Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Terrors of Estadio Saprissa

The United States national soccer team is in the unenviable position of traveling to San Jose, Costa Rica for a nasty match with a more than competent Costa Rican national side. While some of my compatriots are deluded into thinking the US are an unstoppable force in soccer, I find myself wary as I prepare to tune in to ESPN on Wednesday night.

The United States have NEVER won a single game in Estadio Ricardo Saprissa. The fans are also rowdy and prone to throwing urine at the opposing team. While a loss in Saprissa would normally not be a cause for concern, football as I have witnessed possesses a positive feedback process at the individual and team level, something also active in the current financial crisis the world finds itself mired in. If a team loses, the likelihood their next game will be lost increases.

Should the US get schelacked in San Jose, a possibility considering the abysmal performance in El Salvador, it is likely the after effects could carry over to Chicago against Honduras. Even though it is a home game, the Honduran squad boasts a speedy offense and some top flight European talent, see Wilson Palacios (Tottenham) and Maynor Figuero (Wigan Athletic). They cannot be overlooked. Do not forget that injuries and fatigue could thin the ranks, European based players like Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley have been playing on a weekly basis since December at least.

Then the boys will be lining up against Italia and Brasil in mid June. This summer represents the harshest test the US national team has witnessed since Germany 2006, I am just hoping for a B-, a draw in Costa Rica, a win against Honduras, and an improvement over last summers debacle against England at Wembley when we go up against world powers at the Confed's cup.