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daily 06/13/2016

    • Heading into the Copa América Centenario, Jürgen Klinsmann placed the U.S.’s target on a spot in the semifinals.
    • No, we figured how the U.S. played would be more important than how far they got, especially in light of the tough group draw.
    • Shut Up, We Can Do This” was our headline then, underscoring that most USMNT fans’ first impulse after seeing our group opponents was toward pessimism, but that it was soon after tempered by that famous American bluster and confidence.
    • You won’t get better if you’re afraid to play the best, and you won’t know if you’re better until you can beat them, so bring on the challenge, we figured.
    • Costa Rica did us a huge favor by beating Colombia.
    • On Sunday, Ecuador beat Haiti and Brazil sucked their way/got screwed into a stunning loss against Peru,
    • Ecuador are a good team, to be certain, but they’re nowhere near as talented as Brazil.
    • Costa Rica’s and Ecuador’s wins robbed us of that easy narrative.
    • Odds-wise, we’re very slight favorites over Ecuador, probably in large part because of our home field advantage.
    • but they do have a couple players who’d be the best player on our team if they were American. It’s not an accident that they’re ranked 13th in the world by FIFA.
    • Nevertheless, it’s still just Ecuador. Psychologically, USMNT fans went from expecting a good loss to probably needing a win.
    • “The old story is the underdog story, and I cannot hear that story anymore,” Klinsmann said.
    • Because if you’re not going for it, sooner or later they’re going to break you down because they have class players that will give you one or two [goals]. That’s the learning curve.
    • In the hypothetical game against Brazil, Klinsmann did not want his players to be happy with the status quo where they sat back in preparation for a siege, tried to hold out as long as possible, and by the end probably lost by a goal or two in a safe, ego-protecting way.
    • The U.S. will be considered the favorites by those outside and in, and they will not be able to play the underdog.
    • Americans aren’t used to seeing their team in a (somewhat) meaningful competition alongside world-class opposition with the expectation of making a real push.
    • After spending so many years counting on incremental steps to one day in the future lead us to the precipice of actually doing something real, we’ve found ourselves on the cusp of something big already, before most expected.
    • And it’s the scary, high-stakes games like this that change perceptions and could possibly result in the real growth, both on and off the pitch, that we need.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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