Group of Death, Where Is Thy Sting?

There is a wealth of psychological research available for the taking at this World Cup.  For example.  If you, fellow American fan, had simply skipped the Portugal game, found out that we had tied 2-2, and enjoyed the highlights after the fact, you would be far happier than those who went through the whole broken roller coaster. 

In fact, had the game played in the exact same way, but with the goals happening in a different order, American fans, players and coaches would be euphoric instead of disappointed.

In fact, had the goals been scored in the same order, but with the game ending on Tim Howard's amazing save from the first half, American supporters would at least have felt relieved at the final whistle.

In FACT, had everything happened as it had, with the exception of Geoff Cameron's glorious and wonderful cheap-shot foul on Cristiano Ronaldo happening at the final whistle, we still would have had some warm and fuzzy feelings at the end of the game.

Such are the knives' edges where we experience the game.  Perception is reality, but perception isn't even real.  That's why the most important player in American soccer history is Ji-Sung Park.

Unfortunately for our well-being, reality is reality, at least for the moment.  And the US did lose something that could have otherwise made the quarter-finals a realistic goal.  Not the two points - that game off.  That precious, precious game off.

That's what hurts to think about.  We could have told Jozy, Clint, Beez, and the rest of the starters to take a well-deserved game off and heal up.  We could have given the second-choice a taste of the real World Cup, because Germany sure as hell still has to show up.  Or we could have kept the first team out for an immensely glorified friendly, although I wouldn't have recommended it. 

Yes, phoning it in against Germany would mean a second round game against Belgium - I think a rested US team would have done a lot better than one who had to sweat all the way through, don't you?  Now that the latter seems even more highly probable?

Now these are idle, unproductive thoughts - these thoughts that Germany has an extra day of rest, and so does Ghana, and how's the hamstring, Jozy?, and why couldn't Bradley have just held the damn ball?!  There probably weren't three USMNT supporters who wouldn't have been jubilant at the thought of the standings as they are after two games.  We'll see how quickly the coaches and the players get over the last play of the game - I'm no clinical diagnostician of emotional well-being, but they sure didn't look pleased.

A game off.  In this tournament, with this travel, with this weather...a chance for a game off.  I can just see Dempsey channeling Dante in "Clerks" against Germany - "I'm not even supposed to be here today!"

I guess Klinsmann versus Germany is more dramatically satisfying, to those miserable SOBs who call themselves neutral fans, God take their seed and spill it on the moon.  Which is why I don't expect a rerun of West Germany against Austria in 1982, possibly the most overtly corrupt game ever played.  The opportunity exists for the winner to screw the loser out of the second round entirely.  Given Klinsi's recent rocky history with the DFB, and the roster makeup of the United States, I expect the prospect of unlimited gloating forever to prove irresistible. 

We could have freaking stuck Chandler and Green out there and told them just to have fun and watch the tightening of the Deutschersphincteren.  Boy, I hope the Angel of Getting Over It doesn't pass over the team hotel, because I know I'm keeping her away with my whining.

Said whining is even less charming coming from me, since I believed before kickoff that the US team had exceeded my expectations, done our country proud, and performed an immeasurable service to American soccer.  Klinsmann's roster and lineups aren't immune from criticism, but at least he didn't start some fan with a bad haircut and a Ronaldo jersey.  Seriously, are we sure that was him?  Because our #7 was a lot better than theirs, last-second assist or no. 

We could have started Guzan at forward, with Klinsmann yelling "Fine!  Here's your Altidore replacement!  Happy?"

In other news, I'm glad Landon Donovan is making such awesome commercials, because as an on-air personality he's making Frances Farmer look like Dick Vitale.