Thursday, June 24, 2010

U.S. World Cup Team Can't Rest on Algeria Win

The United States has been pining to be a world soccer power and they're so close, especially after the first round of the World Cup. But let's stop calling yesterday's 1-0 win over Algeria that enabled the U.S. to win its group and advance to the knockout stage of the tournament the biggest win in U.S. soccer history. This isn't the game that's going to make soccer the new football in the U.S.

It's the next game that will do that.

And then the one after that.

And hopefully one or two after that.

Enjoy this one now, because come Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the win over Algeria and Landon Donovan's wonder goal will be long forgotten; especially if by 4:30, we're with our hands in our heads and tears of sorrow staining our faces. The U.S. has to take the next step, now. Their time has arrived because they won't get a more favorable road to World Cup glory. Ghana, and their either Uruguay or South Korea stand between the U.S. and the World Cup semifinals.

The U.S. made the semifinals in 1930, ironically played in Uruguay. The U.S. were hammered by Argentina 6-1, whom they could theoretically meet in this year's final.

Yes, I'm way ahead of myself and I wouldn't bet my chocolate lab on that happening, but they certainly could end up in the final four against Brazil, Holland, maybe even Portugal.

That's what yesterday's victory did. It wasn't the end game. It wasn't the end-all, be-all. No Bianca, it wasn't the greatest day in U.S. soccer history. That will be Saturday. And then July 2, July 6 and maybe July 11.

Until then, savor it, but don't be satisfied. That's how world soccer powers behave.

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