U.S. Soccer just hit a huge high with the boost of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and promptly followed that with the brutal low of Charlie Davies’ car crash. A fractured tibia and femur along with a laundry list of other injuries will almost certainly keep Davies from returning for the World Cup, but USMNT fans should just be hoping that he plays soccer again. These are the kinds of injuries that can end careers, but my gut tells me we’ll see Chuck D in the red, white, and blue again… just not in the summer of 2010.
To literally add insult to his injuries, Davies wasn’t exactly commuting to the training pitch when the accident happened. He was apparently out late drinking with University of Maryland students in the D.C. area when the crash took place, and no we was not driving. Although we tend to hear about this type of behavior getting other national team’s players in trouble (Czech Republic & Scotland, 2009), Bob Bradley’s boys haven’t had previous trouble with late night partying. So as a fan I’m just taking this situation as an outlier and wishing a talented young forward a speedy recovery.
As the Yanks move forward they’re “We made the World Cup!” honeymoon period is obviously over now, and it’s time to get back to business, albeit with one less starting striker. Tonight’s game in D.C. against Costa Rica is an opportunity to do a couple things. The U.S. will have a chance to right the ship as far as goals conceded goes, and that involves everyone from the midfield to the back four and on to the keeper. Tim Howard is one of the best in the world at stopping free kicks, but Honduras put one in on Saturday night. On the flip side, Landon Donovan did the same and reminded all of us just how much quality he has.
Bob Bradley will also have to tinker with the striker combination up top. Davies and Altidore were developing a great speedy partnership up front, and as a fan you could almost see the chemistry developing. Davies was also developing a great report with Donovan, but the U.S. will have to get used to life without a player who was fast becoming a lynchpin of the attack (especially on the counterattack).
I like Brian Ching. He’s the hardest working man in soccer and he wins our Yanks Are Coming Brian Ching Award year in and year out (given to the hardest working man in soccer). But with Ching up front with Altidore the team’s attack changes. New types of attacking options open up, but much of the Davies/Altidore buildup won’t be available. Ching does have experience and has proven that he can do it on the international level. If I’m Bob Bradley I give Chinger the start tonight against Costa Rica, but if I don’t like what I see we may be looking at a sort of modified 4-5-1 formation going forward.
So enjoy the game, pray for Charlie Davies’ surgeries to go well, and continue to take solace in the fact that no matter what the result is tonight, the Yanks ARE coming!