Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Life

If you did yourself a blessing and watched the game today between Italy and the United States, you saw the worst and the best game of the World Cup thus far all in one match.

The US have a chance to do what was inconceivable a day ago: win against Ghana (with a little help from an Italy win over the Czechs) and make it out of their group for the second straight World Cup, remember this game. This is the kind of performance that transforms ordinary players, coaches and teams into something more.

What can you say? It's emotional. As a fan you were looking for that unifying untangible this American team that came so easily four years ago when they found themselves up 3 goals against Portugal at the half and were transformed from a mix of MLS and B class European club players to a world-class international squad who won over a nation four years ago.

We knew it going into the World Cup: we would have to play over our ability to succeed. Against the Czechs, we played like mortals. Today, against Italy the US team played like they had something to prove and they wouldn't be denied, even by if the had to do it with ten men, or nine men.

Unity, confidence, playing over our heads, Landon Donovan playing with reckless abandon: these were the intangibles that led to success in 2002, thank the gods we have them back today.

"This team is alive," said Kasey Keller after the 1-1 tie with Italy. Life. And a chance to go through to the semifinals, that's all we can ask for.


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