September 11, 2013

Direct Kick: Can U.S. rebound after win streak snapped by Costa Rica?

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Just when it seemed like the United States men’s soccer team was gaining serious momentum to clinch a spot in next year’s World Cup, Costa Rica said, “whoa, not so fast, Yanks.”

Costa Rica’s 3-1 win last Friday night might have been a cow on the tracks of America’s voyage to Brazil, but I don’t think the loss completely derailed the U.S. Express. That is, unless the Americans fell last night to Mexico in what was always seen as a crucial World Cup qualifier, but now, following the loss to Costa Rica, it becomes larger than life.

A win by the U.S. over El Tri, and a Honduras win over Panama, would qualify the team for Brazil 2014. Honduras pulled off a surprise on the same night that the U.S. fell by beating Mexico, in Mexico, none the less, a loss that cost Mexico coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre his job and dropped El Tri to fourth place in the Hexagonal standings, five points behind second place U.S. It was only the second time in history that Mexico lost a qualifying match at home.

But getting a win over Mexico, even though the game was held in Columbus, Ohio, won’t be easy, especially since the U.S. would be playing without four key players: Jozy Altidore, Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron are suspended, while Michael Bradley has been ruled out due to an ankle injury. Those are four key components which Coach Jurgen Klinsmann has to find replacements for if the U.S. is to come away with the crucial three points.

Without those four, and the fact that Mexico is desperate for a win, makes me nervous about this game. Desperate foes are usually the most dangerous.

I’ve been to a U.S.-Mexico qualifier in Columbus before, and even though this match is on U.S. soil, don’t think there won’t be a large Mexican contingent there to support their country. It seems like every home match the U.S. has is almost like a road match, especially when playing Mexico since there are so many Mexicans here in the United States. I figure the crowd will be split about 50-50.

America will need to control the midfield and shut down Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Even though he has never scored against the U.S., he is a dangerous player who only needs a half-chance to become a game changer. The U.S. defense in front of keeper Tim Howard will have to do a much better job than they did against Costa Rica. They can’t let anyone get behind them and leave Howard out to dry.

Without Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan are going to have to really step up and keep the Mexican crowd quiet. America can’t afford to fall behind early, but an early lead by the Yanks could help take the Mexican crowd right out of the game.

The top three teams in CONCACAF (Confederations of North and Central American and Caribbean Football) quality for Brazil, while the fourth place team will play a two-game series against New Zealand, the first place team from Oceania, for a place in the finals. I do believe the U.S. will be one of the top three but I would love to see them go in as a qualifying winner.

Text Only
  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: An almost completely true fish tale

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: Did Lana cross the line with her remark?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: All Star Game less important than Wiffle Ball

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: A very eventful week in sports

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The shining kingdom

    The drop in gas prices locally is a welcome sight for most residents in the area with gas falling under $3.60 per gallon.

    July 16, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks, Sentinel-Echo

    In the July 4 edition of the Sentinel-Echo, (last page, section 1), the entire page was given to quotes of references to God, the Declaration of Independence, and our constitution by our founding fathers, former presidents, Supreme Court judges, etc. 

    July 14, 2014

  • Zamperini's story was inspiring

    I had never heard the names of Louis Zamperini and Russel Allen Phillips until my pastor gave me a book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” a few years ago.

    July 11, 2014

  • The tales of Dr. Robert E. Pennington

    When Dr. H. V. Pennington began to practice medicine in Laurel County times were hard and medical methods were primitive, compared to today. 

    July 11, 2014

  • Where did that red truck go?

     We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a  big, red, late- model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown.  It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun  

    July 7, 2014

  • A change for Pace

    Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

    July 7, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
     View Results