Jun 14, 2011, 8:08 PM EST
Guadeloupe. It really rolls off the tongue. It sounds like a type of fruit placed atop some sort of green garnish at a diner. According to Wikipedia Guadeloupe is one of the 27 regions of France and his home to roughly 400,000 inhabitants.
Guadeloupe’s soccer team, which is not even World Cup eligible due to the fact it is part of France, somehow stands between the USMNT and the knockout phase of the Gold Cup (9PM/Fox Soccer). Yes, our national soccer team needs to earn a result tonight against Guadeloupe to advance in a tournament, played on home soil, which they were favored to win.
How has it come to this? Well, Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Panama set the stage for this potentially disastrous match-up. This was supposed to be the game where US coach Bob Bradley rested his key starters in preparation for the next round.
Instead, unlike the other CONCACAF teams who have already clinched a spot in the knockout phase, the US is forced to play their starters. Even if they do advance the possibility exists, depending on the way things shake out in the other group games, that the US could face Mexico in the quarterfinals.
What does the US need to do to win tonight? Not conceding the first goal would go a long way towards helping their chances. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing either Sacha Kljestan or Alejandro Bedoya inserted into the lineup in place of Jermaine Jones.
Also, Tim Ream, who showed just how shaky he can be against the Union , was brutal against Panama en route to conceding a penalty kick. Finally, despite scoring in the opener against Canada Jozy Altidore has been less than threatening up top.
It’s hard to believe that the trio of Altidore, Juan Agudelo, and Chris Wondolowski could be less threatening than the World Cup forward group of Altidore, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, and Herculez Gomez, but that’s been the case.
Lord knows the US Soccer cognoscenti is demanding a dominating performance from the US side. The speculation has already started that Bradley could be fired if they fail to advance. While I doubt US Soccer would make such a move so soon after re-upping him for another Wold Cup cycle the fact remains that they need to win this game.
It’s time for US Soccer to stand up.
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