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USMNT Missing Olympics the Best Thing for the Union
August 5, 2012Posted by on
With the soccer tournaments winding down in London, and the US women marching on with grace and style to what could be a gold medal, it’s hard not to feel a sense of frustration that the men did not qualify. Especially with the build-up that this US team had, with such talents as Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, Joe Corona, Brek Shea and Terrance Boyd. The Olympics would also be a chance for the Union to show off some of their youth products with Sheannon Williams, Freddy Adu, Zach MacMath, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and maybe even a Farfan or two being considered for the team. With the way the Farfan’s have been playing it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that they coul have gotten a call up. The Olympics would have been a great showcase for the Union to show off some talent and for the youngsters to gain experience. Even for the Farfans, Williams and MacMath who likely wouldn’t have started, the international stage would have given them a great chance to grow as players.
Going into the MLS season it was expcted that the US team would qualify for the Olympics, and many Union fans were excited at the chance to see players like Okugo and McInerney who had, at the time, seen limited minutes for the club over the last two seasons. Of course the US didn’t qualify and the Union imploded. Piotr Nowak imploded, the team got rid of many players, and they were almost entirely eliminated from any hope of the playoffs before Nowak left. If the US qualified it would have been the worst thing for the Union hands down. This run they are going on, which may be saving the season, would likely never have happened. With Okugo and Williams (and possibly others) gone the Union would have to resort to playing Albright, Jordan, Gaddis, or even Lopez (ugh). It would be ugly, not saying Gaddis wouldnt do a great job but Williams is starting for a reason. Who would be in net? I love Chase Harrison, but he is not Zac and more importantly has never held down a starting job. Plus it would not help to play the second string goalie with an alreaedy weakend defense. There is of course the arguement that the Union have Soumare to help out on defense, but he would have been barely coming into fitness while Okugo was in camp tuning up fro the Olympics. Hack would have had to rush him back to fitness, which he hasn’t shown any intrest in doing with Okugo available. Now lets look up top. With Adu and Mac gone who would fill in? Hoppenot is great off the bench but asking him to carry a team is a very different thing. Pajoy would have to step up along with Perlaza, Martinez or Hoffman or whoever Hack might have had to bring in. Lots of inexperience. Adu would be replaced by the injured Roger Torres who has looked less than impressive in his brief moments since getting back to fitness.
The US missing the Olympics has saved the Union for the short term, but also the long term. WIth players like Okugo getting minutes in the Olympics it wouldn’t be surprising if a European club made him an offer he couldnt refuse. He is no high-roller here in Philly and a lower division European club could pay him more then he would make here. The same could be applied to any youth player. Of course whether or not the Union would sell, or what they would get back would make it very interesting.
So to really think about it, I along with many Union fans were excited about potentially seeing some Union players represent the US. I got what I wished for, in the sense that I am now watching players who were not getting alot of minutes, just not for the US. Do not get me wrong, as a Union fan and a US fan I would love nothing more then to see Union players contribute to the national team at any level. But for now its in the best interest of the club that the US missed the Olympics. It is crazy how the world works. This is not the ideal scenario. The season has been a dissapointment. The ideal scenario would have included Nowak keeping Le Toux, Mwanga, Califf et al. and putting together a winning season. Ideally the Union would be in contention for the top spot and the some Union players would be thriving in the olympics. Ideally we would have our cake and eat it too, but we dont.
In short, the Olympic woes of the men’s national soccer team benefits the Union and keeps a slim sliver of playoff hope alive. To quench your US soccer thirst, watch the women they are playing amazing football right now as usual.