Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Howard shows quality of US Soccer

From where I sit it looks like the US has a new folk hero...


The long term results of Tim Howard's performance against Belgium won't be felt for years. Just as players like Mike Modano and Brian Leetch were inspired by the Miracle on Ice, it's hard to say how many future stars will be inspired by Howard's heroics. But it's safe to say the US has announced it's presence on the international scene. Yes, the Americans have been here before. Knockout games and never advanced. On the surface this looks just like any other World Cup exit. But there's much more at work here. This game was special. 16 saves, only about 12 of them tough. Howard was the only reason the US had any sort of chance at winning. Even when the Americans were down 2-0 after the first half of extra time it never seemed like they were beaten. The pressure from the US in the second 15 minutes was sustained and substantial. It wound up being difficult not to cheer for the Americans. Not because they were a rag-tag bunch of underdogs looking for a Hollywood ending. No, this was because they were playing good football. Attractive football. Even during their moments of attack during the 90 minutes it was fun to watch the way the worked the ball and looked for openings. It wasn't about the US trying to create their own way of playing, it was an understanding of the style used by the top international teams. And best of all it was entertaining.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

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