I Officially Love The U.S. Men’s National Team

Ed The Sports Fan, Soccer — By on June 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

jermaine jones america

I didn’t know I cared that much. I really didn’t.

When Cristiano Ronaldo connected on an absurd crossing pass from roughly 50 yards out to a streaking Varela, who subsequently headed the ball past Tim Howard to give Portugal a 2-2 tie against America, my mind just went blank. I had nothing. I felt nothing. I knew nothing. Here I was, dressed in as much red, white and blue as I could possibly throw together in my admittedly limited American attire, down and out. Over a group stage game.

I wasn’t the only one. I was in a house full of people who probably were watching a soccer match in full for the first time in a long time. Yet, there was anguish to my left and misery on my right. The mood in the room was tense and borderline uncomfortable. I needed a moment, so I left the room to gather my thoughts.

I pulled my phone out and began doing what I usually do when I have a moment of downtime — I started scanning Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. There, I found anyone and everyone I knew also down and out. Angry. Sad. Confused. Delusional. First, there was Kenny draped up in the American flag looking like Captain America. Then, there was Tinsley worried that Ronaldo was going to take all of our women after assisting on that second goal. The Rev was over there relentlessly cussing Michael Bradley a new one. Then came the text messages and phone calls. People back inside the house worried that I’d jumped off the cliff.

That’s when it hit me. I officially love this U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team. What’s more crazy is so do all of you.

Similarly with our women’s side, we’ve now come of age with these fellas. From Clint Dempsey being the first American soccer player that I’ve ever felt like could hold his own as a world-class attacking player to Tim Howard being the world’s best goalkeeper, we’ve gotten to know these guys. That’s why it stung so much to leave Landon Donovan at the crib, to be heartbroken when Jozy Altidore blew out his hamstring, and that’s why we’re as disappointed as we are when Bradley came up short when we needed him most. It’s become personal. We like these guys. We believe in them.

We’ve had experiences with this team now that I’ll never forget. The wars with our heated rivals down south in Mexico. (Dos a cero forever.) The 2009 Confederations Cup. Donovan’s game-winner versus Algeria. All of the losses to Ghana. John Brooks’ header. That’s just to name a few. We’re all invested in this.

So it was on a Sunday afternoon, in a game where the Stars and Stripes pulled a “here we go again” by giving up a gift goal early, to Jermaine Jones pulling off pure wizardry from outside the 18, to Dempsey belly-bumping the ball into the net, to Ronaldo being a jackass at the end, it was another experience I’ll never forget.

I love this team man. I really do. Now let’s go kick Germany’s ass on Thursday.

Eddie Maisonet, III

Eddie Maisonet is a connoisseur of the ultimate reality show that is sports.

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  • J. Tinsley says:

    Not gonna lie. I watched that game with like 400 other people yesterday. Talk about the “turn up” being real lol.

    Then…Ronaldo happened. I’m still in awe of that damn pass. Like, it couldn’t have been any more on the money than what it was.

  • Pete D says:

    Agreed man, great capture of the feelings yesterday that I shared with you. I turned to someone afterwards and said, “Man, I don’t think a soccer loss has ever left me this stunned”. The whole “tie that felt like a loss” and “what is that feeling in my gut that soccer just gave to me that is normally reserved for Philadelphia sports disappointment?” thing was/is real. Pretty cool. I’m not saying I will start watching MLS, but pretty freakin cool. Hope they can move on.

    • Do yourself a favor and skip the MLS unless you’re going to see it live. Wake up on Saturday morning and watch some quality premier league soccer. That’s me being a snob, I should know better.

  • A. That strike by Jermaine Jones was un-freakin-believable. One of the best strikes of the tournament.

    B. I always have to resist the urge to call Jermaine Jones Jumaine Jones. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t watch enough basketball.

    C. Seriously, what the hell has happened to Michael Bradley? Don’t get me wrong, the fact that the defense allowed anyone to get behind them is a travesty and inexcusable … but damn, Bradley used to be one of the best players on the team. So far, he’s been terrible this World Cup. Against Ghana, he was dreadful – couldn’t make a pass to save his life. Against Portual, he was better, but still bad. Kept turning the ball over, the last one that proved lethal, missed that wide open net by kicking it right into the Portugal defender – you have to score there – and generally just not accepting or distributing the ball well. Seriously, what happened to him? Someone explain.

    D. Exactly what you said about a tie feeling like a loss. It was wrenching. Especially since it was literally with like 15 seconds left in the game.

    E. Ronaldo and Messi are late-game wizards.

    F. The World Cup is incredible.

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