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Goalie Howard Kept U.S. in the Game

**Randy Gardner photo**By Randy Gardner

I think I’ll start a petition for the National Day of Mourning as the Men’s U.S. National team got their butts handed to them against Belgium. I was so pumped up for this game but from minute one the U.S. team fell into a defensive shell like a frightened turtle. The team was lucky to only have two goals scored against them.

If Tim Howard would not have played the game of the century, it would have been out of hand 15 minutes into the game. After Belgium scored two goals in the overtime period, The U.S. team kicked in high gear and played with some authority.

They could have won the game if they would have played with even half of that intensity during the game. Every time Belgium got the ball they would drift back and give them 3-15 yards to do anything. Players at this level will hand it to you and they did. They had about three brilliant chances to score and at this level you have to put them away.

Who do you blame in this one, the players, the coaching or are we just not good enough in this country to compete at this level in the game of soccer.? I think it is a bit of all three. As a player, you cannot play scared and not to lose or not to be scored upon and as a coach you cannot do the same.

At halftime when it is 0-0, make changes to address the sloppy covering of players but when they came back out for the second half, it was even worse. I don’t know what happened. I think that the U.S. has to play more physical and a bit dirtier to compete at this level. The team will be back and I think that Jurgen Klinsman is the man for the job in four years. He has earned a lot of respect in this country, the only thing I could say to him is to work on pressuring the ball at the next World Cup.

Loved Our Passionate Fans

I am so glad to see the fans of the United States act as crazy and as passionate as fans of other countries. When you see the places filled with screaming fans you almost have to wait and see where the video is from because you really can’t tell. It was nice to see Ballpark Village crammed with people chanting for the United States.

I can’t watch with other people though, I get too darn emotional, I am yelling at the screen and anybody else that will listen. My kids think that I am crazy. Even they are starting to be crazily involved as I am. My 3-year-old will run around the house yelling, Goal Messi and Goal USA. It’s rather awesome.

Overall, this has been one of the most exciting World Cups ever, I cannot remember ever seeing so many close game with so much evenly matched talent. The weather is definitely playing a role in the outcomes along with some horrible goalkeeping and several great goals or should I say fantastic Gooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllls!


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