Sunday, June 12, 2011
Well, that didn't go as planned. The Americans have never lost during the group stage of the Gold Cup tournament, but you can kiss that streak goodbye as Panama knocked off the United States in a 2-1 result in Tampa on Saturday. Fortunately for me, I wasn't able to watch this nightmare, so I'll let Soccer By Ives give you the recap if you so desire. Basically though, this was a game where the Americans just played shitty. They got down early, then gave up a penalty kick to find themselves down 2-0. They scored late in the match, but couldn't convert some other chances late in the game, including one of the worst misses in American soccer history when Chris Wondolowski missed an open net from four yards away in the 80th minute that could have tied it.
In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure how detrimental this loss will be to American soccer, but right now it does seem as if the sky is falling. Couple this with their recent embarrassment against Spain a week ago, and the stock of American soccer couldn't be falling faster. Panama is so small that it's almost impossible to find on a map, yet their country is able to put together a roster of guys that is able to go in and beat the Americans, a country that has the greatest supply of athletes in the world. And yes, even though the top athletes in this country choose other sports like baseball, football, and basketball - you would think that with how large this nation is we'd still be able to beat these types of countries. Clearly, that wasn't the case on this night.
Losses like this - and I flashback a bit and think of how crushed I was when the United States lost to Ghana (the title of my post was "This is Why I Don't Believe in Anything") - make it really poignant to me that maybe the United States has a lot further to go in the game of soccer than I previously thought. Why should I care about the MLS when the national soccer team can't even beat Panama at home? Hopefully the team is able to rebound against Guadeloupe on Tuesday and advance past the group stage, otherwise I'm not sure what to think of for the future of American soccer.