ESPN PANELIST'S PUZZLING REMARKS
Bill Plaschke was quick to downplay the US team
Some folks are tough to please.
While most of the American media was praising the U.S. men's national team's 2-0 victory over Mexico on Tuesday night that guaranteed them a berth in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, one Los Angeles based sports writer decided to go the opposite route and pour cold water over the celebrations by the players and fans at Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio.
On the Wednesday episode of ESPN's Around the Horn, Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke criticized the players for celebrating after what was a long and nerve-wrecking qualification process. "This is not a culmination, this is a beginning. The World Cup is a beginning. We as a country should start acting like we deserve to be there," he said. "Therefore, I don't think champagne was deserved. I think it's nice that handshakes, hugs and all that stuff, but the whole champagne and acting like they just won the seventh game of the World Series, tossing guys up in the air."
"When will U.S. Soccer realize we should be in the World Cup. We've been there seven straight times now. We should realize we belong there. Let's do the champagne and celebrations maybe when we win the World Cup," he added.
While the Louisville, Kentucky native makes a valid point about the USMNT expecting qualification when World Cup cycles come around, his criticism of the players celebrating was totally unwarranted.
After getting off to a rough start with a loss to Honduras, not calling up players such as Landon Donovan for various reasons and overcoming possible dissension in the ranks after an article published by the Sporting News, these boys deserved to celebrate. Most importantly the more than 24,000 fans who came from all over the United States to "Fortress Columbus"deserved that celebration with the players as not for one minute did they keep quiet during the entire 90 minutes of the game.
The players, the fans and Klinsmann all know that Tuesday night's win and qualification was just part of the mission. The real work will begin in December when the USMNT finds out who their opponents will be prior to June 2014 as they try to progress beyond the group stages.
So, if Plaschke does not mind, let the boys celebrate at least for a little while.