Tonight the United States will face off against…deep breath because of nervousness…HONDURAS in a meaningless friendly at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California (6pm pacific standard time on FSC and Telefura).
But it isn’t so meaningless if you look a little more deeply at it. The game does feature some very meaningful sidelights. I graduated from Cal State Dominguez Hills in the early 90s after a four year playing career well before the HDC was built.
In fact, we used to do our early morning fun runs (5 miles, really fun!) thru the tumbleweeds and dirt where Robbie Findely or Jeff Cunningham or CC (Conor Casey) will be hoping to stamp their ticket to South Africa after tonight’s game.
What could be more meaningful that a game that has to feature a forward who will supply the goals to help the United States advance into the second rouund this summer?
Everyone seems so confident since the draw the U.S. received can hardly be considered the Group of Death. But the friendlies the U.S. has set up won’t help the U.S. team prepare for the teams they will face in SA.
Does Honduras play like anyone the U.S. will face? No…does Holland play like England? NO…does El Salvador play like Slovenia? Try again…but US Soccer does this before every World Cup (schedule useless friendlies) so the best we can do is attempt to make the best of it.
Why not play Croatia (though they might be all booked up, because that is a very good team that won’t be playing this summer)? I’m really bummed because I had my money on US Soccer scheduling Canada four times and Jamaica three going into the big tournament.
I did hear that US Soccer tried to schedule a game against ourselves (US vs US with uniforms and refs) and call it a bonafide friendly, that way it’s always win-win. But is was blocked at the last second (couldn’t find impartial referees).
Tonight we have to look for that one forward that Coach Bob can inspire to do things that most U.S. forwards never do…score goals EVERYTIME they step on the field.
Is it a taller order? Sure it is, but this is the World Cup we’re talking about right? Not just another CONCACAF Qualifier.
Robbie Findley needs to step up and score goal after goal after goal. Same with Jeff Cunningham and Conor Casey. It’s what they are paid to do…it’s what they should live for. Setting up goals? Tracking down defenders? Who cares? Forget about it! We’ve got plenty of other guys to do that.
The United States needs an out-and-out striker. A selfish, greedy guy who wants the ball all day long in dangerous spots so that he can do what he’s is paid to do…put the ball in the back of the net.
Nothing more and nothing less. Who will it be? Because right now, hedging all our bets on Jozy is a risky proposition at best.
–-Mark Lincir is the Editor-In-Chief of 90:00 Magazine www.90soccer.com