A really lousy effort from the U.S. national team in the World Cup yesterday. They were whacked by the Czech Republic, 3-0. The Czechs scored early, and basically put the game in their back pocket. They even lost their best player, Jan Koller, at halftime, but that didn't matter. The U.S. had few good chances, the best when captain Claudio Reyna hit the post with a cracking shot that would have put the Americans back in the match. They looked really sluggish most of the match, as the Czechs dominated midfield. So much for the old guys of the Czech Republic being outlasted by the young Americans.
Saturday's match against Italy maybe one of the most important matches in the history of USA soccer. The Americans need at least a draw, or the World Cup will be over for them. Then the final first round match against Ghana will be almost irrelevant. I don't want to sound too panicky, but the future of U.S. soccer may be riding on Saturday's match. This was a team that many were calling a dark horse to go deep in the tournament.
Another lackluster effort against Italy and the U.S. might be back to where they were in 1998, when the U.S. was swept out of World Cup in France in three matches: little world respect, and trying to figure out where a bright future all went wrong.