Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Copa thoughts

So the U.S. finally accepts an invite to Copa America and is tossed into the fire with Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay. My first thought was "Man, that's a tough group."

Then, I grew angry. To think, all along the U.S. could have been playing against competition like this but the former regime thought it best NOT to participate against strong South American teams on their turf in meaningful games. I mean, in 2004 Mexico played against Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Brazil while Costa Rica played against Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Colombia while the U.S. played... well, there was the one game against Poland. Yeah, that's exciting. Poland in some garbage friendly that mattered to nobody.

When a confederation like CONMEBOL comes calling, you don't say 'Thanks, but no thanks.' You thank them for considering you and then ask them when you need to take your team down there.

I got tired of hearing the same old tired excuses from US people about travel and the need for time off and not wanting to strip MLS clubs of players but all they were were excuses. There was no good reason why the US could not have competed in Copa Americas in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2004 and it's about damn time the U.S. is participating in the tournament again.

Now, having said that, I don't think the tournament will go well for the U.S. It's way too early to tell but Bradley already said the Gold Cup will be the priority and even if he is not the coach by then (which I fully expect him to still be around by then) the Gold Cup will be the priority regardless. Therefore, a weaker, possibly youth-filled side will participate in Copa America. And that won't be enough to go against the likes of Argentina, et al.

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