Posts Tagged ‘U23’

Opposing players sometimes do something so despicable while playing against the USA, they earn the title of “Public Enemy”.  Read on to find out what this particular individual has done to earn this title.

PUBLIC ENEMY: ALEXANDER LARIN

When high kicks don't succeed, El Salvador's Alexander Larin just resorts to punches and biting instead.

On March 27, 2012, El Slavador scored a 95th minute equalizer to knock the USA out of Olympic Qualifying contention in the last game of the group stage.  While the main story was the USA’s failure to qualify, fans who watched the game will also remember this moment, when Terrence Boyd collapsed away from the ball (and away from the referee), his face bleeding profusely.  Replays would show that Salvadoran Alexander Larin blindsided Boyd, punching him as he backtracked.

After the game, USA midfielders Mikkel Diskerud and Freddy Adu showed reporters bite marks they had sustained during the match.  While they didn’t say who bit them, five days earlier, Canada’s Carl Haworth was issued a yellow card for shoving Larin, and later told reporters that was a response to Larin biting him.

I’m all for physical play and intense competition – but throwing sucker punches and doing a “Walking Dead” impression is enough to earn Larin the title of USA Public Enemy.  I’m not sure if we’ll see him play against the USA again, but if we do, let’s make sure he knows that we remember how he played during this tournament.

Until next time, suck it, Larin, and go USA!

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Well, the USA U23’s have opted to make fans’ lives a little more exciting tonight, when they take on El Salvador.  The implications of the match are clear: if the USA wins, they move on to the semi-final round; anything less than that and they don’t, barring a miracle win from Cuba over Canada.  Not exactly the situation the Baby Yanks were hoping to be in at this point, but such is life.  Onto our opponent…

El Salvador

El Salvador's national team features players sure to be recognized and feared by...nobody.

El Salvador, like the USA’s first opponent in Olympic Qualifying play this year, Cuba, has a long and storied history of being really bad at soccer.  They’ve qualified for the World Cup twice – in 1970 and 1982 – notching a dismal 0-0-6 record, finding themselves eliminated in the group stage each time.  To El Salvador’s credit, their team may be terrible, but you can’t fault fan support – in 1969, the four-day “Football War” between El Salvador and Honduras was sparked by violence between fans in World Cup Qualification play.  Now THAT’S dedication.

Here’s the breakdown:

Statistics sez: According to FIFA, the USA holds a 14-5-1 record against El Salvador, with the most recent result a 2-1 win for the good guys back in 2010.  The man sitting across from me on the train where I’m writing this just laughed out loud as I typed that.  Either he’s crazy, or he’s as happy with that statistic as I am .  I’m going with the latter.

What I’m eating: Wikipedia to the rescue again.  El Salvador is most famous for its pupusas, hand-made tortillas stuffed with cheese, pork, and beans.  While that sounds delicious, I’ll be eating the superior American version of a pupusa – a Crunchwrap Supreme from Taco Bell.  This should be doubly insulting to Salvadoran fans, since Taco Bell is actually a rip-off of Mexican, not Salvadoran, cuisine.  Perfect!

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Americanized version of El Salvador's pupusa, Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme. El Salvador is in Mexico, right?

What I’m drinking: El Salvador’s two most famous cerevezas are “Pilsener” and “Suprema”.  I remember when Miller Lite’s ad campaign claimed that their beer had “Great Pilsner Taste”.  It didn’t, and Miller Lite is no pilsner, but that will be an adequate Americanized version of Salvadoran beer.  My backup will be Trader Jose’s Premium Lager, a Corona knockoff, in keeping with the “insult El Slavador by mixing them up with Mexico” theme.

What do say to the El Salvador fan sitting next to you if, God forbid, they score: “Wow.  That kid’s going to be the most famous Salvadoran since, uh… [stare off into space blankly]”

Until next time, GO USA!

Everyone’s talking about illegal immigration these days. The most intelligent, reasonable, and well-thought-out solution I’ve heard suggested to address this complex socio-economic issue is definitely, “build a fence”. I 100% agree with this idea. It’s time to keep those damn Canadians out!

Every day, thousands of Canadians cross our northern border illegally. They waltz in here on their ice skates, wearing turtlenecks and speaking French. They take all our jobs at the maple syrup factories. And to add insult to injury, Canadians have the nerve to pretend like they can actually play soccer.

Turtleneck Man!

This Canadian was too scrawny to play hockey. So now he splits his time between pretending to play soccer, and stealing American jobs in the maple syrup industry.

After demolishing Baby Cuba 6-0 to kick off their 2012 Olympic Qualifying campaign, the mighty USA U23’s have Baby Canada next on their hit list. Canada opened up their OQ campaign in typical Canadian style, by not scoring any goals, drawing 0-0 with future USA victims El Salvador.  Expect “The Miracle on Ice” part deux on Saturday – but with no ice, and no miracle, since the USA is heavily favored to begin with.  So actually, expect it to be nothing like “The Miracle on Ice”, except for the part where America wins.

Here’s the breakdown:

Statistics sez: A FIFA head-to-head search shows the USA has a ridiculous 41-4-3 record over our northern neighbors.  Sure, that’s the women’s team record.  But it still shows that Canada sucks.  As for the men’s team, the USA holds a more modest 13-9-8 record against America Jr., with the draws and losses voluntary concessions to assuage fears of Americanization.

What I’m eating: I always thought that the Canadian national dish was fresh-clubbed baby seal.  But a Wikipedia search showed me that I was wrong.  Apparently a survey of Canadians showed that, if they had to choose a national food BESIDES maple syrup, it would be “Poutine” – french fries and cheese curds covered in brown gravy.  Sounds like an inferior version of one of America’s greatest inventions: animal-style fries from In’N’Out.  So that’s what I’ll be chowing down on while watching Baby Canada embarrass themselves.

Poutine

Leave it to Canada - nay, the FRENCH Canadians - to make smothering french fries with cheese and gravy sound gross.

What I’m drinking: Once again, Wikipedia to the rescue.  Looks like Canada is famous for two mixed drinks: Sortilege, a combination of Canadian whiskey and maple syrup, and Caribou, a mixture of red wine, Canadian whiskey, and – wait for it – maple syrup.  I’ll go with my own American version of Sortilege to wash down my animal-style fries, and combine a shot of Log Cabin syrup with a slug of Jack Daniels.  Yum.  And then maybe a Super Troopers chug for good measure.

What I’m singing: With the quick turnaround between games here, I’m having trouble coming up with a good song to make fun of Canada on the spot.  Good thing South Park already did it for me!

What to say to the Canadian fan next to you when, God forbid, they score: “Wow.  That’s the first goal I’ve ever seen a Canadian score without skates on, eh?”

Get ready to bust out a victory cigar, because the USA U23’s open their Olympic qualifying campaign against Los Little Cubans on March 22.  Cuba has a long and storied history of being exceptionally bad at soccer, having failed to qualify for every single World Cup since 1930.  The lone exception: the 1938 World Cup, where Cuba qualified by default after every other CONCACAF nation withdrew.  Cuba registered their only win in a World Cup to date against European powerhouse Romania, before losing to Sweden 8-0.  Que triste, Cuba!

Elian Gonzalez

Previous encounters between Cuban youngsters and the USA have been one-sided affairs. Expect the same on March 22, minus the assault rifles.

As of now, Coach Caleb Porter has released a 19-man roster that reads like a who’s-who of up-and-coming American bad-asses.  Several of the players (Hamid, Shea, Agudelo, and Bunbury, among others) have made multiple appearances with the senior USMNT.  Although the roster won’t be finalized until March 20, I think it’s safe to say the level of talent on the field for the USA will make LP Field in Tennessee the most uncomfortable place for a Cuban to be since Monica Lewinsky’s…uh, never mind.

Here’s the breakdown:

Statistics sez: One word: dominance.  According to FIFA’s website, the USA has a 7-1-1 record against Cuba.  The one loss came in what FIFA calls a “friendly”.  I’m pretty skeptical that Cuba could ever have beat us in soccer, so I’m guessing the one loss is referring to the Bay of Pigs invasion.  While that fiasco certainly counted as a loss for the USA, I’m not sure if I’d describe it as “friendly”.  But I digress.

What I’m eating: With average wages of under $17 per month and chronic food-shortages, Cuba isn’t exactly well known for their cuisine.  If countless Che Guevara movies have taught me anything, however, it’s that they ARE well known for their fine cigars, which, being made from tobacco leaves, almost count as food.  So, to disparage our Cuban opponents during this match, I plan on smoking half a Marlboro Red (American bastardization of Cuban cigars) while devouring a full plate of food – any food (American bastardization of Cuban cuisine).  Take that, Cuba!

An empty plate.

The national dish of Cuba - an empty plate.

What I’m drinking: The national drink of Cuba?  I’m guessing tears.  But since I don’t like drinking those, a Google search of “beer in Cuba” quickly revealed a low-class lager with a high-class name: Cereveza Cristal.  Since I’m looking to be as insulting to Cuba as possible with my drink choice, I’ll go with the OTHER Cristal – the champagne I’m familiar with through my affinity for top-40 radio.  Nothing says, “F you, Cuba!”, like dropping several hundred dollars (a year’s worth of wages in Cuba) on an overpriced bottle of bubbly.  Capitalism at its finest!  (Editor’s note: due to the prohibitively high cost of Cristal, I’ll actually just be drinking Andre champagne.  But you get the idea.)

What I’m singing: “Cuba, Joke of CONCACAF”, sung to the tune of “Yankee Doodle”.

Cuba made the World Cup once, qualified by default
Never gonna go again, cause Cubans can’t play futbol
Cuba, joke of CONCACAF
Cuba, truly awful
Best to quit while you’re ahead, and stick to playing baseball

What to say to the Cuban fan next to you if, God forbid, they score: If you’re sitting next to a Cuban fan, that’s unfortunate – since you’re probably in Cuba.  How you got there is a mystery to me, but you better pray your USA passport doesn’t have “Havana” on it when you catch the first flight back here.

Frenemies: The Cuban national soccer team isn’t only known for being really, really bad at soccer.  They are also known for providing Cuban soccer players with the unique opportunity to defect from Cuba when playing in tournaments on foreign soil.  One such defector is Osvaldo Alonso, who said “Adios” to Cuba while in the US for the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.  And a fun fact: Alonso now plays for the Seattle Sounders, who are set to face Mexican club Santos Laguna in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on March 14th.  So Alonso, once our Cuban enemy, is now waging war against Mexico on our behalf.  How’s that for coming full circle? (Editor’s note: Alonso and the Sounders were, er, soundly defeated 6-1 by Santos on March 14.  Herc Gomez, USA striker and international man of espionage (he’s spying on Mexico – don’t tell), scored two goals for Santos.  Double frenemies!)