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The simulation gap

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It was probably just my imagination running away with me, but I thought last night the USMNT already looked more fluid and creative under Klinsmann than they did under Bradley. My favorite detail from this game involved the blown non-red card which wasn’t given in the 86th minute when Agudelo sprung Rogers on a breakaway. (BTW if I understand the rules of futbol correctly the ref doesn’t have the option of awarding a penalty kick in this situation, which seems unfortunate. Without the foul Rogers is on the keeper and surely has a better than even chance of scoring. A red card with five minutes left and a direct free kick from 25 yards seems like too small price to pay for avoiding that outcome).

Anyway the detail that appeals to me is how Rogers remembers a full second after he hits the ground that he’s supposed to have suffered some horrible injury from the foul, and then duly starts clutching his leg in agony. (You can see this at about 1:10 of the video, which complies with the international convention that all soccer highlight videos on Youtube must be accompanied by a crap music soundtrack).

This is clearly a developmental problem for US soccer, and it may help to have a former European superstar player as a coach, although it would be better if he were Italian (any Italian player in Rogers’ situation would be singing two arias from Aida before he hit the ground, and a little puff of smoke in the form of a mushroom cloud would rise from his body on impact).

. . . Daniel points out in comments that Klinsmann was a notorious dive artist in his day, so that’s another reason to be optimistic about the new era.

(A few months ago my brother was in Buenos Aires and he watched a father in a park spend quite a bit of time teaching his five-year-old how to dive)

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