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Nowak Criticisms Unwarranted

Coach Peter Nowak has been widely criticized for the way the US U-23s have played so far in Olympic qualifying. A poor 1-1 draw with Cuba was followed by a decent 1-0 victory over Panama. Resting several starters, Nowak's men were lucky to beat Honduras, 1-0, on a 95th-minute penalty. Nevertheless, the U-23s are now just one victory against Canada away from making it to Beijing.

Though the USA may not look like world-beaters at the moment, USSoccerPlayers' Graig Carbino reminds us that Nowak's goal was simply to qualify, not necessarily with style. He knew that having missed the previous Olympics, the USA had to make it to Beijing, because the Olympics are as much an opportunity for U.S. Soccer as the World Cup. As Carbino says, "Soccer may not be on every American's radar like some of us would like, but when it comes to the Olympics we will watch just about anything if the jersey says USA."

Most Americans won't see or hear about the CONCACAF qualifying process, but they will know if the U.S. fails to qualify. And Nowak, understanding that he hasn't had time to nurture his players, has been effective at least in achieving that aim. Soccer, after all, is the business of results; so far, Nowak has those.

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