U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. England: Running Commentary


Good afternoon folks. The moment has arrived. USA vs. England. Can England exact revenge for the 1950 World Cup and the Revolutionary War?  Can the Americans finally get payback for England subjecting us to Simon Cowell?

I’m kidding.

Today’s friendly will be a good test for both sides (despite what more cynical American fans and egotistical English fans might think). Landon Donovan will not play today, but there is still plenty to look forward to. How will the Americans do in a packed Wembley Stadium? We are about to find out.

I will do a running commentary throughout the match so feel free to follow along here. Please share your thoughts and opinions on the match in the comments section below.

Let’s get it started:


FINAL- That’s all for today. Thanks for following the match here and be sure to check back in tomorrow for some post-match analysis.


FINAL- England 2, USA 0. The AMericans were outclassed today and even if Landon Donovan had played I don’t think it would have mattered that much. He might have helped the U.S. team create some more good chances, but the overall quality of England’s starting XI was clear throughout the first half.


93rd minute- When you consider that the first goal came off a set piece and the second courtesy of a blown assignment in midfield.


90th minute- England has dominated play as most expected, but I have to say the U.S. defense didn’t do terribly today.


89th minute- Anytime Peter Crouch sets up for a bicycle kick you have to just watch in amazement. It’s like a National Geographic episode.


86th minute- Random question, do you think John Terry would go completely psycho if an American player brought up the missed PK?


81st minute- Some very nice work from Eddie Lewis, who is making it clear that he can still contribute at his age. He deserves his chances when World Cup qualifying roles around.


73rd minute- It’s impressive to watch England’s players break out on the counter. You really see the speed disparity between the teams.

England’s just knocking it around now.


71st minute- Pearce with the yellow card for the foul on Bently. I thought Pearce had a pretty good first half actually.


69th minute- Freddy Adu comes into the match. It will be interesting to see what he can do.

Also in the match now is Peter Crouch, which may make that the biggest disparity in size between two subs coming into the same match at the same time. (Someone call Guinness).


63rd minute- As most expected, the American attack has been toothless without Landon Donovan and with Eddie Johnson and Josh Wolff. It’s time to start looking into getting some uncapped Brazilian forwards married to some American women or something because the U.S. forward pool needs some help (and that’s even with Jozy Altidore on the way).


59th minute- Who to blame on that goal? Ricardo Clark gets lost in the midfield, leaving Gareth Barry completely unmarked and Barry has all day to deliver a perfect pass to Gerrard. Is that a preview of Liverpool next season?


58th minute- GOAL ENGLAND. Steven Gerrard splits the American defense to make it 2-0 England.


HALFTIME- England 1, USA 0. The Americans are lucky not to be down by two or three goals. Some tactical fouling and poor finishing by England has kept the Americans in the game. What needs to change? Josh Wolff has to come out of this match. Freddy Adu needs to come in. Ricardo Clark should come out as well but I’m not sure Bob Bradley will make two halftime subs.


44th minute- Cherundolo takes down Defoe and draws a yellow. Here comes another dangerous free kick.


41st minute- USA dodges a bullet when England wastes a very dangerous free kick.


39th minute- GOAL ENGLAND. John Terry heads home Beckham’s free kick. Terry outjumps Bocanegra for the goal.


37th minute- Clark halts a long stretch of England possession with a bad foul. Here comes Beckham for a free kick.


34th minutes- England comes VERY close but DeFoe sends a close-range shot wide. Bad finish after a great pass from Gerrard.


34th minute- Josh Wolff has looked pretty useless today.

Also looking a bit off is John Terry. I think it’s safe to say he’s still thinking about the Champions League final.


32nd minute- Johnson runs at Terry and gets a foul call. Nice.


31st minute- Defoe whistled for a foul on Onyewu. Yes, you read that right.


29th minute- Eddie Johnson gets a nice pass in space, but drops it off to Dempsey, who loses it. I’ll give Johnson credit for being active, if ineffective.


27th minute- Nice long pass from Bradley to Johnson but Johnson’s touch is bad. He’s bailed out by a foul call.

Wes Brown fouls Dempsey, setting up another decent free kick from distance for Beasley.


26th minute- Eddie Johnson works a give-and-go but his shot is a weak one right to James.


26th minute- A U.S. free kick falls to Johnson, who chips it back across, but the pass is cleared out of danger.


24th minute- A dangerous free kick from England results in a clear shot from Gerrard, but Dempsey heads it away.


23rd minute- Rooney just undressed Bocanegra but his pass into the box is a bit off, keeping Gerrard from getting a good shot on goal.


21st minute- Beasley and Wes Brown clash, foul on Beasley. Good to see Beasley run at somebody. He needs to get more of the ball.


19th minute- Beckham with a rushed shot and sends it high.


18th minute- Americans doing a good job of staying compact, which isn’t leaving England much room in the final third.


17th minute- The Americans with a spell of possesion. Nice to see Michael Bradley win a 50/50 ball from Steven Gerrard.


16th minute- For all the question marks in the U.S. lineup, it is definitely a comforting fact that the Americans have Tim Howard in net.


15th minute- Not much of a rhythm to this match yet.


12th minute- Beckham’s first free kick results in a Gerrard goal but the ref hadn’t blown the whistle to restart play. Beckham’s second kick misses a bit wide.


11th minute- Those wondering about Josh Wolff can keep wondering. He hasn’t done anything yet.

Gerrard fouled by Clark. Good free kick position for England.


10th minute- You’re going to see a lot of tactical fouling by the Americans to contend with the English team’s quick counter.


9th minute- Bradley with a rough challenge on Beckham to break up a counter.


8th minute- Pearce does well to break up an England counterattack. That one was close. Defoe has some wheels.


7th minute- Beckham with a foul on Pearce, who made a nice move.


5th minute- Rooney almost catches the U.S. offside trap but gets called for it. I can’t see him not scoring one today.


4th minute- Cherundolo is up. England is knocking the ball around right now. Beckham’s first pass goes straight to Heath Pearce.


3rd minute- Beasley is looking very active early on.

Cherundolo is hurt after knocking knees with Gerrard.


1st minute- Look for Dempsey to have some freedom to roam throughout the midfield today. He’s going to be the key to sparking any U.S. attack.


1st minute- And we’re off


PRE-GAME- Landon Donovan missing the match is pretty disappointing. I like starting a match with a big understatement. Thank you.


PRE-GAME- Looks like a late-arriving crowd for this one.


PRE-GAME- Looks like a good crowd for this one (duh). You can definitely hear them.


PRE-GAME– For those of you who missed it, here is the U.S. lineup:


Beasley—————————– Dempsey




Here’s England’s lineup:






  • Mike O

    The back line hung in relatively well but overall the performance from the U.S. was repulsive. England dominated and if they had finished all their chances it would’ve been 4-0. It’s disappointing and it definitely exposed our weaknesses as a national side. More than even the speed of the English side was the superior strategy. Unlike the Americans, they knew where they wanted to take the ball and were able to be the aggressor as a result. They were able to string together combinations moving forward to eventually create holes and break down the U.S. defense (especially on the second goal).

    That said, I disagree with this fatalistic feeling of hopelessness of the US attack. We don’t need to throw up our hands and get Brazilians to marry American women (that joke was in bad taste, Ives). Our young USMT players coming up just need to focus on keeping possession with better first touches, moving the ball around more efficiently with quicker one-touch passing, maintaining their spacing and communication, improving their strength and conditioning to be able to win more 50/50 balls, and work on the accuracy of their long passing and shot making, especially off of set plays. Soccer has nothing to do with mysterious skills inherently beyond the American athlete’s mind. It’s simple execution and the U.S. team was dominated because they just weren’t as prepared, both individually and collectively as a unit, as England’s side. As we play more of these matches there will be more opportunity not only to test our current talent but also assess what skills we need to focus on developing in our U-21, etc. players moving forward. We have many good athletes already on our USMT but we’re just not as refined, confident, or imaginative as we could be. This is where we get beat against the highest quality competition in the world. It can be rectified with time and effort, though.


  • Tim B

    This would have been an ideal time to play Robbie Rogers alongside Freddy Adu and Bradley. US needs some new blood or we are going nowhere fast.


  • Thom

    Everyoner should be ashamed except Gooch,Heydude and Pearce.(at least he hustled)

    Terrible game to watch.

    I say start Heydude every game because he is a better national team player then Dolo.He just always hustles and agravates the opponent.


  • kawa

    wats all this talk about MB playing good , did’nt even notice him in the game, the only thing good out there besides our defenders was Freddy he actually looked like he had some smarts on the ball but his cowardly attacking partners where too afraid to try anything he was up for.


  • aristotle


    Scathing indictment to come:

    Still waiting for Bob Bradley to turn this team around from the “disaster” that was Bruce Arena. Bruce Arena’s “disaster” was better than anything you will ever see from this team while bumbling nice guy Bradley is in charge.

    It’s obvious we have practically nothing up front, but seriously, a has been and a mental case to start against England at Wembley? I thought EJ was the saviour? Wasn’t it Arena’s limited use of him that cost us elimination from the last world cup? Or was it that he didn’t make use of the fabulous Twellman and Ching the way he should have? Everything that’s happened since the last world cup has vindicated Bruce Arena completely. We wish we could play like we did in the last world cup.

    Two more humiliations to come. Then we might just be able to beat a Central American team in WC qualifying. Maybe.

    I can see it now. We’ll be eliminated from the World Cup in the first round under MUCH more favorable conditions than the last World Cup, and everyone will be giving Bob Bradley accolades. Nobody gives a damn about anything but personality anymore.


  • Thom

    2 thoughts:

    1. Bradley tackles like Paul Scholes which is bad thing for him, us and opponents knees and ankles.

    2. We U.S. fans have so little to look forward to or get excited about that we seek positives where there are none except in goal.


  • Lemoyne

    We must be the only national team on the planet with players out of contract starting in a major friendly. Can’t understand what the point is giving Wolff, Frankie, Lewis, etc. a run when they should be testing new talent. There’s something to giving them a testimonial appearance at Wembley – they’ve made their contributions over the years – but giving experience to Adu, Mapp and(insert other attacking-minded players that exist here) would be far more valuable.

    In the end, the physical difference between our boys and the English and other countries in general at this point is obvious: they have the top echelon of athletes funneled into soccer from the start. While we do have talented players, they are slighter and far less ‘battle-hardened’ coming up through our youth system/college.

    Finally, having the entire country behind you, no matter how small the nation, can only help give you the most complete passion for winning. It’s hard to find a player on our side with a stern brow of determination.


  • Alex

    I had to catch this match on delay because I couldn’t get home in time to watch it, but here are some things I learned from this game:

    -Josh Wolff? Useless.

    -Eddie Johnson was certainly more adventurous today than he has been recently but was ineffective against a very good defense. I wrote him off as a bust as far back as the Copa America, but if he continues to improve the way he did today I’ll gladly accept that I was wrong and I won’t post angry anti-EJ comments on SBI anymore.

    -Eddie Lewis still has something to offer. He should definitely be given a shot in WCQ’s and if he’s still in this kind of form in 2010, he should make the roster.

    -Freddy Adu needs to be given a chance at starting. If we had had him the whole game I think we would have had alot more clear cut chances. (Having Lando on the field may have helped too.)

    -I’d like to see more of a Bradley-Edu center midfield combiation. Bradley-Clark wasn’t abominable today but Edu should be given a chance.

    -Until we have a forward who can win balls in the air (Hopefully Jozy in the very near future) long balls out of the back have to stop. I realize having a more effective central midfield that can do something with the ball would help this but long balls up to Josh Wolff just don’t work.


  • aristotle


    He’s so bad that he went to Germany to play for a mediocre second division team and most people don’t even know he’s there. He doesn’t even start.

    Josh Wolff + Injury = Loss of speed= One terrible player.

    Bob Bradley + Selection of Wolff = Idiot coach.


  • peteo

    Pretty much why I’m not crazy about Clark on the national team…

    Posted by: Tony in Quakeland | May 28, 2008 at 03:48 PM


    Can’t disagree there fellow Quaker. RC is over-rated, majorly. He plays scared. [/sigh]


  • David

    BB needs to start COOPER!!! look at the shots he’s taking in the Dallas/Houston game.


  • Justin

    Wow. I was so excited about the way we had been playing recently until today. I was getting so mad I almost turned the game off at half time. What happened to us, we looked like children playing out there. Some thoughts…

    -Ricardo Clark, not good. He was commiting stupid fouls and showing his lack of talent turning the ball over left and right

    -Why why why Josh Wolff and not Altidore or Twellman? Either of the latter two would be leaps and bounds better

    -Freddy Adu needs to be a starter from here on. Just playing the limited time he did gave us our best chances

    -Not having Donovan on the field hurt us bad and you could see it, no playmaker willing to go at defenders and be successful; his pace was much needed

    -Eddie Lewis needs to get more playing time, MUCH more

    -We need to learn how to play more of a possesion game; booting the ball from the defense to forward DOES NOT work, work it up through midfield

    ….well with all that said I will say I think this rotation would give us our best opportunity to play well, god willing….

    GK: Howard

    D: Pearce, Gooch, Boca, Cherundolo

    M: Beas, Bradley, Donovan, Adu

    F: Dempsey, Altidore

    Bench: Guzan, Hejduk, Demerit, Parkhurst, Edu, Mastroeni, Lewis, Twellman, Johnson


  • doug

    I took 2 things from this match

    1. The US Forward pool is thin like Ally McBeal. Josh Wolff, nice to know ya. Eddie Johnson, lazy, no heart, desire. When will he learn that he cant rely on pure talent alone. I suggest he cannot be picked again for the national team until he proves something at Fulham when they start in August. Look at who was picked for the game. The forwards combined must have had the world record for “DNP-coaches decisions” on any international roster ever.

    2. Freddy Adu needs to start fulltime starting against Spain. Now, before you guys get all in a uproar, hear me out. The top four most creative US Born players right now, in no particular order, are Donovan, Dempsey, Adu, and DMB. Why not just adopt they style of system that Man U used last season. In the sense that they never played with a traditional #9 last season. Tevez, Rooney, Ronaldo, and Giggs spent all last season rotating left to right, forward and withdrawn, striker to midfield. Im not saying the results will be the same but, come 2010, wouldnt you like to see a fulltime lineup with these 4 in it. Do it now


  • MiamiAl

    Eddie Johnson- SUCKS!

    Ricardo Clark- SUCKS!

    Josh Wolf – SUCKS!

    Heath Pearce – SUCKS!

    Bob Bradley- SUCKS!

    Sunil Gulati- SUCKS!

    Landycakes- B*TCH!

    I think Bob Bradley demonstrated today he really is the second coming of Bruce Arena circa 2005-2006…Lets cut our losses before any of us spend a ton of money to go to South Africa and see the same kind of garbage we saw in Germany. I can’t afford that again.

    Keep Donovan for qualifiers and to play against Mexico…All those other guys I hope we don’t see again…


  • EnginBlue


    I agree with everything you said except your inclusion of Twellman and I’d switch Adu and Dempsey. Twellman’s been given so many chances and has shown he just doesn’t have the pace or finishing ability to compete at this level. The guy is a great MLS striker, but he isn’t the answer for this team. EJ may not have the finishing ability either, but he’s definitely got the pace and that makes space for someone like a Dempsey or Adu to play off. Altidore is definitely our best option up top even with his lack of senior team experience. McBride’s absence is killing us.


  • rocky

    well well well what can i say another dissapointing performance by the good old usa. i was so excited for this game i really thought we had a chance, i even thought about betting on the usa, god im glad i didnt. I think the biggest problem we showed today was the coaching performance. what was bob bradley smoking today, can anyone explain to me how josh wolff started or even was included on this roster. He is straight garbage. what does he see in clark being paired with bradley they are the same player we already new this. the purpose of friendlies is to mix and match players usually ones that are young and need experience, this game would of been perfect for this. How freddy adu didnt start is beyond me and im still trying to figure that out. he has world class talent and he needs to be playing. he needs to play that #10 role with bradley holding in the midfield. Honestly i think the u23’s could of beatin this lineup today, were was sasja kleshtein or rogers these are the players we need playing not wolff, lewis, heyduk.

    if we lose the next two games we need to call for bradleys head and get a world class coach that we should of gotten in the first place, all in all a terrible performance from our team…


  • Pat the Red Bulls Fan

    Put Altidore, Rogers and Cooper on a plane to Spain. And Freddy needs to play 90 minutes. If we’re going to get our heads handed to us, at least see what these guys got.


  • Nick

    Eddie Johnson was much more effective today than in the past, his possession play was good (didn’t turn the ball over much, and didn’t get caught dribbling into traps like he used to). I think a lot of the lack of possession in the final third can be attributed to Josh Wolf’s complete ineffectiveness, he didn’t get a single good touch on the ball. Also, EJ almost scored on his one good chance, and played in a dangerous cross that i didn’t know was capable of playing. Having Donovan up front with him would give him a ton more chances, that’ll be when we really see if he can make it work on this stage.

    The midfield was dreadful, apart from Beasley. Clarke and Bradley had a ton of trouble keeping up with the England attack and holding onto the ball at all, let alone finding someone to make a forwards pass to. Dempsey was ok in the attacking third, but didn’t link up well, that might change with players like donovan and adu starting. his real flaws showed up in the defensive third, where he gave the ball away cheaply, in dangerous positions, multiple times.

    As for the defense, Cherundolo is either out of form, which i’d like to think, or just isn’t cut out for this level of play. He got twisted and turned by anyone england through at him. Pearce played a solid game, and was the only back to get into the attack for the US. Hedjuk did decent late in the game, but a lot of his touches went nowhere. Onyewu was good, minus a couple rash challenges. bocanegra was good, minus a distinct lack of speed at this level.


  • Nick

    conclusion: let’s start both donovan and adu. Maybe as CAMs? Adu surprised me with his ability to hold the ball, normally guys his size don’t maintain possession in the middle of the field well. On the other hand a guy like Donovan doesn’t, so maybe the combination of the two would give the US better possession in the middle and attacking thirds?







  • Jey

    I have to say that I have been watching the US play for 15 plus years and this was one of the most disappointing games I have seen them lose. The lack of urgency really bothered me throughout the game and why Wolff and Rico were on the field at the start of the second half is baffling. The D was okay but the distribution from the back was horrible and the overall movement of the ball was lacking in quality in a severe way. EJ was actually not that bad and if the service was better he might have actually scored (yes I just said that). I am just really disappointed and this game ruined my week. I am glad I didn’t make the trip over as I had initially planned. I want to say Spain and Argentina are going to be better but both teams have offeneses three times as potent as England. I just really wanted us to beat England to shut that whole country up about how great they are and how much the US sucks. This whole thing has turned out horribly. I am a devote US soccer supporter and this game is absolutely crushing. Thank you USMNT for letting me and your country down.


  • aristotle

    Finally some people are actually seeing Bradley for what he really is- a nice guy and a mediocre coach, at best. I wouldn’t be too shocked if we had a hard time qualifying for the world cup. Especially when we have virtually no one who can score goals consistently.

    It’s nice to see more and more people are noticing the absurdity, to put it mildly, that is Bradley’s reluctance to give Kenny Cooper a decent chance on the USMNT. I guess that’s just too much of a gamble when you have quality players like Josh Wolff and Eddie Johnson to play up front. Seriously, is there some kind of friction between these two? Kenny Cooper must be feeling pretty persecuted by now. I think I might be able to get a good chance as a striker on the USMNT before Cooper does.

    Sunil Gulati has screwed us royally.


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