Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA Soccer Victory Doesn't Compare To What USA Hockey Did In The Olympics

I did make the declaration earlier that I, after years as a loud and often obnoxious detractor, have found the beauty in soccer. Well, sort of.
I have started to appreciate the sport at the World Cup level. This is the second World Cup I have watched extensively. And it is interesting, although sometimes a tad bit overdramatic.
But I must admit, I didn't find the United States victory over Algeria Wednesday to be in anywhere near the same class as, say, the USA's hockey victory over Canada in the recent Olympic games.
And I wonder why.
On the world stage, it was probably bigger, right? I guess the reason is I don't identify the USA soccer players. Obviously, many of them are world-class players, but none are the class of the world.
The USA hockey team had Ryan Miller. He is the best goalie in the world. It was known before the tournament began. The USA has had many truly great hockey players in the past. Chris Chelios. Mike Modano. Waterford's Pat LaFrontaine. The list is long. How many true great soccer players has this country produced? Who is the greatest soccer player in the history of this nation? Is it Alexi Lalas?
With all due respect to Oakland County's very own, but that's like saying the best hockey player your country has ever produced is Mike Komisarek.
Maybe it's Landon Donovan, who scored the game-winner vs. Algeria, but it doesn't seem like he'd rank very high among the world's best players.

Random Thoughts

- Normally, I'm all for pushing top pitching prospects to the major leagues, but I'm not sure if the Tigers aren't rushing Andrew Oliver, their second-round pick in the 2009 draft. He will start Friday at Atlanta. By all accounts, Oliver has a great fastball, with good velocity and movement. But his breaking ball is suspect, and he hasn't dominated at Double-A Erie. The one good thing is that he has pitched better on the road than at home. Erie has a small ballpark. It could be a pressure-packed game for the Tigers - if they don't turn it around against the Mets. It could be putting a lot on a kid in a road game like that against a quality opponent.

- Good for Dino Ciccarelli. His selection the Hockey Hall of Fame was long overdue. Ditto for Jimmy Devellano.

My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press. Joe Dumars' legacy is at a crossroad entering Thursday's NBA Draft.



Blogger Fred Brill said...

The greatest (known) player was Mia Hamm - as women soccer is dominated by the US. But that may change if the US has greater success in the next stages.

3:49 PM 
Anonymous ScoWes said...

Pat - I think for US soccer to really 'arrive' at that magic moment they're going to have beat one of the really large teams in the tournament.

The US was heavily favoured to beat Algeria, just as England was heavily favoured to beat Slovenia. The details were heroic - but not shocking.

I'm thinking Brasil, Spain, Argentina, Holland, Portugal.

The finish was exciting but the result was expected. Before the World Cup the two favorites to get out of that group were the US and England - although not in that order - the only difference was total goals scored between them.

In retrospect the US did what is was supposed to do - albeit in thrilling dramatic fashion but to really be a 'moment' for US Soccer they're going to need to beat one of the big guns (this isn't Ghana BTW)

Until they do that they won't have truly 'arrived' - YET.

5:15 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home