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Bottom line on Monday’s U.S. Olympic flop …

Mar 27, 2012, 8:45 AM EDT

Mix Diskerud

So much will be written and said over the coming days of the U.S. under-23 crash. Hyperbole will flow while over-generalizations, over-reaction and wild over-reach will be in high season, all in search of deeper meaning for it all.

But as you digest the disapproving comeuppance ahead, deciding whether to heed the antagonistic or lean toward the more temperate set, it would surely help to keep this inescapable truth close by:

This thing really is a colossal failure.

I don’t know what it means in the bigger picture as we all stew about developmental academies, youth soccer curriculums, best coaching practices and such; that’s to be sorted out. But the shorter-term reality cannot be avoided, that such a thing should never have happened.

The Americans had a huge leg up to begin with, as the whole tournament was (once again) hand-delivered to U.S. soil. Home teams do well in international tournaments, of course. For the United States to go 1-1-1 at home, against three teams the Americans were favored against – that’s hard to even fathom. I mean, maybe you get one mulligan. But a lone win in three games at home?  Not. Good. Enough.

The 1994 U.S. World Cup squad managed, despite a relative dearth in talent, to fight its way into the second round. In 1998, France won a World Cup on home soil. Japan and South Korea out-kicked their coverage (to borrow an American football analogy) in the 2002 World Cup. Germany, under Jurgen Klinsmann, rode the wave of impassioned home support into the World Cup 2006 semifinals.

It might have been one thing if the United States, playing on home soil, at a venue more or less of its choosing, flamed out in the semifinals against a good, Olympic-bound side. But to not even get that far?

Not. Good. Enough.

Again, home teams tend to rise in these things. It’s an enormous advantage, one that shouldn’t be under-valued in evaluations to come.  I’m not sure what went wrong in this one, but it’s safe to say that plenty did.

The bottom line for the principals to remember upon failure to qualify for the Olympics in two of the last three tries: it’s not good enough. It has to get better.

  1. massivedick - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    no one gives a crap about soccer ….

    • mrtuktoyaktuk - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      you took time out from your busy day to post that? Grow up.

    • matthewsf - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      NBC does. And it’s coming for your sport soon BABY! Watch out. Must See NBC TV: SOCCER, SOCCER, SOCCER.

      [tell your mom I made you cry]

  2. istdashoff - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    Here’s the difference, if you saw the crowds in these games, the “home field advantage” was non existent. These weren’t packed friendly crowds, these were sections of empty seats and generous quantities of fans of the other teams.

  3. footballer4ever - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Those same people who like to shout noone cares about soccer are the ones who show otherwise. I don’t see them doing that for other non traditional sports as much as the do for our football. There is something to it otherwise they would not waste their time. :p

  4. gotampabay52 - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    We need soccer all day

  5. berlintexas - Mar 27, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    One of the worst losses (draw, whatever) I’ve ever experience in any sport. I want to blame everyone and everything, the location, the team, the coaches, the injuries, but at the end of the day you hit the nail on the head. Not good enough. My only hope is that these players never forget that feeling and use it to drive them on to bigger and better things.

  6. footballer4ever - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    It’s a failure, no doubt about it. Catastrophic to the sport’s growth in the US? Nope! Let this be a lesson to the young generation representing the country to not get comfortable because what smaller countries lack on infrastructure and resources, their hearts can perform wonders .

  7. wesbadia - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Catastrophic to the sport’s growth in the US? No, indeed. Catastrophic to the careers of people like Sunil Gulati, Claudio Reyna, etc? Please let it be so…

  8. davidtmp - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Soccer will never be as big in America as it is around the world. Alot of these kids can only afford a soccer ball to kick around. You don’t need helmet and pads(football), you don’t need a basket(basketball), you don’t need bats and gloves(baseball). They learn the footwork needed to be great in soccer, and they learn the strategy that has served them well.
    You throw in a corrupt FIFA organization that seems hell bent on keeping the stronger and faster American’s down by making the sport pretty much no contact, and the opposing teams takes a fall to get calls. Never in my playing days did I see such crap as getting kicked in the back of the calf and have to be carted off. That is what turns off soccer in America. And we also don’t have the skill set to compete with the best in the world….and for 20 years we’ve been saying soccer is growing. I’ve yet to see it. The officiating is horrible. And America still can’t qualify for the World Cup…..just QUALIFY.

    • Steve Davis - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      David … this is a blog for people who like soccer. Not your cup of tea … no worries, man! Live and let live, I say … but please direct the tired old hash about how “Americans don’t like soccer” elsewhere. It’s just so boring. And so not true. Thanks
      (Oh, and the United States has been in every World Cup since 1986. They qualify with regularity.)

      • davidtmp - Mar 27, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        Actually, I love soccer. Played growing up thru high school. So I probably worded my response a little on the harsh side(and said World Cup instead of Olympics..oops)….But if you really think soccer will ever be as big as Football, Basketball, or Baseball in America, you are kidding yoursef. Is there alot of kids playing soccer? yes. And when alot of those kids get older, they gravitate towards football and baseball. I’ve seen as many kids that have no interest in playing sports, but their parents think it will be good for them.
        The strategy of America is ball control, and hope you can get goal on off a break. The great teams of the world, it’s about constant pressure using great ball control. When America gets to that point, I think we can then start to convert some more fans towards soccer.

      • apostolicwitnss - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:43 AM

        For David – MLS has already surpassed bball and hockey,

        Will it surpass ML baseball… probably not. WIll it surpass NFL football, absolutely not. SO WHAT! The U.S. of A. really is big enough to enjoy multiple sports. We should want EVERYONE playing ANY sport!

        Now, I do like your critique on hoping for a break instead of forcing with pressure – and I believe that that is exactly what Klinnsmann is looking into. And as for the spotty record of the U.S., recall that England hasn’t won much in a few decades! And Mexico has won precious little on the larger International stages!

  9. arjanroghanchi - Mar 27, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    gulati must go.

    and is it readily apparent to anyone else that Klinsi increasingly seems less and less like the savior he was held up to be?

    • wesbadia - Mar 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      Agreed about Gulati, but how does Klinnsman figure into this? Caleb Porter was manning the station for Olympic qualifying, not Jurgen.

  10. slxc - Mar 27, 2012 at 2:01 PM


  11. soccerknowitall - Mar 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    here’s a few JK qoutes!“ Overall, the way Caleb developed the program in these just couple of months was outstanding,” Klinsmann said, referring to US Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter. “He’s done an outstanding job. How he put his thoughts and ideas into these guys. There’s a bright future ahead of him in his coaching career.” and more……….Klinsmann continued: “You saw that tonight, you saw it against Cuba, you saw it against Mexico, and it’s important for us to see that we’re on the right path in terms of style of play.” so there you go… it’s better to look good and lose than look bad and win… JK is out of touch with the american idea of winning at all costs attitude, and is devoid of any emotions about how we.. the people feel about the concacaf olympic qualifying results of the US team. this guy is a spin master on par with politicians in DC. i see nothing good by JK blowing smoke up us soccer, it’s players and the fans a***. who does this guy think he is?
    get a coach who knows how to win a dam qualifying tourny us soccer. I know i could have coached them thru to semi’s. thats for dam sure.

  12. fcspro - Mar 28, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Fire Porter and Reyna. If Juergen doesn’t bring the DFB mentality of winning first and style second then this isn’t going to work. Unacceptable. We cannot keep missing the Olympic games. We fall behind when we do.

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