Saturday, June 23, 2007

USA: Do they care about the Copa America?

One of the national teams that is always improving and they are already qualified to play the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match, the United States of America, will take to Venezuela an alternative squad with only 9 first team regulars in the list.

Manager Bob BRADLEY announced the list of 22 that will face Argentina in their debut and the majority of them play in the local MLS.

"Copa America is a great opportunity for our youngsters to earn a very valuable international experience. This group have a lot of players that can be used during 2008 and 2009 in our quest to qualify for the next World Cup" said the American manager.

USA will debut on Thursday against non-other than Argentina and both teams share Group C with Paraguay and Colombia, but before that, BRADLEY's team can lift a trophy if they beat Mexico on Sunday in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match.

Check out the list of 22 players that will represent the U.S. in Venezuela 2007:

Brad GUZAN (Chivas USA-USA)
Kasey KELLER (Borussia Moenchengladbach-GER)

Jonathan BORNSTEIN (Chivas USA-USA)
Bobby BOSWELL (D.C. United-USA)
Dan CALIFF (Aalborg BK-DEN)
Jimmy CONRAD (Kansas City Wizards-USA)
Jay DE MERIT (Watford FC-ENG)
Drew MOOR (FC Dallas-USA)
Heath PEARCE (FC Nordsjælland-DEN)
Marvell WYNNE (Toronto FC-CAN -MLS-)

Kyle BECKERMAN (Colorado Rapids-USA)
Ricardo CLARK (Houston Dynamo-USA)
Benny FEILHABER (Hamburgo-GER)
Eddie GAVEN (Columbus Crew-USA)
Justin MAPP (Chicago Fire-USA)
Ben OLSEN (D.C.United-USA)

Charlie DAVIES (Hammarby-SWE)
Herculez GOMEZ (Colorado Rapids-USA)
Eddie JOHNSON (Kansas City Wizards-USA)
Taylor TWELLMAN (New England Revolution-USA)

Well...what can I say?

I think it is just a matter of setting your priorities and Mr. BRADLEY played it safe. He will try and win the Gold Cup that will qualify them to play the next edition of the glamourous Confederations Cup, knowing the had every chance to do it. There are only 2 strong teams in that region (CONCACAF) and they are both in the finals. In my opinion, a final match between Mexico and the USA was always going to be the case. No surprise at all.

So why not win that one and go to Venezuela with a reserve team without pressures or responsibilities.

If they get a couple of results, they will come as a bonus track. If they are knocked out in the first round, then there is no harm because it's kind of logical to lose against Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia.

But I wonder if taking only a handful of slightly known players is a good thing for the USA (Kasey KELLER, Jay DE MERIT and Eddie JOHNSON are the only three names that ring any bells to me).

Why not bringing the best they have to the Copa America and see how they fare against the big guns from South America?

I guess all of those (like me) who were waiting to see how the ever-improving USA could do against tougher opposition, will have to wait a little longer...


johnny said...

Thanks for that info Seba. I did not realize the USA was bringing a sub team. That's too bad, and it seems they are answering your question. I guess they don't much care. I was a little ambivalent about who to root for between the USA and Argentina. Now I won't feel bad about pulling for Argentina from the beginning.

Seba said...

Yeah, Johnny. I was thinking about you and I thought that you would have felt in an ankward position on Thursday as an American who generally supports Argentina.

I tend to think that generally, you get stronger only by facing a tougher rival. And in theory, that's what the Copa America represents to the USA. But they thought, this time, it was better to be the big fish in the small pond.

Let's face it, at both, the Gold Cup and the Copa America, the prize is almost the same: you qualify for the Confederations Cup.

Do the USA had a chance to win the Copa America? Well, we will never know now...but with players like Landon DONOVAN, DaMarcus BEASLEY, Donovan McBRIDE and a few other European-based stars, things could have been a lot different (and much more attractive to everyone...or do they not care about attracting the people to "soccer" in America?)

johnny said...

"Soccer" still is mostly a sports afterthought in the USA. This despite the fact it is played by youngsters from sea to shining sea regularly every week. Both my niece and nephew play for their school. Unfortunately, it is also played by many kids who do not have the requisite athletic talent to star in "real" sports like baseball, football, basketball, etc. Some might disagree with that opinion, but I hold to that. I fear it will be a long while before soccer becomes anything other than a novelty in the states. More's the pity.

Asil said...

Hope, the Argies don't lose focus against the American. The first game will set the tone

Anonymous said...

Had the USA hypothetically won Copa America, would they have qualified for the Confederations Cup? I would have thought that they would been ineligible because they are from a different footballing region (Concacaf vs Conmebol).

I look at it from the perspective that while Copa America is surely the more prostigious tournament, the USA is better off making sure they qualify for the Confederation Cup in their own group. It's disappointing because we want always want our competitors to bring their first teams but it wouldn't really benefit the USA.

Another thing to consider is that the USA is stretched pretty thin what with the Gold Cup, Copa America and the U20 World Cup.
Practically, I think that Coach Bradley did the right thing, he has pretty much guaranteed that the USA can play in a mini tournament in South Africa which will be invaluable for their World Cup preparation.

Also, while we may not like it, a lot of their domestic players will now get some invaluable international experience. What better way to prepare for future international competitions than to play in front of very very passionate South Americans. An experience like no other.

So yes, it's disappointing but I can definitely see why Bradley is playing it safe. Also keep in mind that we are also playing Paraguay and Colombia and I can guarantee that both of those countries aren't going to take it easy against us.

I can't wait for it to start!! :)


Seba said...

Excellent thoughts by argentinafan!

I think you are right in saying that even if they had won the Copa America they wouldn't be going to the confederations cup. I guess I just simplified things and since I know the champion of each confederation goes to the Confederations Cup, together with the host and the World Champions (is it like this?), I got confused.

I wonder what happens if Mexico win the Copa America?

Will it be the case that the runner-up (if it is not the USA) will join the Conf Cup?

Too much confussion. The only thing we know for sure is that the USA are already confirmed in that major tournament.

So I guess Mr. BRADLEY was right!