Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fire Coach Arena

If a coach performs this badly in the World Cup, he gets fired - period. Coach Arena is the longest-serving coach in this World Cup - and it shows. He's complacent and rules his players with an iron fist, which can be good, but with nobody to keep the all-powerful Arena in check, he is unable to hear criticism. He needs to go.

The Costa Ricans lost all of their games, and they're being heckled for it, and rightly so. They gave up in their very first game - they deserve all the shame they're facing now. The U.S. was worse. They never gave up, but it's difficult to give up when your coach never asks you to try in the first place. And the Costa Ricans had no expectations except to make a decent showing. The U.S. were ranked #5 in the world, and not undeservedly.

Coach Arena failed in every imaginable way in this tournament, though. He never played to win. In this game he waited until 60 minutes to throw in a striker. He never asked his players for anything, and they never delivered. The players' fitness was sorely lacking, despite what U.S. sportscasters, especially Balboa, wanted us to believe. Can anyone imagine the U.S. playing against any single one of the teams that has shown heart so far in this tournament? Ivory Coast? South Korea? Impossible. We'd get wiped off the field.

Instead of blaming himself for the opening loss, which was mostly his fault, Arena blamed his players. His classless move in calling out the 'manliness' of Damarcus Beasley can only be considered outdone if we are to believe the pre-game reports of the players being made to sit through some war propaganda of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq. I've heard some outrageous things in my days, but using the tragedy and war crimes of Iraq as some sort of twisted and sick motivational force for U.S. soccer players for their World Cup campaign ranks up their with the most grotesque tactics I've ever heard of.

All in all, a miserable failure of a tournament. U.S. soccer has just been set back 4 years. Only 4 years because we can have a new coach soon, and a redemption 4 years from now in South Africa.

On the coaching front, let's get an international. There are plenty of great, proven coaches. Take a Brazilian. Take a Dutchman. Pay whatever it takes to get Hiddink to coach America, though I can't imagine any sane person wanting to coach American soccer - just because of the gaudiness and boorishness of our culture and the horrific violence and poverty that we regularly sow around the world. But, it's worth a shot. Get Hiddink. Get Zico. Get someone. Get someone who will at least make it appear as though his team has an interest in winning. Bruce had a good run, but now, it's over. Maybe we'll give him another shot after the next campaign, but right now, he's got to go.

p.s. Klinsmann now lives in LA full-time.


Mycue23 said...

It's pretty clear that Arena is going to be gone. However, I still don't think that US has produced a "great" player to date. I know that some players have played in europe (goalies have had some spectacular success), and excelled to some extent (Mcbride was player of the year for Fulham), but the US has yet to produce a top 20 world talent. Is there one forward on the team you would pick over the forwards on Brazil, Argentina, France, Portugal, England, Germany, The Netherlands, etc.? It's not that the US hasn't produced quality players, there just has never been a transcendent player. There has never been one who that the world has viewed as particularly dangerous. Until that happens, the US will never be a serious contender for the cup. They will produce better results than this year perhaps, but the quarter finals are probably as high as they could hope to climb.

A new coach is definitely in order, though.

CleavesF said...

Hiddink is a great idea. Zico not so much. Scolari would also be good, and this is why Portugal is doing so much better now.

How crazy would it be if Portugal beat Brazil in the finals against their old coach? The same would have been just as odd if Zico beat them with Japan today.

I wouldn't say Balboa wanted us to believe, he believed in the players and their abilities and how this was our best team ever (on the bench IMHO). Alexi Lalas' analysis of Keller as the best keeper in the world is ludicrous. Balboa's commentary and insights were much better than Lalas' and Smyth's. Foudy and Wynalda did a good job overall. Wynalda also hopes Arena fired.