Yesterday, I made the road trip to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., to partake in some drunken patriotism.
I like soccer. I love international soccer. Thing is, it’s a wonderful reason to drink heavily and talk so much crap that intellect vanishes. It’s like a death spiral for me. I drink. I’m very funny when I drink, and people buy me beer out of appreciation for the laughs. Then I get funnier. My improv version to the lyrics of the national anthem for Trinidad y Tobago should have gotten me kicked out and the game hadn’t even started yet.
Unfortunately, it also leads to me forgetting to zip my fly after I finish that postgame bathroom scramble.
So now that I’m sober after the Americans’ 4-0 triumph over Trinidad y Tobago in World Cup qualifying, I have a couple of thoughts:
1) Back in 2002, the U.S. opened the World Cup by punching Portugal in the mouth, if memory serves. What stood out in the game was the Americans had this brash teenager who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. So it’s 14 years later, and I see a lot of Landon Donovan in Christian Pulisic.
Every international team needs a player who just doesn’t give a damn what you think of him. One who knows this game draws the eyes of a planet and still wants the ball. Not that Pulisic could play on Brazil, but if the Americans don’t have that type of player, they won’t get better. Pulisic could play in as many as five World Cups.
In the NBA, people wonder who will be the next Michael Jordan. I think we know who the next Donovan is.
2) I still count myself as a Jurgen Klinsmann backer. Man, that guy tinkers so much in games that it makes you want to spill blood. Having said that, the Yanks have scored 10 goals in their last two games without Clint Dempsey. They pitched a shutout without John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin. The only conclusion to draw is those awkward lineup combos pay off when it’s needed in World Cup qualifying.
3) A shutout is a shutout. Appreciate Tim Howard while you can. It doesn’t matter that neither Trinidad or Tabago can shoot.
4) This is kind of an obvious point: I can’t help but wonder if Klinsmann is rethinking the “let’s move on from Jozy Altidore” thing. Two goals Tuesday. Count me intrigued.
5) I loved the pregame tailgate with the American Outlaws. I respect supporters groups. Having said that, guys, let us know when the march to the stadium kicks off. We’re drunk. Sound off an air horn or something.
Or maybe we could at least send out a search party for Sam’s Army.
6) Anyone else notice Klinsmann avoided talking about Pulisic at halftime and instead heaped praise of Sacha Kljestan? Nice on two fronts: One, his opinion matters more to the teenager than mine. Two, Kljestan’s goal in the first half effectively ended Trinidad as a threat.
7) Very lame of Trinidad fans to get the police to ask the Americans in front, like me to sit down instead of stand. We were excited. We wanted to stand. However, in retrospect I’m glad the Trinidadians — or the Tobagans — had an unobstructed view of their ass-kicking.