Seattle Sounders FC

Independence Day by Ian Hameroff

You remember that Will Smith movie from a long time back? You know, the one where he punched an alien and uttered the witty line "Welcome to earth"?


Now, do you remember that scene when those pesky invading aliens floated their giant spacecraft over the US capitol, fired a powerful death ray of some sorts and destroyed the White House?


That's exactly how I felt after the USA lost that heartbreaking match against the Red Devils a few days ago.

If I carry this silly analogy forward, does that mean Tim Howard was playing a version of Will Smith's character, Captain Steven Hiller?

Granted, Timmy wasn't able to "blow up" the Belgium mothership at the end of the match nor did he have the chance to deliver any witty lines. He did, however, keep the USA alive in that unforgiving onslaught of Belgium shots at goals, saving a record 16 in all.

Now, who would be his Jeff Goldblum sidekick?

Would it be Geoff Cameron?

Geoff vs. Jeff: Separated at birth?

Geoff vs. Jeff: Separated at birth?


Okay, never mind.

To make a long story, short: I was really bummed by the exit the US made, especially when we had a few (albeit a small few) chances to score our own goals and we missed the opportunity.

Case in point, Wondo's missed "golden goal" attempt in stoppage time:

Not "Wondo-ful": Biggest miss in USMNT World Cup history?

Not "Wondo-ful": Biggest miss in USMNT World Cup history?

Well, at this point I'm over my mourning period as I need to get ready to support my ass off for my beloved (and MLS table toppers) Seattle Sounders FC, as they attempt to go for the domestic treble of U.S. Open Cup, Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup.

Oh, and thanks to my dual-soccer-citizenship, I have the honor and luxury of still having a horse in this race with Brazil.

Well, the horns are a blowing and (I'm sure) the streets will be alive over the next several hours as the city of São Paulo prepares for the big match in a few hours time.

Brasil flag all lit up!

Brasil flag all lit up!

Vai Brasil! And, GO USA (in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup)!

We Made It! by Ian Hameroff

Well, we did it!

São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport

São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport

It only took about 24 hours of travel hustle and bustle, but we made it to São Paulo!

Our journey wasn't all airline food and air turbulence, we also had the opportunity to watch the tail end of the USA vs. Nigeria match from the airline lounge during our layover, and even checked in on the Sounders slugfest with the Chicago Fire before we had to switch off our electronics to depart on the 10 hour slog down to GRU.

Sadly, the longest part of the 24 hours may have been the nearly one hour spent on the tarmac waiting for somebody to let us park at a gate after we landed.

As with other visits to Brazil, we gathered our seemingly hundreds of suitcases (okay, it was just 5 checked bags this time), made a quick pit stop at the duty free before being welcomed by our patiently awaiting family in the arrivals area. Bags were loaded into cars and we headed to the city for some brunch and a power nap.

Luckily on the drive from the airport, I was able to grab a quick picture of some dude dressed up as Spider-Man who "worked" an intersection in the city.

São Paulo Spider-Man

São Paulo Spider-Man

He immediately stepped out into the roadway when the traffic light turned red, waved a whole bunch at the stopped cars and (I guess) waited for a small cash donation. Not surprising, his "Spidey-sense" failed him, as no one appeared interested in playing along.

Anyhow, the city of São Paulo is in full World Cup fever mode.

It was interesting to see the newly installed bi-lingual road signs complete with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals look and feel. And, you could clearly see that there was way more security on the stretch of road just outside of the airport. Maura believes that this was mostly due to the fact that one of the teams is staying near the airport to train at a nearby facility. According to the "Internets", that might be Team Iran.

The streets in and around our base of operations in São Paulo were fully decorated with TONS of Brazilian gear.

World Cup Fever starts to show its colors in the streets of São Paulo

World Cup Fever starts to show its colors in the streets of São Paulo

I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, as I cannot wait to experience the WCF (a/k/a "World Cup Fever") on Thursday when the host nation kicks this sucker off with the opening match against Croatia here in São Paulo.

Between now and then, I've got to unpack, put in a few full days in the (remote) office and get my USA and Brazil gear readied for the next 30+ days of the world's game.

In the meantime, it's time to crush this jet lag and get some rest before I...ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

Boa viagem para o Brasil! by Ian Hameroff

It's truly hard to believe it, but the day has finally arrived!

After marking our calendars years in advanced.

After planning and securing travel arrangements.

After early morning attempts to grab tickets via the mad dash lottery.

After cramming everything possible into a handful of suitcases.

After finally getting match tickets for the U.S. Men's National Team's group stage campaign.

After weeks of hard work to get things buttoned up at the office.

After cramming even more stuff into suitcases.

After selecting just the right gear to represent the U.S.A. and Brasil.

And, after trying to teach Maura all of the American Outlaws chants.

After all of that, we are finally heading to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals!

The "Stars and Stripes" and "Seleção Brasileira" shirts are ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals

The "Stars and Stripes" and "Seleção Brasileira" shirts are ready for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals

We are off on a crazy, once in a life adventure to witness the world's game on its biggest stage. To share with my wife and her family the national passion and pride that comes with hosting the finals on their own soil for the first time in 64 years. To have the opportunity to watch what I've only witnessed on T.V., a World Cup match, in person. To (hopefully) support the Yanks through to the knockout stage and to celebrate with millions of Brasileiros as their (our) Seleção, their Canarinhos open the 30 days of football championship battles to win the prize of joining the small fraternity of eight nations that have won the coveted trophy in this nearly 85 years old tournament.

The long and the short of it: it's going to be f-ing amazing!

I hope to share the experience through pictures and blog posts, and I do hope you'll tag along. Maybe you'll even lose your voice screaming at the T.V. like I plan to at a match, after our own Seattle Sounders FC Clint "Captain American" Dempsey puts one between the pipes for a game winning goal. (NOTE: I'd be happy if any of the 23 USMNT have this opportunity...I'm not picky).

Wish us luck and boa viagem!