The Copa: Sheep to the Slaughter? (+ Ambivalence)

(I'll get the parenthetical stuff out of the way first: happy is the fan whose cable/satellite system carries Telefutura or GolTV; the rest of us must live on the, apparently, Mexico-only scraps the broadcasters kick to Univision. See? This effective blackout is making it very hard to get excited about the Copa...which is sad because there's a lot to get excited about. Moving on....)

We've all seen the roster the United States has sent to Venezuela for the Copa America. Now reports are coming out giving a dire, sheep-to-the-slaughter story lines; others highlight the some of the questionable invites and brow-raising snubs. Then again, still other articles have appeared bearing headlines suggesting the same gloomy story, only for the content beneath to read quite a bit differently.

As for me, I don't know what's going to happen, though, like everyone else, I've got my suspicions (and, yes, I'm still pissed off two paragraphs later that I won't be able to see this stuff first hand). But on the most basic level, I think Bob Bradley is handling this with long-term success in mind. His undefeated record will almost surely take a hit, but he should be applauded for keeping his eyes on the prize: qualifying for the World Cup and expanding the pool of available players able to cope with the atmosphere and physical rigors of tournament play. I'd be shocked if anything definitive comes of it - unless, say, Jay DeMerit and Jimmy Conrad hold off three very credible South American teams - but it's all educational, most of all for Bradley. If nothing else, he'll have more stickies for his player files.

In that spirit, I favor looking at the Copa the way Ives Galarcep did in his column for the Jersey paper. He names some of the most promising candidates on the roster and, more or less, calls it good. And I think that matches Bradley's mind-set for the Copa pretty well. Then again, if we win a game or two, advance to the knockout stages and, god forbid, beyond, well, I'll take that too.


No comments: