I have been brushing off writing about the Gold Cup for a few reasons, not least of which is that I don't particularly enjoy writing match recaps. Games are played; you either watch them, or you don't. I'd rather exchange ideas about what happened than give a minute by minute update. Anyone who wants that information can check ESPN's Gamecast. The bigger reason, however, is that the USMNT - as a whole - had not done anything noteworthy.
In one of my previous posts (Transfer Monday) I stated that the Nats tcob against Belize. Last week (Transfer Monday: Vol. II) I mentioned that I had a gripe, which I would get to. Well, here it is:
If the USMNT wants to be considered a challenger, a top caliber program, and basically live up to the expectations of the, albeit fickle, American media and public, then beating Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, and even Costa Rica should be a given, not a struggle.
It's just that simple.
Are we there yet? No.
Can we get there? Yes.
Will we get there? I think so, but it will take time and player development.
This next part may seem like a tangent, but bear with me, it's all related. Do me a favor and check out the latest FIFA rankings. Most people in the soccer world put little stock in the actual rankings of these countries, and I am no exception. It is a flawed system, but the bigger picture is what matters here. I like to think of the rankings in terms of Fantasy Football (again, bear with me). If you do not play/understand FF, feel free to skip down to the next paragraph. When ranking players in FF, experts generally break them into categories. Quarterbacks, for example, may be categorized as "elite" or "solid starter" down to "bye week play" or "if you're desperate". "Elite" is self explanatory, while "if you're desperate" basically means that if you have nobody to put into your team for a given week, at the very least we know that Mark Sanchez is starting, and he's playing the Bills. So, instead of having a 1-207 list of countries, I have a few different categories, and the order in each doesn't really matter.
Note: These rankings are based on history and opinion. If you've got a problem with them, go ahead and voice it.