Fernando Fiore: It’s A Great Time For U.S. Soccer

Tuesday was a tough day for Fernando Fiore, for his past and present collided in the Copa America semifinals.

“It was very emotional for me today,” Fiore said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I was born in Argentina and I came to the U.S. when I was 20 years old. My family was already living in Hoboken, New Jersey, and for me, it was great to be able to adapt to my new life even though I didn’t speak one word in English and I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.”

Eventually, Fiore, 55, became a television personality and is now a Fox Sports soccer analyst.

“Today for me was difficult because it was my country, Argentina, against my second country and my home, (the) USA,” Fiore said. “Sometimes your heart gets divided in two. I was really hoping Argentina would win, but I really also (want) the U.S. to do well in the third-place (game) and be in the top four on the whole continent. I think it’s a great time for U.S. soccer.”

A great time, maybe, but not a great night. Argentina destroyed the U.S. on Tuesday, 4-0. The Americans gave up a goal in the third minute and then watched helplessly as Lionel Messi, the best player in the world, scored one of the prettiest free-kick goals you’ll ever see, sending a blistering shot to the top corner of the net that snuck past the outstretched arm of U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 32nd minute.

Messi, who turns 29 on Friday, became Argentina’s all-time leading scorer with that goal, the 55th of his career. Argentina tacked on two more goals in the second half to complete the drubbing.

Messi and friends will face the winner of Chile versus Colombia in the Copa America final, with the U.S. getting the loser in the third-place game.

“It’s better to be third than fourth,” Fiore said. “I want the U.S. to get a third place.”

Fiore has gained quite a following at Fox, especially since he is both informational and outlandish in his analysis. He brings a certain passion to the booth.

Fiore, though, thinks all of the analysts do.

“Many people are saying we’re bringing a different kind of atmosphere, a different kind of approach, a different kind of passion to the pregame, halftime and postgame,” he said. “It’s a good compliment. I admire my colleagues. I think that Rob (Stone) and Alexi (Lalas) and Stu (Holden) and (Eric) Wynalda and Aly Wagner, they’re great partners and they bring something different. I don’t want to be them. They don’t want to be me. They are analysts, I’m more of a fan, and it works. It works.”

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