Interview with Allyson Latta

Thursday, July 12, 2007

From the ashes of disaster...

...rise the roses of success!

USA's game last night against Uruguay had my blood boiling,and my tone of voice reached a level that drove my poor dog into another room where he hid beneath a desk and quivered. He's not a small dog. I hurled pillows at the television screen and bit off what little fingernail growth I had until my damn fingers bled. A few minutes into the game I said, wait a minute, as well as a predictable style of play presenting itself on the opposing team, I thought, this ref is going to be responsible for the U.S.A.'s demise. Overcoming practically every obstacle imagineable on the field, except for a penalty or red card amazingly, the U-20 American side rallied together like the pros they are turning out to be and proved there is justice!!! There's nothing worse to me than when a ref turns a blind eye to an offending team, we see it in the Premiership with teams like Arsenal on a weekly basis, sorry Gunner's supporters but one has to call it as they see it. The more I watched the young Uruguayans step on opposing player's feet, punch players in the ear, elbow them as they ran by, and fall to the ground from a whisper, I thought I was going to lose my mind. Somehow, with the loss of Altidore to a filthy challenge that wasn't even called a foul, the U.S. hung on and Michael Bradley, their consistent work-horse on the field, achieved what he deserved, personal, and his team's, victory. Uruguay are undeniably talented and I looked forward to watching them but at this stage in their game they are a deadly mix of too much testosterone and South American anguish. The poor losership at the end of the match was the icing on the cake, proof that Uruguay's U-20 side ended this competition just where they belong - on the plane home.

As far as the officiating in the dying moments of an incredible performance by a bruised and exhausted U.S. side, half of the team were handed yellow cards for looking at their opponent the wrong way - so if the ref couldn't help them lose in the round of 16, he'd effect their security in the games to come. The beauty of it is - I don't think it'll make a damn difference to their success. I'm wary of premature predictions but among many things I think the Uruguay game did for the U.S., despite buffing up their injury list, was make them even stronger. I think Austria's luck might be about to run out.

The Spain vs Brazil game was a mix of absolute brilliance and absolute dullness - a game of extremes. In the end the stronger side won and for that I was very pleased. Players like Adan, Bueno, Capel, Pique, Garcia and Adrian put up a great fight for Spain against a tricky and skillful Brazilian side; it took 3/4s of the game for the Spanish side to reach their peak but when they did, they exhibited their shifty footwork, creativity and bravery on the field - ending so aptly with the matador's stance.

I believe that Japan would have been better off nailing a win prior to going to penalty kicks,easier said than done, however, they have yet to master the old one-on-one with their opponents. They played so well throughout this competition, though. They should be thrilled with their performance. As for the Czech Republic - I can't wait to finally see them play a game.

Tonight, Portugal play Chile, Argentina play Poland, Zambia play Nigeria and Mexico play Congo. I prefer Chile over Portugal, Argentina over Poland, Nigeria over Zambia and Mexico over Congo. I have to admit Mexico are my favs, along with the Americans. Right from the very first whistle in this competition I loved the look of the Mexican side. I'm nervous and emotional and think I better drop the dog off at my parent's.

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