Tag Archive | "Tim Howard"

USMNT – my take

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USMNT – my take

Posted on 03 July 2014 by Dwayne Showalter

I’m no soccer guy.  I played one year as a kid when my hometown football program folded because of a lack of interest.  My kids both played soccer for a year or two of clinic.  I helped the head coach.  My main job was to lift the kids high in the air to celebrate when they would “score a goal.”

My loves are football, lacrosse and college hoops.  I have a basic knowledge of soccer but couldn’t name 3 English Premiere League teams until my son picked up FIFA ’14 for Xbox.  I actually knew several players on the national teams for the World Cup before the tournament started.  That probably put me in the top ten percent of fans in this country.

I knew a flock of Man City guys like Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), David Silva (Spain) and Edin Dzeko (Bosnia) to name a few.  I actually watched a few EPL games as the season wore down.  I knew Belgian Vincent Kompany who actually got a yellow card in the US game!  A major strike against my soccer knowledge, I did not know US goalkeeper Tim Howard played for Everton.  Oh well.  My son rolled the Xbox with the Spanish league players so I could drop some names there too.

All that said, here is my take on the US effort in the World Cup.

Game 1: US 2, Ghana 1.  What a start.  The Dempsey goal made you take notice 34 seconds in.  Then reality started to sink in.  This team was not going to go out and throttle anyone in their group.  Ghana dominated possession from what i saw.  Howard played well and a late corner gave the US a win they knew they needed to get out of the group.  It showed the first and second signs of the resolve they showed in each game.

Game 2: US 2, Portugal 2.  I thought this was the US’s best effort, certainly in the second half.  They seemed in control.  The chances they allowed were thwarted easily enough.  The Jones goal was a gem.  But leading 2-1 with the final seconds running out, they allowed one of the greatest players in the world time and space to create and Ronaldo delivered a scathing dagger of a cross for the game-tying header.  The final whistle sounded and it felt like the US had lost.

Game 3: Germany 1, US 0.  Here is where our shortcomings really came to light.  Germany dissected the US defense and piled up chance after chance.  Eventually, they solved Howard for a goal and held on to win the group.  What the US did show in the closing minutes was American resolve.  Two chances in the last minute nearly tied the game…but in the end, 1-0 was enough to move on to the round of 16.  And a loss felt like a win.

Game 4: Belgium 2, US 1.  Tim Howard elevated himself to Jim Graig status on the world stage.  The only difference was the final result.  If you don’t know Jim Graig, you’re probably pretty young and haven’t seen Miracle.  Howard became a household name.  Soccer folks around the world knew that Belgium might have won 5-0 if not for his effort.  As it stood, after full time, the game was scoreless.  As badly as things had gone through the first 90 minutes, there was more time to sneak a goal.  Then things went worse through the first extra 15 minutes as the US trailed 2-0.  I remember saying, “if we could just get a goal, at least we would make it interesting somehow.”  And boy did they ever.  Losing only after numerous chances to force the game to penalty kicks went awry.

In the end, no one knows how close the US is to winning the World Cup but i believe its fairly far off.  This team wasn’t talented enough…even the coach said so before the tournament.  Shoot – winning the thing is almost unthinkable with the advanced skill around the world.  Pure talent, however – and this team showed it – is less a factor in this sport than any other i have watched.  A single lightning strike can be the difference in winning and losing a given game.  Winning the World Cup though requires much more than a single lightning strike.  If we ever do win, it will be quite a party for sure.  Unfortunately, for most folks, i think soccer is relegated to a once-every-four-years event in the US.  There is a good chance the US won’t win in any of our lifetimes.  We are lucky here that, for the most part, the best basketball, baseball, hockey, football, golf, tennis and lacrosse players play here.  In soccer they don’t.  Until there is real change in that statement, i think we are doomed to be eliminated.  It was still a pretty entertaining ride – the fake injuries, dives, mysterious stoppage time, and knockout games being decided on penalty kicks notwithstanding.

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This week’s #WNSTSweet16 will be performed “Cup-style”

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This week’s #WNSTSweet16 will be performed “Cup-style”

Posted on 15 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

We’re dancing right up to the halfway point of 2014 and the halfway point of our #WNSTSweet16 celebration. In fact, we’ve been celebrating our 16th birthday for so long that it almost feels like it’s time to have our first beer.

(We’re kidding. We’ve had plenty of beers. Just like when most of us were REALLY 16.)

(We don’t by any stretch of the imagination condone underage drinking. Or underage anything else for that matter. We good?)

You HAVE to be familiar with the format by now. We’re celebrating 16 years as Baltimore’s sports media leader and we’re celebrating by taking “water cooler” topics from the WNST era and defining them with lists of 16.

You get it, right? Please tell me you get it.

If you’ve missed any of our first 23 lists this year, here’s a quick reminder of what’s been happening. (The #WNSTSweet16 is brought to you by Jerry’s Automotive!)

Week 23: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 greatest Baltimore/Washington Bullets/Wizards ever
Week 22: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 all-time greatest local high athletes
Week 21: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 greatest local lacrosse players of all time
Week 20: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 most unsung Orioles
Week 19: Gary Quill-Sweet 16 all-time Maryland horse racing moments
Week 18: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 most important picks in Ravens draft history
Week 17: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 worst draft picks in Baltimore Ravens history
Week 16: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 greatest players in Washington Capitals history
Week 15: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 games we’ve been treated to
Week 14: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 Masters moments of the last 30 years
Week 13: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 greatest pro wrestling moments in Baltimore history
Week 12: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports goofballs/personalities
Week 11: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 local sports saints-athletes who gave back
Week 10: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 events a Baltimore sports fan must attend
Week 9: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 greatest Baltimore college basketball players
Week 8: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 Orioles who didn’t live up to the hype
Week 7: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 most underappreciated Maryland basketball players
Week 6: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local sports “Heartbreakers”
Week 5: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local Olympic sport athletes
Week 4: Drew Forrester-Sweet 16 local athletes who deserved to win a championship but didn’t
Week 3: Nestor Aparicio-Sweet 16 local sports people who “had a dream”
Week 2: Luke Jones-Sweet 16 local sports playoff moments
Week 1: Glenn Clark-Sweet 16 “debuts” in local sports history

Every time Drew Forrester is assigned a particular #WNSTSweet16 topic, I can confidently expect to hear the following from him.

“I think I’m going to do something a little bit different.”

We imagined doing a bunch of local lists this year, and with Drew’s experience as the former General Manager of the Baltimore Blast-I thought he’d want to look over the all-time greatest local soccer players during the World Cup.

I was wrong. Drew was thinking bigger than that. With the World Cup underway, Brazilians flopping and Italians coming up clutch (Cats and dogs living together?), Drew wanted to do something a bit more in tune with the Cup.

We’re very much in a golden age of American soccer currently. Despite the fact that FIFA delivered the USA into the “Group of Death” in Brazil, there’s hope Jurgen Klinsmann’s team can reach the knockout round again when they get underway Monday against Ghana. (Shameless plug-I’ll be watching the match at Buffalo Wild Wings Bel Air with our friends from Freedmont Mortgage. You should be there.)

Our topic this week is the Sweet 16 “Greatest American Born Soccer Players of All-Time”. And quicker than you can say “Landon Donovan”, remember that goalkeepers count too.

It would be hard to imagine Donovan and current American keeper Tim Howard won’t find themselves in the top three or five players on this list. But who else? What about Brian McBride? Current captain Clint Dempsey? Brad Friedel or Kasey Keller?

How do these all-time great Americans match up against each other? Who deserves to make the list that you might otherwise not think about? Remember: the list is for American BORN players, not players who simply played in Los Estados Unitos.

Drew wants your suggestions. You can leave them here in the comments on this blog post or email him (drew@wnst.net). We will be discussing the list throughout the day Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We’d love to have you Tweet with us or discuss the topic via Facebook by using the hashtag #WNSTSweet16.

On Tuesday morning, Drew will unveil the “official” list here at WNST.net and then discuss it with Luke on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” at 8am. He will then re-visit the list at 4pm Tuesday with Nestor on “The Happy Hours”.

Who are the greatest soccer players in the history of the Red, White and Blue? Make your voice heard!

-G

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