2 Years Ago Today.

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Treetaliano, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. nancyb

    nancyb Member

    Jun 30, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was at Summer's in Arlington with my then 12 year old daughter by 3am waiting for kickoff. At the conclusion of the game we joined the other people celebrating in the streets, then we hopped in the car and rushed home so she could get to school in time and got ready for work. What a day and thanks for the reminder.
  2. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    CLASSIC!!!! Thanks for posting that link to the other forum. I still remember the run up to the game, and the genuine sentiment on the boards was that we were dreaming of a draw, but realistically hoping that if we lost, it would only put our GD at -1, and not Saudi Arabia-esque, the kind of deficit that would kill us if we ended up tied in total points. I can't remember what I predicted anymore, but I think it was 3-1 Portugal. It's worth remembering that this Portugal team was essentially THE team of UEFA qualifying. They scored the most goals, I think amassed the most points, or close to it in the most difficult group, and looked outstanding doing it. Yeah, their back was a bit suspect, but the Dutch couldn't solve it, and it hadn't cost them big in Euro '00 either, this was why they were dark horse favorites. That explains a lot of the hubris of Portugal and Euro fans and snobs but not all of it.

    What I found most telling both in European online and paper sources, and in the forums (this and that) and even as recently as this past week in an inadvertant pi--ing contest w/a Euro poster about Denmark (in which he immediately impuned my credentials based on my American Nationality, and the corresponding cr@ppy team-his paraphrased words), was that these guys did ZERO leg work going into the World Cup. Now maybe it's understandable. After all, how many media sources researched the in's and out's of all aspects of China, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and even perhaps Ecuador? Probably not many. And the US was considered by many, as bad, and probably worse than most if not all of those teams, and the reasons were simple. 1.) 1998 performance and 2.) wretched back end finish and overall record in final round of Concacaf qualifying. The most telling example of this is of course the oft-mentioned 1998 results, w/no corresponding analysis of why those results were what they were, and the differences between chemistry, design, and coaching of that cancerous squad driven into the ground by Sampson, and players that weren't really keen on accountability. But just as telling as the '98 references, were the references to the starters? How many times did we come across euro's talking about a starting lineup of Max Moore, and Cobi Jones, and David Regis, Claudio Reyna etc, without any understanding that #1 three of these four had long since become reserves used only when injuries required it, and #2 Reyna's health was so consistently precarious that he wasn't relied upon either. The reporters, journo's and posters had completely failed to note the massive changes that had come to the team over the past year, and had certainly failed to realize that the 1-3-1 finish to qualification had a lot more to do w/a decimated attacking third (ask the Dutch, the Portugese, the English, or the French how they'd cope w/losing their top four forwards, and top three midfielders to injuries during the final stages of qualifications?), and an unstable back four, than it had to do w/the ineptness of our national team. This doesn't excuse tactical coaching errors, or poor play, but it certainly explains why there was little room for error and why some results were so thoroughly negative.

    But of course not one single European resource did any research about this, and the majority of the posters failed too as well.

    Suffice it to say, watching the game itself was the most exciting sporting event of my adult years. I've had my moments before, the Caps run up to the Stanley Cup Finals in '98, my Redskins in XVII, XXII, and XXVI etc, but this, this was just so bloody unexpected, so monumental and so exciting from start to finish. I did shout (and got corresponding cursing from people sleeping a floor above me), I did lose my mind, and I watched it bleery eyed with my brother. My only regret is that we didn't stay up to watch the Irish come up w/a miracle late in the follow up game as well (I had a class to teach four hours after the game was over and was far too tired to consider pulling an all nighter), having two full Irish grandparents made both my brother and I quite partial to Robbie Keane and his teammates.

    As for the game, it was amazing, I disagreed with the second half strategy, though I agreed with the subs. I thought we bunkered too much, and while it worked, it could have failed us considering that Portugal had taken the momentum and only needed a gross mistake from Heydude, Agoos, Sanneh and the like to completely turn the game around, and I thought that was fully within our defenders capabilities, I felt continuing to attack via the wings with Donovan, and Beasley and what not would tire them out. But the truth is, our defense was absolutely amazing. They gave up zero goals in the straight run of play (Beto scored off a corner on a horrible, flukey clearance that inexplicably went right to his foot making even a trap, an unnecessary extravagance, and the other goal was an own goal), to a team that was filling the nets month and month out in the most difficult qualification group in Europe. Even though I disagreed w/the second half strategy up until the final 70, it truly seemed to be spot on, the coaching and play were outstanding, truly incredible and truly dominating. In many ways, it was the best game I'd ever seen team USA play, probably still. And one thing many people forget is that there were quite a few near goals that probably should have been put in, including a first half screaming volley from Stewart that wasn't quite up to his intentions.

    Anyway it was incredible, the greatest start imaginable, and for me, it was the most enjoyable game of the World Cup. Beating Mexico wow incredible, was not all together shocking, the Poland game needed to be flushed the second Donovan's legit goal was disallowed and the corresponding argument caused a defensive break down which destroyed that game, the S. Korea game was good but not great, and the Germany game while entertaining was stained by heartbreak and the Frings debacle, but the game against Portugal started the run, and in the most shocking way possible.
  3. NattyBo

    NattyBo Member+

    Apr 30, 2004
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    I was waking up everyone in my neighborhood with my shrill, girl like screams after McBride netted #3 ;)
  4. beergod

    beergod New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    I woke up and flipped on the game about a minute before JOB scored and i was still half-awake, i kept asking myself if i was dreaming but then my father came upstairs and made sure i was awake to see it and then i realized that it was no dream, absolutely amazing feeling
  5. CelticOnFire

    CelticOnFire New Member

    Aug 8, 2003
    London right now
    I was sitting on my couch in Chicago. I couldnt do anything at risk of being yelled at by parents and siblings, so I just had a big grin for a long while.
  6. DaniCrew

    DaniCrew Member

    Nov 15, 2000
    Tallmadge, OH
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Having since watched this game about a billion times... the other things that stand out to me:

    • Pope's near-goal right after O'Brien's goal... Baia was a disaster in this sequence... could've been 2-0 after 6 minutes...

    • Stewart's scissor volley at the top of the box on the little chip from O'Brien... would've been goal of the tournamet if he hits it well... the fact that he even tried it as the ball was coming from left to right and tried smacking it with his right foot was impressive... could've been 4-0 or 5-0 at half-time... i wished (at the time) that Earnie had been a little less flambouyant and brought the ball down and buried it... i somehow still thought we needed more at that time... i didn't feel like we were far enough away at 3-0... and when Agoos buried the ball upper-ninety, i thought my fears were going to be realized...

    • After McBride's goal, i remember thinking that we absolutely HAD TO / NEEDED to win this game... we COULD NOT allow this game to become tied...

    • On Beto's goal, i remember being so pissed at Agoos for not being able to win the initial header... it was as if he simply could not get off the ground... that failed clearance provided a bit of foreshadowing for the rest of the tournament for this guy...

    • I also thought Hejduk was terrible in this game... but somehow Portugal chose to employ a lot of their attacks from their left (which i know is where Figo usually lives)...

    • Pablo was absolutely huge in this game... somehow, i wonder if the outcome is the same if Reyna plays... not to downplay Claudio's importance to the team... put Pablo played perfectly the role he was asked to perform... i just think it might've been different...

    I was so happy for these guys (the players) after this game... i was so happy for all of us... but the overwhelming feeling i had was pride... proud of the effort, proud of the soccer, proud of the preparation... simply put, proud...
  7. grandinquisitor28

    Feb 11, 2002
    Thank you for the Pope reference. In my longwinded post I made referenced to near goals that we couldn't bury but probably should have. I remembered Stewart's, I had a vague memory of Donovan having a real chance, and I definitely remembered Pope's, but I couldn't remember the specific's as to whom was involved. Thanks for reminding me that it was Pope who had that great opportunity in the left corner when the ball inexplicably popped right into his foot's reach. I think, unfortunatley, the development was such a shock that Pope's instincts failed to take over, and sometimes, particularly in plays so close to a disorganized box and goal mouth, if the instinct isn't activated, the chance is lost. It felt like that is exactly what happened. I'll need to view it again to see if I am on the right track.

    I went nuts when Heydude started, but my foggy memories are that he played over his head. Are you sure he did badly? Maybe I'm mixing up his performance here w/another game where he did well. On the Beto goal, while Agoos was partially to blame (what a star crossed finals for him, after having his heart broken in '94, and '98, and then to have played so well both for San Jose and for country in the run up to the cup, and then fail so spectacularly in the group phase was just absolutely heart breaking. I really felt for him. :( ) I really thought what cost us was incredibly bad luck, and perhaps (need to view it again) bad technique in a clearance that not only went right to Beto, but was so perfectly place that Beto only needed to move his foot slightly forward to impact the coming ball to score. As lucky as we were in regards to Donovan's flukey goal, the Portugese squad was infinitely more lucky in the goals that were actually registered for their side. One of the few, and quite rare own goal's from the tournament (I don't even remember any others but I'm sure there was at least one other one), and a clearance on a corner that went to the only place on the field, out of the whole immense field, where a goal was instantly inevitable. To be gifted such goals was incredible, and yet Portugal could do NOTHING, inspite of those gifts.

    Their reaction after the defeat was a foreshadowing of things to come, non-accountability, dismissiveness of American players, and coaching and the result, and an affirmation of their superiority that was just unlucky that day. Complete and utter b.s. Outcoached, outplayed, outworked, and outhustled. A tribute to the players and to Arena. I can't help but wonder if the US were actually some European minnow (say, euro '04's Latvia) and Arena were a european coach in '02, how many offers Arena alone would be getting following the tournament. The lack of offer's (at least reported anyway), really speaks to what I see as a very strong prejudice against American Soccer, and Coaching. But mayble I'm full of b.s.

    Anyway, two years later I still get a tingly feeling just feeling about it, and if only I had stayed up to watch my fellow Irish play, it would have been the most perfect evening/morning of soccer in my life. Thank you Robbie Keane, for a great finish to the greatest day in American Soccer History (alongside some other days from that tourney, and of course the other day's fifty-plus, years ago.
  8. crestuden

    crestuden New Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Does anyone know a site with the full match? I have not seen the match since I watched it the two times that ESPN showed it on the matchday.
  9. CrazyF.C.

    CrazyF.C. New Member

    Jun 15, 2001
    Washington D.C.
    mother********er is looking directly at his hand... inadvertent my ass, stupid son of a....

    why did you post this, you bastard!
  10. Vegalta_Sendai

    Feb 14, 2000
    Santa Clara, CA, USA
    Vegalta Sendai
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Boy, those were some fun times.

    Durring WC 2002, I didn't have cable, and at that time I worked in a Mexican restaurant, and as you would expect, I worked with a bunch of Mexican guys. I asked a group of them if I could stay at their place to watch the game that night. They said fine, they knew I liked soccer and were fans too.

    Anyway, after much consternation and nerves before the match started, the U.S. got the early goal. I was screaming "Golazo, golazo, qué golazo!" and even hugged one of the guys I was so happy. Then the second and third came and I screamed and hugged some more. I really couldn't believe my eyes or the feeling I had. I think the only comparable feeling for me is watching the S.F. Giants in the World Series or the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

    One of the guys was trying to sleep, as he had to work early that morning. He said flatly in stilted English, his head muffled in his pillow, at the height of my delierium, "Off the TV, please."

    I couldn't believe it, and mock yelled at him, "Qué dijiste!? Ahora no es tiempo para dormir!" (Whachasay!? This is no time for sleeping!"), which got a big laugh. Needless to say, the TV did not go off, and we watched the rest of it, though I nearly had a heart attack when Goose scored the best (worst?) own goal I've ever seen.

    What was even better was, for the match with Mexico, I ended up watching with nearly the whole restaurant at the manager's house, although I was the only one screaming for the U.S. goals. I tried not to rub it in too bad, but I did celebrate. I had a bet with one of the guys that whoever's team lost would have to shave their head. But after the ritual shaving, I felt bad for the guy, so I shaved my head as well.

    Another 'highlight' from that World Cup was that it nearly ruined the one-month-old relationship I had with my girlfriend. She just didn't, and couldn't understand that I *needed* to watch every second of every game live, and, while she was actually interested and watched the first couple of matches, by the 3rd day, she was like, "This is going to go on for a *month*?" She threw herself on the bed and mock screamed, "Soccer, I *hate* now!"

    Anyway, we're not together anymore (we broke up about a year later for reasons not related to soccer), and we're even still (sorta) friends. But boy, that World Cup nearly broke us up before we even started!

  11. OBartleby

    OBartleby New Member

    Aug 28, 2001
    Kansas City, MO
    Adam, great post!

    I can totally relate to the friction that a relationship can go through over soccer, especially during the World Cup. My wife took to calling herself a "World Cup Widow" during '98, and felt especially out in the cold during 2002, as she was 6 months pregnant. The only thing that appeased her was that I had the baby's room painted and all set up a full two weeks before the Cup even started.... :)
  12. mpruitt

    mpruitt Member

    Feb 11, 2002
    E. Somerville
    New England Revolution
    Oh yeah me too. My girlfriend of a year was not too happy at all during that month. She tried to be a trooper and watch some of the games with me but it just wasn't happening with her work schedual. Lets just say my work schedual was a little lite and hers wasn't. She was not a happy girl but she stuck it out and stuck it out with me. Damn near almost killed the relationship though. :)
  13. Red Star

    Red Star Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Fayetteville, AR
    my booty

    Blind my a*s, he saw the whole thing. He has no excuse. Biased ignorant **********.
  14. Red Menace

    Red Menace New Member

    Aug 8, 2003
    I was in the top deck of the stadium. JOB's goal was right in front of us. We went berserk. One of the most exciting sports moments of my life. That game was wonderful and a nailbiter to the end. I'll never forget it. I can only hope for more of the same in the years to come.

  15. metroflip73

    metroflip73 Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was in the top deck too. We get into the stadium, my first World Cup, my first soccer game on foreign soil and O'Brien scores...

    I was shocked just like everyone else was, American, Portuguese and Korean alike.

    2nd half, we snuck down into the lower tier and had a ball with the rest of the ESC/USA guys. Blast and a half.

    Good looking out to the person who started the thread.
  16. Vegalta_Sendai

    Feb 14, 2000
    Santa Clara, CA, USA
    Vegalta Sendai
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wow, dealing with a pregnant wife during World Cup obsession is a tough one to beat! At least she somewhat knew what to expect from '98 though...

    Looking back, it really was stressful for us both. It started out kind of funny, but, it soon became clear that it was a real lifestyle confliclt and was really bothering her. I tried to explain that I had been waiting for these games for 4 years, but she would not be convinced that it was something I needed to do. ;-)

    I guess one way I tried to think of it was, my ex-girlfriend is a pretty big fan of Elvis Costello. While I think he's alright, and would probably even enjoy watching a tape of him in concert, I would probably start to get very annoyed if I had to put up with watching an Elvis Costello concert for 4 or even sometimes 6 hours nearly every night at 3AM for a month. After that, I began to understand her pain. ;-)

  17. LeeS

    LeeS Member

    Mar 23, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have already told my girlfriend that I will be "unavailable" during July of 2006. And I have requested the month off from work already too.


    PS- Thanks for posting the goals... that was awesome!
  18. bright

    bright Member

    Dec 28, 2000
    Central District
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I just finished watching my tape of the game, including pre-game and post-game commentary. And, yeah, even though I did make fun of him for some of his catch-phrases, he was way cool.

    Our team really made me proud, but Bruce's interview after the game was icing on the cake:

    Interviewer: "Have you ever seen your team as strong as they played today?" (implying that they played way above their means)

    Bruce (smirking throughout the whole interview): "You know, we've played a lot of good teams in the world over the last 4 years. We've beat good teams. We've beaten Germany, we've beaten Argentina. Wev'e played a lot of great teams like Germany in Germany, Italy in Italy, Ireland in Ireland, and so on. So this isn't the first time our players have been in a big game. We have a lot of experience, we trained very well for this game, had a lot of confidence when we came into this game. And really we played to win not just to participate. We play to win."


    And Dave Dir commented after the interview that you can tell by way Bruce speaks that he has a lot of confidence, and obviously he had his team feeling confident, too.

    - Paul

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