SBD/22/Events Attractions

RED, WHITE & THROUGH: MEDIA CALLS U.S. TEAM A "FAILURE"

          Iran's 2-1 World Cup victory over the U.S. yesterday
     has members of the U.S. media weighing its impact on the
     state of soccer in the U.S.  Calling the loss a "nightmarish
     end" to U.S. Soccer's "dreams," USA TODAY's Marco della Cava
     writes that the loss "calls into question the quality of
     U.S. soccer, despite a growing professional league and
     innumerable youth organizations" (USA TODAY, 6/22).  In
     Atlanta, Mark Bradley: "Time to see American soccer for what
     it is -- a rickety enterprise that lacks leadership and
     purpose" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/22).  In N.Y., Mark
     Cannizaro calls the loss "an embarrassing, disgraceful World
     Cup failure," adding that the U.S. "played a terrific,
     aggressive game ... and they still lost" (N.Y. POST, 6/22). 
     In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton: "U.S. soccer blew it big time
     yesterday" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/22).  In Detroit, Charlie
     Vincent writes under the header "Crying Shame: U.S. Soccer
     Is A Wasteland Again" (FREE PRESS, 6/22).  Soccer
     contributor Paul Gardner writes in USA TODAY: "As things
     stand, the American player is just not ready for the top
     level of international soccer.  The culprit here is college
     soccer and the whole college atmosphere.  There are still
     too many players around who have spent too long languishing
     in the sterile churches of the college game" (USA TODAY,
     6/22).  In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes that the U.S., "with its
     developmental programs and its ritzy training facilities,
     with its first-class travel and [MLS], was a well-meaning,
     leg-churning disappointment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/22).
          SLOW DOWN, MEDIA PACK MENTALITY: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick
     writes that the U.S. team "has absolutely nothing to be
     embarrassed about" (N.Y. POST, 6/22)....In Chicago, Bernie
     Lincicome: "Losing to Iran will do exactly for soccer what
     beating Brazil did earlier this year.  It will not cause one
     fresh fan to demand to know the difference between a sweeper
     and a striker" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/22).
          U.S. SOCCER QUOTEBOARD: U.S. midfielder Cobi Jones:
     "It's not a disaster for U.S. Soccer, it's a disappointment
     for U.S. Soccer" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/22).  USSF
     President Alan Rothenberg called the loss a "bitter
     disappointment" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/22).  Rothenberg: "I don't
     think [Coach] Steve [Sampson] was to blame.  The players
     were to blame" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/22).  Sampson: "I think
     those who understand the game will not view this as a step
     back for American soccer.  I hope they remember this is an
     American team that played to attack.  No American team has
     ever done that" (USA TODAY, 6/22).  Rothenberg, on whether
     Sampson will be retained as U.S. coach: "When the tournament
     is over, we will sit down and talk about it.  But I can't
     fault anything Steve or the players did tonight" (WASHINGTON
     POST, 6/22).  More Rothenberg: "I have been criticized for
     predicting that we wouldn't make it to the second round. 
     Well, here we are.  It's going to take some time.  I've set
     a target of 2010 for the United States to win the World Cup. 
     It's going to take a dozen years" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).  
          EATING CROW: ABC's Brent Musburger, who called the U.S.
     team "atrocious" during last week's loss to Germany, made
     this pregame prediction: "3-nil, the U.S. all the way,
     baby!"  At halftime, Musburger asked for "some mustard for
     my crow" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 6/22).
          TEHRAN UP THE COVERAGE: During halftime of yesterday's
     Iran-USA match, ABC had planned to air live footage from
     Tehran showing Iranians reacting during the game.  However,
     ABC News' Gillian Findlay reported: "We spent the first half
     of this game in a restaurant watching Iranian fans go crazy
     when they saw their team score a goal.  We've been trying to
     feed those pictures to you for the last number of minutes
     now and we are being told by Iranian censors that we cannot.
     ... The authorities here are clearly very nervous.  For
     weeks, ABC Sports has had an agreement with Iranian TV [and]
     Iranian authorities to provide some live coverage here
     during the World Cup.  Yesterday, we were told that
     agreement was cancelled."  Findlay said the authorities "are
     very clearly worried about" the celebration in the streets. 
     After a commercial break, ABC showed video from a Tehran
     restaurant with Iranians celebrating the team's first-half
     goal.  Musburger: "During the commercial break, the
     censorship curtain was raised a little" (ABC, 6/21).

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