Monday, June 12, 2006

Swindle On Soccer, Vol. 3: US-Czech Republic

Kanu here: just got in and will be getting my infinite myriad of thoughts down in the next few hours. Amazingly, I was able to watch all 3 matches despite jury duty that started was supposed to start at 8.30 a.m. (this might be a post all to its own). Enjoy the wonderfulness that is Swindle...

The worst thing we can remember from early childhood was the performance of one of our classmates in an oral presentation. Fifth grade. Topic: something ridiculous, like "Why I want to join 4-H," or "How DeBarge changed my life." The kid giving the speech steps up, adjusts his geek strap and his glasses, and then leans over the podium with a sick, green expression on his face before depositing his breakfast--obviously pop tarts and orange juice--in a single, chunky explosion onto the front row of class. He stood for a second, attempted to say something, and despite the screaming of the befouled girls in the front row, was heard to say "I think I ahhhgghhh" before peristalsis went in violent reverse and retrieved the second half of his breakfast, which ended up politely on the floor away from the first targets.

This was bad, but not unprecedented: kids puked in fifth grade all the time, though in Tennessee this might have been less from the bad hygiene and more from the heavy drinking. The coup de grace came as the kid was being escorted from class by the teacher, who was holding the exploding fifth-grader around the shoulders like he wished he had a very long pair of tongs to handle him. Just exiting the room, perched on the threshold of leaving the vinegar smelling pop-tart goo and three permanently traumatized girls behind, he paused in the doorway, lurched again, and released a pestilant, hissing fart with a watery edge everyone instanty assumed was diarrhea. We do not remember this child's name, since we're sure that he committed suicide as soon as he was within grabbing distance of the nearest sharp edge, or perhaps dove head-first off the nearest promontory.

This describes precisely what the United States did in Czechoslovakia in their execrable defeat today. The team appeared to be incapable of performing the simplest of soccer tasks: passing, ball-handling, winning headers, screening oncoming attackers...not a single element failure here, just a litany of flubs more reminiscent of what you'll see in a Saudi match than what anyone expected from the United States in their opener. Zero attacking. Zero ball movement. Zero defensive cohesion.

Nut-punch comes close to describing it, but not quite: that would imply some effort followed by cruel, unjust failure. This was more like abject surrender from the instant they took the field. If there was strategy, it evaporated after Lurch Koller placed his lofty noggin on a cross for the Czechs' first goal. Rosicky only added to the pain by scoring two Shaolin goals that had Arsenal fans eating their coasters with anticipation. (As Kanu informed me, they just signed him. Um, nice move, to say the least.)

Donovan was effete. Beasley flew around the field like an ineffective, rabid emu, sending passes wide and attempting to charge into the mob the Czechs had assembled in the middle despite the Americans' only successes coming down the sidelines. Bobby Convey was deplorable. The only American to show any sign of life was Eddie Johnson, who along with Claudio Reyna were the only Americans who showed any semblance of fight.

We ran out of words when Rosicky scored his third, resorting to animal noises that in any other circumstance would have gotten us kicked out of the establishment. Surrounded by soccer fans, all we got was sympathy. That may be the worst part of this fucktangle. Four years ago, the fans came around to the American team, with more coming on board with each victory. This time we were waiting at the start of the game. Pity our team never showed.

13 comments:

Solon said...

Between the two of you jokers, I'm going to have to start wearing Depends before I click on the site, because I'm starting to piss my pants every time I click on it.

That said, Swindle, while I think most thought that if the US were to advance, it would be at the expense of the Czechs, I've long thought that if we were to advance it would be at the expense of Italy.

Unfortunately, today's results probably leave us with little hope for advancing unless we beat both the Italians and the Ghanans--draws will almost certainly not do. On today's evidence, this seems unlikely.

Fortunately, though, I suppose, the US always seems to start slow in Europe--in 1990, we were rolled by the Czechs 5-1, then recovered to lose to the host Italians 1-0 in our second match. In 1998, the Germans completely controlled the match against us, winning 2-0 in the opener; we then lost 2-1 to Iran, although arguably we were unfortunate to lose (sure, 1998 isn't the best analogy--although we were as out of it against Germany then as we were against the Czechs today).

I do expect the US to put up much more of a fight against the Italians--they might even eke out a draw. But, that said, I think the Ghanans will have our measure in the final group match and we will go home with our tail between our legs.

Newspaper Hack said...

I flipped over at halftime, saw it was 2-nil and said, "Fuck it. Even I won't punish myself this much."

I've gone back to doing what is way more fun -- debating how long it'll take before England's choke artist nature catches up with them.

Kanu said...

Swindle - I thought centreback "Gooch" (I'm waaay to fucking tired to even try to spell his name) played very well, relative to the other shite on offer.

Solon - There's defintely something Kentucky-ish in the drinking water over here in the city the last few days, and it has actually led to an epiphany of sorts on my part about the origins of "Kanu in Kentucky" - we'll parse it out OTG.

Oh, and if you think anything on here is funny, then make sure to run out and stock up on the Depends. I hacked into EDSBS's mainframe, which incedentally is the one and only W.O.P.R. from War Games a little while ago, and watched the PowerPoint slideshow of ASU that is "coming soon". I am not being hyperbolic when I say that it is the single funniest thing in the veritable history of EDSBS. I'll wait a minute for that statement to sink in (assuming your head didn't just explode). Bottom line is suit up with 2 pairs of Depends before you mosey over there tomorrow: IT. IS. FUCKING. EPIC.

Hack - Welcome. First time caller, long time listener - you know what I mean.

Jeez, over the past few days I feel like the ugly ass girl in HS who spends a few years looking at all the dreamy boys on the football team who she'll never have a shot with, when suddenly in Senior year she goes on a bit of a beauty growth spurt, just enough for said dreamy boys to actually look at her from across the cafeteria as she put up her tray...

Blushing, humbled, and happy as hell...

Kanu said...

Oh, and after eating every last coaster in the sportsbar today, I stormed through the ones here at the house like the cookie monster.

What will Rosicky's chant be? "One Harry Potter! There's only one Harry Potter!"

Kanu said...

Re: Rosicky - according to Arseblogger, this happened:

Afterwards Czech coach Karel Brueckner said: "I just want to congratulate Arsenal for having won such a wonderful player."

Awesome quote; someone buy that man a Bud. No, the real one. BTW, he (CZE coach) looks just like someone, but I cannot place it. Help me out...

As for Rosicky, I only saw Harry Potter during the match, but after looking at some still photos it's like Harry Potter with Phil Mickleson's face. Weird.

moin said...

Someone (I believe it was the Dortmund manager at the time) said about 2 years ago that Rosicky does more for his team than Zidane. (Keep in mind this was 2 years ago.) I'm still sitting here wonder how Arsenal managed to get Rosicky for so cheap, and right under the noses of Barca and Chelsea too.

Anyways, I missed most of the action b/c of work and only saw the re-play late on ESPN2 until Rosicky's great goal. From what I saw, the defense wasn't bad. The marking was bad once and Koller jumped all over that shit, but the rest of the time it acquitted itself fairly well, if panickly. It's the midfield that's the problem. There's no imagination, no creativity, no option A, nevermind option B. Maybe that's why Reyna is important? Because without him the US has no way of maintaining possession in midfield? Talk about serious lack of flamboyancy.

Kanu said...

Vanilla: it's what's for dinner.

DC Trojan said...

I can practically smell the vomit. I think that several of the people in the room watching the game yesterday might have lost control of their bowels, there were some strange gaits as people left the room.

Solon said...

Moin--

Word is that Arsenal got Rosicky on the cheap because Dortmund are facing serious financial troubles (not the same as Leeds a couple of years back, but not too far off). No word on how they were able to beat out everyone else though. I guess BD just wanted the money ASAP and Arsenal were ready to pay it.

nico said...

Europe = Yankee Kryptonite

phil said...

How hard did Orson take that loss? EDSBS is down today. I hope he didn't decide the USA needs a 12th man against Italy or anything.

moin said...

solon,
In that case somebody will pick up a fairly good deal for Ewerton as well.

How is Brussia in trouble? They have, BY FAR, the best support of all German clubs, outdrawing the nearest club by like 10,000+. And it's not like they've gone on a buying frenzy recently. There's gotta be some pretty big mis-management there going on if they are in financial straits.

moin said...

Fact checking myself again, in fact, Dortmund averages about 80,000 a match, outdrawing Bayern by 20,000+! Putting it in perspective, many top flight clubs in the big 4 don't even have stadiums with that capacity! This means, on average, they outdraw Real Madrid, Milan, Inter, Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool, AND Manchester United! Though to be fair, Juventus and the English clubs' attendance numbers are stadium related (though even the new Anfield and Emirates Stadium aren't anywhere near 80,000).

Yes they are the first and only German club to go public but damn! What happened?