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Olympics: USA men vs. Nigeria (Your Running Commentary)


Good morning everybody. The crucial match is here. The United States men’s Olympic team faces Nigeria with a place in the quarterfinals on the line.

I will be providing live commentary on the match over at the NBC Olympics website, where you can watch high-quality live feeds of all the Olympic matches.

If you will be watching the match, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match.


  1. As a West Coaster it sucked to stay up all night to watch the U.S. get eliminated. After seeing the Orozco foul several times it has to be one of the softest Red cards ever. Freddie and Bradley really need to play much smarter (Feilhaber, too) and avoid picking up bonehead Yellow cards. With Adu and Bradley our chances of advancing would have been much better. Bradley, in particular, is becoming a card magnet. Sure wish we could have seen more of Davies. All in all another depressing result, but at least there’s no doubt we are competitive at this level and we will do better in WC qualifiers.

  2. Ryan,

    Snarkiness aside I disagree with you on Sacha Kljestan. I could see interest in Europe picking up for him now. I’m obviously not talking about top-shelf European clubs but perhaps second-tier leagues like Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, or The Championship. He’s making strides in his touch and composure and he’s still young enough to command a nice transfer fee. He’s one of the best young American talents who hasn’t yet played overseas. His performance here in the Olympics shows he is getting more used to bigger stages against better talent. If he could make a commitment to getting a bit physically stronger that would help him as well.

  3. just watched a replay of the match. so sad, we got hosed at the start. that was not a freaking red! orozco is just trying to get the nigerian off his back. ref totally overreacted. great job by our boys to almost tie the game at the end. proud of our team. so agonizingly close…!

  4. I agree with Eric. I’d like us to advance out of group play in important tournaments other than the Gold Cup. Just seems like ’02 was a fluke more than anything else.

  5. “These guys are my boys,” Nowak said. “They played so hard. They won a gold medal tonight.”

    More results, less moral victories, please.

  6. John Leonard – I agree entirely, with everything. The rest of you – Sacha plays well when he has confidence. His lack of national team call ups have made him visably nervous to play at this level. This should change with experience. His skill on the ball is good but doesn’t operate in tight spaces well YET. Again this will change with training. I do think he will find his way to Europe, but not for 2 or 3 years.

    Nowak was great. I think everyone’s frustration with him is the lack of playing time for Altidore, but Jozy himself has said that his ankle injury won’t go away, which plays into his lack of PT. Also, taking Jozy out at the end of this game was the right move. He was flat out of gas before the sub. He was playing a mid position he’s not used to and did ALOT of running to cover his defensive responsibilities. He was out of gas and Nowak made the sub. I think Nowak made all the right decisions and his tactical switches during games helped the US get ahead of the Dutch (even the DUtch coach noted the tactical switch as something the dutch counldn’t deal with) and the Japanese.

    McBride was exactly as expected. He recieved the ball well, got fouled, or layed balls off for midfielders coming up. This is his game and he’s good at it. The problem was his teamates didn’t find him in the box and support for the attack was late in coming. The old guy played admiable and should not be blamed for the under performance.

    I think the yellows by Adu and especially Bradley’s second were logical. At that point in the Dutch game the US thought they were going throuhg and Bradley didn’t want to carry a yellow card into the knockout stages. So a little time wasting and getting a seoncd yellow was really a two birds with one stone decision.

    The result comes down to 2 key mental errors:

    1) The holden foul with seconds left in a US victory

    2) Orozco’s Red Card in the opening minutes of the nigeriua game.

    That’s it. Otherwise they played well and showed the world that the US kids have some talent. We need to look at this in the “you win some, you lose some” philosophy. We stold that game from the Japanese. The dutch stold a victory from us. And the nigeria game was simply unlucky. We did well, we’ll do better and we’ll get them next time.

  7. I am not as upset as I thought I would be. A few reasons;

    1: We had the best team in the group.(We proved that each game)

    2: We may have been the least esperienced in BIG international games.

    3: The US will do big things in the coming years. No one said becoming one of the best was easy. Come the World cup we wontpull an 06′ because of the heart that I saw through this tournament. USA

  8. Get off of Orozco’s back. It was a mental lapse at a terrible time, yes.

    But the kid played out of position for three (er 2+) games and held his own AND created the goal that should have allowed us to beat Holland.

    If you want to end some National Team careers there are much better targets:

    Szetela no impact today. For that matter with the exception of the Under-whatever in Canada he’s had no impact since high school. Columbus to Spain to Serie B can’t get run. Thanks for the memories Danny.

    Feilheber off to Denmark, whose new tourism slogan is ‘Where American Soccer careers go to die’. Ineffective in the second half.

    And most importantly (and not one that I’m clamoring to end) when do we start talking about bow injury prone Jozy is? This is staritng to give me an ulcer. Always banged up for Red Bulls, always banged up for the YNTs, I’m starting to think there’s a problem here. We don’t have any facts but two subs and he was wiped by halftime today so I’m guessing we’ll find out whats wrong once he gets back to Spain.

  9. I still say that calling for Orozco to never be on an Olympic or World Cup team is a little extreme. Sure, he did something dumb and played a role in costing his team advancement into the tournament, but he also played a role in getting them to the tournament. Someone certainly needs to have a talk with him, but to just toss him to the wolves is to forget the stellar defense he played during qualifying and a respectable job defensively during the olympics while playing out of position. I still think he’s one of the best young center backs the US has but someone needs to sit down with him to make sure what happened today will never happen again.

  10. EFF YOU NOWAK!! LA TAKE HIM AWAY!!! I just finished watching it via online replay, I’m fuming! Not all Nowak’s fault, but I don’t even know where to begin with him. Not worth anymore of my time. ARGH!!!!!

  11. 1. Should not have won the Japan game but professionally soldiered through it like a good soccer playing nation should.

    2. Should have got all 3 pts vs. Holland

    3. Another valiant yet ultimately fruitless USA effort vs. a good but beatable team in a big environment resulting in nothing but moral victory B.S.

  12. John Leonard,

    Is Sasha retiring already? Because that’s only reason he’ll be leaving MLS. It certainly won’t be a European team coming after him.

  13. Michael Orozco played great the first 3 minutes. You guys are hard fans to please. Who cares if he got a red card! He played hard for 3 minutes. Isn’t that enough????

  14. Wow, awesome heart by the U.S. After this tournament I bet Sasha doesn’t stay at Chivas USA or MLS too much longer. Despite the tremendous disappointment this bodes well for future USMNTs. U.S. soccer is continuing to mature and grow and get more and more competitive with world-class talent. We’re no longer playing like we’re just “happy to be here”. We still need to attract and develop more world-class quality athletes, we need to get stronger on keeping our possessions (especially first touches) and we need to develop more skill, confidence and cohesion on both sides of the ball. However, there is real, tangible, hopeful growth going on here and with the domestic league (MLS) continuing to grow and mature and their related academies continuing to get set up the new generation of talent looks to continue to improve. Despite the loss and elimination this is a great and proud sign for the future of U.S. soccer.

  15. My main point isn’t that Nowak is entirely to blame. I just think it’s pointless to complain about things we can’t control–a soft penalty in the other game, a harsh red card, unlucky bounces, etc. We didn’t play 3 great games and we employed fairly conservative tactics/substitutes at times we should have been pressing harder. Am I disappointed we lost? Of course. But I don’t think we performed at a level that allows us to cry about our terrible luck.

  16. Not knowing about possible injuries, knocks or fatigue to players like Altidore, it’s hard to judge the in game substitutions.

    The thing i can really blame the coaches on is the original defensive selections. Once Orozco was carded we had 0 outside backs available and one central back available to sub. Basically bringing ONE outside defender is dangerous decision. I had always thought Cherundolo or Pierce would have been a good overage player selections. Stevie would have provided similar leadership as McBride as well as depth to this team in a position that was lacking. And I bet if need be he could have played Left back in a 10v11 situation.

    The player selections, had we managed to survive this would have left us with 1 outside back, 2 centerbacks, and a converted midfeilder to a centerback. Not very promising.

  17. One positive is that unless I am missing something Adu, Jozy, Bradley, and Guzan will be back in time for the qualifier next week. I have been so focused on the Olympics I forgot there is an important match next week.

    You tell me which is more important. 🙂

  18. I have been hoping that the US Mens team would win an olympics/worldcup forever. Than we have an idiot “Michael Orozco” who has to intentionally elbow someone and make the whole US team have a big disadvante the entire game. I don’t think he should ever be placed on another Olympic/Worldcup team. Michael You need to take some anger management classes!

  19. That sucked…..This group plays such a great brand of attacking soccer. They are so fun to watch and really deserved to move on. The Red Card was absolutely awful. Orozco should be really ashamed. I’m sure he feels awful, I know I would.


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