Team USA soccer.
Soccer—or football, as it's called in the rest of the world—really hasn't been embraced here like it has in countries such as England, Ireland, France, Italy, Brazil and Spain.
It's been like a cousin to other, more popular sports.
Baseball is the national pastime. Football (the American kind) is almost every guy's favorite. Basketball is played in every school gym in America. Hell, even hockey is beloved by people in Minnesota, Detroit, Pittsburgh and New England.
But not soccer. Never soccer.
Soccer's finest performance in America has to be in 1994, when the United States was selected to host its first ever World Cup. Matches had an average attendance of 69,000 with an approximate total of 3.6 million attendees for the entire World Cup. Team USA lost to the eventual champions Brazil, ironically on July 4th.
The 1998 World Cup, held in France, marked the beginning of the end for competitive soccer teams from America, losing all three of its matches by a combined score of 5-1.
In the 2002 World Cup, held in Japan and Korea, the United States fared little better, winning one match, drawing another, and losing one more. They beat Portugal, 3-2, drew South Korea 1-1, and lost to Poland 3-1.
In the last World Cup, 2006, held in Germany, Team USA didn't win a game, drew one, and lost two, by a combined score of 6-3.
Now, Team USA's performance in the 2009 Confederations Cup has been terrible, losing two matches. They have a third one on its way, against Egypt. The United States is representing CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football).
Team USA has lost to Brazil, 3-0, and Italy 3-1. I know that Italy and Brazil are international soccer powerhouses, but seriously, just one goal?
Not even a draw?
The United States have not accumulated any points, the only other team not to do so (New Zealand) has already been eliminated.
Seeing how vastly uncompetitive Team USA has been in the Confederations Cup, will that mirror how the team competes in the 2010 World Cup?
I hope not.
The MLS desperately needs the fans, and a strong showing at the World Cup is just what the doctor ordered.
If not, the yet-to-be-realized soccer fan in America will have to wait until 2014 to see his team on the world stage again.
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