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Saturday, June 17, 2006

U.S. still alive in World Cup -- but barely

The U.S. national soccer team played Italy to a 1-1 tie Saturday, giving it hope in the World Cup.

So what if the tying score was an own-goal by an Italian defender. The Americans showed they could keep up with a traditional world soccer powerhouse -- despite an overactive referee. And, thanks to Ghana's 2-0 defeat of the No. 2-ranked Czech Republic, the U.S. squad is still in contention in Group E.

A big problem for the Americans will be how coach Bruce Arena compensates for the loss of Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope, two of the team's best players who received red cards in the match (there were three total given by the ref) and will miss Thursday's match against Ghana's scrappy team.

The U.S. showed it could rebound from the loss against the Czechs, so they should have a good plan in place against Ghana. One part of this plan should be to try scoring a few goals -- the one they scored Saturday against Italy was disallowed (one of a few good calls by the ref). If they don't, it will be "auf wieder sehen" for the Americans.


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