It's just a Friendly, Y'all

I don’t know how y’all judge friendlies, but I always see them as an exercise to see which individuals can and can’t cut in the international game. What combinations of players worked? Which didn’t? It’s a great time to experiment with a new formation and put players in new positions. Did any of that show any promise? Of course, it is my opinion on who did or didn’t live up to the expectation. And I say as such.

But then everyone else does as well. And sometimes I wonder if we all watched the same match. I might think that player A did very well, and I say as such on the official forum thread. Unfortunately, my post ends up as the last on the page, the black hole of forum pages, so I might as well have never even posted in the first place. The next person then thinks that the only thing player A did right was tie his shoes, and even that is debatable. A third poster might be indifferent to player A, but player B gave him a heart attack, and player C is the second coming of Ferenc Puskas.

I thought player C sucked.

And then we have situations like this past week, where there are two friendlies in the same FIFA window. The first game is usually the one where we’ll have a better idea of how a side might look it the match happened to count for something; at least before the litany of substitutions put an end to any semblance of cohesion on the pitch. The second game usually involves wholesale changes to a line-up, and then with all the substitutions, and those last twenty minutes are usually a disjointed mess.

Yet despite all this, the score, the element of the game that matters least, inevitably becomes the focal point. Supporters become sunshine pumping optimism peddlers to the point of arrogance after a win.

The doom brokers feed on the energy of losses to justify their pregame positions, which of course they punctuate with an never-ending supply of “I told you sos”. Sunshine pumpers have to be talked off the ledge.

You know who you are.

Ties? Well, they say ties are like kissing your sister. And in futbol, some sisters are better looking than others, but a draw is still a draw.

Regardless of what the scoreboard says, we have to remember that what mattered most this week was the full week of practice the coaches got with their national team. It will be the last time before rosters are announced before the Gold Cup.

And that will bring a brand new wave of arguments.