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World Cup record is scant consolation for heartbroken Howard

by | 02/07/2014  Comments (69)  jump
'It sucks that we lost'

The United States may have a new hero, one they have nicknamed The Human Wall after his heroic effort between the posts last night, but Everton's number 1 described the plaudits as "bittersweet" following the Americans' exit from the World Cup at the hands of Belgium.

The 35 year-old made 16 saves in the 2-1 defeat, the most since such records began during the 1966 World Cup, through 90 goalless minutes and the decisive extra-time period but it wasn't enough to keep the Belgians at bay once the fresh legs and direct running of Romelu Lukaku had entered the fray.

"It's heartbreaking," Howard said, choking back tears following the United States' valiant effort. "I don't think we could have given any more.

"What a great game of football. We left it all out there. We got beat by a really good team. They took their chances well. It's heartache. It hurts.''

When asked later about his personal achievements in a man-of-the-match performance, he brushed it off in typically modest fashion.

That's a crazy stat. But bittersweet I suppose You know, I don't really keep count. It sucks that we lost. So that's the overriding thing unfortunately.

I don't know [if it was the best performance of my career]. Maybe. It was of the spectacular variety but we lost, so I don't know if it can be counted up there.

You just try and do all the things that have gotten me here, and gotten us here, and we hope that it all comes together, Howard continued. That's what I signed up to do, stick my face in front of balls. I hope I can get more saves than I allow goals.

Howard brilliantly denies Mirallas in the second half in Salvador

As was the case in the group phase, Jurgen Klinsmann's team battled in spirited fashion against superior opposition but despite Howard's stunning display in keeping Belgium at bay, the US couldn't find the cutting edge they needed at the other end.

Having lost Jozy Altidore to a horribly-timed hamstring injury in the first game against Ghana, the Americans lacked a focal point in attack whereas Marc Wilmots in the opposing dugout was able to call on Blues forward, Kevin Mirallas, and then replace one dangerous front man in the form of Divock Origi with another in Lukaku.

Thirty-one teams get their heart broken," Howard said. "It has to end some time, it ended a little bit early for us. We felt like it was a good Belgian team. Sometimes you just give everything you have and you do your absolute best and it doesn't stack up. That was tonight.

I thought it was a good performance, Belgium's a top team. People have been talking about them for a while now. You know, we gave as good as we got. Romelu made a difference when he came on, obviously Julian [Green] made a difference for us, as well. Fine margins at this level.

The result leaves the USA to laud their new-found hero — in that respect it was a terrific night for Everton with a number of tweets from Americans claiming the Toffees as their team on the back of Howard's Herculean effort — and Mirallas as the sole representative from Roberto Martinez's squad left in the World Cup.  

Reader Comments (69)

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James Byrne
1 Posted 02/07/2014 at 07:36:23
Tim was superb last night and the overall outlook for American soccer looks very positive. If the USA starts to throw serious investment at this sport, there will be only one outcome and that is success. Might take 10 years plus but it won't be long before the USA are reaching the semi-finals in these tournaments.

John Otway
2 Posted 02/07/2014 at 07:58:00
What a golden opportunity for Everton to crack the American market. Are Kenwright, Elstone and Co up to the task?
Jim Bennings
3 Posted 02/07/2014 at 08:11:22
USA deserve full credit for that performance, not just last night but the whole World Cup.

Can anyone imagine this spineless England team playing like that with such passion and a "we shall not go quietly" attitude?

Jurgen Klinsmann will have a very good future in the game, a top manager and proper motivator.

We used to hear all the time how David Moyes was the best motivator around during his Everton years... that was what real motivation was about, that second half in extra time when they looked dead on their feet.

Unlucky lads!

Robert Workman
4 Posted 02/07/2014 at 08:23:56
Great game – Everton v Everton – was always going to be great!
Micky Norman
5 Posted 02/07/2014 at 08:20:13
Howard has been the best keeper at the World Cup by far. Unlucky Tim. But somebody had to lose a great game.

BTW, is that THE John Otway? The one I worship? The man I've seen live 25 times? The man who has had two hit records and a BAFTA nominated film? Oh no it can't be.... Can it????

James Byrne
6 Posted 02/07/2014 at 08:34:41
I think Tim also broke a World Cup record last night for the most saves in one game?
Jim Bennings
7 Posted 02/07/2014 at 09:04:56
Tim Howard was very very good last night but, without meaning to put a downer on all this lauding it up, most of the saves he will, and most International goalkeepers will, have expected to stop.

Quite a bit of it was down to poor finishing from Belgium who themselves will need to be far more clinical against Argentina to get through to the semi-finals.

John Pickles
8 Posted 02/07/2014 at 10:00:59
Heartbroken Howard..... What is it with this World Cup? If two favourites battle out the final and one narrowly loses, then I can understand the losers are gutted, but even if a no-hoper loses a match, the players act like they've just seen their family wiped out.

On the plus side, it's nice to see three of the most influential players, in one of the most entertaining matches, all played for us last season (Howard, Mirallas and Lukaku).

Shane Corcoran
9 Posted 02/07/2014 at 10:26:46
John, if Everton lose a league game, do you just shrug because it's not life and death? It's all relative and the US beating Belgium would have been a big scalp.

I think they deserve great credit. In a World Cup of Suarez biting, lying and then miraculously realising the truth and Robben apologising for one particular dive but not the the others, it was great to see a very average team playing the game the right way.

It restored my faith in football — until Scolari, Fred and Co take to my screen on Saturday at least.

Steve King
10 Posted 02/07/2014 at 10:35:26
John, are you kidding?!

Surely any football fan understands the emotion involved once you get to this stage. Especially for the USA, who are charged with changing the attitude of their nation towards this great sport. Then, having given their all for 90 minutes against superior opponents and managing to hold their own, they go and concede twice in the first half of extra time!

Anyone would have expected their heads to drop and for it to be over. But no, these guys picked themselves up and battered the Belgians for 15 minutes, despite the fact that their legs no longer bent at the knee and their hearts and lungs were bursting out of their chests!

You can kind of understand them being heartbroken at the final whistle, can't you?

Drew O'Neall
11 Posted 02/07/2014 at 11:17:24
'I signed up to put my face in front of balls.'
Paul Thompson
12 Posted 02/07/2014 at 11:54:51
Yes, 'stick my face in front of balls' was perhaps a bit of a cock-up, but all credit to Tim – a great display.

Okay, many of the saves were not spectacular, but the positioning and use of the whole body was exemplary. And agree with Jim @3 that this kind of passionate display is almost unimaginable from England's overpaid, under-motivated squad.

Liam Reilly
13 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:10:26
Awesome display from Howard and nice to see Super Kev getting 120 minutes. Just shows that he doesn't need to come off after 60 mins in every game.

Lukaku turned the game with his fresh kegs when the US were wavering; may have pushed his price tag back up again too after a disappointing tournament so far.

The Argies up next – looking forward to that one.

Tony J Williams
14 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:13:38
Ermmm... Liam, Kev come on after 60 minutes mate; he only played 60 mins at the end.

Great games to watch yesterday but looks like all the group winners have gone through to the next round.

Liam Reilly
15 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:19:48
Is that right, Tony; I didn't know that cause I was traveling and only saw it from 70 mins onwards. I assumed he was on from the start.

Maybe 60 mins is his threshold...

Andrew Ellams
16 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:24:46
Loving this link on the BBC.

John Daley
17 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:42:14
"What a golden opportunity for Everton to crack the American market. Are Kenwright, Elstone and Co up to the task?"

Fucking hell Bill. Missing out on those merchandising opportunities already:

"Tim Howard could have saved my marriage"

Peter Cummings
18 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:28:00
I just watched him being interviewed on a news channel here in Canada from the States, he has now achieved Â’HeroÂ’ status and the whole of America is singing his praises for his Â’awesomeÂ’ performance in Brazil,

Typically modest he brushed personal plaudits aside to credit every team member for their World Cup efforts which, compared to our own England debacle, was truly remarkable.

What seems to be lost amongst all the (richly deserved) praise was the fact that the US should have won the game in the last minute of normal time when they missed an open net from a couple of feet out; very well done, Yanks.

Mike Keating
19 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:38:14
They reckon that football will never make it in the USA because the fans can't abide a game which rarely offers high scores. For a similar reason, Hollywood tends to keep within the safety limit of 90-minute films which don't tax the concentration span of your average Yank.

This is now the litmus test for our game in their country – if the US can't get excited by that performance and understand that 2-1 can be more riveting than a 98-97 basketball bore, then footy has no future.

A great team performance in which Howard was immense. Lukaku and Mirallas were game changers for Belgium.
Just a bit worried to hear the speculation that Origi is on his way to Anfield – forget Sterling; this lad is the real deal. Replacement for Suarez? Hope not!

Ste Traverse
20 Posted 02/07/2014 at 12:57:54
It was a cracker of a game but I can't say I'm as 'heartbroken' as Tim as I got Belgium in the sweep at work.

I now hope Kev and Co stuff those Argie twats.

Brian Denton
21 Posted 02/07/2014 at 13:09:32
Mike #20, just what I was thinking last night. But on the other hand, do we want America to get interested in football? I suspect it would just lead to the situation where they would enter into an arms race with the Premier League to see who can stuff the most money into players' pockets, to the advantage of nobody. Also they would demand that we adapt football to their culture (eg game split into quarters to allow more advertising).

Nah, let them carry on thinking that the 'World' in 'World Series' bears some sort of relationship to the 'World' in 'World Cup'......

John Pickles
22 Posted 02/07/2014 at 13:30:05
Shane, Steve, my point is that – in THIS tournament more than any other – ANY team that loses, has players in tears, inconsolable and looking broken beyond belief despite the fact that some of their chances of winning the tournament are incredibly slim.

You don't see Doncaster players in tears when Man City knock them out in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. I am not surprised they are sad and disappointed but I am just surprised by this amount of declared grief.

Andy Meighan
23 Posted 02/07/2014 at 13:50:40
Only the night before, in work, some cretin pointed out to me: "I hope he signs a new goalie because I'm telling you that Howard is fucking shite." — to which I replied, "He's one of the best 'keepers we've had since Southall."

I just hope he watched that display – it was immense! And to think people come on here and rip him to shreds... As Klinsmann said, he's one of the best five in the world – and I agree with him. An incredible signing and one who'll be hard to replace.

On another note, Mirallas was brilliant when he came on; he's another – when he wants it, he's as good as anyone. I was really impressed by the American defender Yedlin – what an engine; he looked a class act.

Jamie Crowley
24 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:08:53
Steve King @10,

Perfectly said, perfect analysis.

It's an entirely different thing when you're carrying the added emotional baggage of being an ambassador for a culture change...

And that's why so many Americans who love soccer were so crushed to lose as well.

Tim Howard was simply fantastic, and he is absolute class.

James Marshall
25 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:07:58
Amazing game last night – best of the World Cup by far. My girlfriend is American so it was an emotional night in our house too and Howard was immense.

The US team might not be the best out there, but by god they give it everything. They lack any real attacking threat, but they're so entertaining to watch, simply because they just don't give up. I loved it and good on Tim Howard for keeping them out for as long as he did.


Andrew Ellams
26 Posted 02/07/2014 at 13:59:08
The World Cup Finals cause such a frenzy in most countries, so there is a huge amount of pressure on the shoulders of all players to do the country proud in games like Algeria, Chile and the USA. And when they were all so desperately unlucky to lose, it must hurt.

If you want to compare this to getting knocked out of the FA Cup, remember you get another crack at that in a year’s time and don’t need to spend two years trying to be one of only 32 teams to take part.

Shane Corcoran
27 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:16:13
John #23, fair enough but I don't think there were that many tears in eyes were there? I saw it more that the underdog coming close to victory against the odds.

To be honest, I just admired they way they played out the game and I was shouting at the TV for them to score because of this. They were a breath of fresh air.

Andrew Ellams
28 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:25:14
I think we were always going to see this type of team from the USA as soon as football started to take off properly over there. Much like the Aussies, they are a team built more on physical effort and determination than great technical ability (that is improving all the time though) and I am pretty sure they would have embarrassed England if their paths had crossed at this tournament.
Charles Brewer
29 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:44:56
From what I saw, and from what much of the press saw, Tim Howard gave one of the all-time great World Cup performances last night. As a goalkeeper, he was never there to win the game, and given that the US defence was, for much of the match, completely overrun, his display was to be ranked alongside the performances of Pele or Cruyff (in my view, the best players ever in the World Cup).

And the fact that he was eventually beaten does not degrade his performance. They don't just hand out medals when battles are won, but the the bravest and best. Whatever the result.

If there is justice, this World Cup will be remembered for Suarez disgrace, and Howard's heroics. Sort of sums up the clubs they play for, doesn't it?

Trevor Lynes
30 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:45:39
Baseball eg; Rounders is definitely the most boring of all games.They hardly ever hit the ball!!

Basketball is stopped continuously for TV breaks!!

Football (not soccer) only breaks at half time and is far more exciting.

American Football, which is derived from our Rugby, has goal kickers who do just that. None of the players play a full match as different squads make up offence and defence. Another game based around TV breaks.

Howard had a fine match mainly due to his uncanny knack of being in the right place. He does not make miraculous saves but his positional sense and the way he talks to his defenders is top class.

I really hope we can get Lukaku, he will be immense in a couple of years. Seems that Liverpool are really strengthening their squad sooner rather than later. Hope we make some moves soon!!

John Pickles
31 Posted 02/07/2014 at 14:41:39
Shane #28. Yeah, I don't want to take anything away from the US team, they played their part in a very entertaining game of football. My comments are more a reaction to the 'Heartbroken' topic headline which reminded me of the reaction of many defeated players in previous games this World Cup.

Maybe it's one of the following:-

1. Players want it more than previous World Cups. (Doubtful).

2. Players are more outwardly emotional. (Possible).

3. It happens all the time and I haven't noticed it. (Probable).

Kristian Boyce
32 Posted 02/07/2014 at 15:01:09
Surely if our marketing department had any gumption, a couple of games in the US this pre-season with Timmy in goal would be a commercial success.
Andy Finigan
33 Posted 02/07/2014 at 15:27:45
Well played, USA. Did anyone else who watched it think Bradley and young Yedlin would be good signings if we could get them?
Andrew Ellams
34 Posted 02/07/2014 at 15:46:41
I thought Bradley was really poor last night. If Tim set a World Cup record for number of saves, then Bradley must have come close for misplaced passes.

Yedlin looked good and quick, could be tough getting a work permit for him though at this time.

Jamie Crowley
35 Posted 02/07/2014 at 15:42:55
Andy -

I have a firm belief that Everton should be signing young players whose value rises as they develop. Bradley isn't in that mix. I remember calling for us to sign him prior to his time at Roma, but that ship has sailed.

The two men I'd LOVE to see in Blue are Yedlin and Diskerud. Yedlin is raw but excellent and has incredible pace and explosive abilities. Diskerud I'm just gutted for. Not a single second on the pitch this World Cup but I'm a huge fan of his. He's incredibly comfortable on a ball and a Martinez type player.

USA made a massive tactical error yesterday. Belgium had one center-half out and the other (Kompany) was playing hurt. Diskerud should have been slotted in the middle and could have torn them apart. I'da dropped Bradley deeper (his natural position) and put him alongside Beckerman who never, ever should have been dropped. We played Cameron at CDM – why? We set up entirely too defensively from the get-go.

Everton would do well to bring in Yedlin (20 years old I think) and Diskerud (22 I believe). Both would be welcome additions IMHO.

Kevin Tully
36 Posted 02/07/2014 at 15:58:17
All this attention in the States could lead to a rich new American owner... what's Robert Earl up to these days?
Andy Finigan
37 Posted 02/07/2014 at 16:52:51
Jamie I have not seen Diskerud play, but I am sure Timmy would put a good word our way to them.

Regarding Bradley I have never seen any one run non-stop for 120 mins and he hardly gave the ball away. How old is he?

My daughter was touring the USA last year and managed to watch us in a couple off friendlies but said there wasn't many of our supporters in the crowd. Maybe with a few more American players in the team that would change.

Paul Andrews
38 Posted 02/07/2014 at 17:11:35
"What's Robert Earle up to these Days"

His knees in bullshit

Mike Gaynes
39 Posted 02/07/2014 at 17:40:12
Mike Keating (20)... you must have missed the news coverage of what was going on here in the US during this World Cup. Record TV ratings, huge outdoor gatherings of fans (25,000 in Chicago, so large it had to be moved to a stadium) and lots of emptier-than-usual streets during yesterday's lunchtime game. It has happened in the US, and it will continue.

To those calling for Yedlin, agreed, he's a huge talent... but be aware that he is raw defensively... can't even handle normal defensive responsibilities in MLS right now, let alone the EPL. Might be a great investment for the future, but has a lot to learn about the game.

And once more, I want to say how proud I am, as a Yank and as a Blue, of Tim Howard. Magnificent player, class human being. And that was the greatest performance by a US keeper ever, better than Kasey Keller against Brazil in '98 (which Ronaldo called the greatest he had ever seen) and probably the best game ever by a USA player internationally.

James Stewart
40 Posted 02/07/2014 at 18:15:37
Never seen Bradley have a good game.

Howard was immense some top saves. His improvement since Martinez took over has been impressive. Jurgen's bold statement about him being in the top 5 keepers in the world doesn't look so daft now. Best keeper of the World Cup so far. Far better than the Mexico keeper and his fluke save

Mike Childs
41 Posted 02/07/2014 at 18:28:58
As someone who at times has been frustrated and down on Tim Howard, all I can say is I apologize. Yes, he'll probably get beat at the near post again or make another dumb mistake but I have come to realize they all do.

I now realize it is because I watch every Everton game that I see his mistakes and hop on them, ignoring the great saves and more importantly the heart of the man. Tim I'm sorry and I'm glad we extended your contract.

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 02/07/2014 at 18:31:48
Jamie (36), glad to see you're OK after yesterday. We were worried about you!

Sorry, I know you're a huge Diskerud booster, but the idea of him tearing anybody apart – let alone Vincent Kompany – is a fantasy. He's never shown anything like that for the US or even for Rosenborg, which is why no English or European teams have ever come calling.

He's a nice, serviceable player with great touch, little pace and no shot who at age 24 has found his level in Norway, and the EPL is well beyond him. But I predict you'll have plenty of opportunity to watch him play, because his next stop will be MLS.

Paul Hewitt
43 Posted 02/07/2014 at 20:11:47
Finally people realize how good Howard is.
Tom Evans
44 Posted 02/07/2014 at 22:08:47
Best performance from an Everton keeper since Gordon West against Wolves in the FA Cup in 1967, in my opinion.

Goodison, to a man, rose to applaud him on the replay a few days later.

Peter Mills
45 Posted 02/07/2014 at 22:23:44
C'mon Tom # 45, Gordon was magnificent that day but surely you are forgetting Neville away at Sheff Wed at the end of the 84-85 season.
Mike Gaynes
46 Posted 03/07/2014 at 00:14:12
Great shot just aired on ESPN that we didn't see after the game... Fellaini and Mirallas rushing to hug Howard. Fellaini swapped jerseys with him. Classy.
Derek Thomas
47 Posted 03/07/2014 at 00:02:41

Well done to Tim for the actual doing of it... it is his job after all. But from the US point of view: Terrible defending. From the Belgian point of view: Terrible finishing and I'm sure both coaches will not like either.

Klinsmann is just one player better than Bradley and a decent striker away from having a last 8 capable team. Wilmots must be thinking, "We won't get that many chances vs Argentina."

It will be a 9-day wonder, but with the potential to be finessed into a bit of a bandwagon/ wave to ride. But do I have any confidence in Boys Pen Billy and his bunch of amateurs to extend it to a tenth day, never mind until the season starts, notwithstanding the dead weight of the Kitbag deal?... DO I FUCK!

Andrew Hawes
48 Posted 03/07/2014 at 00:14:25
Would be nice if we had a young 20-year-old keeper with talent learning his trade under tims wing??

He is so dependable we seem to just have journeymen goalkeepers as back up, therefore losing out on a great opportunity to bring a top goalkeeper through the ranks without having to go out and spend millions buying one who's the finished article!

Ant Dwyer
49 Posted 03/07/2014 at 01:06:15
Great stuff, Tim, glad to see fans appreciate you as I feel you sometimes take a bit of unfair criticism. In my opinion, you are/have been for a long while one of the most reliable keepers about.

IÂ’m glad to hear Fellaini and Mirallas rushed to Tim, but as far as IÂ’m led to believe, it was actually Romelu who swapped jerseys with Tim in accordance to his message on Instagram.

IÂ’d like to add that I would be happy to give Man Utd 㾻m to have Fellaini back, by the way; heÂ’s been harshly criticised of late but, to my remembrance, heÂ’s a top all action midfielder. Just a thought!

Anto Byrne
50 Posted 03/07/2014 at 02:13:31
Howard made a lot of stops with his legs, quite a few from distance that most keepers should be able to deal with. He did make one or two world class saves and he is one of the top ten keepers in the world. He still makes me nervous and still flaps about a bit. He has improved with Martinez since Woods moved on. Well played, Tim.
Mark McGuinness
51 Posted 03/07/2014 at 10:18:30
Isn't Chris Woods working with Tim at the World Cup?

Sure I've seen him on the American bench.

Peter Howard
52 Posted 03/07/2014 at 10:20:11
...that'll be Chris Woods then who's the USA goalkeeping coach (although, granted, he doesn't spend as much time on his mobile these days).
Richard Dodd
53 Posted 03/07/2014 at 10:55:18
Although it has become customary to knock anyone associated with Moyes's unfortunate time at Old Trafford. I think it is unfair to pick out Chris Woods for criticism.

Chris is the USA coach at Tim's behest and I know that De Gea was far from happy at his removal as the Spaniard's mentor. He remains a top man in his profession and will not be unemployed for long.

Andrew Ellams
54 Posted 03/07/2014 at 11:13:52
If we are talking great Everton goalkeeping performances, then I would like to add Neville Southall in the 95 FA Cup Final.
Tony J Williams
55 Posted 03/07/2014 at 12:34:52
I still think his double save against Germany was better, as the plebs on Soccer Saturday call it... a "worldy".
Jordan Batey
56 Posted 03/07/2014 at 20:51:50
American here, Tim Howard is a hero! Evertonian for life!
Mike Childs
57 Posted 03/07/2014 at 21:01:53
Mike K. (20) just an FYI in the USA, the NHL (another low scoring game) is in the ascending position and the NBA is in the descending position so real football not pass football with it 200 commercials per game just might take off.
Karl Jones
58 Posted 03/07/2014 at 21:39:27
Any US billionaires out there reading this, please come and invest in the best football club in England. It will be buying a piece of British heritage. We truly have the best supporters in the land (not just saying that, honest!)...We have possibly the best young manager in the world and it wouldnt take that much to put us back at the top of the league were we belong....Please make it happen!!.
James Flynn
59 Posted 03/07/2014 at 23:09:06
Mike (40) - Nice shout out to Keller for that game against Brazil.

Romario's comment, "It was an honor to be on the field with him.

And keeping it Evertonian, who scored the goal?

Chris Wilson
60 Posted 03/07/2014 at 23:29:09
Preki, James Flynn. The infamous Major Indoor Soccer League star with the Tacoma Stars and the St Louis Storm, Preki.
Tom Bowers
61 Posted 03/07/2014 at 23:43:09
Howard is probably the only US player who ranks in the top 5 in the world. They do have a decent enough squad and can compete well for long periods but obviously the players are not good enough individually despite Klinsmann getting the best out of them.

They are quite weak defensively and give up possession far too easily in the middle third. Bradley is a clever player but dwells on the ball too often. Dempsey suffered by being used as a target man after the Altidore injury as there was no Plan B.

Howard probably won't be around for the next one so Klinsmann will need to work very hard with what young players he has to build a squad that will do better next time around.

James Flynn
62 Posted 04/07/2014 at 00:03:47
Chris - Go to the head of the class. If that guy had anything resembling pace, he'd have been special. Still liked him though. And I remember the Indoor Soccer League on TV. Hey, back in those days, you took the game where you can find it.

Compared to how things are now. What a difference in so few years, eh?

Anyway, and while appreciating your response, my question was rhetorical. Mike knew about Preki.

Mike Gaynes
63 Posted 04/07/2014 at 01:14:49
You bet, James. I still have that goal on video. What a character that guy was. And what a strike that was.
James Flynn
64 Posted 04/07/2014 at 01:52:22
Mike - Just that little hitch-step, shift and bang it. Great memory. Mostly, though, your post about Kasey brought back a time when something to be proud of was hard to find.

Keller (Preki) - 1, Brazil - 0 was one.

What the hell, this is a USA thread. My strongest memory is the nobody – Sampson grinning delightedly into the camera at being congratulated on "his" win.

These few short years ago ancient history for us, no?

Speaking of ancient history, what if Clint Mathis had more than 3-4 brain cells working beyond motor function. There was a player hidden in that body.

Mike Gaynes
65 Posted 04/07/2014 at 03:05:54
Could be said of many, James.

Quaranta, Adu, Eddie Johnson, Kenny Cooper, Buddle, Wynne, Szetela. All flashed the talent, but none had the brains or the guts to make it big. By contrast, we had guys like Tony Sanneh and Frankie Hejduk, who had little talent but a mountain of guts and commitment, and built solid USA careers.

I remember the first time I saw Messi It was in 2005, in the World U-20 Championships in Holland. He was 18 and clearly the best player in the tournament. What nobody remembers is that the second best player in that tournament was two years younger – Adu, who then starred for the 2008 Olympic team, and then train-wrecked. What a brain fart he turned out to be.

James Flynn
66 Posted 04/07/2014 at 05:00:16
Mike - Adu. Ugh. I try to not think of him.

The poster boy for how NOT to develop a prodigy. MLS fucked-up big on that one. That promotion with him and Pele. Oh man. Ugh again. The ultimate cautionary tale.

Mike Gaynes
67 Posted 04/07/2014 at 06:43:20
Yeah, maybe, but the MLS fiasco was a looooooooong time ago.

After that, the kid failed at Benfica, Monaco, Belenenses, Aris and someplace in Turkey's second division. Came home to Philly and failed there, then at Bahia. Just flunked his trial at Blackpool this year... hint that he wasn't fit. Now at 25 he's trying to catch on in Norway with Bob Bradley's team.

Nobody to blame for that shit now but Adu himself.

Chris Wilson
68 Posted 04/07/2014 at 07:36:04
I'm with you on the "you took the game where you could find it" comment. Absolutely spot on.

I remember watching the World Cup in 1986, seeing all of these games on ESPN (only one channel those days) with commercials (ugh), and wondering why the US wasn't in this. I didn't realize just how far behind the world we were.

Although it was in 1986 where I got to see my first televised US national team match on some random general cable station that just aired whatever. I think it was the Miami Cup or something, but it was played in the old Orange Bowl, and it was USA versus Millonarios of Colombia. I was introduced to Jim Gabarra, Mike Windischman, David Vanole, and the then young potential American supertar, Brent Goulet. My god, how far we've come.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the effect the cable/internet explosion would have upon football in this country (yes, I am a Yank and I call it football because... that's what it is). Right now I am reading a fan website dedicated to my favorite soccer team. Every weekend, I get to communicate with Everton fans from all over the world while I'm watching the match on a live stream. I check the NewsNow Everton section probably 20 times a day.

When I was a kid, if I was lucky enough to find a footie magazine; it was probably a month behind on its news. In fact, it was one of the few early periodicals, Soccer America, where I learned that Preki had joined Everton Football Club. I thought, "Preki?!? MISL Superstar Preki?!?" It's just amazing where we are now. It's one of the few times where I think, "Thank God for technology."

James Flynn
69 Posted 04/07/2014 at 17:08:00
Mike – It's always on the player in the end. No doubt about it. Adu definitely put himself in the "They Come and They Go" pile.

Chris – Things have changed so fast in so short a time, eh.

Ah well, busy doings for our Men's Nationals these next 4 years. I'm really looking forward to it.

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