“Adversity is the first path to truth.” – Lord Byron
The above quote was considered when TSG was writing an email to Charlie Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org) yesterday. Ultimately, CD9 received a different quote about “seizing fate by the throat”, but Lord Byron’s words proved to be excellent shorthand or even prophetic for last night’s match between the USMNT and Costa Rica.
These truths were revealed to USMNT fans last night:
♦ Heart and courage are not in short supply for the USMNT
In a game that seemed to mean everything and nothing at the same time the USMNT exemplified what it will take for their injured mate to make his way back to the game he loves.
You want heart? A 95th minute equalizer with the US playing a man down by an oft-maligned left back…there you go.
The US was staring adversity straight in the face going into the game last night. No one would have blamed the US for whatever type of game they played given the events of the past 48 hours, especially after putting themselves in a two-goal hole midway through the first half. But the Yanks fight to the whistle no matter how many goals they are down nor how many men they have on the field.
♦ The USMNT and Coach Bob Bradley play to win
Need proof? Bradley sent a clear message with his starting line-up. Eight of eleven starters, including iron man Tim Howard, carried over from Honduras. Only absent were Davies, Spector and Clark. The RB was most likely replaced by Cherundolo for performance while Feilhaber for Clark was an effort to control more possession at home.
More proof? After picking up an early yellow Jozy Altidore never left the pitch. Picking up a second would have led to a disqualification for the first WC match, but Bradley chose to remind Jozy of that (including telling him not to lift his shirt in celebration to reveal his “Davies” jersey) instead of replacing him. Bradley was rewarded for his choice as the youngster played a tremendous game.
Still not convinced? I’ll give you two final pieces of evidence. 1) Coach Bradley’s subs – offense, offense, offense. and 2) Late game hero Johnny Bornstein in his own words, “I don’t normally go up for corner kicks. Usually I stay back,but for that one, I was like, `I’m getting in there. This is a last-shot effort.’”
I think Bradley went convincingly for a win as a result being committed to win the region, out of respect for CONCACAF (and Honduras) and, if only a small motivation, Charlie Davies.