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).