Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Copa America Draw Tonight

CONMEBOL will be holding the 2007 Copa America draw tonight to figure out where six of the participating nations will be grouped and who they will face. CONMEBOL has already placed the following clubs into groups:

Group A:
- Venezuela
- Bolivia

Group B:
- Brazil
- Mexico

Group C:
- Argentina
- United States

Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay will find out which groups they will join at tonight’s draw.

Venezuela will open the tournament against Bolivia on June 26th. Brazil will face Mexico on June 27th and the USA will face Argentina on the 28th. The USSF was able to negotiate having the USMNT placed in Group C to ensure as much of a gap between the end of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the opening match in the Copa. The Gold Cup final is Sunday, June 24th in Chicago.

I like the idea of facing Argentina. Assuming that Argentina follows their normal procedure, they should be sending a squad that will rely heavily on U-23 players and fringe players who will need blooding for 2010 World Cup qualification. As I suggest that the USSF sends a squad made up of lesser experienced players to the Copa America, it will still give them a good experience.

I honestly think that the USSF and the USMNT program would get a lot more out of sending a less than veteran squad to the Copa America. In sending a group of guys like Jay DeMerit, Justin Mapp, Benny Feilhaber, Bobby Boswell, Marcus Hahnemann, Eddie Johnson, Jonathan Bornstein and such, we get to have them experience a hostile environment similar to how World Cup qualifying will have. If these guys are going to produce for us in Mexico City or Panama City then they need to be ready for how the fans will act. Remember the Nike commercial last spring? The one showing Santino sitting underneath the ceiling tiles that were bouncing with the fans? Yeah, that is what these guys need to experience, so that when they need to get 3 points from Panama or Costa Rica, in Panama City or San Jose, they will be prepared for the environment.

I am looking forward to both this and the Gold Cup. This should be a good summer of soccer. Anything better than last summer would be fine with me.

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