Landon, Justice, and the American Way



After 90 excruciating, nail biting minutes (not to mention a 4 plus day wait after Coulibaly-gate) Landon Donovan gave the USA a much deserved goal and passage into the knock out stages of the World Cup.  The goal and eventual result was a just outcome and has placed the beautiful game on the forefront of just about every American media outlet's news headlines.  Even the most hardened of the mouth breathing - I hate soccer for no reason population has to stand up and take notice. 

A variety of near misses and another blown call on Clint Dempsey's goal, which was incorrectly ruled offsides, provided the drama and set the stage for Donovan's extra time winner.  The victory also ensures that the USMNT and soccer remain a huge story and large part of the American consciousness....for the next several days anyway.  Another victory on Saturday over a beatable Ghana, a team which failed to score from the run of play in all three of their group matches, will escalate the American hype machine even higher.

What does this mean for the future of the game in America?

In the short term, it's too early to start looking at comparisons to the "Miracle on Ice" 1980 Olympic hockey team.  We'll need a sem-finals appearance at the least to justifiably reach those accomplishments.  What is certain is that American soccer has reached the highest level of popularity in the history of this nation with all signs pointing upward. 

The American victory today will not mean that thousands of additional fans will automatically start streaming into MLS stadia come July.  It doesn't mean that soccer is suddenly respected and is set to take it's rightful place among football, baseball, basketball, and hockey as a sport deserving the same media coverage and attention.  It doesn't even mean that clowns like Jim Rome, Dan Bernstein, Dan McNeil, Norman Chad and whoever else continues to beat the tired, old "nobody cares" drum will magically be enlightened. 

What it does signify is that America is ready to take that next step as a soccer nation. All you need to do is attend one of the various World Cup watch parties to realize that something is happening that has not happened before in this country. Millions of people are as passionate about soccer as the blue and orange clad faithful are about the Bears (or any other NFL team). The next step involves being ingrained in the American pysche as something that is passed on from generation to generation.  It's happening now and it can't  be ignored for much longer. ESPN's wall to wall coverage is ensuring that it's not ignored, even by the traditional soccer hating neanderthals. 

While this step is an important one.  The next leap will come in December 2010 when FIFA announces the hosts for World Cup 2018 and 2022.  If America is fortunate enough to win a bid for either year, the groundswell that began in 1994 will erupt and elevate soccer in mainstream America as the "major" sport we've always known it was. 


Filed under: 2010 World Cup

Tags: 2010 World Cup


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  • If the US can turn miss chances into goals they will have a good shot at least going 2 more games...

  • This game was truly the focus today. Isaw lots of support, maybe more than I've ever seen before. The Ghana game I believe may prove our toughest challenge yet, but there should be even more support and lots of viewers. A magical performance captured the hearts of America today. Donovan fittingly scored the winner. The black stars look tough, but if we capitalize, we'll undoubtedly win.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    Ghana was drew with a 10 men Australian team that was terrible. Their only goals have been 2 PK's and the Serbian handball was ridiculous. Our expectations should be the semi's now.

  • Landon Donovan is the face of American soccer. Today, he proved that by stepping up and scoring a huge goal that capitalized a victory for the USMNT. Players like Donovan, Howard, Altidore, Onewyu and Bocanegra are the key focal points to that team. The problem is someone needs to be in the box for the rebound off of a miss shot. As for soccer coverage, the popularity of soccer is growing and it is going to take time for the MLS to be an up and coming league. The MLS are infants compared to the Mexican League, EPL, French Division One and etc. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, every country has at least a soccer league. I could careless with the Norman Chad's, Jim Rome's, Bernstein, McNeil and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo of the world negative views on the game. Somewhere upstairs, Dick Young is praising the lowest common denominator media personalities like these guys I had mentioned. Dick Young was the Godfather of Media Idiot that downgraded the game of soccer.

  • In reply to longoria3:

    Michael Bradley is the man. Big game today, surprised he is not being lauded more. Big teams will have noticed.

  • In reply to Celt:

    The holding midfielder never gets any praise. The good ones never get mentioned until they miss a game and things aren't the same. A lot like Logan Pause...

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Very true except the Fire really haven't missed a beat when Pause is out.

  • In reply to Celt:

    To get some of those World Cup supporters in after the World Cup the Fire have to start an advertising campaign about how they play World Cup caliber soccer. It's a lie of course, but plenty won't notice the difference. It could highlight McBride's heroics, how the entire national team went through the Fire, how Bridgeview is a lot closer than South Africa, how De Los Cobos was the coach of El Salvador months ago, and how Pappa is frequently capped.

  • In reply to patrickhattrick:

    Plenty won't notice? Only people who are blind won't notice the difference in the level of play between MLS and the World Cup. Soccer fans in Chicago who don't support the Fire are the ones most difficult to win over because MLS doesn't have teams that are as goos as those in the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, etc. They have seen MLS and they have it in their minds that MLS is a waste of their time.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    The bad thing about alot of the Euro fans is that they're basing their opinions on assumptions and "once watching an MLS game yeas ago". Some of them have never been to a match in person and alot of them haven't really bothered to watch more than a few matches on television.

  • In reply to ggorecki:

    Case in point: Calen Carr! The whole Algerian team made him look like a middle school hopeful.

  • In reply to Celt:

    i agree. his workrate is incredible. i bet no one on the team covers more ground each game than Bradley

  • In reply to Celt:

    I think one important thing is that with the US's great run so far coupled with ESPN's blanket coverage, millions of Americans now have a common and strong shared soccer memory. Come 2014 in Brazil, this investment by ESPN will really pay off. We'll remember the emotional US moments, the goofy French, Maradona the coach and it's those shared memories that drive interest in these events.

    p.s. Congrats Krystof. Whatta lucky dog.

  • In reply to oliotya:'s something from a former non soccer believer.

  • In reply to Celt:

    Here's a good way to waste some time.

  • In reply to Celt:

    well the italian floppity floppers flopped their way out of the tournament

    new improved World Cup, now with 50% less diving

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Not a good display from the defending Champions.

  • In reply to cesba:

    was an exciting last 15 minutes to that game though :)

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Yes...they seemed to wake up when they realized they were going to get knocked out.

  • In reply to CountChocula:,0,662311.story

    As usual Blanco skips the media after the Uruguay match. Luis will appreciate this one.

  • In reply to CountChocula:

    Klopas on Chicago Tribune Live Tuesday

  • In reply to cesba:

    Guillermo.. all over the media angles.. thx for the links.

  • Not enough can be said about Tim Howard's 60-yard missile to Donovan, which immediately followed another solid save by the Yankee keeper. He didn't have to do much today, but when the team really needed him, Mr Howard shined. If there's a better goalie in the world, let me know.

  • John Kass is excellent,0,6643197.column

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