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Brazil 3, USA 0: A Look Back

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I was going to do a standard "Look Back" on the USA-Brazil game when it dawned on me that at this point there aren't many people interested in looking back at that mess.

If you're interested in my views on the second match, and overall look at the U.S. team's first two Confederations Cup matches, you can read my story.

For those of you who want to discuss the Brazil game, I will ask this simple set of questions. What did you consider the best bright spot for the Americans in the Brazil match and what was the most disappointment aspect of the match?

For me? Despite getting beaten on the first Brazil goal I thought that Spector was once again very good at right back. Of course he came up short when compared to his counterpart in the match, Maicon, who is only one of the world's best, if not the best, right back, but I think Spector defended very well and showed some promise going forward.

Disappointment? Bob Bradley starting DaMarcus Beasley and Sacha Kljestan, and not using that third sub to give someone like Jose Torres or Freddy Adu a look. I don't think Bradley's miscues on Thursday mean he should be fired, but the Brazil match was definitely one of his worst as U.S. national team head coach.

Here are my USA player grades for the match:

Tim Howard (5)– Could have come out and punched away cross on Brazil's first goal, but otherwise did his usual thing, making big saves to keep his team in the game.

Jonathan Bornstein (4.5)– Had his hands full all day with Maicon, but showed some better play in the second half. Not his best game, but the competition has to be considered.

Oguchi Onewu (6)– Another solid showing for the big free agent. He's  raised his stock during the tournament, despite the team's bad losses.

Jay DeMerit (6)– Plays well yet again and must have U.S. fans thankful that there is finally someone who can cover for Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra.

Jonathan Spector (5)– Beaten badly on Brazil's first goal, but was otherwise very composed at right back, but defensively and on the overlap. Still not delivering crosses, but is making good runs and showed a good passing touch.

Clint Dempsey (4)– Showed some glimpses but overall he just looked tired and disinterested.

DaMarcus Beasley (2)– Nothing redeeming about his performance at all. Just looks shot and needs a long break from the national team.

Michael Bradley (5)– Wasn't the force in the middle he was against Italy, but still put in another solid 90 minutes.

Sacha Kljestan (2)– Was just plain lost when it came to defending and provided nothing offensively. A wasted performance made worse by the red card.

Landon Donovan (6)– He's the U.S. team's best attacking player but can't make things happen on his own. Showed great effort yet again, but aside from his pass on Benny Feilhaber's post-rattler, Donovan had no signature moments.

Jozy Altidore (4)– Wasn't nearly as involved or dangerous as he was vs. Italy.

Conor Casey (4)- Did well to produce a header off the post, but his defensive "work" was embarrassing.

Benny Feilhaber (5.5)– Is he becoming Mr. Super Sub? Came off the bench and impressed, missing a goal by inches. Did well enough to earn consideration for a start vs. Egypt.

Bob Bradley (3)– Started Beasley and Kljestan, both whiffs, and sat on a third sub when he could have inserted any number of attacking options.


Now it's your turn. What was your favorite bright spot and most disappointing aspect of the match?

Share yours below.


  1. Positive: Spector and Donovan (lots of heart finally)

    Negative: Howard was shaky on some goals; Bradley’s coaching: sometimes this team reminded me of the MNT USA under Steve Sampson in France 1998.

  2. Ives, Can you comment on the Iranian-like unrest in the US Soccer population and the desire to see Bob, Sunil and the usual cloistered crew sent packing? Your judgments would be welcome.

    I was a fan of Bradley until he went “conservative-chicken-crazy”.


  3. I just read this:
    and afterwards, even though I think he should be benched, I don’t think Bob Bradley will have the cajones to bench him (Clint Dempsey). Call me a cynic, call me right, or call me wrong. We’ll see tomorrow. But my guess for tomorrow’s starting XI is this:

    A very conservative line-up to say the least!
    But that is the U.S. born soccer coach way!
    I would rather see Bocanegra at left back if he is injury free, but of course he will be in center in place of Demerit if he is in the game.
    I would rather see Torres take the place of Dempsey, but I really don’t think Bob Bradley has the balls to bench him!
    No matter what, Bob Bradley starts Clint Dempsey tomorrow morning.

  4. as a nigerian watching this US team, the best advice anyone can give you americans in looking forward to the next world cup is to bring in Louis Felipe Scolari, Jurgen Klinsmann or Marco Van Basten as soon as possible and attach either Bradley or some young promising american coach to their staff as chief assistant a la Stuart Pearce for england. The new incoming coach should be charged with making a full apraisal of all available american talent and then picking his strongest squad with an eye on both the world cup and the future. The current squad has no real competition for places and in addition to needing a kick up the rear, they really need fresh ideas and a fresh structure and style.

  5. I get very irritated at the comments about Adu being too small. Adu is clearly the future of the National Team. I don’t mean he’ll be the integral player, but he is very likely to become a starter someday. He has more natural skill than most other players in the US Player Pool and he has brought life to the attack in the matches he’s been inserted into. He isn’t polished and has a long way to go. But, let’s face it. This US team isn’t doing anything. Instead of playing guys like Beasley, who aren’t even starters for their club team, we should be giving minutes to these guys who ARE the future.

    It still boggles my mind that our National Team is made up of several players who aren’t starters. That’s really sad and troubling. Now, if they weren’t starters but were on a big club like Man U., that would be a different story. But, when they’re benchers for clubs in Scotland, Holland, Germany, or wherever. I think it is troubling.

    And, I am on board with moving on from Bradley. You’re right, it’s not the loss. The losses could be expected. It’s the way we played. The fact that there’s not much positive to look at or some kind of style that the US has. We’re a mess. And, we need someone to take over and do something about it.

    How about Klinsmann? Schmid? Nowak? Kinnear? All people I’d consider a suitable replacement through the World Cup.

  6. Positives:
    Hard to say this after letting in 6 goals but the defensive line was actually pretty good. Spector, Demerit and Gooch played well. Once Boca comes back, that’s a pretty solid back4 we have. But seeing how this team is run does not give me hope that Demerit will get his due. The guy held his own against the top forwards in the world!

    1. Inability of BB to impose his will on the team, make good player selections and get the best out of them.
    2. Woeful mid-field. I completely agree with the above poster (cevlrocks) regarding M Bradley. The whole mid-field was completely over matched and could not control the game let alone supplying to the forwards. We have 20 months to fix it. It’s going to be tough.

  7. This is off topic, but everyone I seem to talk to with the exception of a lot of posters here, feel that Michael Bradley should not play that much and definitely not in the CM.
    Michael Bradley is not the type of CM the USMNT needs. He is not creative nor does he dictate the pace of play. I don’t understand the support he gets from everyone. These are two things that any good CM should be capable of doing. Many say he has great attacking ability but i beg to differ. I can’t recall one goal that was not scored by goalie error or inside 10 yards. I remember when I first jumped on the Eddie Johnson band wagon for performances similar to this. I now know not be so quick in acknowledge a player as great when lucky should be said. The USMNT lack of ability to hold possession of the ball has been a problem. Even in WCQ that we should dictate the game we tend to be defending more and attacking less. Why does BB not play creative players in the CM is beyond me. All I know is that if nobody has been able to pair up with MB in the middle maybe it is because MB is the problem not the other way around. I mean seriously did anyone watch the Costa Rica game where MB ran in slow circle getting worked like he was a little kid playing against a pro. They scored off that ya know.

  8. As a coach myself, i love to live by a rule…”if you are not coaching it, you are accepting it”. I feel thatGood ol’Bob is accepting the way our national team players are playing. I hate to see my team lose.IF IT IS NOT DEMANDED, IT WILL NEVER BE ACCOMPLISHED.If we as fans do not demand more CHANGE will never occur and we will never get better.In any professional sport a series of embarrassing losses such as these are not acceptable by any means, by this time players have been tested enough and we should try to win !

  9. Ives, is there any way to find out and start a blog to get BOB Canned? A lot of fans are tired already with mediocrity! I am tired of playing “spirited games”. We should win or at least tie. Hell, I wouldn’t care if we lost, but we need to play ball. I hate BOB’s tactics; they never work. I am no longer satisfied with just beating Mexico. All we do is compete and not win! We need to get rid of players such as the beasely, Sasha, and Bornstein. They suck and it shows on the field. Connor Casey’s hustle or lack thereof…am I the only one wanting to gouge my eyes out along with my hair?? We are not showing the true futbol we are capable of playing. Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of it. There is no show of heart. These guys these past few games take wearing the colors for granted and it shows with their play. Look at Clint Dempsey; I hadn’t seen as many beautiful dives since Greg Louganis since the Olympics. As a spectator you can tell who has heart. Landon, Goouch, Jay to mention a few. We need new blood. Where is Jose Torres, stuart Holden? There is no sense of urgency, and the one to blame is the coach.

  10. U.S. soccer needs a shakeup and a fresh perspective. Open the purse strings and bring in someone who can manage the USSF. Sunil Gulati is the one who hired Bradley and should shoulder the major responsibility for the poor results of U.S. Soccerand what otBring in a proven

  11. Anthony,

    I don’t think anyone here is arguing we’re as talented as Brazil or Italy at this moment. My issue, and the issue of most from what i’ve seen thus far on this site, is the style of play and roster decisions.

    Hindsight is 20/20, and if these rosters had gotten us any points from these games, we’d be singing a different tune. As the case may be though, we looked worse than we are, we played too conservative, and we put players on the field who didn’t deserve any minutes. What I and other fans want is some sign of adjustment.

    The previous two games did not go as planned, so please do not put out the same lineup. Start the young players, lets see if they can add any bite to our attack.

  12. I find Howard’s assessment interesting: the coaches prepared the players, but the execution was off.

    I give Bradley credit for believing his players can play against two of the top teams in the world, but in reality, perhaps the US needs to resort to negative, behind the ball tactics. I would like to think that Jozy, who cant get minutes at a second division side just promoted, Benny, who gets 20 minute run outs in scandinavia, and Bradley, who starts at a relegation squeaker, can compete against Pirlo and Gattuso, but is that a realistic expectation?

  13. Mr. Ives – Has Bob Bradley lost this team? I read an article about Dempsey disagreeing with BB’s assessment of the US’s “nervous” start to the Brazil game.

    What is going on in the locker room? Surely, the USA’s best players have to be tiring of BB’s tactics and lineup decisions that give them little to no chance of success.

  14. Ives,

    It’s very telling that despite giving away 6 goals in 2 games most posters note Gooch, DeMerit and Spector as the bright spots. And Borstein was not that terrible neither.

    Meaning: we were terrible outplayed in midfield, made some give away mistakes, and created nothing.

    A play like between Spector and Donovan was brilliant, but a single moment over 180 minutes.

    We have almost the best possible defence as we can have (add CB on the left). A world class goalkeeper. BUT. They can’t hold the game against a classy opponent if attacking half won’t relieve pressure on them. Isn’t it soccer 101?

    BB has to go now!

  15. I sure hope we get get something positive from the Egypt match. The ship needs correcting quick or 2010 will be lost. Maybe getting the youngsters maximum playing leading up to next years event could bring about aome positive results,plus begin building for 2014. A new leadership team couldn’t hurt either.

  16. I’m starting to think that Bob Bradley puts too much stock into what he’s comfortable with and players he’s coached before. Sometimes I think he doesn’t seem to trust other coaches’ appraisals and sticks with players that he’s chosen and coached at club level. I haven’t done an exhaustive study but think of some of the players he’s played at times that have baffles us: Beasley who he coached with the Fire, Kljestan with Chivas, Bornstein with Chivas, and some might put Guzan in there but I wouldn’t. I’m not saying these players are crap, Bob just seems to play players he’s previously coached at times when they don’t seem in-form

  17. Good Lord. Can you please add a DIG feature to your comments section so the same posts aren’t repeated over and over. There are about 9 opinions expressed in this long list of posts.

  18. We aren’t as good as Brazil or Italy of course but our coach isnt capable of choosing the right players in the national team set up (Casey, Beasley, Klejstan) when the USA has better talent out there playing every match for their clubs. Also, Bradley makes terrible substitions and only gets results vs inferior oposition. Look at the national teams past results vs teams in the top 50 fifa rankings!!!!!!!!!!

    *Granted our 14 ranking is definately wrong..we are not in the top 20 in my eyes which is a fall off from when Bradley took the reins

  19. Anthony, we are definitely not good enough and there is NO coach who’ll make us as good as Italy or Brazil right now.
    We want a coach who’ll greatly enhance the team and capably build the play of the squad so that we CAN be as good as Italy or Brazil one day. We have a HELL of a long way to go to get there and right now this team is stuck in neutral.

  20. I would like Ives to step up.

    I have four questions:

    1. Is Bob Bradley a world class coach?

    2. If he is, what accounts the way the team has performed these past months?

    3. If Bradley is not a world class coach, what is the argument for keeping him?

    4. If Bradley is not a world class coach, did US Soccer make a big mistake by hiring him? A little mistake? An excusable blunder?

  21. The US has so many players, with more to offer, than Sacha:


    Brad Davis
    Danny Szetela
    Stu HOLDEN!

  22. I have just a few things I’d like to see. One is for Torres to please get on the field. He was one of the best players on the field in the first half against Costa Rica but hasn’t played since. Also I’d like to see Feilhaber playing in a withdrawn forward or high attacking midfield role. He plays little defense but is one of our best attacking players. Next how about playing Dempsey inside with Bradley. Dempsey pulls inside constantly and does play defense. Donovan out wide and Torres out wide also. Finally I’d start contemplating using Altidore as a sub. He doesn’t do much for me. Casey is more workman like and industrious with alot less skill, I wouldn’t mind seeing Davies play up top.

  23. Bradley made the mistake of not resting Dempsey. Based on his Fulham play–quality and amount–the problem seems to be his energy level. Bradley should have been testing his potential back-ups instead of playing Clint.

  24. I also, don’t agree with all the criticism of Dempsey; I think he was as fed up with the game as we were. Some of the Brazilian players were showing off, and I think he was just responding…. I respect him for it. At least he had some cojones out there…

  25. I agree that Bradley hasn’t had a great tournament but all this “Fire Bradley” crap is annoying. Getting rid of the coach because he lost to Italy and Brazil is dumb. The problem here is too many of you THINK you have a clue about the game and THINK you know what moves should and shouldn’t be made.

    I say get the hell over yourselves and support the damn team. Bradley’s done pretty well in his time as coach, well enough to deserve some more respect when he hits a rough patch.

    Posted by: TonyT | June 19, 2009 at 03:11 PM

    actually Tony it appears that you are the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. BB has had an abysmal run as head coach. He’s erased the strides taken over the past several years. The team lacks heart under him and, given his decision making abilities it’s not hard to see why.

    As for blindly supporting the team, you need to realize that only gets you so far. Sometimes questions must be asked and changes called for to advance. Such is the case now. BB has done the best he could. It simply isn’t good enough. Period.

    Fire BB

  26. Positive – I think Feilhaber has come back to the US team, where we need him.

    Negative- After all the bad coaching the US Soccer press corps still give BB too much slack. You Ives, should be calling for his head.

    If we play poorly in the Gold Cup, and poorly in Azteca. Would that be enough for you Ives. Por Favor Favor amigo, Vos sos mas inteligente

  27. I really think Bradley has to go.
    1)He’s just way to conservative as a coach. He almost always has to have two holding midfielders in there. While michael bradley can be attacking he really isn’t the creative central force that we need. With him and klejstan in there we just couldn’t keep the ball. We need someone who can hold the ball and get us out of tight spots to partner with bradley in the middle. teams know that we’re weak in possession so they play high pressure defense. Feilheber or Torres need to be in there with bradley every game.
    2) Think about it, Bradley got his job by winning games in a solid manner vs CONCACAF competition. After the last WC our questions with regards to the national team wasnt whether we could consistently beat CONCACAF opponents but whether we could take it to the next level and compete with higher competition. We need a coach who can take us to this level and Bradley never proved he could. We also need to pla friendlies in Europe way more so we’re used to playin competative games away from CONCACAF soil.

  28. Whether we should or not, that’s probably what’s going to happen. However, as is done in other parts, I’d be in favor of replacing Bradley if we do qualify for the WC and bring in a Hiddink or a Bora just for the next WC. The bar is pretty low. At our current rate we’ll finish last in our group again. If we did any better, there would be the temptation of keeping Bradley because expectations are so low. Obviously if we don’t make the WC Bradley is gone.

  29. Napoleon, your comment about Dempsey is so right on. All of the top players are coming off long hard seasons, why aren’t they lacking?

    to address the comment that Dempsey seems to have a riff with BB. This could be true based on his play…except BB starts him every game!

    Put Adu and Torres in. If not to win a game or to bring excitement to a match… to change the way the USMNT plays soccer. lets hold the ball through the midfield with MB, Torres, and Adu.

    The ‘solid’ defense also contributes to this teams lack of control. The solid D that has given up 6 goals in the last 2 matches needs to hold and swing until we find some positioning in the opposing teams half, then feed the ball to the playmakers.

    Jozy can’t seem to hold the ball up top long enough for our team to set up in the offensive half. Someday, yes. Then we’ll have two solid ways to move forward.

  30. I saw someone mention it earlier, but it really is a shame that Howard’s Goals against average is going to be so high. It’s going to unfairly reflect poorly on him, but he made some fantastic stops late in that Brazil game. He can’t win games by himself but he can prevent scorelines from getting ridiculously out of hand.

  31. The best coach on these shores, in my opinion, is Sigi Schmidt. He produced championships at UCLA, LA Galaxy, and Columbus Crew (who were absolutley woeful when he got there), and he has Seattle Sounders looking like a legitimate play-off team in their first season. I am not aware of any domestic coach with a resume that is nearly as successful as this. But I don’t think we should replace Bob Bradley at this point in the qualification cycle. There are extenuating circumstances for this current run of bad form: lack of adequate practice time with the full team before the Costa Rica game, and injuries to several key players who probably would have seen extensive playing time in South Africa. A team is never as good as it looks when winning, nor as bad as it looks when losing. In my view, US Soccer needs to stick with Bradley.

  32. Positives: Feilhaber has been a surprise above expectations. Donovan has seemed to take the criticism from WC06 to heart and played well regardless of the score line. Gooch and DeMerit both have put in good work and need to be commended.

    Negatives: Beasely, Klestjan, Clark, Dempsey (for trying stupid passes), and others for lack of hussle and effort rank at the top. But Bob Bradley has to be the biggest. I really expected a better performance from him. The biggest negative of all in a complete loss of hope for the next WC. We finished dead last in group play in WC98, WC06, Copa America08, and in the absence of a miracle CC09. I want to know what people are smoking if they think WC2010 will be any different. In that light what is there to look forward to as a USMNT fan? Keep Bradley, fire Bradley who cares! It’s a deeper issue than that (I know that in this WC cycle he won’t be fired). It’s the definition of insanity doing things the same and expecting different results. I’m at the point where I would like to hear something intelligent from Gulati, and by extension Garber, since he has been called on the carpet by Blatter on the level of play the USMNT exhibited.

  33. Ives,

    Is there any sentiment around the US team that maybe after all the hits and injuries Beasley has taken over the years, maybe his body is just breaking down and he’s not physically the same player?

    I remember him being a terror running at players, but now he plays like a 100 LB (soaking wet) holding midfielder who plays on the wing, which is an awful combination, especially for a guy that doesn’t have the skill-set of a holding midfielder.

  34. OK fellas, we have to think that the US is not as bad as we have seen. Let’s put tings in perspective. They are a team that is what I consider a “B” tier team, not an A (the likes of England, Argentina, Brazil, etc are the “A’s”). To get to an A Tier Team you have to have 2-3 stars, kind of like any other pro team (football, basketball, baseball) sorounded by good talent,not super stars, but good talent. So is J. Jones, Altidore (with a Mid Fielder that can put him good shots on goal, and one more Mid the answer, Torres maybe). The defense is solid with Gooch, Boca, Spector and Dulo. The problem is not the Defense, when they are set they are good, since they have worked together for a long time, it’s the only position that has had consistency, baring injuries. Midfiled has been the problem, not holding or creating other teams. Altidore, Donovan can score and even the stiff Ching can score when given the chance. What we need is two or 3 players that can be elite or A Tier players. It’s not as doom or gloom as it seems right now. We are not that far, we just have been in a funk and good teams go through it. Argentina lost to Bolivia 6-1, Brazil has lost to a Colombia (not a dull team) or an Ecuador or Peru before. England and Germany has also lost to lesser opponents. Point is, the boys can get back on track and we will be ok. J. Jones and the development or starting role of Torres can be huge for the rest of the team. We have a good development squad with Rekken, Nimo and other youth players in waiting in the wings. We will be ok fellas, and I’m not saying that because I have been “drinking the Kool Aid” I know because I follow all the US teams from Youth to Senior team.

  35. IVES:

    Is it just me, or should USA never play a short ball on corner kicks… I mean gooch, Boca, bradley, dempsey Altidore…

    Why not play the ball in the middle every time??


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