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Toxic Talk: Spring of Our Discontent Edition

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Welcome to Toxic Talk, where our resident hater tells you what sucks about soccer this week.

Portugal vs USA - International Friendly Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

It’s spring time. The snow is melting. There’s a lot of soccer on the tv. The USWNT just won SheBelieves Cup, and the USMNT, despite the obvious disappointment that will be the entirety of 2018, released an exciting roster full of young talent, both faces we’ve seen before and newbies ready to take their shot with the USMNT, even (gasp!) young prospects that play right and left back. Things are looking up.

Which sucks for you, the dedicated U.S. Soccer fan, because we loooove being pissed off. And to that end, not to worry! I am here to provide the roadmap for you to be disappointed with soccer throughout the rest of March.

First of all, there’s the obvious, Route 1 highway to being an upset soccer fan:

Ahhhh yeah, hook it up to my veins. Americans finding out they didn’t have a God-given right to qualifying for the World Cup final has kind of been similar to them finding out the rest of the world wasn’t super cool with Imperialism. The whining has been tremendous, and I expect it will only continue.

However, maybe that doesn’t work for you. Maybe your still finding a little bit of optimism creeping into your disposition on a day to day basis. A little “positive, attacking” mental patterns. Tiki-taka of the neurons, if you will. Have no fear: here’s a completely possible lineup for USMNT vs. Paraguay that will give you the vapors.

I would have even more ammo if Tim Ream of Wheat got a call-up, but alas. We have no less than 2, count em, 2 players that were on the field in Trinidad when the U.S. bombed out of the World Cup. We’ve got a right back pushing 30 that currently isn’t making the 18 for his Championship side. We’ve got a holding mid that has been the Next Big Thing in MLS™ for the past half-decade that still can’t break into the regular senior team, his heir apparent who just got played off the field by Chivas, who have been doing their best Chivas USA impression as of late, a slumping Bundesliga striker, a European wash-out next to him, a benched keeper, and Tyler Adams on the wing FOR GOOD MEASURE.

I’m not saying it’s easy work being angry about a lineup you can create from this roster, but let the record show it is very possible.

And if you’re still not upset about everything, I don’t know, guy. Get angry about Pulisic not being here. Throwing Pulisic at the problem usually works.

Boiling Points

  • Stop What You’re Doing For 12 Seconds for this -

Dumb. That’s just dumb.

  • A Child and his 70,000 Best Friends -

Andrew Carleton got a chance to play MLS ball in Mercedes Benz Stadium for the first time, and he promptly marked the occasion with his first MLS assist.

Carleton also got a call up the U20 USMNT, in addition to Josh Sargent and a whole bunch of other favorites from last cycle’s U-17s. Cool cool beans. This was also the capping goal for Josef Martinez’s fourth MLS career hat trick, putting him one off the MLS record in his second season.

  • Passing the Baton -

It was difficult not to feel something special happen in Ousmane Dembele’s goal against Chelsea to help send Barcelona through to the final eight in the Champions League. Lionel Messi’s run, pause, and pass to send him free. The thundering finish. It was a special moment for a Barcelona team with a La Liga record in their sights.

All in all, there’s some serious good vibes around Camp Nou right now.

  • Not Going Quietly -

Real Madrid is 15 points behind Barca in the league, but don’t tell Cristiano Ronaldo that. One day we’ll all remember what it was like to see Ronaldo and Messi play at the same time.

  • Wait, there are other Spanish teams? -

I’m KIDDING. Here’s a goal that’s smooth like a fine, fine wine from Antoine Griezmann.

  • The Week in Clint Dempsey -

Deuce coupled the disappointment with being bounced from CONCACAF Champions League with a red card received by delivering a solid “DON’T TREAD” to Jacori Hayes’ nether regions. The WWE commentary of the play would go something like “AND THAT’S A DEUCE STRAIGHT TO THE PAIR.”

(Ok, maybe it was an elbow to the gut. Tomato potato)