Here’s Matt Besler’s recent advertisement for MeUndies and it has all the ingredients for commercial success: sports and attractive females in underwear. I had never heard of this underwear company until today but rest assured after this commercial I won’t forget them. The best part about this commercial is it has something for everyone. The guys get to see cute girls in underwear and the girls get to see a good looking soccer player in underwear. It’s a win-win for everybody.
Came across this promo for the World Cup today and it reminded me of the atmosphere at the Gold Cup of Summer 2013.
Let’s set the scene. It was an overcast Baltimore day, hot and humid in late July. On the docket was a Gold Cup quarterfinal doubleheader with the US of A to play second. There was a sea of red, white and blue adorning the streets leading to the stadium, but mostly because the other teams playing that day were Honduras (blue and white), Costa Rica (red, white, and you guessed it…blue), and El Salvador (blue and white). The CONCACAF region clearly does not recognize other colors.
The gates of the stadium were opened and a sea of people rushed to find their seats for the 4-5 hours of soccer to come. The American Outlaws had reserved three sections right behind the West goal. Aside from a few other US fans scattered throughout the stadium, that was the entire cheering section for the Yanks. It took until about halfway through the first game for all three sections to be filled with US fans, it took quite a few police officers to explain (in Spanish I assume) that if your ticket says nosebleed section you need to leave. Most of them didn’t leave, as if they could hide amongst a bevy of Uncle Sam hats.
The first game was boring and muted. Honduras won 1-0 over Costa Rica, and the Honduran fans celebrated like they both won the World Cup that day, and had somehow defeated the United States. Neither was true, but kudos to their enthusiasm, albeit a little misguided.
The second game was magnificent. The US took a 2-1 lead into halftime and it felt as though the game was being held in El Salvador. Roughly 10-15% of the fans were cheering for the US, and 5% of those fans were Honduran good guys. If you want to experience being a USMNT fan, I suggest you experience the Gold Cup in 2015. The Gold Cup is the best competitive international soccer tournament that the USMNT plays on U.S. soil with the exception of World Cup qualifiers.
The second half: a unique experience.The lead held in the second half thanks to some fantastic work from a rejuvenated Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson. It started to rain, and the USA rumbling got louder and louder. The Central American fans, unhappy that capitalism (#MURICA) was raining on their parade, tossed every drink and bit of food/garbage down from the cheap seats. The chants got louder. The rain fell harder. The goals kept coming. 5-1 America.
Eventually the disgruntled El Salvador fans ran out of 8 dollar beers to throw, and the final whistle blew. Everyone was soaked and began to exit the stadium, but the American Outlaws kept chanting. They sang songs, shouted chants, and eventually they did a roll call as the USMNT players thanked them for their support. They stayed until the stadium was uncomfortably empty, and then proceeded to sing as they exited the stadium.
If you are an American soccer fan that wants soccer to succeed in America, then you should find your local AO chapter and join. Every member helps, and it’s the first step to enjoying a truly American soccer experience at the next USMNT game. Well worth it the next time you see the USMNT play and get to lose your voice with fellow soccer lovers.
This year’s Hexagonal is closer than in year’s past. There is no shot that after three games any of you reading this would have placed Panaman atop the group and Mexico currently out of Brazil 2014.I bet you didn’t have Jamaica at the bottom either. This year’s Hex will have no shortage of drama down the stretch. But that is down the road. I’m here to discuss the masterclass that wasn’t and the pesky Americans that went into the Mexican version of a gladiator arena and came out alive and unscathed.
A point is a point is a point. Expectations going into Estadio Azteca are always hindered by a multitude of factors including projectiles thrown from the crowd, high altitude and a Mexican team that is virtually untouchable at home. But the USA caught them at the right time. Mexico has zero wins and zero losses coming into this game. After a less than impressive performance saw them draw a not overly impressive Honduran that fought back from a 2-0 deficit to take a point at home. The USA found themselves riding high after a spring blizzard found the Colorado air and propelled them to a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica. It was not a pretty victory but it didn’t have to be. Anything to get the USMNT a vital three points.
So move on to match day and three hundred questions remain lingering in the air. Who will the back four be? Who steps in for injured Jermaine Jones? Will the incrdible run of injuries in the USMNT be too much of a challenge? Can Guzan be the man of the hour? When will Jozy Altidore get off the mark for his country? And lastly, will Landon Donovan suddenly parachute into Azteca for the start of the match and score the game winner? (WE ALL HOPED THAT HAPPENED)
And there it is, the whistle blows and off goes the madness. 100,000 screaming fans counting the passes of a Mexican side that enjoyed incredible spells of possession especially in the first half and a USA that looked better. I use such an awful, undescriptive word because that is excellent what they were. The USMNT were organized, they were relatively disciplined and they didn’t try to fight fire with fire. They weathered storm after storm after storm and took solace in whatever possession they were given. I think it was obvious that Mexico was looking to expose Beasley early and often. They might have had success had Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler been out to lunch but they were locked in and smart in their movement. The coverage they provided as a unit was impressive and integral to the USMNT backline suring up any mistakes from the midfield.
Alas, Mexico was clever in the attack and decisive with their movement, something that is difficult to cope with for an inexperienced backline and especially impossible for an inexperienced backline trying to defend the likes of Chicharito and Giovanni Dos Santos. But as of late, Mexico has had trouble finding the all important match winner as in apparent in their recent record. This was largely due to timely interceptions and blocks from my Man of the Match Michael Bradley.
Michael Bradley must have felt that his father was about to win a WCQ with an Egypt national side that has dealt with more adversity than half of the rest of the world’s international teams combined. Bradley’s time at Roma has helped him mature as a player and that is exactly what the USMNT needs. He is mature beyond his years and showed it last night with simple passing that helped keep the US team in possession. He made timely tackles and was the most consistent player on the pitch. His role as a back four buffer and combining midfielder were played to a T. He was a major reason the USMNT found a draw last night.
Lastly, Brad Guzan is on fire. He always seemed to be in excellent position. His feet were quick and his hands even quicker. When called upon he was absolutely stellar.
Even though this was a makeshift squad for the United States, some performances will not help make Mr. Klinsmann’s job any easier. These performances helped the USMNT to a week that they needed, a week that saved Klinsmann’s job and kep the USMNT at the forefront of qualifying for the next world cup.