The United States as Upstarts

Watch the Confederations Cup final highlights

Tears of a bit of joy

Dempsey was in tears after the game, and it look like Donovan was a little choked up too, coughing a bit while doing the post game interview. I don’t know why exactly Dempsey was crying though. He’s supposed to be the tough rapper not the sensitive leader. However, the team did so much more than was expected, and maybe that was why he was in tears after the match.

It was a very emotional run by the United States, from having put on one of the worst performances in the tournament to becoming the surprise upstarts. It was a stark turnaround in many ways that was bound to create some powerful emotions in anyone.

But there could be a myriad of reasons why Dempsey was crying. And it was interesting because Dempsey isn’t the type of player to let people in and know what he’s feeling. It seemed he couldn’t stop the tears and it was moving to see.

He’s more of a show it on the field type of player. Whereas someone like Donovan articulates what he’s feeling and also shows it through his play on the pitch. There was a little flick down the line by Donovan early in the second half, a lovely touch, and a rare attempt at some magic by Landon, which was a sign he was going to have a good match and he’s full of confidence.

But Dempsey doesn’t seem like someone who wants to dig too deep or at least dig deep on TV. It was all too much it seems for the kid from Texas who stars for Fulham. And he most likely boosted his salary potentially with his play in the Confederations Cup tournament. Three big goals and a number of deft touches and smart passes, he stepped up his game after the two early defeats and some harsh criticism from the many in the media.

And maybe Dempsey was in tears because the team almost did the impossible, yet again, after doing it against Spain. Or maybe it was because he was beaten for the game-winning header by Lucio. Or maybe it was it because he was named as one of the top players of the tournament. Or, perhaps it was everything together all at once.

I’m wondering if it wasn’t a bit of tears of joy in a way. Dempsey having gone from having John Harkes saying on TV he should be given a rest and wondering how many times he gave the ball away, to winning the adidas Bronze Ball along side two greats of the game. Post match, he walked up to receive the award and stood next to Kaka of Real Madrid, who won the golden ball, and Fabiano of Sevilla, who won the silver ball and the golden shoe as the top scorer, for a photo op.

Kaka sits at the top of the throne

It’s hard to pick just one player for Brazil, who stands alone and above all the others. As Donovan stated after the game: “You look around at their players, and you realize why they’re worth so much and why they play at the teams that they play.”

Lucio is a giant in the back and who scores goals. Maicon and Alves, is it fair to have two fullbacks who play like maestros and constantly attack? And Robinho, the slender stick of a genius, whose quick early shot on the trot nearly beat Howard at the far post in the first half. Then there’s Kaka, who is constantly at a half turn, always ready to play the ball dangerously forward, someone who dribbles like he’s just avoiding little sticks of dynamite but without a care in the world. When Kaka has the ball it always looks like he’s in control and he knows what he wants to do and nobody can stop him.


As someone said it probably comes down to the subs, as a critical turning point in the game. Brazil brought on Alves and Elano and the US brought on Jonathan Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan. Brazil also had a forward named Pato of AC Milan on the bench no less. If Bradley made a mistake, it might have been making these two substitutions. He could have left Jozy Altidore and Benny Feilhaber, or were they just too exhausted to play anymore?

Lifting the trophy

What if the United States won? Would they have known how to celebrate such a title? Brazil, having gone through the trophy lifting routine so many times, needed no direction. They all pushed together and piled up on shoulders to get in the frame and to kiss the trophy. The US, if they’d won, might need some guidance. At least now they have seen a proper trophy lifting ceremony first hand. Next time they’ll know what to do.