I told my children that if the US beat the #1 team in the world, Argentina, all of Denver would hear me scream like a little girl! Why? Because deep, deep down, I did not see how we could win. Would the US be disappointed? Sure! Every athlete that has any talent at all believes on any given day they can beat any given team.
Does that mean that they were a failure in this tournament? Some would say so, but let's be realistic: they had a tremendous showing, and Klinsmann had them playing at a high level... for the USMNT.
How did we lose?
- Lionel Messi is the best in the world. The free kick to put him as the #1 goalscorer in Argentina's history (55) was no accident. His ability to see the field (as evident with the first and fourth goals) is unparalleled. At the end of the day, there's only so much you can do. Messi is Messi.
- Not having Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones, and Bobby Wood didn't help. In reality, would that have made the difference in the result? Now that the game is done, that's just hard to see. Their experience and toughness could impede their movement... some.
- Possession. Argentina won every 50/50 ball, and the ones we did come away with were the result of fouls.
- Technical proficiency. Clearly, the USMNT's technical proficiency is a universe away from Argentina's. They completed intricate, complex passes in tight spaces. The US struggled to complete solid passes in space. The first goal with that sublime header, Messi's free kick, then the brace by Higuain... jaw-dropping! If the US weren't on the pitch, I'd have been all in, thanking God for the privilege of seeing such exquisite beauty on the pitch.
But how did we win?
- Tourney turnout. Almost 71,000 showed up to watch this match, with the majority being US/American Outlaws supporters. I sense the fans more and more rallying around our national team.
- Improvement. This game (along with the Colombia match) let us know the next steps we need to take, but this tournament showed a resiliency, a toughness, and an improvement in the US' tournament play. Until this 4-0 loss, the US only gave up three goals in the Copa. Three.
- For Rapids fans, we get Jermaine Jones back. Nuff said.