Thursday, May 29, 2008

England Beats U.S.; Flashback 15 Years

Yesterday's 2-0 England win over the U.S.A. brought back memories of the U.S.' 1993 win over England at Foxboro Stadium as part of the hackneyed U.S. Cup.

I was a young reporter covering the match for a Massachusetts newspaper, and it was a thrill. Like most writers covering football of the world's variety, I was in the minority as a fan of the game among my peers. It was a tough sell to get the game covered and in the paper, but nearly 40,000 tickets were sold for the game, which was approximately one year before the 1994 World Cup--yes I did cover the six games at Foxboro in '94--another thrill for another day. It was smart for the paper to get on the football bandwagon.

But I digress. I remember the uproar caused by the U.S. win. Not only were there lame references to the American Revolution in local and national headlines, but the win did lend a bit of legitimacy to U.S. soccer--on these shores at least.

I remember the outraged English press in attendance, furiously pounding at their old-school laptops, dialing up editors on deadline and wondering just how much venom they could lash at their boys. It was harsh; after all, it was a made-up tournament; the game was essentially a friendly. The U.S. didn't necessarily dominate. It did get a bang-bang goal from Thomas Dooley to lead 1-0 at the half, and Alexi Lalas came off the bench at 72 minutes to clinch it with a header. But the game was more about how England failed to capitalize, and more importantly, failed to take the game seriously.

The press did take the result seriously, and the headlines the next day were scathing. Coach Graham Taylor was out within a week; and ultimately, England did not qualify for the '94 World Cup. How much this match had to do with it is for history to say.

I just remember how cool it was to see Gary Palister, Paul Ince, Les Ferdinand and John Barnes play a match in my back yard. I remember doing a sidebar on two mates from Manchester, one a United fan, the other a City fan, uniting for one night at least. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them post-match; perhaps my one regret for the night.

For more on yesterday's match, check out:

My Soccer Blog
The Kin of Fish
Soccer By Ives
Revolution Recap
American Soccer Spot
Stateside Footy

1 comment:

Brian Lomax said...

I agree 100%. Its fairly obvious that we don't have the talent to compete. Fine. But Bradley's coaching methods stinks rottenly of the way Bruce Arena coahced this squad. No imagination, nothing. It was like they didn't care. We could be potentially embarrassed by Spain and Argentina. Hopefully that will not be the case. Thanks for the shoutout on your blog too!