I have to admit, I have had some personal matters that have kept me from regularly or even semi-regularly posting to this blog. So with a just a couple of weeks until the quadrennial soccer geekfest known as the World Cup, I figured it was time to come back.
The big news of course is that Landon Donovan will not be on the World Cup roster. Fine, it has happened. I can't really add my surprise to the pile and make any significant change to that pile of emotional scrapheap.
But tonight is the first tune-up match vs. Azerbijian, coached by Bertie Voakes, Jurgen Klinsmann's new assistant coach. What the opponent will bring is of little concern, particularly since I don't know of anyone who has any kind of information on what or how Azerbijian plays.
But this game is a test for the national soccer psyche and for whatever mental and emotional test that Jurgen Klinsmann is conducting.
Remember back in March 2013, when The Sporting News' Brian Strauss wrote an article about dissension in the dressing room and how Klinsmann's methods were not creating a good environment in the dressing room? Remember how the USMNT reacted in the Snowpacalypse? Remember the win streak that followed?
Klinsmann has made much of his desire to unbalance his squad members. The dropping of Donovan might be just the kind of unbalancing he wants to create, leaving aside Donovan's lack of form (this past weekend's performance against the porous Philadelphia defense). That kind of unbalancing, along with a very young team that may react well to a us vs. them attitude. For that to work, you have assume that old hands like Howard, Guzan, Rimando, Dempsey, Bradley, Beasley and Jones are in on the gag.