US SoccerUS Soccer

Breaking Down the Cup - by Brandi Chastain

My Boy Roy

By Brandi Chastain - May 29, 2002

Okay, there is already controversy and the World Cup hasn't even started.  Roy Keane, my favorite player, as noted in the San Jose CyberRays media guide, is OUT!  I am absolutely crushed.  I have just watched an interview with Roy Keane...the country is pleading with him to meet Mick half way so as he can be reinstated on the team.  He is standing firm in his belief that, although he lost his temper, as the captain is should be afforded certain leniancy in making points to the manager.  I had never really heard him speak before and he came across incredibly calm and humble.  But that is for another time.

The Cup, as we know, only comes around every four years, and due to age, I am sure we will never again see Roy wear the green and white of Ireland again.  I am disappointed for him, his teammates, their country and the rest of the world who won't have the pleasure of watching him dart and dash, destroy and create poetry on the field, the way only he knows how.  Although I am a big believer in "team" chemistry, I am sure there could have been some way for Mick and Roy to figure this out so that he could remain.  No one will ever know how far Ireland could have advanced with the team of (Roy) Keane and (Robbie) Keane....a sad way to begin the Cup.

Onto other things …
France versus Senegal is going to be an incredibly interesting match.  Not because a France victory is in question, but because chemistry during a World Cup is of utmost importance.  Without (Robert) Pires and (Zinedine) Zidane playing in the first match, the continuity of the team will take long to build, and in the Cup, time is of the essence.  Now, people will quip that France is too deep for that to effect them, but I think it would be a mistake to overlook that aspect.  As far as Senegal, they are somewhat of an unknown commodity.  I don't know much about them, but what I know about African teams is that they are usually very athletic and very creative.  With that said, they will also battle for every ball.  Lastly, with this being the first match of the Cup, it could be too much for the Africans to handle.  France will dominate, with or without Zizou. 

The American men have a wonderful opportunity ahead of them.  They finally have a team that can compete with the elite.  This team has true strikers that not only have pace, but also possess creativity.  Landon and Clint will unbalance defenses and cause defenders to play at an uncomfortable pace.  Defense will be a major focal point because having to deal with Portugal’s Figo and Pinto will not be easy.  That leads to the most important decision of the tournament, who will start and play in goal?  I have gone over this in my mind many times, reviewed the last couple of games, and come to the conclusion that Kasey Keller is the man the USA needs in goal to win, and move onto the second round.