United States Men’s Soccer Team Fails to Qualify for the Olympics: A Fan’s Reaction

On Monday, March 26, 2012, theU-23 United States men's national team played in the team's third and final game in group play. The team had already defeated Cuba and lost to Canada. If the United States defeated El Salvador, the team would be headed to the next round of the Olympic qualifying matches. If the United States lost, or the match ended in a draw, El Salvador would continue to the next round and the United States would be sitting out the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

The game quickly got out of hand for the United States. Once the game got to 2-1 with the United States down, the team battled back to make the score 3-2. Despite the comeback, the United States was undone in stoppage time. As stoppage time was winding down, El Salvador grabbed one final goal to make the score 3-3. The game ended with the two teams tied and El Salvador is moving on. The United States, the team with home field advantage, has no doubt disappointed fans and had an earlier exit than was expected.

The United States last failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympics. That year, the United States lost to Mexico in the group round of play. The Mexican fans had been overtly hostile towards the players and fans from the United States. Prior to the 2004 Olympics, the last time the men's team missed the Olympics was in 1980, when the team boycotted the Olympic Games, which were held in Moscow in the Soviet Union.

As a fan of the Philadelphia Union, this is both bad news and good news. I had been looking forward to seeing Union players Freddy Adu, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams playing in the Olympics, but this would have kept three of the top young players from being a part of the Union. It is too bad that I won't get to see the three men play on the international level but it is good that they will be returning to the team. The Union are struggling in Major League Soccer. Currently, the team is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with no wins. Hopefully Adu, Okugo and Williams will reenergize the Union when they return. The team needs something and these young players may be the key to getting the team back on track.

Kristin Watt lives in central Pennsylvania and has no local major league sporting teams in the area .She has chosen to adopt Philadelphia's teams, including the Philadelphia Union, as her own home teams. Philadelphia is close enough to make a daytrip out of a game and still not have to get a hotel room.

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Updated Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012