June 12: World Cup fever

I know, I know - it’s downright lazy to assume all American sports fans don’t really care about soccer or the World Cup. But just to be sure, name three players on Team USA’s World Cup roster without using Google.

Can’t? Don’t worry. While most of the world has their eyes fixed on the largest sporting event on the planet, I bet fans here in Philly will be devoting most of their data plan usage over the next three weeks to the latest happenings in Eagles training camp. “France just lost to Germany? Who cares… I want to know how Murderleg looked in practice!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be watching next Monday when Team USA takes on Ghana. But tuning in feels more like a patriotic duty rather than a voluntary act of enjoyment. I guess in that way, it’s sort-of like watching Phillies games, minus the self-loathing and masochism.

It’d almost be a shame if somehow Team USA defied the odds (currently 100-to-1) and managed to win their first World Cup tournament. When you see how devoted fans across the planet are to their teams (and the sport itself), imagine the global ire that would be thrown our way over the giant “meh” that would great the U.S. soccer team back home if they won it all. They’d be better off celebrating their victory in Brazil.

Still, of all the years for Philly fans to latch on to the World Cup, 2014 might be the best. After all, anything that can help everyone ignore the Phillies’ dreadful season for a couple of weeks is worth its weight in vuvuzelas.

Just don’t expect any soccer trickle-down effect to benefit the Union, who might actually be less enjoyable to watch this season than the Phillies. The team just fired manager John Hackworth, who led the Union to just three wins in their first 16 matches, and a home record of just 1-2-4 (7 pts. out of a possible 21).

Sigh. So how did Jordan Matthews look in practice again?

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