Saturday's 1-0 win over Paraguay, coupled with Costa Rica's 3-2 upset against Colombia, means the United States Men's National Team has not only managed to get out of their group at Copa America Centenario, but they won it. Yes, there are flaws within US Soccer, some would say many flaws, but for right now, you can be happy.
Coming in to the tournament there was a section of USA fans hoping for the worst, hoping THEIR team would be embarrassed on home soil. Why? So Jurgen Klinsmann would be fired. That was really a thing. Now, I didn't personally think the US would get out of this group. I didn't think they could compete with Colombia and I thought Costa Rica would also prove to much for them. But they did it. They won Group A at Copa America Centenario and Jurgen, he's not going anywhere for a while.
Now, I know what you're saying: Colombia wiped the floor with them! They beat a CONCACAF team from a nation with a population slightly less than Wisconsin. They clung to the narrowest of victories against Paraguay. Yes, all of this is true. Is this team perfect? World-beaters if you will? No way, not even close. As a US fan you know that. But you know what? You don't have to dwell on that right now. You can be happy.
In this day in age of being a sports fan, so often it's a doomsday scenario. Fans are on edge just waiting for the next shoe to drop. The Golden State Warriors just had the greatest regular season in NBA history and are about to win a second straight NBA title. But go take a look on Twitter or Facebook and you could probably find fans of theirs who are still not happy. It's just the sports world we live in. There are fans who who live from the thrill of victory, and there are fans that wallow in defeat. Perhaps no fans live this doomsday mindset quite like US Soccer fans. Even when we succeed it's always with a "sure, but" caveat. "We're not good enough, well not good enough for that team, definitely not good enough for Germany!" The coaching, the players, MLS, it's all criticized to no end. Let it go for a few days.
Did the United States of America turn heads and become the world's newest soccer darlings after these three matches? Nope. Did these 270 minutes make them legitimate favorites for going all the way? Probably not. What it did do however, was give us something to be very excited about this week. Thursday night, the US will take the field in Seattle in front of 67,000 fans. If they win that game, likely against Ecuador or Peru, hold on to your seats. Winning in Seattle would put the United States in to the semifinals in Houston, in front of 72,000 fans, likely against Lionel Messi and Argentina. You didn't see that coming, did you?
So, here we are. The United States are winners of Group A. Enjoy it a little. Wear your jersey proudly. I wouldn't recommend wearing your scarf around town since it's 90 degrees in a lot of the country but, display it proudly. Just, live in the moment. You'll have plenty of time to yell at Gyasi Zardes and call for Klinsmann's firing once the tournament ends.