My heart is still pounding. I can't believe how disappointed I am. This loss destroys quite a bit of positive momentum surrounding the US U-20 squad.
Here's the only thing I can figure about this game: Austria made a brilliant substitution and Rongen failed the world with his. The US pressed and pressed and should have finished, but the clock ran out and every chance was squandered.
Seitz put in a hero's performance, injured and playing through the rain, but in the end the conditions proved to much even for him and the Austrians slipped through. Adu and Bradley were just as tenacious.
Wallace really did a disservice to the squad, getting himself ejected like that. As a young player I hope he takes this as a grand and costly lesson: it's easy to slip on wet grass and just as easy to fould, but a red card can seal fate. And there is no exaggeration about that. Otherwise, Wallace is one of my favorites and played really well throughout the tournament.
A lot of them did. Altidore, Bradley, Adu, Seitz, Zizzo, Szetela, Rogers, Sturgis, Valentin... The whole damn lot of them made a lot of people proud. Don't hang your heads, boys. This U-20 squad had class and chemistry, flair, finesse, perseverance... It's like the whole team had one pulse. The squad had everything you'd want a champion side to have. They really could have gone on to win the whole thing, I would think.
Good luck and f*ck off, Austria.
Time to walk away, Gringuitos.
- McCarty has a long way to go to become competitive on the world stage. (Ives agrees.)
- Adu stayed surprisingly consistent throughout the tournament.
- McCarty on for Szetela? I sincerely hope Rongen knows something I don't. (Apparently not.) - I'd rank Bradley, Seitz and Adu in first place for positive contributions on the pitch. Rogers, Zizzo, Altidore and Szetela I'd place second, with Wallace and Sturgis third. After this match, though, Wallace should have a lot on his conscience.
- ESPNU need to do something abot their damn scoreboard. That's ridiculous.
- Did a single one of Beltran's crosses come off? I think a few games ago I called him an offensive woe; now I think he's just offensive. I really don't have much respect right now for the way he plays.
- People will make the case that Altidore doesn't have world-class ball skills or an eye for the perfect pass, and justifiably so, but he has stunning composure and a first-class finishing touch, which, considering the qualities and deficits of US soccer today, I would estimate as infinitely more valuable.
- "Every touch he's had on the ball, Adu, has been a quality touch." - ESPNU commentator - I really don't know what to say about the refereeing this tournament. Probably something critical, if I could phrase it.
- Okotie is Austria's lovechild. A real Bavarian Messi, I'd say.
- The conditions today were a keeper's nightmare. The US U-20 program owes Chris Seitz a debt of gratitude.
- Some of these yellows were deserved, but I really wish referees around the world would learn from the refereeing in WC2006, US vs. ITA. Too many yellows will degrade a game completely and foster, rather than curb, animosity between teams. Or how about Portugal vs. Netherlands: too many yellows will remove a team from the tournament by dint of suspending all their key players for the proceeding match.
- I'm still considering whether US soccer has been an overall sucess or failure this summer. To be honest, I'm squarely undecided.
I'll be back later for FC Dallas @ DC United.