana(2) backup singer predicting a huge defeat for the US.
Somma had neither US passport nor any measurable talent, as he left quietly in the second half.
And, maybe it's because an opponent's smack talk has boomeranged mercilessly, or maybe it's just because when it comes to the USMNT I'm the guy from "Memento" - but I'm back to "Yay, Bob Bradley!" Makeshift roster does its job. Talent pool deepened and broadened. And if you're not delighted about the Nats playing well in a hostile environment filled with plastic horns, well, I don't know what to tell you.
(Except, oh yeah, we won't have to play in Mexico at all, let alone well, to qualify for the next World Cup. What can I say. I'm the guy from "Memento" when it comes to the Nats.)
ESPN did give very wonderful coverage of this game, from that great opening montage about how the World Cup didn't do much for the poorest of South Africa, to the interminable prologue of Guzan and Pienaar showing their handshake and introduction techniques. If they give that kind of loving detail to MLS Cup, everyone in Frisco and Commerce City will be delighted.
And even though I'm Billy the Butcher from "Gangs of New York" when it comes to USMNT announcers, I want the Brit to stay and the Yank to go pound sand. Let Harkes coach DC United already, and put Alexi back in the booth where he belongs. Or Ty Keough. Or Max Bretos and Allen Hopkins, both of whom are drawing Disney paychecks, aren't they? I can understand not bringing back Eric Wynalda...actually, no, I can't. Who cares what Jim Rome thinks?
I liked that for a change nobody played themselves out of the pool - except Robbie Findley, but so what else is new. I wish I could fall in love with Juan Agudelo like everyone else, but the marking on him was straight out of the Seattle Sounders playoff playbook, and he was how many inches from missing the goal entirely? He's all upside, I'm looking forward to seeing him play a lot for the Red Bulls next year, and the long, proud history of US youthful forward disappointments doesn't begin to bottom out with Jozy Altidore. Right, Eddie Johnson?
I am in love with Diskerud like everyone else, though. Well, everyone outside Norway national team fans. But don't you hate it when fans get on the cases of guys who are doing nothing more than choosing what's best for them? *cough*
And it's nice that there isn't just one Baby Jesus for us over-excitable extras from "Life of Brian" to declare the Messiah. Seeing Tim Ream play well for the US sure takes some of the sting out of seeing Omar Gonzalez play badly for the Galaxy.
Bradley did what he didn't do in the last friendly - get a bunch of new guys in, give them a solid gameplan, and come home with a deeper, more confident team. I have high hopes for this upcoming cycle. Because I'm the guy from "Memento."
By the way, how freaking good is Aston Villa that they don't feel they need to play Eric Lichaj or Brad Guzan? Wait, what do you mean, "not particularly"? There are probably BigSoccer posters who have played as many Premiership minutes as those two - and they hopped off the plane and shut down Bafanarama. There are no shortage of US players who don't get playing time with their Euro teams - hell, Robbie Findley can't get playing time with his Europoser team - so it's enormously reassuring to see a couple of the harder hard-luck cases staying focused. I've got nothing but good things to say about both of them, except for that studs-up foul Lichaj pulled in the first half. I hate that crap, and that will get us punished in qualifying if he tries it on the road there.
No, it wasn't a particularly good game to watch, but it was a game to feel good about. I might even stop being mad at Clarence Goodson over the Gold Cup. So what if no Americans were on that list from Spain of the top 5,000 young players - tell the next batch of Yanklets they have that much more to prove.
...or, perhaps the South African national team is terrible. Fortunately, South African soccer is not our problem anymore.