Gold Cup: Progress,a Correction (+ Donovan)

By the end of the night, we'll all know who meets whom in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup...which takes me to the correction - or, rather, the clarification. At the end of last night's post, I figured we'd get Guadeloupe in the quarters. But several items I've come across today tell me we're more likely to pick up the third-place team from Group C. It's not a huge deal, but this is what happens when a body doesn't pay enough attention to the details in the formula for placement (e.g. with "3A" appearing twice and "3B" and "3C" appearing only once, it's "3A" that gets moved around).

Then again, this kind of is a big deal if it means we get Mexico in the quarters. And that's certainly not outside the realm of possibility. The Associated Press' think-piece aside, Mexico would have to screw up royal - or Panama would have to channel Argentina - for the Tricolores to fall behind El Salvador for the relevant spot.

Don't get me wrong: I certainly think we're good enough to beat Mexico. But can anyone say with a straight face that they'd rather face them than Guadeloupe?

In other Gold Cup-related news, I came across a couple interesting passages on Landon Donovan today. The first came out of Greg Lalas' review of last night's game for Sports Illustrated - and you'll find it waayyyy down the page (or right here):

"It was nice to see Landon being Landon. He's not the heart and soul of the U.S. national team. He never was and he never will be, no matter how much the media and the fans wish it to be true. He's a scientist, almost, a clinical striker with the cold creativity and precision of an assassin. Maybe that's why he crosses himself so often. Asking for forgiveness as much as for luck."

I think Lalas is on to something there. Did Landon demand the "heart and soul" job or was it thrust upon him? A few things, not least the decision to bail on Europe, suggests to me it fell in his lap due to his record scoring numbers. But maybe he should simply be a really, really good player for us and we'll get someone else to look after the leadership side (I'll take Jimmy Conrad).

Finally, another bit on Donovan came from something Marc Connolly wrote (can't link to it), but I think there's some truth to this as well:

"I don’t believe the FSC cameras caught this, but it was interesting to see Donovan shaking his head in frustration even after scoring on his second penalty kick try during that odd sequence of events at the end of the half. That, right there, is a quick snapshot of what makes him a good player."

OK, I'm done. Happy viewing tonight, for those who can see it. And, again, Forza Panama! Forza to the tune of five goals!


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