Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Beautiful Game... Sort Of.

United States vs. Japan
PacBell Park, San Francisco
February 10, 2006

Amazingly, this was the first time the U.S. National Soccer Team had played in San Francisco since February 1979 (a 4-1 loss to the SOVIET UNION!). I'm sure the tension in PacBell mirrored '79. The stadium was packed and felt like a powder keg of jingoistic animosity... Especially since I had to sit with a somewhat belligerent Filipino / Serbian contingent..... Despite Team U.S.A.'s 26-year absence from S.F., the crowd of over 37,000 seemed to favor the visiting side (Note: The people in blue are fans of Japan).

The Japanese starting lineup of Ghidorah, Rodan, Guiron, Hedorah (aka The Smog Monster), Megalon, Johnny Sokko (with his Flying Robot on the bench), Gamera, Ultraman, Gigan, Mothra, and Godzilla in goal was damn impressive.. However, I'm sure the recent death of Mr. Miyagi still weighs heavily on the team.

Japan seemed even more intimidating since the U.S. players were alot smaller in person than they look on television.

I half expected our boys to point at the opposing team in unison and scream all girly-like "Aiii!! GODZIRRA!" and run back to the locker room. BUT THEY DIDN'T! Usa, usa, usa (pronounced "yoo-sa" for you non-Engrish speakers)!

On another note, Umlaut thinks he knows why U.S. Soccer isn't more widely popular in this land.. It's because of the unbelievably LAME official team anthem!!

I'm afraid the song is NOT sung to the tune of Motley Crue's 'Girls, Girls, Girls'.. The "anthem" is the type of song a 5-year old AYSO player would merrily sing along to, but compared to England's anthem 'The Great Escape' it makes Americans look and sound like pussies. DAMMIT U.S. SOCCER!! At least adopt an All-American fight song like 'Clenched Fists, Black Eyes' by 7 Seconds:

"Clenched fists, black eyes.
We're aiming for a different goal,
Succeeding where the hippies failed.."

Stop with the cutesy pop crap and challenge the rest of the world to GET IN THE PIT!! Man, the Japanese Football Association (JFA) is way more Punk Rock than the U.S. Soccer Federation.

JFA Japan vs. JFA Skater

Speaking of music, it never ceases to amaze Umlaut how The Rock Godz look after their disciples. Out in the concourse during halftime, amidst the crowd of almost 40,000, I unexpectedly ran into Umlaut friend Ted and had a conversation about Boris. Lock 'N Loll!

After a bit of a slow start, the Americans took it to The Rising Sun and delivered a 3-2 victory. Usa, usa, usa (again, pronounced "yoo-sa" for you non-Engrish speakers)! The standout player for Team U.S.A. was Taylor Twellman who scored a goal and had 2 assists, but whose name probably has the same ring as the U.S. Team Anthem to international ears.

However, the U.S. may have won the battle, but Japan won the war. As the stadium emptied, a group of fanatical Japanese fans climbed atop the sacred Willie Mays statue in front of PacBell and gave America payback for raising the Stars & Stripes on Mount Surabachi back in '45.

"Goals, goals, goals.. for the U.S.A..."

Only 4 months until the 2006 World Cup! In the meantime, you should read Soccer In Sun And Shadow by Eduardo Galeano immediately.

For the record: Umlaut is a traitor and supports England.

ADDED 2/13/06:

Umlaut's Old Metal friend and former Matrix extra Brad sent the following from the Czech Republic:

Dear Umlaut,

I found your description of this exhibition soccer match to be quite one-sided. While you go to great lengths to mention all the scary monsters playing for Japan, you made little mention of which American heroes were playing. For example, did Steve Austin score with one of his trademark bionic free kicks? Did Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four or Spiderman get the start in goal for the U.S.? Did Rambo or Superman play? And last, but not least, did that spoiled, MLS pussy Landon Donovan make a token appearance? Best regards, and remember, if the President does it, that means it's not illegal.

Thanks for keeping me honest, my brutha. Wish I could be having pints with you in Prague on June 12th watching the U.S. vs. Czech World Cup match.

Umlaut must also apologize to Miatomic for biting her 7 Seconds reference in the above piece... We Asians can be like that: SNEAKY..... BUT we can also ROCK:

Takeshi of BORIS - The Loft, Tokyo - Feb. 4, 2006
(Pic by Lori Acid King)