Second (Last) Chance for USA
Mon 19 Jun 2006 0 °F
Our group is splitting up, Gwen back to Konstanz, Daniel and Greg to Karlsruhe (for 1 night and then on to Konstanz) and Ivan and Dean to Frankfurt for a few days. The guys will meet up in Kaiserslautern, in full garb, for the USA game. It will be interesting to see what changes Bruce Arena makes as well as how the team performs. We’ll do everything we can to help the USA win the group (or make it through). We’ll have to beat Italy today though…
Kaiserslautern seemed ill prepared for the hoard of people that descended on their town. The streets were completely packed with both US and Italy fans. On our way on the train, there seemed more US, but in K-town, it seemed more equal. In fact, this group of Italian fans were celebrating well, right in the middle of a closed crossroad.
Well, with Ghana’s help (beating Czech), we are still alive! The game atmosphere was phenomenal – the USA crowd was pumped by the Ghana result. The USA dominated the first 20 minutes and looked ready to play. But with only 1 real chance, the Italian capitalized on a gift of a call near the US end.
We didn’t get any replays at the stadium and I haven’t seen any highlights but the refereeing seem very purchased as the Italian seem fond of doing However, the US didn’t cave after giving up the goal and fought back with an extra dose of heart that they had been lacking in the first match. If you missed it, it was one of the best games in the cup, sorry.
The referee did all that he could to help Italy to win, including dropping the US down to only 9 players early in the second half. The 9 verses the 10 on the Italian side (the Italian foul was too much for even a paid ref to ignore) was a very hard fought second half – with both sides having chances to go ahead. It was surprising to see the US with several good chances included one that was called back as well as a take down of Donovon that went uncalled. In the end, the US showed tons of heart and better play. The Italian stretchers got quite a workout as Italy was scared of the USA and was trying to waste time, quite odd for a team that was up a man.
At the end of the day, the USA team played their hearts out, including Keller with a few fine saves in the end, and the USA is still alive. Italy will have to beat Czech and the USA of course will have to beat Ghana. All the teams will have a lot of players missing for the next game. However, since Arena been starting the wrong players, the USA might actually look better next game