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Soundtrack to an upset

This made us laugh.


  1. DRM

    June 30, 2009 at 5:48 am

    (All-too-rare) significant successes in US men's international soccer are second only to ASU winning national football championships in my book–which, since it's mine, is of course correct. For the US MNT, beating Spain by the equivalent of two TDs could have only been better had it occurred in World Cup competition. And though the US couldn't hold their lead against Brazil, they played a great first half and Donovan's goal was a thing of beauty, akin to a perfectly orchestrated and executed fast break in basketball.

    I like "Hi-Hi-y-ike-us" as background music, too–goes well with those vuvuzela horns.

  2. Appgrad

    June 30, 2009 at 6:20 am

    I was hoping for an App State like win v. Brazil – we take a surprising lead…they storm back thanks to ridiculous talent, and some stalwart of the team (Lynch in our case) pulls out the victory in the end.

    Unfortunately – Brazil's talent level was more like LSU, and less like Michigan!

  3. clayton

    June 30, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Don't even get me started.

  4. DRM

    June 30, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Very good analogy, Appgrad.

    Despite our win over Spain (and the fact that I never understand how FIFA can rank any team above Brazil, no matter how long an unbeaten streak that team may have), I expected Brazil to dominate the entire match, with the US probably losing by a couple goals–better than our group play performance against Brazil, but only marginally. Thanks in part to a solid central defense and in huge part to a stellar performance by Howard, the US actually outplayed them in the first 45 and truly deserved the halftime lead. That made the final result even more disappointing than if Brazil had controlled from the first-half kick-off.

  5. Dan

    June 30, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Wow, everyone must be pretty desperate for something quasi-sports related if we're all turning our attention to Soccer.

  6. A.Freeman

    June 30, 2009 at 8:44 am

    football…dan, football

  7. Dan

    June 30, 2009 at 9:28 am

    football or futbol?

  8. Gwaltineer

    June 30, 2009 at 10:16 am

    i swear, if we start calling soccer football on an Appfan blog…that ought to be grounds for a lifetime ban.

  9. clayton

    June 30, 2009 at 11:11 am


  10. DRM

    June 30, 2009 at 11:22 am

    The original football, Gwalt. But if we're going to use an "f" word for it, we should follow the lead of much of the rest of the world and spell it futbol. Or we could just stick with soccer. Then the uninitiated won't become confused and think the discussion is about foosball.

    Ever notice how summer sports seasons are a lot like summer mountain landscapes–all pretty much one "color," which is to say boring? When all that's going on is the middle of baseball season (long before playoff time), obscure golf tournaments between majors, tennis events where American men have slim hopes of winning majors, NASCAR and bowling, high level soccer is a welcome, if brief, viewing respite. But poor to middling soccer–unfortunately, that description still includes the majority of MLS competition–is excruciating to watch. I'm looking forward to the resumption of World Cup qualifying matches. In August, the US plays in Mexico City, where they have never won; even the one point from a draw in that match would build on their promising showing at the Confederations Cup.

    And it isn't choking when the other team is as superior as Brazil is. It's just failing to dodge the inevitable bullets for long enough to pull off what would have been a much bigger upset than was defeating Spain.

  11. Gwaltineer

    June 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    very well DRM…futbol blows.

  12. Dan

    June 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    I would argue that high-level soccer is the same as poor to middling soccer, esp. from an entertainment standpoint.

  13. clayton

    July 1, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Soccer/futbol isn't for everybody, just like every other sport in the world. I'm not going to argue for or against the merits of the sport.

    But, the USA soccer team has been nothing but a long line of disappointments the past few years. Remember the 2006 World Cup? Did they ever even score a goal? But, we had to sit through 6 months of hype, and they weren't close to competitive (and brutal U2 songs in their commercials).

    Now, the squeak into the semi-finals, upset Spain, and go up 2-nil to Brazil. Then, they choke. There is no other way to describe it. They choked. Don't give me the superior argument. It was embarrassing to be excited.

  14. Appgrad

    July 1, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Clayton – do you know how many teams Brazil has done that to in their history? Pretty much every team they've ever played. Sure – they've lost in meaningful competitions – but the teams that have beaten them have been pretty special – usually World Cup finalists or winners.

    It's alot like FBS vs. FCS in some cases. Our first choice 11 players are great – leaps and bounds better than what we had 10 years ago – it's the 2nd group of guys where we need to grow.

    There were 5 guys on the field in that Brazil game that had literally played every single minute of the tournament…and Bradley was hesitant to take them off because the drop off after that was so steep. Brazil could pull all 11 players, and bring on another 11 that is just as good. It's ridiculous.

    That said – it's a learning experience – we don't know how to hold a lead like that against a team like Brazil, and only by screwing that up will we learn.

  15. hapapp

    July 1, 2009 at 4:40 am

    How did they choke? Does that mean any time someone makes a comeback they only did so because the other team choked? Did ASU choke against JMU last year? Did Michigan choke against ASU?

    I don't understand Americans hatred of soccer. If you don't like it don't watch it. There are plenty of sports I pay no attention to but I don't denigrate others because they like that particular sport.

    I could give a hoot about hockey but I understand that others do and that's fine. It almost seems like Americans are threatened by it, fearful that it will somehow diminish other traditional American sports. The soccer community is growing in the US but I don't believe soccer fans have any allusions that it will ever be on par with baseball, basketball or football in terms of support or viewership.

    It is my understanding, however, that currently the US leads in ticket sales for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It would help, of course, if we make it to the Cup.

  16. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 5:11 am

    I don't think anyone on here is denegrating soccer fans, but the game itself, and more so as a lark. I think most Americans just see soccer as boring (60 scoreless minutes will do that to most people) and that's why we rag on it.

  17. hapapp

    July 1, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Like most sports, TV doesn't do it justice. If you ever attended an actual game played at a high level you might have a better appreciation for what goes on on the field. I don't particularly care to watch MLB on TV, but the real thing is a much better experience.

  18. clayton

    July 1, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Yes ASU choked at JMU. BIG TIME. Corey Lynch saved us from choking at Michigan.

    Sticking to my guns. The USA Soccer team blew a golden opportunity. I get that Brazil is the best team in the world. I get that our soccer team isn't the best in the world. THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE AND WE LEFT THEM OFF THE HOOK.

    I treat soccer/futbol like tennis, golf, and hockey. I can't watch a meaningless game but, if there is some sort of drama, it gets interesting for me.

  19. Michael

    July 1, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I have a couple of thoughts I wanted to share:

    1) Has anyone else ever thought that American "football" is a bit of a misnomer? Feet handle the ball only on kickoffs, punts, field goals, and extra points. In soccer, the ball is handled almost exclusively by feet.

    2) I think one of the things that TV could do better with soccer coverage is to have close-ups of the action. Cameras zoom in on players driving to the basket. You can see players' expressions throughout each game. Baseball zooms in closely on plays at the plate and on the pitchers & batters. Football zooms on in tackles, catches, and the QB's preparation from play to play. That coverage makes the sports more personal. In soccer, coverage is so zoomed out that it just looks like a ball bouncing across a giant field. With closer coverage, I think Americans would have a better appreciation for the athleticism of soccer players. (Also, one of two things needs to be done about the constant humming sound during the games. Either the sound techs need to filter it out, or the announcers need to explain to the confused American audience that the humming is actually dozens of different groups of fans singing soccer chants.)

  20. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 8:30 am

    A modest proposal: make the nets bigger.

  21. DRM

    July 1, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Appgrad and hapapp are very much on target. FIFA soccer limits subs to three, so Brazil couldn't actually have replaced their entire starting 11. Nevertheless, Appgrad's point about Brazil's depth of talent is accurate. What I've never understood, Dan, is how 60 minutes (could be 90, plus extra time) of scoreless soccer, IF played at a high level, is any more boring than 60 minutes (or three hours, could be more before with extra innings) of scoreless baseball. At least in the scoreless soccer match, there is relatively consistent action somewhere on the field. In the scoreless baseball game, at least 10 or 15 percent of that three hours is spent scratching, spitting, talking, stepping in and out, stepping on and off, checking runners, between-inning changeovers, etc., etc.

    I pretty much agree with Clayton as to interest level in the relatively meaningless games. I'm no more interested in watching a regular season MLS match than I am in watching a regular season MLB game–which is to say, not at all. As to choking, perhaps it is nothing other than semantics, but here's my take: If the US women's national team took a 2 – 0 lead (or even 1 – 0) against any team in the world, and then let that team come back and win, I'd say they absolutely choked, because year in and year out, they're the best in the world. The US men are a different story. They're still struggling to be a legitimate top 10 team, and they aren't there yet, not on a consistent basis. Appgrad is correct that our starting 11 against Brazil (even with Bradley sitting out his red card) is significantly better than any team we could field for the 1998 World Cup, or even the 2002 World Cup, where we surprisingly made the quarterfinals. The disappointing and embarrassing performance in WC 2006 aside, we're making progress, but there's still a long way to go.

    One reason the US women are superior is that we committed resources to developing a world class program for women several years before other nations–even those that are traditional men's soccer powers–did. The exact opposite is true in the international men's game. With major European and South American nations having had decades head start–and with soccer being their national sport, akin to (American) football in the US–development of talent (both playing and coaching), organization of professional opportunities, and everything else involved was way behind in our country. Prior to 1990, the US hadn't even qualified for a World Cup since 1950. Since then, we've qualified every four years, and a couple years (1994, when we hosted the event and beat Columbia, plus 2002) we've pleasantly surprised; other years, 2006 certainly and to a slightly lesser extent, 1998, we've disappointed. It will take time, quite possibly a lot more time, before we're truly capable of contending for a World Cup title. But eventually it will happen, possibly by the next time the US serves as the host nation, which could be as early as 2018 or 2022.

  22. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 8:41 am

    DRM, I agree, baseball is broing as hell. Hardly ever watch it on TV, go to minor league games on occasion, but the game is typically a secondary reason. My bad on the time, obviously, I pay as little attention to it as humanly possible.

  23. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Oh yeah, one thing Baseball does have over soccer – no ties.

  24. Gwaltineer

    July 1, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Soccer is for Frenchies and other stupid Euro countries who had to figure out a sport that dummbed down athletics enough so that their fat, pathetic, slow "atheletes" could actually compete against atheletes from other countries. The fact that a game routinely ends 0-0 means that it should not have been played. Why is a game in which you cannot pick up the freaking ball lagitmate. Watching it is boring. Playing it worthless. You might as well just take up jogging. The idea that Soccer can even be considered on the same level as baseball, real football, or basketball is moronic. I have never met a soccer purist who wasn't a stuck up liberal snob. All soccer fans are 5-7 males wearing burks and have huge chips on their shoulders. Just shut up about soccer being the most popular sport in the world. Since it is that popular, why do you need the U.S. to love it, too.

  25. DRM

    July 1, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I like that Michael and Dan are offering constructive suggestions. Gwalt just seems angry. And close-minded. His prerogative. Or threatened for some reason–if so, that's unfounded, as soccer will never rival any of the three (yes, three, not four) "major" sports in the US. But the US is going to continue playing the sport on the international stage, so there's no reason we shouldn't discuss it and hope for our national team to improve.

    Dan clearly wants more scoring. Regulation soccer goals are eight feet high by 24 feet wide–that's 192 square feet into which the attacking player can put the ball. Sounds fairly easy until one tries to do it, especially under pressure from defenders. There's little question larger goals would reduce the number of scoreless matches, especially those involving high level play. But FIFA is very unlikely to mess with the game's traditions in that regard.

    Michael wants a better view of the players–presumably, the ones involved in the action of the moment. But that's part of the problem–the action of the moment often moves very quickly from player to player so a close-up of one guy might well flash on screen a split second after he had released the ball to someone else. Part of appreciating the flow of a soccer match is seeing the attack build, and very often that involves players quite a distance from the position of the ball at any given moment. It's somewhat like a controlled fast break in basketball, except that the basketball court is small enough that cameras can zoom in without excluding all the other players who are directly or indirectly involved in the play. In football (where the field of play is significantly smaller than for soccer–by about 2,000 square yards), wide shots showing the receiver breaking free can be followed by close-ups of line-blocking, QB evading the rush, etc., all shown between plays. There is very little "between plays" time in soccer, only brief moments preceding set plays and the time resulting from real or feigned injuries–when, aggravatingly to me, the camera usually does zoom in on the (all too often) not seriously injured player. But even those feigned injuries are part of the game–time wasting, mostly, sort of like the meaningless discussions on the mound to allow relievers a few more warm-up tosses in the bullpen.

    Hapapp is correct–TV doesn't do soccer justice, though they try. It was a huge concession for US TV to eliminate commercials during the match, when they are accustomed to numerous one- and two-minute breaks in action with football, basketball and baseball. There are no such scripted breaks in FIFA soccer, no time-outs.

    But TV soccer is nothing like the real thing. Though my son began playing competitive soccer at age five (and continued until his college eligibility was used up), I didn't truly appreciate the game until I watched the five World Cup matches hosted in Orlando in 1994. The US was not in the group playing in Orlando, but seeing Ireland, The Netherlands, Mexico, Belgium and Morocco play–and seeing/hearing the 80,000+ fans, all painted in their team's colors and singing/chanting the entire match in 90-degree heat–was by far the most exciting sports atmosphere I've ever experienced, heretical as that may sound. In short, to be truly appreciated, soccer–even the best in the world–must be viewed in person; thereafter, watching TV broadcast efforts is not quite as frustrating.

    And Dan, you're right–there are no ties in baseball. In group play and regular league play, there definitely are draws in soccer. They're fairly common, though despite Gwalt's opinion, scoreless ties are not all that frequent. But in FIFA tournament rounds after group play, there are no ties. If the match is tied after 90 minutes, two extra periods of 15 minutes each are played. If the match is still tied, it goes to penalty kicks, each team getting five cracks at the opposing goalkeeper from the penalty spot. Still tied? Do it again and again until someone wins.

  26. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 9:53 am

    One other thing that I think turns off a lot of people from soccer (Gwaltineer would probably agree with this) is that most soccer fans seem snobish about it (and to be clear, I'm not accusing anyone here of that). Lots of people i've had discussions with about soccer have acted like they're more worldly because of their affinity for the sport. They seem to think that the only reason someone doesn't like soccer is that they don't understand it, which really just disuades some from even trying to enjoy it.

  27. Gwaltineer

    July 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

    My 18 month son kicked a stuffed animal through a door frame last night. He just mastered the sport.

  28. Jamey

    July 1, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Soccer Sucks.

    That is all.

    Good day.

  29. DRM

    July 1, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Dan, you'll get no argument from me on that point, and I certainly hope I haven't sounded that way here, or anywhere else for that matter. Except for the fact that I was involved as a parent/team manager when my son was very young (in other words, I was committed in support of my child, regardless of the attitudes of others), some of the more knowledgeable soccer aficionados I met when my son's teams began traveling widely would have definitely turned me off to the sport. As it was, they merely turned me off to themselves as people, because I'd already grown to love the game.

    To be fair, though, the "you don't like it, therefore you must not understand it" argument is not unique to soccer or its fans. On this very site, at least two people have accused me of the same malady relative to baseball. So that Clayton won't have to repeat his "Good God, DRM, you're old!" exclamation, I'll dispense with the boring (and lengthy) details of how incorrect that assumption is where I'm concerned, and just say that lack of understanding has zero to do with the reasons I don't care for baseball (I do watch in the post-season, though). Passionate supporters of many sports (and all manner of other "causes") are often too quick to assume lack of understanding on the part of those who disagree with them. Soccer people, particularly in the US where it is a niche sport, still played principally by reasonably well-off suburban whites, are certainly not innocent in that regard. Fortunately, inner-city kids of all races and immigrant children are gradually picking up the US game, joining youth leagues, getting college scholarships, and (a few) having a shot at MLS or better pro leagues. As that involvement widens, so will the talent pool, and so will US fortunes in the international arena, and–one can hope–those developments will be accompanied by less snobbery on the part of those close to the game.

  30. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 11:20 am

    DRM, Just to clarify for you, no I am not implying that you yourself are a soccer snob.

  31. clayton

    July 1, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Everybody with their long paragraphs…

    Here's a list!

    1. Its not so much the scoring, its the chance to score that is exciting. A 0-0 baseball game can be exciting if pitchers are striking out batters with the bases loaded or center fielders are diving in the outfield.

    2. The Women's World Cup USA-China 1999 game was very exciting before Brandy Chastain took her shirt off.

    3. Brandy Chastain is hot.

    4. Clayton likes athletic women.

    5. You want to know something, Jamey? You suck.

    6. DRM is old.

    7. I don't watch much soccer.

    8. One of the exciting elements of soccer is the threat of the stadium being attacked by those bees that apparently are swarming out there.

    9. I forgot why there is an Appfan post devoted to soccer.

    10. One of the best athletes of all time was a soccer player from Africa. I'm blanking on the country and his name.

    11. Landon Donavan urinated on Mexico's field. That's like David Ortiz relieving himself on the field of Yankee Stadium.

    12. A guy named Pele was good at soccer.

    13. Its fine if you like soccer but, you don't have to be so evangelical with it.

    14. If you don't like soccer, that's ok also.

    15. If you dismiss soccer as wimpy, then think of your own joke for a person that is compensating because I can't think of a good one.

  32. DRM

    July 1, 2009 at 11:25 am

    10. Nigeria. Thompson Usiyan.

    One of your best posts ever, Clayton. Even if you did remind me (and the rest of the Appfan world) that I'm ancient.

  33. hapapp

    July 1, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I don't care if folks don't care for the game. What I don't understand is the outright derision for the game expressed in such derogatory terms. We get it, you don't like the game. It's not like it occupies the airwaves or the newspapers in the U.S. preventing other sports from being enjoyed.

    Like others, I did not play soccer as a youth. I got involved when my children began to play and followed them through their college careers.

    You may never grow to like the sport, that is fine. However, I think you would appreciate the game and the atmosphere better if you experienced it first hand, especially at the international level. Those guys playing are elite athletes, as good as there are in any sport.

  34. DRM

    July 1, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Amen, my fellow evangelist!

    (And to say it before Clayton does, I'm not sure soccer had been invented when I was a youth!)

  35. Dan

    July 1, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I have experienced soccer first-hand a few times, and still don't care for it. My cousin played soccer for Lees Mcrae, which put me in the best position to appreciate the game (because it was lady's soccer). Still didn't care for it, really just served as an excuse to check out her hot teammates. As for degrating soccer, well, I degrade most things I don't like, period. Soccer, Speidi, JMU football, i just find it fun to rag on things.

  36. DRM

    July 1, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Repent, Dan! It's not yet too late! Ye shall be saved!

    Nothing wrong with raggin' (on anything) with a reasonably open mind. And in one person's opinion (mine), most women's college soccer is better than most men's college soccer, as women tend to play more of a build-up game, instead of just booting everything over the top in hopes of a break-away, as many men's teams do.

  37. Dominick

    July 1, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Sam's Army > App Nation…You may not like soccer, but why not cheer for your country in whatever sport they are playing?

    I don't personally like baseball but I still like to see USA win the World Baseball Classic…

  38. clayton

    July 1, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Sam's Army? At first I thought you meant Wal-Mart.

  39. hapapp

    July 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Regardless of your thoughts on soccer, you have to laugh at this:

  40. Dan

    July 2, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Dominick, I would definitely "cheer" for the USA in whatever sport (aside from basketball) but that doesn't mean I actually have to watch the game 🙂

  41. Appgrad

    July 2, 2009 at 4:48 am

    It's funny to think App fan's are dogging Soccer fans for snobbery. I think I kind of come off that way to FBS fans when I try to explain to them why I root for a team no one outside of my fellow Alums really cares about…

    And soccer fans have a chip on their shoulder thanks to guys like Gwaltineer…because any time soccer is even brought up, you get reactions like his.

    And Dan – watching low level women's college soccer is not "watching soccer at the highest level". You need to go to Europe and watch professional teams for that.

  42. Dan

    July 2, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Appgrad, I would def. go to Europe to watch a match, as long as I also get to throw lit flares at the players I don't like.

  43. DRM

    July 2, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Dan, you may have latent tendencies I've usually attributed to Marshall fans, especially in their old stadium!

    Throwing objects at the players (in Mexico City next month, the US team is likely to have to dodge bags of urine) or not, I would love to see World Cup matches in South Africa next year. Love to, but will not be able to. But next time FIFA awards WC hosting to the US, I'll be there.

  44. clayton

    July 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    If you really love America you'll get behind this team

  45. Gwaltineer

    July 3, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I react to soccer fans like I do because they are snobs and it gets hammered down our throats that some how we either owe it to the world to pay attention to soccer or are some how out of touch if we do not keep up with the sport.
    God forbid someone not like soccer because the sport just sucks to watch or play.

  46. DRM

    July 6, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Generalizations may have their place in conversation, but are never one hundred percent accurate.

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