Let's start out with this: America.... if more than 10% of you can find Azerbaijan (no Googling) on a map... free beer for life. All of America.
Yeah I didn't think so.
So here were are playing a country that sounds a lot like where Dr. Evil planned to steal nuclear weapons. Perhaps it was some back room deal to get Berti Vogts out of his job as head coach of the "Milli" and on the bench of Jurgen Klinsmann's as his "hand"; a position as dangerous as the one on "Game of Thrones" (as Martin Vasquez found out).
This is our Send-Off series. First Azerbaijan, then Turkey in Harrison, New Jersey, and finishing our preparations against Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida. Then... Brazil.
All without Landon Donovan. It's weird to say that. For the better part of almost a decade and a half American soccer and Donovan were peanut butter and jelly. Perhaps often often with the crusts cut off, BUT THAT WAS THE WAY WE LIKED IT! It provided comfort, kept us fat and happy on moments like Algeria, and was a part of our formative years as a growing soccer nation.
And even though we still like PB&J, and we still want PB&J, we know deep down inside that at some point we've got to move on from PB&J. Even if it's too soon.
So here we are. Starring at a covered plate. Knowing not what's underneath it, but we know, sure as hell, that it's not PB&J.
"Bitter Americans" we are. Going through the 12 stages of grief right before the World Cup next month.
It's fitting then that the first send-off series is in San Francisco, home of 21st Amendment Brewery and their own "Bitter America" extra pale ale. We've previous recommend this brewery and since the City by the Bay is finally hosting a U.S. game again we've got no problem tapping these guys once more.
At 4.4% ABV this is no West Coast hop bomp, but a session beer perfect for drinking all-day (especially if you're on the other side of the country waiting for that late kick off), tailgating with American Outlaws, or slow-motion drowning of sorrows over the departure of Donovan.
21st Amendment calls "Bitter American" their "long overdue tribute to unsung, unwitting heroes everywhere".
If that's not Landon Donovan's career, and his often-maligned view in Americans fan's eyes, in a nutshell... I don't know what is.