by G.D. Morrill
Tomorrow is the first game of the knock out semi-finals of the Copa America Centenario, in Houston’s NRG Stadium with the underdog USA facing the number one team in the world. Argentina with the “Galactic” team of all stars, including Leonel Messi, not arguably, THE best player in the history of “futbol”, or as we say in America, soccer.
The twelfth best team in the world, the USA, will be without three starters: Jermaine Jones, Eddie Wood, and Alejandro Bedoya. So what? No biggie? Hell yes, it’s a biggie!. It could be tragic! When over a quarter of your first team starters are not playing, it’s a friggin BIG DEAL! It will be up to the guys who put the shirt on their back to come through for their country! Big deal? Ask them. But these are the issues all teams have to put up with in tournaments decided in a few weeks time. Lots of leg issues, yellow and red card issues, and “next man up” issues. Is the next guy up that much worse than they guy whose place they took? This is the way we discover new players. Sometimes the next man up is better than the guy whose place he took (Wally Pip?).
Odds are we’ll probably lose, right? Well, yes, we will, however, if our second line players were to play out of their gourds, maybe not. One never knows. Who saw Mexico losing 7-0 to Chile? Nobody! So, as in any sport, anything can happen. Miracles can happen, and sometimes do. Let’s not lose before we play the damn game! OK, maybe I’m the only one riled up, but we have performed miracles before in our soccer history.
We’ve beaten Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and France. Yes, us, the USA! So, cross your fingers, toes, and eyes if you need to, but keep hope alive in your hearts. Maybe, just maybe, we can do it. I bet we do! Haha! Take that!
In the other game on Thursday, in Soldier Field, Chi Town, Chile takes on dangerous Colombia. This one should be a barn burner! Both teams are perennial powerhouses in South America. Colombia is ranked 3rd, and Chile 5th. Wow! The other, little, minor tournament, taking place in, can’t boast that kind of kick ass game!
Both teams are at full strength, with the exception of super star Arturo Vidal for Chile, and except for us Americans, the rest of the Americas and the world can’t wait for this game.
James Rodrigues V Alexi Sanchez, Jeisson Vargas v Juan Cuadrado. No superstar names? You would be close. But they are all excellent players and play “team” soccer. Sometimes this works better than a team full of overpaid superstars (watch out Argentina!). The fact is that this will be a game that the whole world is waiting for. Soccer in the Americas is really, really good. What the hell is the USA doing there? Well, maybe, just maybe, we belong there. We’ll find out tomorrow.
Let’s hope for the best in both games!