June 5, 2016
By Michael Lewis
Copa start can't get any worse
The host team goes down by two goals, a pair of scoreless draws, three goals in four games and too many empty seats.
Not exactly the best of starts for Copa America Centenario.
You can't rate a tournament on three only games, because if the opening two days has set the pace for the tournament, it will turn into an aggravating three weeks for many fans.
It has to get better because it can't get much worse.
It began with the United States going down to a 2-0 defeat to Colombia on Friday night.
It continued Saturday with an utterly dreadful and cynical nil-nil tie between Costa Rica and Paraguay as the upper deck in Orlando looked empty.
It hit a high point yesterday with the goal of the day in Peru's 1-0 win over Haiti before a sparse crowd in Seattle.
And the day finally concluded with yet another scoreless tie between Brazil, one of the tournament favorites, and Ecuador as disappointed fans whistled their displeasure with what was transpiring at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The result probably felt more like a win for the Ecuadorans, who entered the match with a 0-12-1 Copa record vs. the Brazilians.
And I'm not going to get into some of the crowd issues in this column, although high prices and the fact whether Copa was going to be held in the United States hasn't helped.
Hopefully, hopefully, there will be some goals and some actual results in Sunday's games.
The Mexicans, considered the home team by many fans and observers, is expected to add some excitement just by their presence. Hopefully, El Tri will do more than just showing up because the tournament desperately needs an infusion of energy and some positive news.
So, can it get any worse, can it?
Well, it could.
More low-scoring games and scoreless results (heaven forbid) certainly won't help.
And if the USA loses to Costa Rica in Chicago on Tuesday, the Americans will be on the brink of elimination from Group A. That certainly won't be a good thing for the team, its fans or the tournament.
Does anyone know a prayer to the soccer gods to get an international soccer tournament raised from the dead?