MatchDay Memory–Summer 2013 Part Two: International Competitions

As for televised games, Mid-Michigan United had great turnouts for the USMNT qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.  The Americans secured all nine points and are all but assured of a spot at World Cup 2014.  Jozy Altidore reclaimed his spot as the top forward and the defense held firm, only giving up one goal in 270 minutes.

Next up was the Confederations Cup, and my interaction with the competition was spotty at best.  Tried to check in on matches and watch highlights when I could.  The Final was the Spain versus Brazil game that the world had been anticipating for four years.  And it wasn’t even close.  Spain got thrashed.  Bayern, Chelsea, Italy and now Brazil have shown the way to defeating the Spanish/Barca system—an athletic team with fitness and organization.  Of course there were huge momentum swings—David Luiz saving Pedro’s goal in the first half, an early goal from Fred in the second half and Ramos’ missed penalty.  All those world class forwards and you let a center back take the kick?  By the way Ramos needs to go back to right back.  He’s not awesome in the middle and Arbeloa is lost and truly the weakest link.

Just before the European club season kicked off, the Gold Cup wrapped up.  I admit at the outset I was not interested at all.  The US sent a B team to a second rate competition in substandard region.  I got together with a couple of MMU guys and watched the last group game against Costa Rica.  Brek Shea scored his first international goal as the Stars and Stripes finished the group stage with maximum points.  The next game I took in was the semi-final against Honduras.  A solid performance took the Klinsmannschaft to the final against surprise package Panama, who dispatched a struggling Mexico.  I was only to catch the first half of Final, due to an over 30 game.  That was awful 45 minutes.  In the end the US won and now have at least half a chance of playing in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The National Team got a lot out of the competition.  They were able develop the player pool, reintegrate Donovan into the team and get Jurgen a piece of silverware.  With the squad all but in the World Cup and with Mexico struggling, the US is back on top in the region.  Everything now should be developing a balanced team that can progress from the group and have a legitimate shot to do damage in the knockout.  Again it will be down to the draw.

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