The Real Upside of U.S. v. South Africa

I’m seeing this all over the place, but will credit My Soccer Blog with passing it on as reading Mike H’s post coincided with the inspiration to post on the (I think) now-finalized game between the U.S. Men’s team and South Africa. And definitely credit Mike for running down cool tid-bits like how rarely U.S. teams have ventured to the “Dark Continent” (um…does anyone call it “the Dark Continent” these days…just sounds off).

He also mentions something else that caught my attention:

“The one downside, the next day is MLS Cup so there are bound to be at least a few players that are not available for such a trip.”

Eh…that’s not so bad. I mean, it’s a friendly and it’s – what? – 2007, a full three years from the 2010 World Cup. It’s not like our guys are going to remember where the sprinkler heads sit in the grass. So, trot out the usual mix of national trialists, see who looks good, and work on the team chemistry piece once World Cup qualifying begins. No fuss, no muss as I see it (unless World Cup qualifying starts sooner than I think; at that point, unspecified disclaimers kick in).  There’s also the nature of this “cup” – e.g. the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup: it’s a one-off, so no exciting tournament play to look forward to.

But there is an upside in this and it’s contained in the same sentence I lifted from Mike’s post: e.g. “the next day is MLS Cup.”

So, for my wife, I need you to put some instructions on the calendar: lock me in a room with one five-pound roast, two fifths of whiskey, two cases of beer, and a shitload of potatoes.  I got myself a two-game weekend BO-nanza in mid-November.  I’ll take a shower Monday morning…

Yes, like so many things, having these two games on consecutive weekends is an excuse for excessive behavior.


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