Well, congratulations, Sounders. You're in some fine, fine company.
You know who got screwed the worst by Bob Bradley's roster callups? No, not New York - yes, they will miss two of their best players for an important conference road game. But I think Ream and Agudelo establishing themselves as national team players will build their confidence in ways that will pay off on a grand scale come playoff time. (And they'll be sold this offseason or next, like Altidore, but that's a problem for later.)
No, not the Galaxy either, although it would have been nice to have a little suspense over whether Salt Lake's home win streak would make it through March. And you would THINK that Bradley knows what Landon Donovan can do or not at this point. But one game won't ruin the Galaxy's season, and it's a little silly to be club over country when it comes to Donovan at this point.
It's the Whitecaps I feel for. Bradley should also know what Jay DeMerit can do at this point. And because of the balanced schedule, the Whitecaps' games against non-rival Philadelphia are as meaningful as those against their local pals.
Maybe more. If Vancouver or Philadelphia plan to mount a playoff challenge, beating fellow recent expansion teams is a categorical imperative. If missing DeMerit turns one point into three for the Union, or even one point into zero for Vancouver - that could have implications. Usually I would scoff at the notion, but this is MLS, where the S stands for Parity.
Worse yet, it's not like Capitalists (I've been trying to come up with cute names for fans of various teams...and failing) can complain, because their captain has played a grand total of zero meaningful games for them at the time of the roster announcement. If DeMerit had said, "Nah, I'm going to retire from international soccer to focus on my club," he would have been Lord High Chancellor of British Columbia by nightfall.
It's the Important Gold Cup that's to blame for Bradley's "the future is now-ish" approach. Seeing what the Confederations Cup did for the USMNT, it's impossible to complain that Bradley is calling up guys with no thought for tomorrow.
Unless, of course, one is a fan of a Canadian team. Not to be alarmist, but I've been made aware that not every Vancouver fan has the best interests of the US national team at heart.
"Maybe the Whitecaps should have thought of that before naming an American international as their captain," you point out.
....I have no good answer to that. I mean, what are they supposed to do, hire Canadian players? They'd be as bad as Toronto.
Anyway, the real news from the national team is the fact that the US is FINALLY going to wear red.
For our younger readers - once upon a time it was vitally, vitally important for American soccer fans to tell other adults how to freaking dress themselves.
By 1997, it was de rigeur for American fans, then known under the catchall name of "Sam's Army," to wear red, thanks largely to a pretty neat T-shirt design you still see now and again among us old-timers. (Mine died years ago, sadly.) Nike told fans in Portland to wear white, on the flimsy, asinine, laughable grounds that the US jersey was actually white, and not red.
The controversy raged for years, as the Fed and Nike almost never granted the hardcore fans its red jersey...until the Don't Tread On Me design brought the whole thing back to life.
The problem, then as now, is so many of our opponents wear red or blue. And for over fifteen years now, the home uniform for the US has been Default White. Either that, or Nike wishes to honor the Master Race.
And now, years after everybody but me has forgotten all about it, Nike and the Fed have given in. As far as timing and leverage goes, this is pretty much as if the US government said to Mexico, "You know what? We're sorry. Here's California, Arizona and Texas back."
First of all - that paragraph up there? That's a quality run-on sentence. I pride myself on my rambling tangents, but that one is a classic. I applaud the USSF for joining my campaign to prevent unnecessary abuse of periods, the Internet's most precious natural resources.
I kid, I kid.
The implication here is that red will be the US home color, which I think hasn't happened since 1975 or so. Unless you count the wavy stripe Adidas blessed us with in 1994.
Which brings us to the motto. Needless to say, the USSF stands for Unanimously Set on Stopping Fun:
Way to stifle creativity, Sunil!
Although I don't see any explicit restrictions against nudity or pornography.
I don't know which motto the Federation will actually pick. But I can already tell you which choice is the most popular.
Seriously, is there any option besides "Dos a Cero"? (I assume "America - ******** Yeah!" has been copyrighted by Matt Stone and Trey Parker.)