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Twin Takes: United States soccer is back

The United States is back in the world cup, which is great for soccer in America. I’m going to call it soccer, because that is what the sport that I played was called back in my younger years. If you are a British bloke reading this, I understand that it technically makes more sense to call it football, what with all the feet and all the balls but we’ve got our own football in the United States so one can understand that it would be a crowded vocabulary here, no? It doesn’t matter, that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. The USA just played their first world cup game in eight years and we tied Wales 1-1. I said ‘we’ because this is the only time I feel like a true red, white and blue patriot.

This USA team is the second youngest team playing in the World Cup. It was horrible to watch when they missed out on the last one in 2018, but we’re back and better than ever, because of our young players. We have tanks like Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie who hold down the fort during the skirmishes that happen in the middle of the field, and crafty offensive players like Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, and Josh Sargent leading our offensive attack. Our defense has young minds like Sergiño Dest and Antonee Robinson who do their best to lock it down when the ball threatens our goal. All of these players play in Europe, where the best leagues are. We finally figured out that our players will be better for our country if they do not play in the MLS.  

The game was not so bad, but not so good. Ties have a way of making us feel this way. Winning is the goal, so when that doesn’t happen it is disappointing, but at least we didn’t lose. The USA is better than Wales on paper, but a lot of things made this game complicated.  

I’ll start with the good. In the first half we dominated possession, which is normally a good indicator of which team is going to win.  We snagged a goal in the 39th minute off of a delicious assist from Pulisic which was poked past the keeper by Tim Weah. When those two are combing it’s a lethal mix of offensive weaponry. Weah also nearly caused an own goal from one of his attacks. Both players are phenomenal attackers and keep defenders looking around constantly to keep track of them. Our USA defenders tactfully controlled possession and won the ball back when it was taken from them.  Going into the second half, things were looking good.

In the second half, it looked like the USA got tired. Wales launched counter attack after counter attack, led by famous golfer Gareth Bale. He scored the tying goal against us in the 82nd minute, which made my heart sink into my shoes. Walker Zimmerman, our big, bulky defender decided to foul Mr. Bale inside the box, which created the penalty kick that Bale ushered home with ease. I don’t think that foul had to happen which leads me to award Zimmerman with the “dingus of the game.” I’m still pulling for him in the next game just the same but he had options in that moment, all of which did not require a bad tackle right in front of the referee. 

It was the culmination of a second half where our defenders got flustered, our attackers got worn out, and the ball didn’t bounce our way. Through it all, our very own Tyler Adams worked his tail off fighting to keep us alive. I really like that guy, he plays with so much intensity all the time and without him, we very well could have lost. He is my player of the game and a confirmed dawg.

In my recap, notice how I never mentioned the referee, as I think that when people blame the referees they are missing out on the greater picture. Fouls and unpredictability are part of the game, and the same ref is there for both teams. Complaining about the refs hurts the ability to give a constructive look back at the game, and deflects the blame off of the self and onto other things. For that reason, I’ll never blame a ref. There are plenty of opportunities throughout a game to decide the outcome on your own.  

In a game that lasted 110 minutes, the USA fought during every second. It is good to see our countrymen fight on our behalf in the beautiful game of soccer. We play England this Friday in an American Revolution/War of 1812 rematch, hopefully we can go three for three. Cheer for US soccer, and you’ll have yourself a time.

Paul Nern is a junior studying communication studies at Ohio University.  Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Paul know by emailing him pn501919@ohio.edu.

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