The Star Spangled Hype Machine

Congratulations Team USA! During the latest trip to Europe you were able to knock off the Netherlands and World Cup champion Germany in the matter of a week.

Yet with all the American Outlaws fans chanting and singing Patriotic songs and the servicemen and women that came to your games, one thing remained certain: these games were Friendlies. To translate for the American audience in soccer that means an Exhibition or as Around the Horn co-host Mike Wilbon said boldly just hours after the victory “It’s like talking about OTA’s in football (American football just to clarify with our non-American audience).

The Star Spangled Hype Machine

See what we’re getting at? These games have more to do with keeping players like Michael Bradley in shape, well getting young players like Bobby Wood used to playing in front of the atmospheric crowds whose voices will be much more than a buzz when the next World Cup arrives.

It doesn’t mean that friendlies are meaningless and there is something to be said for being able to go into a hostile environment and defeat an opponent. There is also a point to be made about not having the entire squad that is if that excuse were for the US side. No Dempsey, no Zusi or Julian Green who scored against the Netherlands during the world cup. Germany however had the familiar faces of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze.

To  say that this win by the United States was an upset isn’t the overstatement, but to say that the win meant something bigger for the Americans is an overly inflated sentiment. The Germans were playing the game as if churning the wheels on a bike and the U.S. played the game like they were in a must win situation. A win that had to make a statement to show FIFA that they are far better than being the 27th ranked nation in the world.

So the European tour is over and it’s back to the drawing board for Klinsmann. To his credit though he has not shied away from making bold statements. He doesn’t crave media attention, but he faces it head on with a stoicness and swagger. A type of swagger and confidence his team showed in the second half of the match that was capped off by little known german club player Bobby Wood.

But for the fans of America, it’s time to stop claiming supremacy.  This team simply is not there and no one said the U.S. is guaranteed a spot in the World Cup just because of an exhibition win against Germany in a game that was practice personified.

The only way to gauge this talent and how much better Team USA has become, is when the Gold Cup begins. If the US wants to make a statement, they’ll have to do something more than just win. They will have to dominate to the point where there is without a question not a team better in North America. Without a doubt this is no longer about getting wins and playing, this about making a statement. No statement is made better then decimating teams with a quicker and more fluent style of play.

Until that day comes though the jubilation is over the top. While Team USA flexes its muscles, Europe gets to bare witness to some of the best football in the world. If America wants to garner attention than it needs to win, when the games actually count.