Chris Tierney is a midfielder for the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. He'll contribute expert opinion and analysis to Corner Kicks throughout the World Cup.
After what seemed like a slow start, it was great to see the World Cup come to life as the group stage ended and knockout rounds began. Goals are flying in, the games are opening up, and the stars are starting to shine. Here are some observations from play thus far:
The emergence of the USA...
Not only did the United States win Group C ahead of heavy favorites England, but they played arguably the most exciting brand of soccer of any team in the tournament. They might not have the passing ability of a Spain or Brazil, or the star power of a Portugal, but they threw caution to the wind and went for wins. Many of the US players had tournaments that will be remembered.
They proved themselves to be impact players at the highest level of international soccer. Was there a better goalkeeper in the tournament than Tim Howard? I think not.
For me, the standout player for the Americans was not a player many would have picked before the tournament. He tackles, he keeps possession, he gets forward from midfield, and he scores goals. I'm referring to none other than coach Bob Bradley's son, Michael Bradley. I would not be surprised to see him playing for a big European club in the very near future.
South American standouts
You can't help but notice that South American teams have been very successful thus far in the tournament. Why? They are good technically, well organized, and can pass the ball around the pitch for days. Don't be surprised to see the likes of Chile, Uruguay and
Paraguay go deep into the tournament.
FIFA can't seem to get it right
I can't for the life of me understand why FIFA president Sepp Blatter is so reluctant to install some form of replay technology. It doesn't have to be for offsides, or fouls, or ejections (yet), but it would be perfectly reasonable to give the referee the authority to go to replay to see if the ball has crossed the goal line. The stakes are so high at the world cup level, it would be a shame if games were decided by human error.
I would love to hear what Blatter would have to say if the World Cup final is decided by a call that could be easily reviewed.
The New England Revolution play at Real Salt Lake on Friday at 10 p.m. Catch the game on CSN.
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