The Least American Team in US History

The togetherness, passion and American grit of the 2014 US World Cup squad may be missing
by Roy Rosell   |   Friday, May 30, 2014

US Soccer Federation (USSF)

It's be one crazy week for the United States Men's National Team.

The fiasco got off to an explosive start with the announcement of coach Jurgen Klinsmann‘s chosen 23 that will represent the United States at the World Cup. Reading through the list and seeing names like John Anthony Brooks, Timothy Chandler, and Julian Green as opposed to Clarence Goodson, Michael Parkhurst, and what is becoming the most controversial exclusion by a coach in US history, Landon Donovan; one may have found it necessary to re-read the list to assure their eyes weren’t failing them.

The response from the US soccer public has been overwhelmingly negative. Fans took to the web to voice their frustrations. Debates ensued throughout Twitter as Klinsmann's son posted a tweet that fanatical theorists have latched on to to devise conspiracies of long lasting feuds between the German and the American Hero that trace back to Landon's ineffective time at a Klinsmann managed Bayern Munich and peaked after Donovan's little break announcement.

As the mending broken hearts of US fans began life in a post-Donovan era, one which in the opinions of many has come much too soon, another dagger was inserted in the wound as Donovan’s masterful performance for the Galaxy upon his return only reminded us what our instinctual feeling has been all along: Jurgen Klinsmann made a mistake.  Scoring 2 well-deserved goals and whipping in a Beckham-esque free kick for the assist, Donovan looked like the type of player the US is in such desperate need for.

Yet, as his compatriots train for what may be the most decisive World Cup in the history of US Soccer, Donovan sits at home, anxious and well aware that his skill set can do wonders for this team, as it has so many times in the past.

And aside from the final score in Tuesday night’s World Cup tune up match vs. Azerbaijan, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. Every worry was materialized before the eyes of frustrated spectators and the underlying notion that this may not be the strongest squad for the World Cup stuck in the backs of the minds of every fan. A mostly dull and frustrating game that saw:

1) The attack sputter against a defense that is world’s weaker than what we will be facing in Brazil.

2) The defense choke on routine plays, allowing a nameless Azerbaijan attack opportunities and 9 shots (the types of opportunities that Germany, Portugal, and Ghana will punish us for).

3) Jozy be Sunderland Jozy, not Alkmaar Jozy.

4) The lineup be not anywhere near finalized after a very poor all-around performance that raised more questions than answers.

So what's the heck is going on? With 2 weeks to figure that out, I present to you my issue with this team:

It's the least American team in US history.

I don't just mean that a good percentage of players, some of which make the core of this team, had to be convinced or reaped of prior allegiances to represent the red, white and blue.

I'm not just talking about the fact that leadership, passion for the colors, and experience were left in the dust for youthful potential whom may or may not know he lyrics to our national anthem.

And it's not just the fact that the face of American soccer, American hero, and the one player that the "every 4 years" US soccer fan will recognize was cut from the team, leaving the squad without a standout heroic figure.

I'm talking about the long standing "X-Factor" of this team; the one thing that has brought us glory when facing unsurmountable odds and far superior teams: the fierce American grit and "Never Say Die" attitude that saw Donovan blaze through Algerian defensive warriors after 90 minutes of exhaustive effort to make history. The same grit that saw McBride quickly walk off the field for treatment with blood pouring down his face after having his head cut open by a De Rossi elbow. That feeling of unity and "together as one" that has defined this team for so many years.

Though the squad may be the most talented ever, this time around, that bravery, toughness, togetherness, and the fight for the colors just feels a bit off.

Upon being asked about the team's performance, Chris Wondolowski responded "We're not supposed to be peaking right now, we're supposed to be peaking down in Brazil." 

Yes. But the team isn't supposed to be sucking right now either. And after 75 minutes of some of the worst soccer the US has played in years, the question of whether the team's level of undying inspiration is still there.

Will we find ourselves? 2 weeks and 2 matches to find out. 

Roy ROSELL

Nationality:
USA
College:
Cal Poly Pomona
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Arsenal
Absolute fanatic, especially passionate about MLS and it's growth. LA Galaxy columnist with no filter and a knack for the controversial. Travelled the world watching soccer matches, but there's no place like home.
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