U.S goalkeeper Tim Howard will lead his team against Ghana in the World Cup’s Round of 16
Though this site is usually all about American professional football, today I am going to make an exception to talk about “Futbol”. That’s right I have enjoyed the other version of football — which is affectionately known as soccer here in America – since my youth.
Yes, the National Football League is one of the biggest things going worldwide as shown by Superbowl XLIV’s record television rating of 106 Million viewers. But in case you didn’t know… the United States will be taking on Ghana in the round of 16 of the World Cup.
That’s right… even this hardcore football guy will be talking about players like Tim Howard and Landon Donovan rather than Peyton Manning today. Like everyone else I will be glued to my television at 2:30 PM EST (ABC and Univision) as the United States Soccer team looks to move on to the round of eight for the first time since a strong showing in 2002.
Like my favorite time of the year — the NFL playoffs – it is now “Lose and you go home” time in South Africa. The last time these two teams met in the 2006 World Cup, Ghana won 2-1 as the U.S was greatly overmatched in Group play as they didn’t win a single game as they were unceremoniously kicked out of Germany.
However I believe that this is going to be a much closer match. Both teams have good attacking offenses and strong goalkeeping, but the United States should be energized from their “On the brink” win over Algeria earlier this week – Donovan scored in the 91st minute of the game to help the U.S advance. It is now or never for the young Americans to erase their demons from the 2006 World Cup and to finally put the sport of Futbol majorly back on the country’s Sport Radar.
I still remember the days of Pele’ coming to the NASL in my youth when the New York Cosmos were everything for a brief moment in time. Heck… I can still remember watching the games on ABC and begging my parents to see the Cosmos versus the Philadelphia Fury at Veteran’s Stadium. So this is U.S Soccer’s big moment in the sun – No NFL, the NBA and NHL playoffs are over plus baseball has a long ways to go.
So now it is time for U.S players Maurice Edu, Jozy Altidore, Donovan, and Howard to take the reins — usually a suburban kid’s Saturday afternoon sport — and bring home a victory against Ghana. Africa’s last team standing surely will have great support in Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa. But the United States will need to play loose and protect their goal early in the game. Here are the project line-ups
So as NFL free agent receiver Terrell Owens likes to say, “Get Your Popcorn Ready” as Futbol takes center stage. I can just here the chants of U-S-A, U-S-A now. And I am predicting a United States 3-1 win – would you expect anything less from a soccer fanatic like myself.
That’s Right…that is me from my youth soccer days