Dear Marvell Wynne: Please take up another sport. Regards, American soccer fans

Look, I get that Marvell Wynne is an extraordinary, maybe even world class athlete. I get that. I’m not blind. I’m not cruel. I’m not stupid.

But I think it’s quite clear that he’s just not a very good soccer player. Quite honestly, I thought he was the kind of “one-tool” player that MLS had passed by at this point, and yet there he was tonight, stumbling around aimlessly in the penalty area and directly responsible for Chile’s lone goal. Grant Wahl called him “out to sea” on that first goal, but really that’s an insult to the sea. The Pacific Ocean covers 63.8 million square miles. Wynne can’t cover three square yards.

I hope Colorado likes having him around because they’re not going to have to worry about losing him to international duty for long time. Gary Smith and company seem to like him at center back and that’s good for them. They stumble-bummed their way to an MLS Cup win, after all. Great champions, yada yada yada.

But if Wynne wants to represent the United States again, he needs do so in a sport better fitted to his ability to perform occasional feats of outstanding athleticism in between longer periods of positional aimlessness and technical incompetence. Maybe, and I’m being only half-facetious here, he should take up the decathlon or bobsled, something that just uses his skill-set to greater effect.

Moving on to Dax McCarty. He actually looks like a good player then. I’m still not quite sure what position he most belongs in, but he’s now impressed me the last 3-4 times I’ve seem him play on TV. It doesn’t mean I’m ready to start throwing rose petals down on ground in preparation for DC United’s “inevitable” march back to the MLS Cup final, but at least he gives fans some hope.

Speaking of hope, Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo ought to giving fans palpitations of hope. I loved the way Bunbury stepped up to take the penalty and I liked the way Agudelo drew the, admittedly softish, penalty. As I said when Agudelo scored against South Africa, it’s only a matter of time until we start hearing the chorus of “HE’S GOTTA GO TO EUROPE RIGHT NOW RATHER THAN THROW HIS CAREER AWAY BY STAYING LONGER IN MLS!!!” Right, ask Dominic Cervi how that’s working for him? He’s seen so little match time that he was left out of this game for two guys who played their last matches before Thanksgiving. Let’s hope that the Wizards (you bet I’m in denial) and Red Bulls don’t sell either of them off anytime soon.

Finally, US Soccer says they drew over 18,000 to that match. Really? Did it look like that in the stadium? If so, booze and hookers to the sales people who got that done. That’s an achievement when the most well-known and intriguing guy involved in the entire match is other team’s coach.

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World Cup 2010 (Day 11): Shrug …

… Today was a bit of an odd day for me at the World Cup. Looking back, the game weren’t particularly compelling, and the matchups weren’t necessarily something to write home about to start with.

There were some interesting talking points going in, such as whether or not Spain could recapture its nearly unbeatable form and take the points against Honduras, and if Cristiano Ronaldo could spark Portugal’s attack against North Korea.

We found out that, yes, Spain could pretty easily regain its form, holding Honduras without a shot on goal in a 2-0 victory that re-ignited expectations of Spain advancing into the last 16.

We also found out that Portugal has a quite a few finishing options beyond Ronaldo, though the former Special1 TV puppet did manage to break through in Portugal’s 7-0 rout, knocking home a goal after the ball had rolled off the back of his neck in a kind of unintentional playground move. North Korea looked uninterested and absent of spirit by the end, as Portugal scored three of its goals in the final 10 minutes. The game was reportedly broadcast live in North Korea, which couldn’t have gone over well with the ruling party.

Having entered this event winless in World Cup matches since 1962, Chile doubled its pleasure today by taking its second straight of this tournament in beating Switzerland, 1-0. Chile played up a man for about the last hour after Switzerland’s Valon Behrami was sent off for a silly elbow (part of a sequence where Behrami’s arms were just kind of flailing everywhere while he was trying to possess the ball). Some might argue that the red was a bit harsh, but I didn’t have much problem with it.

But the news isn’t all good for Chile. As entertaining as Chile are, they aren’t taking advantage of all their opportunities and they almost paid dearly for it in the 90th minute, when a precision Swiss passing play found substitute Eren Derdiyok wide open in the area with only Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to beat. But Derdiyok’s shot was belted wide, and the Swiss were beaten.

With Spain playing Chile on the final group day, and Switzerland taking on Honduras, wins by Spain and Switzerland would leave three teams in the group on 6 points. Currently, Chile lead in goal differential at +2, while Spain is +1 and Switzerland is level. Despite Chile’s fast start, a 1-goal loss to Spain and a 2-goal win by Switzerland over Honduras would eliminate the Chileans, who would seriously reconsider their missed chances, despite the victories.

Part of the reason for the malaise toward today’s games is the anticipation of what we’ll see tomorrow. Round 3 of group play begins, so we’ll have four games to see, with each group concluding its matches at the same time. In the 10 a.m. Eastern time slot, it’s Group A, as France (if they show up) plays South Africa, while Uruguay takes on Mexico. A draw in the latter game sends both teams on to the last 16. In the 2:30 p.m. time slot, it’s Group B, where Argentina (6 points) leads the group by 3 points and plays Greece (3 points), while Nigeria (0 points) takes on South Korea (3 points). Any positive result pushes Argentina forward, while just based on the fixtures, you’d have to favor South Korea for the second spot.

MONDAY’S PREDICTIONS
Mexico 2-1 Uruguay
South Africa 1-0 France
Argentina 3-1 Greece
South Korea 2-0 Nigeria

Today’s Record: 2-1.
Tournament Record: 15-17.