As if you didn’t know, the World Cup starts today with Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo. I’ll have my complete USA preview for Monday, but today I’ll make my bold World Cup predictions:
The United States will tie Ghana and beat Portugal to finish behind Germany and advance to the knockout round. Unfortunately, it will be 2010 all over again, as the Yanks promptly lose to Eden Hazard and Belgium.
Argentina Vs. Uruguay and Germany Vs. Brazil: I am going CONMEBOL-heavy here, but Die Mannschaft, even without Reus, is good enough to crash the Latin party.
Argentina Vs. Brazil: An instant classic and first World Cup meeting between these two teams since 1990. Unfortunately, Brazil has a history of losing championships as host.
Argentina. Lionel Messi, despite rumors of where his heart belongs, is at home on South American soil. He delivers soccer brilliance to prove his doubters wrong.
Of course the last MLS game to catch my attention before the break was TPFC against Dallas. It was an expected result, if disappointing. Draw City drew again in stoppage time heroics, though they needed a two-man advantage and some questionable calls to do so. Dallas had taken a 2-nil lead deep into the 78th minute before Will Johnson buried his penalty kick. Recently signed Portland forward Fanendo Adi drew the penalty when Dallas’s Je-Vaughn Watson tackled him in the box. In extra time, Blas Perez was his annoying self and got sent off for roughing up the insufferable Pa Modou Kah. The Timbers didn’t need more help from the refs up two men, as Kah, annoyingly, delivered the winner.
What really has me tweaked is the prominence of Adi. My wife and I were leaving Century Link after the 1-nil win over San Jose and caught the tail end of the Portland-Columbus match at a local bar. It was Adi’s first game and those insufferable Timbers announcers were lauding the big Nigerian. He was single-handedly responsible for Portland’s result in that game and has gone on to tally four goals and two assists in his five games.
Before this season started I was confused by Caleb Porter’s dumping of Ryan Johnson. Many of Portland’s goals came off the target forward’s head, but Porter was fine running out a whole bunch of flashy converted flankers at forward. My secret fear was Eddie Johnson would sign with Portland (like T.O. to the Cowboys!). Eddie would’ve fit nicely into the Timbers’s attack, if not their locker room. But hey, Portland loves Will Johnson, so maybe the Providence Park locker room is welcoming to schmucks. That single personnel decision, dumping Ryan Johnson and not signing a replacement target forward, had Portland off to a terrible start. Porter’s boys had only ten points, and one win, through their first nine games. However, in the last five games, since signing a new big-bodied target forward, Adi, the club has gone 3-1-1. Portland has quadrupled their win total and nearly doubled their points. Things were easier when they just plain stunk.