Philly Sports Live

USMNT Missing Olympics the Best Thing for the Union

With the soccer tournaments winding down in London and the US women marching on with grace and style to what could be a gold medal it is hard not to feel a sense of frustration that the men did not qualify. Especially with the build that this US team had with such talents as Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams, Joe Corona, Brek Shea and Terrance Boyd. The Olympics was also going to be a chance for the Union to show off some of their youth products with: Sheanon Williams, Freddy Adu, Zach MacMath, Jack Mac, Amobi Okugo and maybe even a Farfan or Two. With the way the Farfans are playing it is not out of the realm of possibilities that they would get a call up. The Olympics would have been a great display case for the Union to show off some talent and for the youngsters gain experience. Even for the Farfans, Williams and MacMath who wouldn’t have started but they would have had a great chance to grow as players.

Going into the season it was projected that the US would make the Olympics and many Union fans were excited at least to have a chance to hopefully see players like Okugo and McInerney who have seen limited minutes over the last two seasons. Then the US didn’t qualify and then the Union imploded. Nowak imploded the team and got rid of many players. If the US qualified it would have been the worst thing for the Union hands down. This run we are going on that may be saving the season would not have happened. With Okugo, Williams gone the Union would have to resort to playing Albright, Jordan, Gaddis, or Lopez (ugh). Yes it would be ugly, not saying Gaddis wouldn’t do a great job but I am saying that Williams is starting for a reason. Who would be in net? I love Chase Harrison, but he is not Zac and more importantly has never held down a starting job for a series of games. Plus with a weakened defense it is not great to be playing the second string goalie. There is the argument that the Union have Soumare to help out on defense, but he would have been coming into fitness while Okugo was in camp tuning up for the Olympics. Hack would have had to rush him back to fitness. Now let’s look up top with Adu and Mac gone who would fill in? Hoppenot is great off the bench but asking him to carry a team. Pajoy would have to step up along with Perlaza, or Hoffman or whoever Hack would bring in lots of inexperience. Adu would be replaced by the injured Roger Torres who has looked less than impressive in his brief moments since getting back to fitness.

The US missing the Olympics has saved the Union and has saved the Union for the short term but even for the long term. With players like Okugo getting minutes in the Olympics, I would not be surprised if a European club noticed him and made him an offer he could not refuse. He is no high roller here in Philly and a lower division European club could pay him more then he would make here. The same could be applied to any youth player.

So to really think about it, I along with many Union fans were excited about maybe seeing some Union players represent the US. I got what I wished for in the sense that I am now watching players who were not getting a lot of minutes just not for the US. Do not get me wrong, as a Union fan and a US fan I would love nothing more than to see Union players contribute to the national team. But for now it is in best interest of the club it is good that the US missed the Olympics. It is crazy how the world works. This is not the ideal scenario the season has been a disappointment. The ideal scenario is Nowak would have kept Le Toux, Mwanga, Califf (etc.) and put together a winning season. Ideally the Union would be in contention for the top spot and the some Union players would be thriving in the Olympics. Ideally we would have our cake and eat it too but we don’t.

In short, the Olympic woes of the men’s national soccer team benefits the Union and keeps a slim sliver of a playoff hope alive. To quench your US soccer thirst watch the women as they are playing amazing football right now.


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