June 25, 2009

Soccer sucks! (or does it?)

An interesting thing happened yesterday, the US defeated Spain 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup (which is a warm-up for the World Cup). That snapped 15-game winning streak by the Spanish, who were the no. 1 team in the world.

Now, I could sit here and make some sort of poem about how great soccer is but that really wouldn't be truthful and I don't really feel like going through hate mail at the moment from people who actually have a point.

Soccer is boring and low-scoring. Unless you have something emotionally invested in it, you should probably just bring a pillow to the match. But we should have something invested in this win, because this was the biggest win in US Soccer history. Hands down. This is Idaho beating USC in college football. Douglas knocking out Tyson.

Now the reason I've actually enjoyed soccer so far this year has been the Seattle Sounders FC. Having a somewhat hometeam town to root changes the rules a little bit. When you're resting on every errant pass in front of your goal, the blood pressure tends to rise a bit. And that's the beauty of it, once you emotionally invest in soccer, it's actually pretty exciting.

However, all we as Americans have had to root for in terms of soccer was:

(1) Our youth soccer team where the parents cared more about the game than the kids. Where is my orange slices?

(2) Our high school soccer teams that was full of a bunch of skinny nonathletic guys that couldn't play any other sport. Factor in that they thought they were awesome because they played soccer (and were short) and the fact that they were usually a bunch of those creepy guys that hit on all the girls - and nobody in the entire high school really cared to see their team win.

(3) The MLS - which, I'll be honest - is basically the WNBA of professional men's sports in the United States.

(4) A crappy international team - usually we're so bad that when we play Brazil, their players make fun of us while the game is going on. Nothing you can exactly get behind.

That's not exactly the kind of teams that tug at your heartstrings and earn your attention.

But at least last night soccer gave us something compelling and pretty entertaining. If you get a chance to watch the replay you'll see that Spain was the waaay better team and held the ball for most of the game.

However, the United States got a lot of lucky breaks and their defense was pretty ferocious. Lots of blocked shots and slide tackles. Also, their goalie was spot on for the game and he needed to, he was getting peppered the entire second half.

If soccer could keep giving us moments like these (which it cant), people might like it.

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