As I watch the US World Cup team take on Algeria, it strikes me again that I don’t hate soccer. I’m not one of those guys that says “soccer SUCKS!” I am not as into it as many fans are, especially in our town…and I can certainly see how someone could become a huge fan.
But there are definitely reasons to question the sport. We (Americans) talk endlessly about how much our soccer program has improved and how we’re catching up to the rest of the world. But it sure doesn’t seen like the rest of the world wants us to catch up.
The disallowed goal last Friday…and then the horrendous offsides call in this game against Algeria…would lead ME to believe that the world wants to keep control of their sport, and will go to any lengths, including influencing the game through officiating, to keep that control. It’s like the Cowboys used to be when Pete Rozelle was the NFL commissioner. If a call could have gone either way, it went the Cowboys’ way. With US Soccer, if a call can go either way, it goes against America.
I question having an offsides rule at all, but I’m not going to suggest rules changes. But our nature, our culture, is about scoring plays. Someone texted in yesterday that we like no-hitters in baseball, why wouldn’t we like scoreless ties in soccer? Well, it’s because we’ve seen in the last 135 years, Major League Baseball has had 266 no hitters. There will be 2,430 regular season games played this year, and we see a no hitter an average of twice a season. This year, in 36 games through Tuesday, there have been three scoreless ties and eight more 1-0 matches. Nearly of third of the games have had zero or one scoring play in 90+ minutes.
I just have trouble getting fired up about a sport where soooo much of the play happens in the middle of the field, and we rarely see a scoring play. I won’t disparage people who appreciate that (although I will joke about their sport), I just can’t get on board with that passion.
In the rest of the world, I’d be an outcast. But I think I speak for most Americans here.