HUNTING WHITE ELEPHANTS / CAÇANDO ELEFANTES BRANCOS

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25 January 2009

USA 3, Sweden 2

Cary, NC is a sad and dark place. Beware to those adventurous souls who brave its divided highways to go to a faux Irish pub to watch the national team in action. The most impressive feature of O'Denny's (aka Hibernian) is that it manages to get two apostrophes in its name. They also serve a mean pork chop. But for watching a game of football, it's absolute rubbish.

Though it is a stretch to correlate the quality of the US national team's B side with the geopolitical quagmire of Cary, it seemed like a reasonable assumption at the time. Most USAmerican soccer players come from suburbia, Cary is the paradigm of suburbia, therefore the shameful quality of the side on display against Sweden witnessed in the simulacra of an Irish pub on a non-descript street in the middle of an equally anonymous landscape was a direct result of the socio-spatial conditions of its production.

There was plenty to be appreciated in the play of Sacha Kleijstan however. Though Sweden offered scant resistance other than their ubiquitous christian muscularity, Kleijstan was clearly in command of the game. Fresh off a week's trial with Glasgow Celtic, the CD Chivas USA midfielder looked the business well before he stepped up to lash a 30 yard free kick into the top left corner. A stunning way to score one's first international goal. His second came before half time through a half-deserved penalty as right back Wynn was caressed to the penalty box grass. Kleijstan's third was borne of a piece of brilliant control from Ching, who brought under control a ball that came over his head, took a touch, and slotted through two defenders to the onrushing Kliejstan who side footed home with his left. A glorious hat trick - unfortunately, the shameful defensive line of the USA made sure all three were necessary. (all goals available at www.tvgolo.com)

All in all, our B team is one goal better than Sweden's B team. Kliejstan cemented his roster spot for 2010. R We may see him in the starting lineup against Mexico on Feb. 11th. odgers (especially), Bornstein, Perkins, and Thorrington are out of the mix and that is as good as finding someone to fill a position at this point for head coach Bob Bradley. The Mexico match starts the final round of qualifying for 2010 and will be a blood and guts battle in Columbus.

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