Saturday, September 05, 2009

Matchday 7

The United States faces many parallels today as it did at this point in the Hexagonal eight years ago. The national team was riding high early on, Mexico was in shambles, then the quadrennial three-pointer in Azteca was dropped in a thorough loss away. The next game at home against Honduras would prove crucial towards cementing US hopes of World Cup qualification. This is right about where we are today.

We hope this is where the parallels stop.

The United States lost that match eight years ago, and lost again away to Costa Rica four days later. They would need help from Costa Rica on Matchday 9 in a 0-0 draw against Mexico, coupled with a US win at home despite an incompetent ref and a physical Jamaican team. The national team finished third out of six, grabbing the last qualifying spot with one game to spare, without any sort of style or finesse in the effort.

It needn't be that way again. Change RFK to Rio Tinto, D.C. to Sandy, Utah, from anti-American to (hopefully) red, white and blue in the stands.

Forget what El Salvador is capable of. Forget Arturo Alvarez. Forget about Trinidad and Tobago four days from now. If this game is the slightest bit about anything other than the United States, we lose three points. If this game is a reflection of what we achieved this summer and what can be achieved next summer in South Africa, we win. Period, end of sentence.

It must happen tonight. It will happen tonight.