Wednesday, July 02, 2014

7/2 Wednesday USMNT Hangover Quickie

*It was fun while it lasted. I think most people are bummed more because the ride is over, not because we actually lost. And that's totally OK. In fact, that was the inevitable feeling.

*Can't say enough about Tim Howard. (And can't lament enough that missed shot by Wondo with just minutes to play in regulation.)

*The big question: What changes? I think our expectations for 2018 change -- we're now in the "quarterfinals or bust" tier, which is not necessarily ideal (see Spain, Italy, England).

*I'm not sure we see a surge in popularity of soccer in the US -- more people caring about MLS, more people caring about Premiership. Maybe more interest in USMNT games like the Gold Cup.

*This wasn't about soccer, per se. This was about socialization. Not in a "social media" sense -- in the sense that this had so many unique conditions that made this work as an "Everyone Cares" event:

(1) Total dominance of the sport -- no other sports on the radar... (2) uber coverage/access from ESPN... (3) it lent itself to social viewing: midday games... (4) soccer is super-easy to comprehend.

*The thing that made it so amazing -- the Togetherness -- is also what makes it unlikely to be either sustainable or something that advances the sport, itself, by a step function in the U.S.

*That doesn't diminish how amazing the past few weeks have been. Soccer snobs ("real" fans) might not like to hear it, but the non-fan Bandwagon is precisely why this was as huge as it was.

*The nation of bandwagoneers are the team to be celebrated, even if they don't pay attention for another four years.

-- D.S.

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