Awesome Draw for Team America

The most critical day for U.S. Soccer this year was the win in Honduras that secured the trip to South Africa.  But nearly as important was yesterday’s draw to set the field of 32.  And after much gnashing of teeth when FIFA put the USA in the pot of what was essentially #4 seeds, after hearing from everyone we would once again get the Group of Death, the draw occurred.  And lo!  It was good…

Charlize with the Draw

It doesn’t get much better than that.  We open against England on June 12 – a game that’s likely to set TV ratings records for soccer in this country.  Get points from the limeys and we could win the group.  Even with an opening loss, you’re looking at a pair of games against Algeria and Slovenia in which we will be the favorite.  Watching the draw over lunch, I was so psyched to see Algeria (one of the weaker African teams) pop up on the screen, then for the final slot I was just hoping we could avoid France or Portugal…   Slovenia has some good players, but it’s their first World Cup and they simply don’t provide as many problems as most of the other European teams. As Alexi Lalas said in the post-draw reaction (nice coverage on ESPN btw), if you’re a U.S. fan you should expect to be in the second round next summer.  This news capped an encouraging week for Team America, as injured players Jermaine Jones, Mo Edu, and Jay DeMerit all returned to training for the club teams after lengthy injury stints.  Word also came out that Oguchi Onyewu is recovering on schedule, and Charlie Davies has responded very well to treatment after the car crash and could be targeting a comeback in time for the World Cup.  We shall see. For now, it’s time for the hype.  These French guys already have a mix-clip ready, and they’re using audio from Gladiator, which is always a solid choice.

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