I’ve actually felt a little bad I wasn’t covering the United States in the Gold Cup like I did in the Confederations Cup, but then I thought, “Wait, it’s the Gold Cup! The U.S. is going up against Grenada and Jay Heaps is getting playing time. Who cares!?!?” But I do have a soccer Web site and I should write something, so here are some random thoughts…
Gold Cup format — Why not make it a 16-team tournament? It’s so much easier to have four groups of four instead of four groups of three. In a 12-team tournament, 66 percent of the teams make it to the quarter finals and it makes for some boring matches. There might not be 16 respectable teams in CONCACAF, but there aren’t 12 respectable teams either so what’s the difference? The best way to do it is have only eight teams, but I understand it makes more financial sense to have more teams.
Never the same stadium twice — I like this. If you’re not following the Gold Cup (which isn’t a bad thing), there are double headers at different stadium and none of the stadiums are used more than once. So far there have been matches in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Columbus, Miami, Washington D.C, Foxborough, Houston and Phoenix; The tournament ends in Philadelphia, Arlington, Chicago and East Rutherford. It gives almost everyone in America a chance to see an international match if they really want to. But why only in America? There should be matches in Montreal, Mexico City and Panama City.
Stuart Holden — He’s legit. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a better goal by a U.S. player in than his stunner against Haiti. Even if he didn’t score that goal, he still would have been the best American in the first three matches. Amazingly, if everyone is healthy next summer there’s a chance Holden won’t be on the World Cup squad. It’s a good sign for an international team when good players can’t make a 23-man roster.
Freddy Adu — In my mind, the Grenada match never happened. When the stadium you play in can fit more people than the entire population of the country you’re playing — the match shouldn’t count (I’m exaggerating a little, but not by much). Against Honduras, Adu was just bad. In fairness, I have more fingers on my right hand than competitive matches Adu has played in 2009. I have a feeling Bradley is going to find a spot for Adu on the World Cup roster, but unless he starts playing I guarantee he will have no impact. What worries me about Adu is his lack of speed. He’s bigger and stronger but he also seems slower and you have to be really good if you going to be a slow, short attacking midfielder. Adu is far from really good.
Javier Aguirre’s kick — CLASSIC!
Canada — Some think Canada has been a surprise, but I think they’ve done what they should do. They are easily a top-6 team in CONCACAF and should be challenging for a World Cup berth. They’re even missing some of their best players in this tournament but they could upset the U.S. in the semifinals. They nearly did in 2007 but got screwed.
Bob Bradley could have lost his job when… — O.K., you’re right, unless he’s convicted of murder Bradley isn’t losing his job in the next 11 months. But there was no excuse for what happened against Haiti.
Charlie Davies had just agreed to a deal with FC Sochaux of the French league. The match against Haiti meant ABSOLUTELY nothing. There is no way you can put Davies in that game. What if Davies blows out his knee? Bradley would have lost the respect of every club coach in the world. I know injuries are rare, but that Davies came on in the 60th minute was crazy.
Who’s going to win the Gold Cup? — The U.S., but who cares.
Have I gotten over the collapse against Brazil? — No.