I spent the time watching the USA vs Sweden game this weekend, and enjoyed the 2-0 scoreline that the USA obtained. It was no way near a “A” friendly game, but it was nice to see the young USA talent from MLS beat up on the reserves of Sweden, which makes me think that the USA has come a long way for sure. In fact, i’d say its no longer a “long way”, but rather the norm. Sweden did beat the US last year in Sweden in a proper “A” friendly, and that was a decent result for both teams.
The crowd at the game was dismal, but thats ok, its two teams that fielded teams they’d never take to a real tournament (heh!) and it was cold by Southern California’s standards. And i do think that this crowd showing is a telling sign to USSF that Americans do get it. They want to see quality games played. The international football fans won’t show up anymore to ‘B’ class friendlies. (Although a USA v Mexico game fielded with ‘F’ class friendlies will fill any stadium)
However, one thing did irk me a bit. Landon Donovan’s record setting 35th goal for the USA, really shouldn’t have been that way. I know he admitted to that in a short interview after the game that he didn’t want his record setting goal to come from the penalty spot. So my question would be to Landon… Why take this spot kick ? I mean, if you are as good as you are, why wouldn’t you let someone like Jozy Altidore take it (considering that he won the penalty)? Wasn’t the idea of this game to help get some experience to the younger players? Why would you take a goal that will forever taint your record? If i recall correctly, the last goals in your international career have been from Penalties. I also did a quick tally, and found that about 14 of his 35 international goals have been from friendly games. I wonder how that compares to Klinsmann’s 47 goals (in just 96 caps), of which 10 were in world cups?