Thanks Si. I'm not referring to just the size and speed. I'm trying to get across the point that this generation has learned the technical skills, but they also have size and speed. For my example, I was referring to a kid who was raised by a national team player who had/has amazing technical ability. I didn't have amazing technical ability, but I could do things with the ball that many kids couldn't. I could play with either foot. I could pass with accuracy on crosses. I could finish. I could bend it and swerve it without difficulty. I could play in the air. I was significantly better than the majority of kids I played with. I was also much bigger and much stronger. My freshman year I was 5'6" and about 150 pounds. I was a little bowling ball, but I had the skills. Then my sophomore year I was 6'1" and about 190. This made a serious difference of course, because I had developed technical abilities as a little small and squat kid, but then sprouted up and had a ridiculous advantage over a lot of guys because I was not just a good technical player, but added the size and speed advantages, plus I was obviously still ambidextrous. BUT.... I was nowhere near many of the kids I see in the youth system now. I wouldn't even be a blip on the radar, but I was a letterman as a freshman and coming from Seattle to the mountains I was significantly more ingrained in soccer culture and how to play.
As for the Italy game.... I stand by the fact that the B team is better than that team in 1990. You can disagree... but I think Nick Rimando is vastly superior to Tony Meola. Kyle Beckerman would have been a nice addition to that team. Landon Donovan is included in the B team as of right now (I'm speaking of the Gold Cup team) and Donovan is better at this age than Wynalda was at any age in my view.
Lalas was a better player than any defender on the B team and Balboa was as well. And the bicycle kick I believe was Marcello off of the crossbar.
Now.... as far as that tournament. Yeah.... they sucked. But the organization of US Soccer at that place was a joke. They had no concept of what was really going on. Even qualifying was spectacular. None of us even dreamed of it as we watched the final in Mexico. But it happened. The expectation against Italy was 5-0. That was what everybody around me said, that is what people on Usenet were predicting. The fact that the US didn't have chances wasn't a surprise. They wanted to weather the onslaught and create an opportunity. They had the opportunity to win. Saying it wasn't close is a bit of a stretch in a 1-0 game that was 3 inches away from being 1-1. That to me means you played pretty even. If you lose 7-0 in an NFL game and you drop a bomb in the endzone in the 4th quarter, then I'd say it was a close game and that you almost won, whether or not the stats showed the other team marching up and down the field. You did enough to win. The US did enough to win that game in my view, and by all rights they had as much business even playing that game as Cameroon did against Argentina.
My friend from Argentina still claims that Cameroon spent the whole game kicking Maradona in his shin splint and broke his tibia lengthwise and he had "seen proof". Delusional! That game will live with me forever.
I think you are right on the technical aspect and its importance. The shot by Altidore on the free kick (wicked) is just one shot, but it is one that nobody on that 1990 team (except for maybe Ramos) could have put home in such a fashion. Things are getting better. I appreciate so much the dedication you have and your willingness to coach and help kids in the youth system improve and love the game. From the inside it's not always easy to see growth, because we see the deficiencies. Now that I have left and am strictly an outside observer (and do NOTHING... no scouting, no recommendations, no giving tips to coaches and schools on players).
I am totally 100% an observer. And I see tremendous growth. Are we where we want to be? No. Are we on the right track? Way more so than 25 years ago. The team that qualified for 1990 was very strange. They basically showed up and played together only during their games, and TRIED to get a few practices in. None of them really knew each other. Thank goodness for Tab Ramos for being such an amazing leader. But they were flying in from everywhere and really had no support compared to now. Things are changing for the positive. It's not happening fast enough, but it is happening. When we now have guys that are 6' and 200 with technical ability is encouraging, because they are much better options than the likes of Mike Burns, Frank Clopas, Ernie Stewart, Cobi Jones, etc. Those guys were good and did what they did very well, but the strength and speed and such is important as a step to putting our best athletes on the field.