Live From Kaiserslautern


I've got a couple of live reports from fans who were in Kaiserslautern for the USA/Italy World Cup match yesterday. First, at The Third Leaf, is this photo essay-ish look at the atmosphere surrounding the game. To say that it looks like a hell of a lot of fun would be an understatement.

I'll let a random USA fan we meet after the game describe how it went: "I was teary-eyed for the national anthem. I got teary-eyed when we scored. And I was tearing up when the players did their victory lap. We showed up. We played like the USA. I'm so proud."

And I also got a report from our man Kristopher Nordstrom, who gives the Roger Ebert treatment to various aspects of the area and the game.

Thumbs down: To disgraced Uruguayan referees who flash more red than this baboon. The straight-red for Mastro and Pope's second yellow were disgraceful decisions. If George Bush has an ounce of dignity, Uruguay becomes our 51st state tomorrow.

Thumbs up: To US soccer fans who threw stuff at the linesman in the second half. This guy had been hosing us all game. I'm glad he wasn't hit, but it might make refs think twice the next time they want to try and screw us over for 90 minutes. Refs fear fans from other countries. It's time they start to fear us, too.

Kristopher's full report is after the jump, and I can't thank him enough for it.

Time to hand out some awards. Hopefully I won't be sent off for my efforts.

Thumbs up: German drivers. Yes, they're flying, but they use their turn signals and move to the right hand lane to let others pass. At all times the left lane moves faster than the middle lane which moves faster than the right lane. All Americans could learn from their driving, but I want to single out Northern Virginians for special condemnation. For some reason, on the stretch of I-95 from Richmond to DC, EVERYBODY feels that they should be in the left lane at all times. Drives me insane.

Thumbs up: The pre-game atmosphere in Kaiserslautern is the best I have witnessed so far. They've got two Fan Fest sites, and something called the World Cup Mile - a pedestrian-only street filled with vendors and restaurants. All of this is within easy walking distance to the stadium, so it was absolutely mobbed with people.

Thumbs down: Italian respect for a line. It was crowded. There were lines for beer. This didn't seem to bother the Italians though, who instead just tried to cut in front of everybody. If I had a nickel for every time I had to say, "hey, the line starts back there you greasy fuck"...

Thumbs down: German kids with Confederate flags.

Thumbs down: Italian-American kids in US gear who joined in singing Italian songs with the Italian fans. They've got enough fans to make noise themselves, while our fans couldn't get a real song together to save their lives. And don't give me any of this, "but Italy is my second team" bullshit.

Thumbs down: My inability to find Drew Carey anywhere. My only celebrity sightings yesterday were Mia Hamm, and Zack Phillips. I can't wait to tell my grandkids...

Thumbs up: The incredibly hot Mexican TV correspondent in incredibly tight white pants. Julie Foudy is pig vomit compared to the tanned goddess working for the Mexicans. Why was I looking for Drew Carey again?

Thumbs down: The lack of concessions for the upper decks at Kaiserlautern's stadium. >From the fifth floor, the closest beer was on the ground level. It took forever, but my glutes are looking firm.

Thumbs up: To Bruce Arena for starting Clint Dempsey. My opinion of Dempsey goes up every time I see him play.

Thumbs down: To the US fans who sold their tickets to Italians. I'm sick of other fans in our section. At least some of them last night realized that they should be quiet. But their mere presence angers me.

Thumbs down: Italian players. The Hoff is to Germany as Greg Louganis is to Italy.

Thumbs down: To disgraced Uruguayan referees who flash more red than this baboon. The straight-red for Mastro and Pope's second yellow were disgraceful decisions. If George Bush has an ounce of dignity, Uruguay becomes our 51st state tomorrow.

Thumbs up: To US soccer fans who threw stuff at the linesman in the second half. This guy had been hosing us all game. I'm glad he wasn't hit, but it might make refs think twice the next time they want to try and screw us over for 90 minutes. Refs fear fans from other countries. It's time they start to fear us, too.

Thumbs down: To US soccer fans who are unable/unwilling to expand their repertoire of cheers. US fans have four cheers they use:

1. USA! USA! USA!
2. clap clap clap-clap-clap clap-clap-clap-clap US
3. humming some song that I can't think of the title of, followed by shouting USA
4. Kasey Keller clap clap clap-clap-clap

I tried to get a few going last night after the game including "You only win when you pay the referee" (to the tune of "Yellow Submarine") and a chant of "Iraq no, Uruguay yes" but most people just looked at me funny. They've got their four cheers and they're sticking to them, dammit. (An aside to all Sammers: if we're going to only have four cheers, we need to choose one to use for every corner kick, and one to use every time we score a goal)

Thumbs down: To Bruce Arena for failing to put in fresh legs (Eddie Johnson, anyone?) late in the game when it was obvious that some of our guys were exhausted

Thumbs up: To Kasey Keller, Steve Cherundolo, Aguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra, Pablo Mastroeni, Clint Dempsey, Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey, Brian McBride, Jimmy Conrad, and Demarcus Beasley for putting together one of the most inspiring games I've ever seen the US play. These guys showed incredible heart, and hopefully put to rest the US media's over-reactionary response to the Czech game. No matter what happens in Nuremburg on the 22nd, they've done us proud.