The American soccer team received a wake-up call via their friendly game against Ukraine last Wednesday. The match was originally scheduled to take place in Kharkiv, but was moved to the island of Cyprus due to the recent political unrest in Ukraine. The new location made for an empty stadium, with only 1500 fans showing up. However the Ukrainians played like it was their team that was going to the World Cup.
In a performance was rated as “lackluster” and “mediocre” by several sports reporters, the Americans offered no real resistance or threat to the opposing team. The defense was severely uncoordinated and played clumsily. US team captain Clint Dempsey still seems unable to get out of the rut he has been in for a while now. Throughout the game he showed a lack of heart and confidence that made him seem absent most of the time. The rest of the line-up was compromised of mostly European based players who were most likely being given a chance to impress Coach Jurgen Klinsmann enough to make it to the World Cup.
However the game, if anything, made for a somber reminder that there shouldn’t be any high expectations for the tournament. It is important to remember that US team will be facing Germany, Portugal, and Ghana in their group, all extremely solid and consistent teams.
While it is too soon to make any harsh judgments it is safe to say that the Americans need to learn how to play as cohesive unit if they want to make it far in the World Cup.