U.S. Men's National Team

Brazil 3, USA 2: A Look Back

USADejection (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

The U.S. national team had Brazil on the mat, but the five-time world championship reminded us why its trophy case is full.

The United States' 3-2 loss to Brazil wasn't about subs not made, or made too late. It wasn't about American mistakes. It was about the Brazilians' talent, determination and belief that their beautiful soccer would always help them find a way to win. Could have things broken a certain way to help the Americans pull off a dream victory? Yes, but the fact that they didn't doesn't take away from the progress made and respect earned by the U.S. team on Sunday and throughout the Confederations Cup.

Sure, nobody wants moral victories, and the victories against Egypt and Spain had the U.S. team feeling like it could beat anybody, but the reality is that the U.S. team in South Africa overachieved and pushed itself to new levels that will only help the national team program as it moves toward World Cup 2010.

So what went wrong on Sunday? After a truly impressive first-half of soccer, the Americans were done in by crushing early goal and an unrelenting Brazilian attack that had the weapons to eventually pick apart the previously-stingy U.S. defense.

Luis Fabiano's early second-half goal was absolutely vital because it meant the Brazilians only spent 40 seconds dealing with the burden of erasing a two-goal deficit. Once Fabiano's first strike went in, the Brazilians knew they would find more chances and an inevitable equalizer. That early goal also cast some doubt in the mind of the U.S. team, which had to know Brazil would start pouring on the pressure.

The Brazil attack was brilliant at continuously feeding its most dangerous players, Kaka, Robinho and Maicon, who pumped in service from the flanks seemingly at will. Jonathan Spector and Carlos Bocanegra did all they could to stem the tide in the first half but by the second half the repeated attacks were destined to bear fruit for the Brazilians. When Dunga inserted Dani Alves and Elano to provide even more ammunition to the wing attack (as well as give his team two serious set piece threats), the Americans were bound to cave.

Fabiano's second goal came courtesy of a beautiful Kaka run and cross, and while Spector was the player beaten by Kaka, he was hardly the only one to blame for letting the ball through. Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra both had opportunities to stop the cross, but neither succeeded, and when Robinho's shot hit the crossbar, Fabiano took advantage of a rare lapse in concentration by Oguchi Onyewu and headed home the equalizer.

Bob Bradley was keenly aware that his team was tiring, and becoming more vulnerable, but he had few options to turn to. Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein were set to come into the match when Fabiano tied the game, and while it is easy to say now that an earlier substitution would have prevented the goal, the fact remains that all the U.S. players involved in Brazil's second goal would have still been on the field.

If Bradley's substitutions revealed anything, it was how thin the U.S. roster actually was in this tournament. With Michael Bradley suspended and DaMarcus Beasley suffering through a terrible run of form, the Americans had few reliable and experienced options to bring off the bench. There is already second-guessing going on about why Jose Francisco Torres and Freddy Adu weren't used, but neither player would have made a bit of difference in stopping Brazil's onslaught on the flanks in the second half. While it can be argued that Torres would have been a better option than Kljestan, Bornstein's inclusion was certainly appropriate given the U.S. team's need for some speed and fresh legs on the flanks.

We should really stop and take a minute to look at the disparity in talent between the two teams. While the U.S. team's nucleus is strong, its fringe and bench players in this tournament were not up to par compared to Brazil (and that would have been the case even if injured options such as Maurice Edu, Brian Ching and Steve Cherundolo were available). Brazil's second-half subs were Dani Alves and Elano, two players worth eight figures on the open market, and Dunga never even used Alexandre Pato. Bradley turned to a pair of MLS players who, while they may actually be headed to Europe this summer or winter, aren't anywhere near the same class (and the same could have been said even it was Torres and Adu instead of Bornstein and Kljestan).

Lucio's game-winning header may have taken away the U.S. team's chance at a moment of glory, but it didn't erase the 225 minutes of inspired soccer the Americans put together from the Egypt match to the Brazil match. That stretch of soccer has given this U.S. team invaluable experience and confidence and is sure to become a seminal moment for this group. The Americans will not only learn from their successes, but also from the second-half failure against Brazil.

Here are the USA player grades for the 3-2 loss to Brazil:

  • Tim Howard (8)– Made clutch save after clutch save and deservedly won goalkeeper of the tournament honor.

  • Jonathan Spector (6)– Provided a perfect cross on Dempsey's goal and stopped attack after attack from Brazil before finally giving in on Brazil's equalizer. Still a very strong performance.

  • Carlos Bocanegra (5)– Made some key stops but was beaten repeatedly by Maicon, whose pace and ability to get perfect crosses off quickly troubled Bocanegra all match.

  • Oguchi Onyewu (6)– Dominated in the air again but had some mental lapses that gave Brazil a few golden chances.

  • Jay DeMerit (5.5)– Beaten for Brazil's first goal, DeMerit looked a notch below the player who stifled Spain.

  • Clint Dempsey (6.5) – Clutch finish on the first USA goal but he didn't have the same impact defensively he had in previous matches and that hurt the U.S. team.

  • Landon Donovan (7) – Wonderful work on his goal but, like Dempsey, he didn't display the same defensive tenacity he showed against Spain.

  • Ricardo Clark (6.5) – Stepped up and put in a ton of work in midfield to help make up for the loss of Michael Bradley, with his smart pass leading to the break on Donovan's goal.

  • Benny Feilhaber (6)– Showed very good work rate and ability to provide defensive bite, but he tired in the second half and started fouling, which lead to him being subbed out.

  • Charlie Davies (6) – Great pass to assist on Donovan's goal, and showed confidence and fearlessness, but he committed too many turnovers and didn't have many passes aside from his assist. 

  • Jozy Altidore (5.5) – Drew his share of free kicks but failed to muster any dangerous chances. Fatigue got the better of him in the second half.

  • Sacha Kljestan (3) – A turnover machine while he was in the match.

  • Jonathan Bornstein (4.5) – Gave the team some energy, and had one decent shot, but he was never going to slow down Brazil.

  • Conor Casey (NA)– Not enough time to do anything.

Now that you have had a day to digest and reflect, what did you think of the U.S. team's performance in Sunday's final? Proud of what they accomplished or still upset that they blew the lead? Feeling good about the team's future?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Aaron Nickless

    I am happy the US made it to a final, and though I love the progress we’ve made, I still believe Bob Bradley is not the right coach. Though our depth was lacking (and mainly to injury ie Cherundolo, Ching, Edu), it is not hard to pick the majority of the starting 11, but Bob Bradley has not always done that and suffered (ie Beasley at back).

    His tactical mistakes definitely cost the game. Before the half, Altidore, Dempsey, and Clark were looking tired; after the half Brazil scores instantly, the same players are looking tired and not passing well so what does Bradley do? Nothing. Even when Brazil gets ready to sub he still does nothing. Only after Brazil equalized did he sub and that was for two players he have proven they aren’t quality yet.

    Our lack of options definitely hurt and Bornstein would probably make it on because of it, but putting in Kljestan instead of Torres was horrible. Kljestan has not shown he can play first team yet whereas Torres has done extremely well. And in the situation the US was in against Brazil in the second half, Torres would have been perfect. He is a great passer, good defender, and most of all he had fresh legs.

    A good coach does not wait as long as Bradley did when your team is looking tired in the first half, the opposing team has equalized and already subbed. Bradley either needs to rethink his strategies or resign because the USMNT has good players and they proved it against Brazil. They just need a good coach who knows when to adjust.


  • Angel

    Thank you for proving my point, that what I saying in my last previous post that this is not Basketball or Football(American) but is Soccer and they have been great player that are short. THANK YOU


  • ThaDeuce

    Upset we lost. disappointed Coach Bob Bradley subbed in Sacha Kljestan. Proud of the games before, but the laceration of the most recent game still stings too much to gloat…


  • socrates

    Another huge positive from the Confed Cup: Ives takes Xander to task. What will Michael Bradley have to say about this latest development??


  • timlandrum

    Any word on ESPN’s viewing numbers for the match? Please post them if you get your hands on them.


  • inkedAG

    Going into the game I figured the US would get demolished and it was a nice surprise that it was 2-0 USA at the half. The fact that we lost didn’t surprise me. I agree with some posters that going into a defensive shell and hope for a counterattack is not going to progress our team. Bringing the attack to our opponents on a more consistent basis against top teams will show progress.


  • ko'd

    Thanks for chiming in, Ives. You stated more eloquently what apparently I have been fumbling over for the past 14 days…


  • wr8d


    Sure, I’d like to see Torres play too. Many have questioned BB’s selections and subbing patterns, but do you really think he can afford to make choices based on race? We don’t have that much talent! I don’t see that Bob has gone out of his way to avoid using players with Latin heritage. Consider Mastroeni: if Bob didn’t like guys with Latin heritage why would continue to play an aging Pablo? Maybe it’s because he leans more on guys with lots of USMNT experience regardless of race (hence sticking with Pablo, Eddie Johnson, Beasley, Feilhaber when they weren’t really in form). Also, he’s used a lot of Bocanegra (and given him the armband!) and Bornstein who have some Latin heritage. And some guys with Caribbean background (Altidore, Rico Clark) have gotten plenty of PT. Bob didn’t have any problem making Chris Armas a key cog in Chicago. I’m sure there are other examples. I’m just saying, we all think that Torres is probably better than Sacha now, and that Orozco should be in the mix somewhere, but that doesn’t necessarily show that Bob is (despite other possible faults) a racist.


  • EA

    “Kljestan has not shown he can play first team yet whereas Torres has done extremely well.”

    Please list Torres’ top five national team accomplishments.

    Or, to make it easier, list the top 3.

    I’ll hang up and listen.


  • eric cantona

    my thoughts;

    – First off, tremendous effort by the lads. I was jumping around screaming my fool head off for all different sorts of reasons during this tournament. That’s what makes football great.
    – Based on the last few games, I think it is evident that there is enough quality in the USMNT to hang with the big boys. Granted, those moments rarely last a whole game, but they are there. What we need now is to find a way to CONSISTENTLY have that happen.
    – First touch. We learn how to trap a ball, any ball, within 12 inches of our feet and we will improve by leaps and bounds. This is a skill that is so woefully missing from most of the boys. The sad thing is that, with a bit of focused coaching and practice, even the ‘old dogs’ could improve. To me this is one of the simplest, easiest ways to improve our level of play with our current squad.
    – Did anyone else find Harkes’ lauding of Dempsey’s goal as a “great touch” grating? I certainly appreciate his being in the right place, and getting a touch on the ball. But if Harkes actually believes that he meant to go far post off of his thigh/shin, well, I have a bridge to sell him. By my estimation he was intending to side volley (with his FOOT!) that ball near post, and missed. A very lucky goal.
    – Casey? Still? WTF. What has he shown that allows for his continued presence in the squad. For f**k’s sake, bring on a defender at that point. Or Adu or Torres, you know, a guy that can HOLD the ball, and that might put in some EFFORT. Ugh.
    – If we continue to rely on players like Davies because they’re “fast”, then we’ll never truly improve because players that actually have talent will not get the playing time necessary to develop. I’m not saying that Davies should not get on the roster, but his touch is just this side of abysmal. He gets in great positions both through movement, and his speed, but he often lacks the ability to do anything about it when he gets the ball. I think he could still develop into a fine option but are there others out there (Adu? Cooper?) that could give us that added dimension that was missing yesterday?
    – Our back four has great potential. Hopefully we’ll keep them together to see how it develops.
    – BB has proven to me during this tournament that he cannot adjust to the game. His subs are baffling, and usually too late. I still think we need a more internationally experienced coach to make it to the next level.


  • inkedAG

    I’d also like to say that for the last three games, the team was very competitive and was very happy for Tim Howard’s and Clint Dempsey’s awards.


  • cfront

    “And I still don’t get the Casey hate.”

    the casey hate might come from:

    -casey being incapable of retaining possesion in any international matches this year

    -that he doesn’t even hint at being a dangerous forward when he’s on the field

    -his ability to halt all US offensive momentum despite his personal play being based only on momentum (ie all he does is run through people – that’s not soccer)

    casey’s image is based upon him appearing to be a big strong forward, which is fine except that he’s not even close to being tough enough for the role (a shaved head and a tough-guy stare aren’t going to cut it) or skilled enough for international play. any Division I college forward from a team with a top 12 seed would be an equal or better choice.


  • Angel

    I do understand what you saying, but I’m Latino and Mastroeni, Feilhaber, Chris Armas, Ricardo Clark, Bocanegra, EJ and Beasley they all either are made in the MLS or had played for him. This guy that I naming are playing in the Mexican League, By the way I’m not Mexican. But they play in a better level than the MLS no disrepect to my league. But they are in shape and they have better technic than those. Really I don’t want to feel that Bob Bradley a ricest let me delete that word cause in a propiate maybe he is not cause I don’t know Bob and I never met him either (Sorry Bob Bradley) but he got something against them, If doesn’t want us to believe that so why he doesn’t come up with explanation of why TORRES was on the bench all this time and why he took him out in the Costa Rica game. I think we deserve some explanation of maybe we are judge him wrong. That is all.


  • Angel

    sorry about the misspell and grammer I just mad and I feel that something fishy is going on on the Torres, Adu and even Cooper. but more on Torres (is not he is the best player in the world or our saviour, is just something wrong thats all.


  • Dennis Mueller

    I know Bob Bradley and he is not racist! Your comment is outrageous and you should be ashamed!

    I think Bob does exhibit loyalty to players and sometimes that loyalty can be a detriment. He asked Beasley to play in positions that needed to be filled probably because he thought DMB was the best of a bad situation. OTOH He did stop playing Beasley after a couple runs at his best position showed he was not in form.

    I was not at any of the training sessions for this tournament, I doubt if any of us were, but I expect that if we had been that we might understand why Torres did not play. How players interact with and play off teammates does matter; we get to see only glimpses of that in the games. I guess it is a matter of trusting someone’s (the coach’s) judgement as to what strengths the player has relative to what is needed at the moment.

    One thing the whole US team must get better at is keeping the ball. I know it is a focus of Bradley’s, but it is one of those things that is easy to say and hard to do. Possession requires so many fine details of passing, being in good spots, making good first touches, recognizing your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, quickly and properly assessing your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, etc. It is not something that gets solved in a month or even a year, it is a process and new players must constantly be brought into it and build on it.


  • Angel

    Dennis Mueller,
    That is why I say that I delete the word racist and I say that I’m sorry for using that word and my apology to BB. But Like I said it before not until I get some type of explanation of why he took out Torres out and why he was bench I’ll feel there is something against him. I do understand how player have to interact or get alone but if you ever play soccer before you know that all that stay out the field. I give a example Argentina they have a big ego between than put the leave that all off the field even with Riquelme that is one the best player he play with Kuna, Messi, Teves n other in the Argentine team and even when he played at Boca Juniors he have to played alone with Palacios and Palermo. In Man U Cristiano had to get alone with Rodney and do you remember what happen in the World Cup between them. So please don’t tell me that Torres had a bad habit in the training session when he play for Pachuca with Profersor Mesa one of the Mexican Finest Coach. Please what have Bradley accomplish from Ojito Mesa. So do you understand where I’m coming from?


  • Roy

    After sleeping on this I think you just have to hand it to Brazil. Dunga has done a great job building up a younger team and they’re playing with confidence and solid defense on top of the usual creativity and deadly finishing. Just damn near impossible to keep them out of the net when they have the motor going.

    US just needs to relax, build on this experience, and get some younger and more creative players into the regular mix.


  • Angel

    Dennis Muller

    “One thing the whole US team must get better at is keeping the ball. I know it is a focus of Bradley’s, but it is one of those things that is easy to say and hard to do. Possession requires so many fine details of passing, being in good spots, making good first touches, recognizing your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, quickly and properly assessing your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, etc. It is not something that gets solved in a month or even a year, it is a process and new players must constantly be brought into it and build on it.”

    You said best but please tell me who in the USNMT has all those quality and that is why I don’t think Bob Bradley is the right coach for this team. Don’t get me wrong I think Bob is a good coach but he is not National Team level cause he lacks all those things you mention on your post.


  • Adam M.

    Thoughts? With Jones and Edu, we should never have to worry about Sacha. I am still skeptical of Clark. I’m guessing there is something untold to the Torres story. Davies had nice moments and displayed some toughness, but he gave away the ball to easily and I remain hopeful that Adu will eventually win that spot. Clint should pair with Altidore, and Jozy needs to work on recieving the ball with his feet. He won’t be able to shield the ball with his body everytime. DeMerit should be our permanment starter, and if that leaves Bocanegra out if a better option at left back emerges, then so be it. Benny F. needs to start and slot behind the two strikers. Bradley is solid but needs to cool down a notch. Tim Howard is easily one of the best 5 goalkeepers in the world right now. Gooch needs to be playing for a much much bigger team. His game has dramatically improved. We are on the verge of depth, but we don’t have any yet.


  • John


    BB coached Chivas USA for Petes Sake! Give it a rest! Claiming racism when none exists is almost as bad actually BEING racist!


  • jimmygreaves

    Sushant Rao,

    Great point about the substitutes. Of course, sitting on your couch at home, you have the time and hindsight to see these things. Bradley, at the time, did not have the luxury of hindsight as you do. He had a game to win NOW and you always keep your best available players on , even if its only to score a goal to affect goal difference. The US didn’t score in that game but at least they did not concede a fourth goal. This eventually allowed them to move on.


  • John

    First, let me say I was among the BB bashers last week.

    HOWEVER, I laugh at everyone who is trashing him for “inneffective” substituting against Brazil. What were his choices? Granted Sasha and Bornstein (funny how no one mentions he very nearly drew us level) were dodgy, but the other alternatives were hardly better. Our bench was thin due to previous injuries (what if we’d had Edu and Cherundolo on the bench)and Bradley’s suspension. Enough with the talk about Adu. HE’S NOT READY. Everyone seems to ignore the fact he can’t even get into a game in France, and he’s the key to beating Brazil? Please.

    We played a valiant game, made the most of our opportunities, and unfortunately finally succumbed to BRAZIL. Had Fabiano’s shot been half an inch to the right, Demerit stones him. Had it been a half an inch to the left, Timmy stones him. But it wasn’t, get over it. We went toe to toe with Brazil for 90 minutes just three days after beating Spain. It doesn’t happen overnight people! We’ve made HUGE progress, and if all continues to go well could be a legitimite challenger in ’14. We’ve got holes to fill, but lots in the pipeline. Hell, Donovan and Gooch are only 27 and they’re the grey beards on this team. Why nit pick an obviously inexperienced coach (who may be improving as rapidly as the team around him) that has taken us further than ANY OTHER COACH BEFORE HIM.

    BTW, all you experts out there, what do YOU do for a living?

    Yeah? I thought so.


  • papa bear

    While our bench is OBVIOUSLY thinner than Brazil’s, forgiving the VERY late substitutions is a bit disingenuous. I’m not sure if it makes the difference totally, but it was obvious by the 50 minute that there were guys who simply didn’t have any gas left in the tank. A fresh body who could chase Kaka and Robinho around and do the bare minimum to stay in front of them would have been better than the swinging door some of the players turned to in the second half due to out and out fatigue.

    A great first half and I’m proud of the boys but this tournament still hasn’t convinced me of Bob Bradley’s ability to manage at the international level. The US survived on determination and heart alone from the Egypt game on as there was precious little in terms of tactics in any of those games.
    I’m not saying BB must go now, but he really does need to be a bit more innovative and smart on the bench than he has shown us.


  • papa bear

    @Posted by: Angel | June 29, 2009 at 02:10 PM

    Your ludicrous point might have merit if not for three points:

    1) Bornstein is half Mexican
    2) Bocanegra is Latino (Mexican?) and is the captain and is put in no matter how many mistakes he has made or how ill suited he may be to go up against a particular opponent.
    3) Mastroeni was BORN in Argentina and is of Argentine decent. His constant inclusion in the first team would also scupper your theory.

    I think that the wave of Latinos just happens to be younger and Bradley worries more about winning than he does playing the best potential players at times. (you forgot to mention Jorge Flores too who also hasn’t been in the Nats picture for a year or so) I’m not a big fan of Bradley’s mindset in that regard, but i understand the desire to use it as I’m sure he’s being paid pretty damn well and would like to keep that job as long as he can.


  • Jags98


    Prove me wrong, please. It will only help the US and LD to be overseas. He did have a great tourney, like I said. Show me your facts?

    He has the opps to be a world class player, so why hasnt it come true, why is that so many Euro teams have not picked up on him, why does he have 3 chances lost?

    Consistency is one answer.

    And as far as the players or others in the press praising him, come on! Of course, what else are they going to say. When he pulls one of his casper the friendly ghost moves, does any teammate say he disappeared to the media. They play the game, just like you or I would. The criticism takes place in the locker room.

    Like I said, good tourney for him, and I hope something big comes along. His potential needs to be busted out somewhere tough to put him over the top. Congrats to him for his effort, but get off your knees.

    He is our best and our best plays in a small pond.


  • jimmygreaves


    Posted by: Angel ”



    If Bob Bradley is a racist and hates latinos it’s pretty amazing that, as the coach of Chivas USA in 2005 he took them from last place into the playoffs. Don’t Chivas have some latino players?


  • jimmygreaves

    Xander Crews,

    Its pretty hard to see how players can progress when their coaches suck.

    How does that work? Do the players meet off in a corner of the field and work stuff out that the coaches don’t know about?

    Comparing any prior Gold Cup experience to this Confederations Cup is very strange and pointless.

    Look Xander, the USMNT can beat any of the current “top ” teams in the world on a given day. You know why? Because most of those teams have rosters full of star players,any two or three of whom, together, make more money than the entire US roster (coaches and players combined). Do these teams have more talent than the US? Sure. But guess what, getting them to play together is not always so simple. Ever watch Holland? They should have a few World Cups or Euro Championships by now but they don’t because they spend all their time fussing about who is getting the headlines, who has a hotter wife or girlfriend and generally stabbing each other in the back. This Brazil team is very dangerous because they have shown that even though they aren’t as talented collectively as some of the great Brazil teams in the past, they fight for each other (having the best player in the world in Kaka doesn’t hurt either).

    Is Bradley the best coach in the world? No but this team seems to play for him and respond to him. And he and his staff developed a perfect game plan for the Spain game and executed it. They also had a great game plan for the Brazil game but got caught by Fabiano early and had no answers for a Brazil that probably would have beaten anyone on the day. I mean what options did he have in terms of subs?

    Fire him tomorrow after he’s just led them to this highpoint and what sort of message does that send to this team? Remember 1998 when Sampson suddenly went nuts and screwed up a successful the team just before the World Cup?

    Read what the European football websites say about this team and their coach and I think you’ll find they have a lot more respect for them than you do.


  • Tony in Quakeland

    Is it just me, or have some people been conspicuously absent since we bet Spain?


  • hotshot

    Ives.. I agree, it is hard against players of their level, maturity and experience. They have the ability to find ways to win from any opponent. The US was tired. It showed in the space in the mid and D but also in the finishing. I still think the coaching or the prep wasn’t right. I still think subs at the 60 or 65 minute would have helped a bit with energy. This had the potential to counter some of Brazil’s fresh legs and energy. Maybe they would not have been able to get crosses in, had less corners, silly fouls, etc. It is debatable about whether we have a lack of depth, sure. However, Torres and Adu have been playing in big games before and we shouldn’t underestimate the raw energy and talent of someone with the talent who has been on the bench and desire to play. That is something that could have through Brazil for a loop (in combination with some fresh defensive mid of course). What else do have to loose when you are down or even? Of course, I am guessing we are unable to compete at penalties with Brazil.


  • Pete

    Yes, the U.S. was tired and the prep was lousy.Read Jen Chang’s review.It is spot on.


  • KungFuKantona

    i agree with most of the posters who say that Casey has been crap. we gain absolutely nothing when he gets on the pitch. you may as well roll the dice with Adu than bring on someone who brings absolutely nothing to the game. what on earth would you lose?

    quite a supreme effort by our boys in white nonetheless. this tournament bodes well for the future in my opinion. it would be a much brighter future with a coach with extensive international (read: world cup) experience, though.


  • madmax

    “Jen Chang at ESPN offers a similar analysis of Bradley’s tactic acumen and lineup choices that many, I think, would agree with.
    Posted by: Dan

    Absolutely right. Jen is able to separate the team and the coach performances. Many posters here are out to lunch on Bradley’s performance. They blame a thin bench although Bradley made all the roster selections. They give him credit for turning the team around when the reality is, he was forced to change formation and drop some of his favorites. There is nothing to suggest he would have made these changes voluntarily.

    Bradley was a hindrance to the team, Jen Chang at ESPN is spot on.


  • JoeW

    Brad and Josh, put down the crack pipe!

    Getting our guys to Europe or higher leagues isn’t the answer–at least not when we’re a year out from the WC. The single biggest reason we had depth issues for the ConfedCup (there will always be players hurt–like Edu–at any given moment) was the number of players (Altidore, Adu, Guzan, Spector, Pierce, Beasley) who’ve spent big chunks of time in the past season not playing. They show up to camp not fit, certainly not in game shape, definitely not in-form and absolutely not at the top of their game.

    Look at what a move to a top Euro league did for Feilhaber?

    Maybe longterm we want these guys to go overseas. But in 2009-2010 if Davies goes to the Bundesliga for a mid-level club and sits, Donovan goes to Spain and sees only a few minutes for a top club (below the Barca/Real level), Altidore continues to be mostly a reserve, Adu doesn’t get major minutes….well….we’ll be hosed at the WC.

    Single biggest issue for the NT at this point is playing time. We’ve got a list of about 10-12 players who need to play regularly in the next year. And I’d be willing to see some of them (Altidore, Adu, Davies, etc.) take a step down in the quality of the league in order to insure minutes.


  • realitycheck

    Sure, nobody wants moral victories, and the victories against Egypt and Spain had the U.S. team feeling like it could beat anybody, but the reality is that the U.S. team in South Africa overachieved and pushed itself to new levels that will only help the national team program as it moves toward World Cup 2010.

    I really don’t agree with the majority of what you said. In the last two games we were out-shot 14-60. And out possessed 40% to 60%. How is this good? We had opportunistic win, BBradly is playing the wrong people, making the wrong subs, we still can’t string together 4 passes in a row. Are you kidding? The soccer gods smiled on us.
    Let’s not be delusional and think we have the coaching, smarts, tactical skill to be top notch and compete with Spain, Brazil on a regular basis.


  • The Ghost of Josimar

    @ Understood

    I could not agree more.

    We are not getting to the next level playing frantic, gutsy, all-men-on-deck defense against teams that maintain possession and let the ball do the work.

    We need to explore players that give us composure in the middle of the field, players who will allow us to retain possession.

    One such player is sitting on the bench: Jose Francisco Torres.

    That Sasha Kljestan gets minutes over Torres would amuse me — if I were, say, a fan of the Mexican side.

    Torres is not a monster on defense, but neither is he a glaring liability. Please, people, watch him play for Pachuca.

    As for Torres’ size? Size and strength are desirable. But one would hope that the Andres Iniesta’s of the world would put the small-guys-cannot-cut-it stuff to bed.

    This run in the Confederations Cup had me brimming with pride and as happy as I have been in ages. But it took us to the limit of a simple, rough-and-ready, conservative soccer that Bob Bradley epitomizes.

    Bob Bradley has earned his reprieve. He’ll take the squad to South Africa. But his appointment, in my view, remains a grave error. We need *much* more tactical sophistication next time. Plus someone who does not pick and cling to his early favorites.

    Hiddink in 2011 anyone?


  • ThaDeuce

    Bob put in Kljestan….Bob put in Kljestan. I don’t know if I’ll ever wake up. Bob put in Kljestan. Is this a nightmare? I’m pinching myself but I can’t wake up. Bob put in Kljestan.


Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More from SBI Soccer


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,031 other followers