Summer of Soccer–Copa America Centenario

As I looked ahead to the summer of 2016, I just couldn’t believe all the soccer would be on. The addition of the Copa America Centenario and the expanded Euros created a month of wall to wall coverage that surpassed even the World Cup in terms of soccer coverage.

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I’ll admit that the Copa America does not make my radar. I caught bits and pieces last year, even watching the Final in the locker room at Silverbacks Park after a Reserves game. This year I was looking forward to possibly going to a game in Orlando but was defeated by time and money (and to be honest, matchups). I made it a point to watch all of the US games as this would be a good test of how the Stars and Stripes matched up against superior South American competition.

US v Colombia

I chose to not go to the AO Atlanta event at Red Brick and played homefield advantage at Rose and Crown. Met some Terminus Legion members there and had a good time despite the result. The game was over early and the fear of not making it out of the group started creeping to the surface.

Mexico v Uruguay

Crazy game with the ten men of Uruguay taking it to El Tri. In the end, Rafa Marquez put Mexico in front and a third was added to put a period on an entertaining match.

US v Costa Rica

Headed to Rose and Crown again. The US got an early goal and put the match away before halftime. Jurgen stayed with the same line up and the team pressured Los Ticos, creating lots of chances.

US v Paraguay

After watching England v Russia at the Righteous Room I went to Fado Buckhead for the AO ATL event. Getting there early allowed me to get in the door, with Terminus Legion setting up on the roof right next to a reserved area for an engagement party. Cannot imagine what they thought as fans kept filling the rooftop and going mental with the US goal and Yedlin red card.

Brazil v Peru

After playing with the TL team in the Sons of Pitches Supporters League, I made the short trip to Bottle Rocket in Castleberry Hill. Watched the first half with the Castleberry Hill Athletic Club and then headed home for the second half. After missing the dramatic events of the previous nightcaps (Chile’s late late PK and Costa Rica stunning Colombia) I watched all the way to the end. My reward: seeing Brazil getting absolutely screwed.

US v Ecuador

With kickoff at 9pm and me being old, I stayed close to home at Rose and Crown. Ran into some of the ATL Evertonians, met up with frequent pod guest JR Francis and met some new soccer fans. The US played well and with the second goal I relaxed. Bad idea as Ecuador pulled one back and made things nervous at the end.

Mexico v Chile

When I showed up at the bar after watching a Georgia Revolution game, it was 2-0 to Chile at halftime. Over the next 45 minutes I didn’t know if it was fatigue or alcohol or something else influencing my vision as El Tri were eviscerated.

US v Argentina

After a rough weekend I stayed home and watched the game on the couch. This also allowed me to engage the twittersphere. Hot takes ahoy! I was upset that we lost (though not surprised) but was really pissed at the lineup choices. Yes Jurgen was forced to make changes but I would have not made those changes. The game was over early and just had to be endured.

Argentina v Chile

I headed to Fado Buckhead to meet up with the Terminus Legion gang to watch the Copa America Centenario Final. I was surprised to find the bar full of fans of each team and, as the teams walked out for the national anthems, tension was in the air. The game was standard South American fare—fouling, whining, handbags and occasional skill. The referee was front and center with several questionable decisions. I spent most of the match talking with fans because the conversation was much better than the game. Once normal time was over I left, knowing that I could get home before penalties. Sure enough, kicks from the spot were required and when Messi missed his, I thought only Romero can save him now. No chance. While Messi will end his career without an international trophy, no one can deny his greatness.

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This was a special tournament, a celebration of soccer in the Americas. A few memorable moments dotted the event but don’t see this edition living long in the memory. US Soccer is posturing to reshape international events in this hemisphere and I hope their efforts do not come to fruition. Each region needs a quadrennial competition to showcase the teams and bring the festival to different parts of the continents. But money talks so see everyone in 2019 or 2020.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

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