Socer, er, Futbol

Hi Soccer or Bye Sucker?

The Dallas Cup will live on each Easter weekend as one of the world's most prestigious youth tournaments. FC Dallas will anonymously toil away in Major League Soccer. And Starbucks-slurping soccer moms in their minivans will still dominate our roads and bogart our athletic field parking lots every weekend.

But with the U.S. now knocked out of the World Cup, will the sport of soccer be any better off?

Seems like every four years our patriotism bubbles to the surface for a couple weeks and we're bashed over the head with "the world's most popular sport." Then the U.S. loses, we wash the paint from our face and everyone in Texas goes back to counting the days until Dallas Cowboys training camp.

This year feels no different. Does it?

Though former President Bill Clinton and Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger watched arm-in-arm in South Africa, the Americans put forth a typically mediocre performance. Over four games the U.S. went 1-1-2, scoring five goals. One of those was an egregious goalie error by England and another on a penalty kick in last weekend's Round of 16 loss to Ghana. It means the Americans scored three legit goals in 390 minutes of soccer, and led for only three of those minutes.

The 2-1 defeat to Ghana was the most-watched U.S. soccer game in American history. But was it transcendent? Meaningful? Did it change diddly poo?

One of the problems with soccer is its credibility. England scored a goal against Germany over the weekend that should've tied its game 2-2. But somehow - inexplicably - the referees missed the ball a good two feet over the goal line and Germany went on to win 4-1.

The result? Soccer's organizing body refused comment on the play, promised NOT to implement instant replay in the future and in the present began censoring in-stadium replays of controversial calls. Soccer may be the world's biggest game, but it's also its worst-officiated.

Ridiculous. Embarrassing. Insulting.

Imagine if the Cowboys tied the Steelers in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV on a made field goal just inside the left upright, but referees waved it off as no good. We wouldn't stand for it.

And we're no longer sitting on the edge of our seats for soccer.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt

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