Olympic Qualies Update

The U.S. bumbled around in three group stage games, only managing three goals (two on penalty kicks) and generally looked bad. This being CONCACAF, though, we still won the group. Oh well could’ve been worse. Ask Mexico.

The boys didn’t look sharp or confident. They sure didn’t look organized. You have to wonder what Coach Peter Nowak is thinking playing the 4-5-1. A lot of us were hoping for the 4-3-3, but Jozy Altidore found himself stranded alone far too often. A 4-4-2 with Freddy Adu at attacking midfield would be nice too; unfortunately Nowak just had so many guys out of position and there was so much bad passing, we just weren’t going to see any sexy football.

Speaking of which, the highlight of the group stage for the U.S. was clearly the pseudo-streaker. What–you didn’t see? Check her out after the bump…

As Keith Olbermann was heard to say on this incident, “Notice how they always pan away when a dude does this, but in this case the cameras stayed on her the whole time…”

I just want to add, USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

The other notable news out of this round was the defection of seven Cuban players and one assistant coach in two days. Good for those guys. Every time the Cubans come to the States for a tourney they go home a few players light. Hopefully a few of them catch on in MLS or USL1.

Did we mention Mexico is out? Yeah, it was a strange situation. Guatemala had already qualified for the final round after their second game and probably wanted to avoid the U.S. in the next game, so they “rested their starters” against Canada. The Canucks proceeded to score five goals. Which meant in their final game Mexico needed to score six goals against Haiti to pass them on goal differential. Here’s those crazy-ass highlights:

I think the Chicago Fire should sign that Haitian goalie right now…

So here we are. Tomorrow, 3/20, it’s USA v. Canada for the trip to Beijing, 8:00 pm CST in Nashville. The winner will then face the winner of Guatemala-Honduras for U23 bragging rights (as the two top teams will have already qualified for the Olympics). So yeah, I’ll have US Soccer on the TV and my laptop tuned to the NCAAs, and hoping we wake up versus the Canuckleheads.

Jonathan Spector has joined the team from West Ham, where he’s been playing well. Altidore, Adu, and Edu should be well-rested, and the rest of the guys should at least be more used to Nowak’s tactics. So let’s see something on the field now, boys…

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