Top Stories

Morning Morning Centerback: The hazards of road qualifiers

Austriafrance_afp

Anyone thinking that winning games on the road in World Cup qualifying isn’t as tough as people say might want to reconsider after last weekend.

Skeptics might want to ask France (pictured), which was thrashed by Austria (ranked 90 spots below the French in the FIFA rankings). They could also ask Angola, which lost to Benin (ranked 46 spots lower), or Ivory Coast, which tied Mozambique (ranked 80 spots lower).

Those are just some of the shock results and near-shocks that permeated throughout qualifying. Here are some others:

  • Italy needed a 90th-minute winner to beat Cyprus, which is 63 spots lower
  • Cameroon used a second-half comeback to beat the Cape Verde Islands, ranked 75 points lower
  • Sweden tied Albania, ranked 71 spots lower
  • Scotland lost to Macedonia, ranked 40 spots lower

Results like these are what make the U.S. team’s 1-0 victory against Cuba on a rainy and steamy night in Havana that much more meaningful, and what makes the Americans 2-0 start after two road World Cup qualifiers that much more impressive.

The Cuba match was a sloppy encounter played on a field most American high school games probably wouldn’t be played on and the result was a game without much rhythm or Joga Bonito. It could have ended up a draw if not for Clint Dempsey’s clinical finish or Tim Howard’s stunning save of a potential Carlos Bocanegra own goal, but the Americans found a way and now sit five points clear of third-place Guatemala in its group with four matches left in group play (three of which are at home).

As much as some fans wanted to make the first two U.S. qualifiers evidence of a team in crisis, what the two road wins provided was a test of character. Now that the Americans have passed those, it is on to the first true test of soccer ability, on Wednesday at Toyota Park in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview against Trinidad & Tobago.

There will be no rowdy crowd or poor lighting or terrible field conditions or bunkering opponent, just a chance for the American team to show what it can do. After a summer of matches against world powers that gave the U.S. team few opportunities to dominate, the U.S. national team will be taking on an opponent that has played wide-open soccer so far in qualifying. If the Americans can’t create chances and score goals on Wednesday then U.S. coach Bob Bradley will run out of excuses for not bringing in the young attacking talents he has passed over early on in qualifying.

For now, American fans should appreciate the fact that their national team has six points from two road World Cup qualifiers. It is a track record no other team in CONCACAF can boast, and several top teams around the world would love to have right now because the road to World Cup 2010 is covered with landmines and the U.S. national team has already dodged two.

Comments

  1. I’ll just leave it at this: It’s always interesting to see how different people can watch the SAME game and come away with very different impressions.

    I just simply don’t perceive the “sky to be falling” with US soccer…and while the Italians might not be crazy about beating Cyprus 2-1 on a late goal, I’m sure they were ecstatic about the World Cup trophy they hoisted under the SAME coach.

    Reply
  2. Green – Just fyi, your first post did not read to me as you “questioning the direction of our program”. I did read it as having a pessimistic outlook on the team. I understand that online postings are at times hard to fully grasp without proper tones and intonations. But just letting you know how your post reads out.

    And actually, in an amusing way, your second post was actually very “doom-and-gloom” based on your three and out prediction. I say that because there are still two years before the games begin and there will some changes to the personnel on the senior squad. The way you’re writing off the team without having seen who is in our group and who is on the team is well, “out of perspective”.

    Reply
  3. So questioning the direction of our program is out of perspective in some way?

    Your right that there is some middle ground, and I for one do understand this. It’s what I’ve been spoon fed for many years now as a US fan.

    I now have a much more experienced “perspective” behind me and am beginning to wonder where things are headed for us as a program. So I question that. How is that so doom-and-gloom and out of perspective? I don’t see us doing anything different in 2010, so I choose to believe that we’ll go 3 and out again and be pleasantly surprised if things go differently. If some of you think I’m an “a-hole” or some negative person without “perspective” that’s your right. Call me out all you want. However, we’ll continue the dialogue all along this process and at the end of the day come 2010, see where we stand.

    Until then, enjoy.

    Reply
  4. Wow look at all the Husker soccer fans… (ME TOO!!). My feelings are much the same. I am mad that Nebraska only rushed for 99 yards against SJSU… Just like I am mad that we did not beat Cuba 3-0 or more. The cohesion on the team is lacking and we can only hope that Wednesday nights game gives us a better idea of what the team will play like come 2010… PS Cooper in for Ching and Feddy in there somewhere too. We really had no “threat”.

    Reply
  5. Brazil was away at Chile and won 3-0

    Portugal was away at Malta and won 4-0

    Greece was away at Luxembourg and won 3-0

    Germany was away at Liechtenstein and won 6-0

    Sure, away games are difficult, but I think Ive’s posts brings about a few other points. First of all, how is Austria rated below Guatemala, New Caledonia, Syria, Oman, and Cuba? The FIFA ranks are absurd. If Austria was in CONCACAF they’d be a favorite to advance to the world cup. They are not a bad team.

    Secondly, you can bet that the way that Italy won is being talked about in Italy. They are not happy with Lippi right now. Capello has caught quite a bit of heat for only winning by 2.

    And finally, the score is what matters, and 6 points from two games is great. We all agree that. Yet, the complaints are valid. The wins in Guatemala were not quality wins, and they could have easily been ties. We never dominated either of the games, and it appeared that in both, our strategy was to not lose.

    Against Bosnia, Spain had 17 shots to 2, 9 on goal to 0. Spain played well, but struggled with finishing. They had 65% of possession to 35%.

    Against Andorra, England had 15 shots to 1, 7 on goal to 0. Again, England played well, but struggled with finishing. They had 56% of possession to 44%.

    Against Austria, France had 14 shots to 6, 7 on goal to 2. This game was closer, but France didn’t get dominated. Austria just scored on both of their chances, while France didn’t capitalize. Austria did win the possession battle slightly, 52% to 48%.

    Of the big upsets, I’d be more upset if I was Italy than if I was France. True, France lost 3 points, but they should be fine. Italy didn’t play well against Cyprus. Much like we didn’t play well against Cuba or Guatemala.

    Cuba out shot us 8 to 6 (3 on goal to 2), and I imagine they had at least 55% of possession (can’t find that statistic).

    Guatemala out shout us 16 to 9 (7 to 3 on goal).

    Statistics are misleading and hard to trust, however, if a team is dominating a game, most of the time the stats will display that. And anyone who watched either of the games know that we were not dominate, or even close.

    Reply
  6. Tony in Quakeland – you state how Buddle can be successful without LD or Beckham, but how many goals of his occured when they were there?? Cooper has made himself a Golden boot possiblity by performing on an underperforming FCD team…. im not saying cooper all that and a bag of chips, im simply saying things wouldve been different (whether for better or worse)…

    i agree in hoping Jozy will be a difference maker in 2010…. but im hoping our forward roster spots consist of players who can actually score, and not rely on the midfielders to do all the work…

    -=====================================-

    Nicole- you misunderstood what i was saying… i agreed with Tony on his point.. but i simply pointed out the game would have been diffferent with cooper in instead of ching.. while ching does well to hold onto the ball and play back, cooper does well at taking his man on and getting a quality shot off.. i even CLEARLY pointed out that i was not saying we wouldve scored X goals, and pointed out that we may NOT have won at all…. i am simply saying the play style would have changed if we didnt have a holding forward, but rather a creative and play making forward…

    Reply
  7. Can’t wait for the return leg in D.C. picked up the tix this weekend.

    Was anyone at the Canada match? That scoreline shocked me more then US winning by one, wondering if someone who saw it had input

    Reply
  8. GO BIG RED!!!

    I agree with my fellow Nebraskan, the soccer we played is less than thrilling, it reminds one of England, boot the ball down the field and pray for a goal. We need to be able to pass the ball through midfield, perhaps changing up the line-up in that zone…..

    Reply
  9. Listen Green, and everyone else, I’m not saying you should jump for joy and throw parades because the U.S. team has two wins out of two road qualifiers. What I’m saying is that things need to be kept in perspective. People have every right to their opinions and have a right to expect more from the U.S. team, but there is a difference between expecting more and deciding that the results spell doom for the national team program. There has to be some middle ground between “Yay, we won two games, I don’t care how.” and “We only won 1-0 against two week teams, we’re doomed to fail in the World Cup in 2010.”

    I’m not advocating either side, just saying that if some perspective isn’t offered it can become easy for some to start believing the doom-and-gloom prognostications.

    I also think there are just people who are going to go with the gloom-and-doom because it goes along with their preconceived notions about the national team’s program, which is a bit unfortunate.

    Based on the polls, it looks as if a majority of the fans are further away from doom-and-gloom thinking than they are from the “everything is alright” thinking.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for providing some actual data, Adam R.

    I’m not sure what to think about long-term prospects under Bradley, but one type of anti-Bradley argument strikes me as flawed: any one of several variations on “the U.S. was lucky to win and would have lost/tied if not for [inferior opponent]’s inferior [finishing, etc.] and/or the US’s superior [goalkeeping, etc].” Isn’t the opponent considered inferior precisely because they are inferior in certain things and because the US is superuior in certain things? It doesn’t excuse poor play or lack of creativity or any number of deficiencies, but a result isn’t lucky simply because the goal margin is not as wide as it could or should have been.

    Reply
  11. Good Post Ives.

    Have to say, try being a high school and club soccer player in NYC, you’ll play on some horrible fields. Until they built the parade grounds complex, the MetOval was the only really even surface in brooklyn/queens and they are both Field Tuft.

    Hope to see a better showing Wednsday but I am pleased with 6 points moving foward.

    Reply
  12. Jason, you probably won’t read this far down, but while I agree with your analysis that Findley is an intriguing candidate for the future, we don’t have to worry about losing him to T&T – he’s already been capped for us against Switzerland.

    Reply
  13. Great post Ives! Not shocking, however, that it’s not enough to keep so many of the armchair coaches that post here from badmouthing our squad and our coach. 2-0 and 6 points from our first 2 road qualies… i wonder if deep down some of these a-holes wanted to see us draw or lose just to give them more fuel for their attacks on our guys! Give it a rest… winning is what counts… Bradley knows he has young talent at his disposal for the 2010 World Cup and knows he needs to develop them, but these first 2 games weren’t the spots to do it. Cheers and here’s to a convincing USA win on Wednesday night!!

    Reply
  14. I’m willing to be satisfied with grinding wins using a defensive scheme IF (big If) we can grind it out vs. quality teams. The danger in playing this style is that there is appalling pressure on the defense and keeper to not concede. For years, Keller saved, literally, points for the US team with his heroics. It seems that Howard has the potential to continue our trend of excellent keepers. Our team defense is better than it’s ever been and will need to continue improving if Bradley plays this style.

    Howl all we may (some of us), the fact is that Bradley will not be replaced as coach before 2010 if he qualifies. It’s not going to happen. So the calls to “Fire Bradley” probably aren’t the most productive of remarks. I like the discussion on lineups and tactics as much as anyone but at this point, we USMNT fans might as well get used to Bradley as coach until after 2010.

    Cheers,

    Reply
  15. OK, I’m from Nebraska so here’s a college football analogy:

    Say Nebraska goes into a game against, I don’t know…Louisiana Tech. They end up winning by a touchdown, but their quarterback completes 6/20 passes and throws 2 interceptions. I don’t think anyone would be accused of “whining” come Sunday morning when they suggest we try a backup or say “we should have played better against such a weak opponent.”

    My point isn’t that USA:Guatemala::Nebraska:Louisiana Tech…my point is in other sports and other countries, we’re allowed to question decisions…we’re allowed to call performances ugly…we’re allowed to express something other than utter excitement about wins without being called “whiners” or unpatriotic or whatever…

    Of course I’m happy we got 6 points. Great! I just don’t think our performances were anything too excited about… I’m more excited about Wednesday’s qualifier than I was about either of these…maybe we’ll see something to get excited about then.

    Reply
  16. “If no one minds me using the Italy v Cyprus example (they are 63 ranking positions apart and we are 64 from Cuba), I bet no one in Italy today is telling the public that they’re silly for being upset by that result. Yet somehow for us its supposed to be different?

    I think we have every right to expect a more comfortable result, or a decent first touch from our players, or that we bring in players who merit the callup instead of players who merited it prior to the last World Cup.”

    -SeaOtter

    ———————–

    Well said SO.

    I appreciate Ives’ optimism in these situations, I’ve tried to stay this positive for many years now. That time is now coming to an end for me. When we go up against two Euro and one African sides again in 2010, we’ll see just how improved we are/aren’t. I’m sick and tired of being told that these are great results against minnows. WE STILL LOOK LIKE SHITE OUT THERE AGAINST THESE MINNOWS. Enjoy. Catch ya in July 2010 to see how positive you can make it then.

    Reply
  17. Thanks, Ives, for bringing some common sense commentary back to the US soccer world. After recent articles by Grant Wahl and Mike Woitella, you’d think the US was the most under-achieving team on the planet. What they fail to acknowledge is 6 points out of two matches played under horrible conditions in immensely hostile venues, ON THE ROAD, nonetheless. I was watching FSC’s commentary on the US-Guatemala match, and their English commentators even acknowledged that England, or anybody else for that matter, would have had a very difficult time playing under those conditions, and would have been VERY pleased just to get out with a tie.

    Everybody wants “flash, pizazz, and high scoring.” Well, you take a group of flashy, stylistic players down to Cuba or Guatemala, who have one letdown and don’t get back on defense, and your looking at two road ties or losses, and your backs against the wall at home just to advance out of the group stage. Let’s get qualified first and foremost, THEN we can start really tinkering around with the lineup, and put together a roster for the WC that combines the best of sensible play with the scoring punch and flash that so many seem to want to focus on before the most important task is done.

    Reply
  18. Bob won’t run out of excuses… he’ll just trot out the old ones. Bradley is single-handedly bringing soccer in this country back to the level of the early 90s with his ridiculously conservative style of play. The sad part is that as conservative as he is, it’s not working. We should have at least tied with Guatemala and Cuba had plenty of chances to get a tie as well.

    Fire Bob now!

    Reply
  19. SeaOtter:

    I completely agree with you. I think it’s possible to be simultaneously happy to have the result and disappointed in the performance. Particularly in Guatemala, I don’t think holding most of the possession and taking twice as many shots as we did qualifies as “bunkering down.”

    Don’t get me wrong-I’m happy we got the right results, but a) I don’t think calling them ugly or lucky is “whining,” and b) I don’t think it’s evidence that Bradley played the best possible line-up/tactics. I’m not calling for his head, but I do think Cooper should have been in over EJ, for instance…

    Reply
  20. As much as i would have loved to see some of the newer talent (adu, altidore, davies, cooper) on the roster. ill live. and no matter what people. you gotta love the way we’ve willed victories.

    We beat Guatemala in Guatemala for the first time in recent history (or is it ever..i forget). We went into Cuba and won. it may not have been convincing but the final score was 1-0. and in the end, all the bitching and moaning wont change that. a win is a win.

    Now here is a better question. how has concacaf not suspended that guatemalan who threw the flying elbow at eddie lewis.

    Reply
  21. Nicole…Perhaps he wouldn’t have set up the goal for Dempsey, but maybe he would have finished the other two good opportunities Ching missed…

    I’d just like to point out that Cooper has scored more goals in the past 3 seasons than Ching (28 to Ching’s 27). Not only has he scored more goals than Ching this season, but he’s scored more goals than Ching has ever posted in any season. His goals-per-game average this year is higher than any GPG Ching has ever posted…

    I’m not saying, “If Cooper were in, we would have won 3-0.” That’s ridiculous. But I think it’s also ridiculous to deny that Cooper’s a better striker. There’s no doubt that he should have been called up over EJ.

    Reply
  22. Sorry, Brett, but I don’t see a better outcome vs. Cuba had Cooper been in the lineup. You say he receives the ball with his back to the goal and turns to take his defender on. He’s going to have to do it a lot quicker on the international stage than he does in MLS. Not to mention, he’s got to stay on his feet in order to do this. He goes down way too easily for such a “big” man. There’s no way he battles as hard and as well as Ching did in that game. In fact, had that been Cooper instead of Ching in the box…Dempsey wouldn’t have had the opportunity to finish his shot.

    Reply
  23. While I agree with Ives about the genuine difficulty in winning on the road with so much at stake, I disagree with the overall sentiment that some of our concerns are misquided.

    If no one minds me using the Italy v Cyprus example (they are 63 ranking positions apart and we are 64 from Cuba), I bet no one in Italy today is telling the public that they’re silly for being upset by that result. Yet somehow for us its supposed to be different?

    I think we have every right to expect a more comfortable result, or a decent first touch from our players, or that we bring in players who merit the callup instead of players who merited it prior to the last World Cup.

    This is supposedly our best (most experienced) 11 at the moment, yet we have to gut out wins against Cuba?

    Reply
  24. Mostly what it indicates is that the FIFA rankings are a joke. (Hark back to World Cup 98 … winners France were #2 for three years thereafter — including a Euro 2000 championship — below WC final losers Brazil …

    Reply
  25. That Mike Woltailla (sp?) column on Soccer America was complete BigSoccer garbage.

    He feels that the US team has made no progress. Compare the first two semi-final round road results of the US team to the results in the previous two cycles:

    2002 Cycle:

    1-1 Tie in Guatemala

    1-2 Loss in Costa Rica

    4-0 Win in Barbados (US needed a win)

    2006 Cycle:

    1-1 Tie in Jamaica

    1-1 Tie in Panama

    2-0 Win in El Salvador

    If you comapre apples to apples, the US is making progress.

    Now comes the home games. We’ll see how the US fares on nice fields with friendly crowds against inferior teams that will without a doubt be playing for a 0-0 draw. Here’s how we’ve fared in the past:

    2002 Cycle:

    7-0 v Barbados

    1-0 v Guatemala

    0-0 v Costa Rica

    2006 Cycle:

    2-0 v El Salvador

    6-0 v Panama

    1-1 v Jamaica (US had already gone through)

    The one thing that stands out in my mind is the Panama results. If any of you remember, the US was lucky to get a draw in horrible conditions against Panama, and then exposed them for the minnows they really were at home.

    I didn’t see one shred of comparable analysis in that column on Soccer America. I wouldn’t be surprised if the writer was a Big Soccer poster who has started seven Fire Bradley threads.

    Reply
  26. I an understand the sentiment about how these two results have been wonderful, and I agree. My problem so far has been more with roster selections. In this camp period there are two games. One at Cuba (bad place to play, road, all that, fine, do what we did against Guatemala, although the outcome probably still should have been at least a goal better), and one at home against T&T. We know that T&T likes to try to play attractive soccer, we know we have the talent to outplay them in that style too. Why were some of the younger, creative guys not called in? Is 20 the most you can call into a camp? I believe not. I’m not just talking about Adu or Altidore or Davies either. Why not Holden or Rogers or someone of those types? Yes, MLS has games, but Donovan and Kljestian are here. That’s my beef. Happy with the wins, curious about the roster selections.

    Reply
  27. Brett:

    I remain a Cooper agnostic. I certainly have Altidore above him on my depth chart and I think Josy will be the difference maker for the Nats. As for CONFACAF style street fights, I would rather see Buddle, who once again demonstrated that he is not dependent on LD and Beckham to score. I have followed Buddle his whole career and he is playing at a new level right now.

    As for Cooper, while I want the chance to find out for sure, I wonder if he is nimble enough and fast enough at the international level to make up for the fact that he really does not use his size and strength as a forward. While that’s a question for another thread, I’m sure we’ll get to see soon enough.

    Reply
  28. Mickey, I think Ives’ point was exactly that the Italy result (and others) show exactly how hard it is to even win road quals, let alone win convincingly. The bunker mentality that smaller nations use when underdogs make favorites look bad, more often that not. For every convincing win like Germany’s there are two big guns that just manage to win on the road (if that). England fans are saying all the same things after their qualifier. I can’t begin to think what the French fans are saying.

    We can look for more attractive soccer, but we really can’t demand better results with 6 points in 2 road games.

    Just some thoughts.

    Reply
  29. Great article Ives. I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. Showing the results and rankings of the weekends surprises should quell some of the whining of US fans. I look forward to seeing the T&T game.

    Reply
  30. Yeah… the only improvement we’ve seen out of this team has been the results.

    Two wins on the road against Cuba and Guatemala are more impressive than a win and a tie on the road against Panama and El Salvador (2004).

    Or a loss and a draw on the road to Costa Rica and Guatemala (2000).

    Does this mean that this team can’t get any better? Of course not– and rising expectations can only be a good thing. But it’s simply not true to say that they haven’t improved.

    Reply
  31. 1. The US were extremely lucky to walk out of Guatemala with 3 points. We never looked like scoring a goal from the run of play. Guatemala’s poor finishing/Howard’s great keeping kept them from scoring 3 goals themselves. Guatemala held more possession.

    2. T&T went into Cuba and won 3-1…

    I’m very happy to return home with 6 points. But I, for one, count the US as lucky. And I don’t see the results as evidence that EJ should have been called up in place of Cooper…

    I’m excited for upcoming fixtures…hopefully we can abandon some of the dead “experience” (EJ!) and play a more open, fluid, attacking game.

    Reply
  32. Tony in Quakeland – while i agree with you on truely hating when people claim we wouldve done this if X was in, i must say that if Cooper was in the game it probably wouldve been different…. not saying we wouldve scored more goals or even won for that matter, but unlike EJ and Ching, Cooper receives the ball with his back to the goal and turns to take the defender on… would at least offer a bit more for the people claiming to want more entertaining football…

    while ugly, it was 6 pts earned… for all of BB’s successes fans still cry for his head… he entered this position as a lose-lose situation…

    Reply
  33. Respectfully disagree with all of ya’.

    At the current rate, this is not a team that is seeking to raise the bar from past performances. They are not ruthless and they consider 1-0 scores.

    Using Ives’ litmus test, compare the rankings of the US and Cuba… that’s a near miss up there with Italy’s salvage.

    Mike Woitalla is the only journalist I can find who is calling out the US squad.

    The team needs to find some spark…

    Reply
  34. Well, I’ve heard so many excuses for our anti-football style. Players, B.Bradley, and Bigsoccer posters have whined about the conditions of the pitch, “hostile environments”, and other unknown ‘hazards of road qualifiers’.

    I will be elated and surprised if we play attractive soccer in our home qualies. In fact, along with many other fans, I not only expect it but I need it to continue to become excited about USMNT games.

    This weekend I moved from “I’ll be watching USA-Cuba and taping Fire-Red Bulls” to “I’ll be taping both games while I hit the bars.” Although that option seemed ridiculous to me last Friday.

    -DieHard f a d i n g

    Reply
  35. Ives,

    100% true on all accounts. I think a lot of USA fans, myself included, are starting to have very high expectations for the team. From the result in 2002 to the glut of young, talented, exciting players, there are reasons to be optimistic. But I think we’re getting ahead of ourselves and not giving the opponents and the conditions enough consideration when evaluating the team. It clearly is not easy to go to these places and win. I agree with poster Joe above that European teams would struggle in places like Guatemala and Cuba. I think Bob Bradley should be commended for selecting an experienced side and not rushing the new players into situations they can’t handle.

    Yes, we’re all excited to see the likes of Jozy and Freddy teaming up with Landon and Clint in the attack…and I think we’ll see that next year in the hexagonal (assuming we get through, which looks likely now) after the young guys have gotten into games in Europe and have a little more experience.

    I’m looking forward to a home thrashing of T&T. Yes, they seem to have a good, athletic side with some technical skill, but a full USA squad should be more than capable of scoring 3 or even 4 goals and making easy work of the Soca Warriors.

    Reply
  36. Its easy to get down on the guys because everybody wants to see them win 3-0 everytime they play in concacaf. I myself don’t like the results either but points are points. I just don’t like being left wondering if we are really just playing it safe or if we are actually playing our best team. What does it hurt to bring in Davies, Altidore, Adu, Cooper, Holden,or Robbie Rogers as a late game sub to get them 10-15 minutes of experience in these away games. I can see leaving the defense that is used to playing together out there until we clinch a spot in the next round but I don’t think a younger player is going to lose us the game in the later minutes of a game.

    Reply
  37. Great points by Ives and many of the fellow posters on this thread.

    The one thing I’ll disagree slightly with Ives about is whether T&T will bunker Wednesday.

    I fully expect the Soca Warriors to be playing for the scoreless draw. T&T is in second place in the group and a point here greatly helps their chances of going thru and that is all they care about.

    If they come about of the first 3 games – 2 on the road – with 5 points, they’ll be thrilled and I expect them to be very conservative as a result.

    If I turn out to be wrong, I’ll come back here Wednesday night and say so.

    Reply
  38. As I’ve written in previous threads, I’m in agreement with Ives, Jason and Tony. Lets nail the 3 points against T&T, and hopefully play some great soccer while we’re at it, and then call up the young guys and get them ready for the hexagonal.

    I had made a “friendly” wager on the Italy game, and I had risked a lot of “points” to earn back a little but I thought it was a lock. I was beyond relieved when Italy pulled it out. It would have been bad had they tied that game, real bad.

    Reply
  39. I am very pleased with the results, besides maybe Canada what other country in the world sees such a small percentage of its top athletes playing football. How would England fair if there were 4 major sports leagues to draw down the talent available to its football enterprise. Go USA, can’t wait for Wednesday.

    Reply
  40. Thanks for making sense.

    And, man, am I tired of complaints that essentially boil down to, “We would have won by three goals if Kenny Cooper played!”

    Reply
  41. I just hope we get the 3 points and use the remaining games to break in some players to the lineup.

    Aside from the obvious calls for Altidore, Adu, Cooper, Davies and even Buddle, I would like to see Robbie Findley get capped. He still can play for T&T and would love to use one game to lock his commitment. Findley is not ready for the Senior squad yet but his pace and attacking abilities intrigue me enough to warrant a look.

    Go USA!

    Reply
  42. Good points on the USMNT. It hasn’t been pretty so far, but so often playing ugly is how you get where you need to go. It’s good to see the Nats grind out a couple of wins in less than accommodating circumstances. They’ve obviously put themselves in a great position going into the next qualifier, whereas other teams have a lot of pressure on them.

    Reply
  43. I am stoked to be going to the T&T game on Weds! Hoping for a match that makes up for the dreary grittiness of the first two (away) matches, and ends with a home victory.

    Reply
  44. I think we have one of the hardest paths to the WC in the world. It’s not a matter of playing great teams, but how do you think Euro teams would fare lining up in places like Guatemala and Cuba? Terrible fields, terrible lighting, piss poor weather, hostile environments, we’re playing in third world countries. Not to mention the political issues the United States deals with in regards to the smaller Central American countries.

    England, France, Italy, they all go to nice modern stadiums with excellent fields, short travels and the hostility is not nearly at the same level.

    I’m proud of the 2 wins and would like to see some serious style poured on Wednesday.

    Reply
  45. Don’t underestimate T&T – ask the Revolution if Joe Public has some players. I think the USA will win but I’d be pleasantly surprised if the margin is 2+ goals.

    Reply

Leave a Comment