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Netherlands 2, USA 1: A Look Back

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There was plenty of ugliness, but some promising moments for the U.S. national team in its 2-1 loss to the Netherlands.

The Dutch midfield dominated, its wingers showed up great speed and moves and the Americans struggled to find many of their own chances in the first half.

Why was any of this a surprise?

Did people forget who the United States was playing? Did people think it would be a team of imposters posing as the same Dutch team that finished unbeaten in World Cup qualifying and is currently No. 3 in the world?

There was nothing surprising about the Netherlands' control of most of the match. What was surprising was how certainly American players responded, both positively and negatively. You may have already seen my rundown of the winners and losers from Wednesday's night match. Here are some more observations from Wednesday night.


Maurice Edu looked very steady in the second half playing as a deep-lying midfielder. He played with confidence on the ball and is going to make Bob Bradley's decision a tough one when Bradley picks his central midfielders for South Africa. You basically have four players vying for three spots, with Edu, Ricardo Clark, Jose Torres and Benny Feilhaber all battling.


I noticed some comments critical of Jozy Altidore. I realize he didn't score on Wednesday but if people can't see the improvements he has made I'm not sure what else to say. He went up against a strong pair of centerbacks and won some dangerous free kicks, made some nice moves, dished off some quality passes and hit one nice shot late in the match that forced a top save. Is he Wayne Rooney? No, but Altidore is maturing as a player and the goals will come if the midfield gets sorted out by the summer.

Altidore's had some good battles with Dutch centerback Johnny Heitinga in what was Part One of a two-part battle this week between the two. Altidore's Hull travels to Heitinga's Everton on Sunday so they should clash again (assuming Phil Brown doesn't have another brain cramp and chooses to bench Altidore).


Call it one game but I can definitely see DaMarcus Beasley regaining his starting left wing role and being in the lineup when the USA faces England. He's got his confidence back and just needs to stay healthy and find some consistent minutes against Rangers (yes, I know, easier said than done for Beasley).


Best longshot pick to make the World Cup team has to be Alejandro Bedoya after his impressive performance in just his second national team appearance. Bedoya can play on either flank and provides quickness and good movement away from the ball. He's still young, but given the underwhelming wing options after Donovan, Dempsey and Stuart Holden (when he returns, Bedoya could very well be Bob Bradley's surprise pick, especially if Donovan or Dempsey has to be used at forward.


I know I listed Jose Torres among the losers in my Winners & Losers, but it should be noted that he did manage to settle down a bit after a rough first 20-25 minutes. He spent a bit too much time chasing the ball rather than reading the flow of the game, which is why he had so few interceptions while Michael Bradley thwarted several Dutch attacks with interventions. I still like Torres as a prospect but he's gotten off to shaky starts in his two big opportunities to start, at Costa Rica in June and Wednesday vs. the Netherlands.


Heath Pearce didn't look bad as a late sub at left back, but it should also be noted that he didn't have to deal with the scary wing tandem of Arjen Roben and Eljero Elia.

If you didn't know about Elia before Wednesday, you had better learn. He's one of the best young wingers in Europe and could be a breakout star at the World Cup.


As bad a night as Jonathan Bornstein had, his performance probably doesn't mean Pearce is a front-runner to start now. If anything, it makes it even more likely that we'll see Carlos Bocanegra moved to left back once Oguchi Onyewu returns to give the Americans the same back four they used to reach the Confederations Cup final (and beat Spain in the semifinal).


From the "Shooting aside, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?" department, here's a question. Take away the penalty tug on Wesley Sneijder, and his unlucky deflection on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (okay, and his ball-plays-the-hand handball no call), and tell me how you think Bornstein did against the Dutch team's wingers? He didn't instill confidence but we also didn't see much in the way of dangerous service coming from his side, though Elia did sneak in behind the defense a few times. I don't think Bornstein will be off the World Cup squad, but I think the chances are more remote that he'll be starting come June.


Jonathan Spector's service wasn't as sharp as usual, but he held his own against some difficult assignments at right back. He's still ahead of Steve Cherundolo as far as I'm concerned and I don't see him moving to left back come June.


Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk was asked who he thought the best American player was, and he responded by saying he doesn't focus on such things. After thinking for a moment, he promptly pointed out U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard as being very good.


Van Marwijk may have done Bob Bradley a bit of a favor by taking out both Nigel DeJong and Mark Van Bommel and failing to replace their defensive bite in the Dutch lineup. The move had probably more to do with the fact that Marwijk wanted to give a run-out to his midfielders, which happened to include attacking stars Rafael Van Der Vaart and Ibrahim Afellay.

Could it have been a sort of birthday present for Bradley (yes, lost in the wake of the match was the fact that Wednesday was Bradley's birthday. Van Marwijk didn't forget, wishing him a happy birthday in the post-match press conference).


I know plenty can happen in the next three months, but I can't see Eddie Johnson or Robbie Findley making the World Cup squad. As it stands, I think Jozy Altidore and Brian Ching could wind up being the only pure forwards taken if Charlie Davies can't recover. If that happens, you can expect Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey to inherit a striker's role. The resurgence of DaMarcus Beasley and promising play from Alejandro Bedoya makes that even more likely.


That's all for now. What do you think of the above observations? Agree? Disagree?

Share your thoughts below (PLEASE DON'T INCLUDE WORLD CUP ROSTERS! Save that for Friday. I'll have a post addressing that).


  1. Ives,

    Look at your points about Bornstein. Contrast these to your points about Torres.

    Do you not see the inconsistency?
    As a favored son, Bradley has given Bornstein EVERY OPPORTUNITY IN THE WORLD to improve at the international level, and to become a fixture on the MNT. How many games has that Lunkhead started? I don’t know. He has 26 caps, let’s say he’s started 15. and in his 15th start he makes not 1 but 4 egregious mistakes plus many others that weren’t so obvious. This isn’t his 1st or 8th game , but his TWELFTH! It really speaks to the desperation of US soccer that he is all but assured a “seat on the plane”.

    Contrast this to Torres and your comments – “I still like Torres as a prospect but he’s gotten off to shaky starts in his two big opportunities to start, at Costa Rica in June and Wednesday vs. the Netherlands.” Let me repeat that TWO OPPORTUINTIES!!!! and those 2 OPPORTUNITIES WERE – Costa Rica AWAY, in a game the US gets shellacked. and the Netherlands AWAY!!!!
    Torres has gotten off to a shaky start against that competition. SHOCKING that he would struggle, and then when he begins to settle down, the Genius that is Bradley takes him out? BRILLIANT.

    Frankly, I don’t know Torres from a hole in the wall. He seems to be a skilled player that often times looks out of sync with the rest of the US stiffs.
    But heaven forbid they should put him into the lineup 10-12 times to really get a sense of what he can do so that he can develop game time repoire with the players he would go to battle with.

    And this I’m willing to guarantee if a Torres or Castillo or any other of the faceless names we hear about in the Soccer blogsphere got half the chances that Bornstink does, they would have the “seat on the plane” to South Africa that Bornstein seems assured of occupying.

    Perhaps I could have condensed this down to 3 words –

    “Bornstein is Agoos”. and that’s not a compliment.

  2. Even if he was right, you don’t disrespect the other team by saying that to the media. You don’t hear US players saying that when we play a team like Panama.

  3. Ives – I agree with this nealry 100%. The only 2 things I would put a little different are a) that Beasley should be a sub. LD and Dempsey should start the game on the wings. Each of them can play both wings so they can switch sides to work match ups. I don’t have a problem with Jozy and Ching starting together. yes they are simliar but I like the idea of Ching being able to hold the ball up for and distribute to Jozy. Plus Ching’s defense will be needed come June; and B)I think if Torres is given the opprtunity to play more in the next friendlies he will be a viable starter come June. The fact that he did find the game against a side like Holland despite his lack of international experience shows this. Edu>Clark, Torres=Feilhaber. I don’t envy BB’s decision here.

  4. what makes his dive even more daring was that he was the LAST DEFENDER! now that’s chutzpah — to take a dive where the downside is a one on one with the goalie.

    also — i don’t like to buy into the victim mentality — the ref missed that clear second penalty against bornstein with the handball. if the shoe was on the other foot, we wouldn’t stop talking about that.

  5. Clark has been mostly solid for the US through qualifiers, and had that one clutch goal. But he’s also prone to occasionally committing a bad foul in a dangerous spot or for a red card. Edu has fought injuries, but from what I’ve seen when he’s healthy, I think if he could stay healthy and get some more reps for the national team, he’d be a slightly better option than Clark.

    To borrow something from discussions of my Pittsburgh Penguins after the NHL trade deadline, it’s never a bad thing when you have to make a tough choice between guys who are playing well. Here’s hoping all our boys get healthy and keep up their form and make BB think long and hard to make those calls.

  6. Indeed. For long stretches, the US did not look good as a team, and certainly Bornstein’s woes dug them a deep hole. But fact of the matter is, the Dutch only scored one run-of-play goal, off a deflection Howard could do nothing about. And the US was one better shot away from a draw. On the road. At the #3 team in the world. Without 3 of the guys who, barring injury, would start every crucial match for the US.

    I saw negatives on Wednesday (especially Holden going down), but I also saw some big positives. I’m trying to keep it optimistic… why bother being a fan if we don’t have hope?

  7. Bedoya isn’t a striker so you wouldn’t compare him to Jozy. You’d compare him to a pool that consists of Beasley, Donovan, Dempsey, Holden, etc – the attacking wingers.

    And to be frank, two half games have not warranted much praise. He’s had some nice touches, movement, and passes but he was pretty silent against the Dutch and if he’s going to be a sub, you need impact players. I don’t see much penetration from him and his attacking sense hasn’t been shown. If he comes, Bradley must give him a start in a friendly so we can see how he is throughout a game.

    Ives – Under the logic of, “it’s not what you’ve done, he has talent,” shouldn’t that include Castillo? A player who has more skill as a LB then Boca, Pearce, and Bornstein (probably up with Beasley). Most are writing him off because he hasn’t played with the national team, but Bedoya has only a couple caps himself. Surely a double standard there?

    I don’t see him as a long shot because Bradley has played him recently and brought him to the Dutch game plus gave him a half. Having ignored your Rogers’, Davis’, etc, and bringing him, you wouldn’t really call him a “surprise” if he gets to SA. I’d be more surprised to see Rogers or Gaven go to SA.

  8. Yea, I’ve been nothing but impressed by Holden; this is a tough break for him. But hopefully he will recover quickly from the injury, and from what I’ve seen and heard, he’s the kind of guy (like Davies) who will work his tail off to get back into shape ASAP, get on the field for Bolton again, and be ready to go come June.

  9. Holden had a great Gold Cup. He had a real nice cross in the Mexico Qualifier. Since then he has been pretty anonymous for the US. He has potential but he still has an awful lot to prove.

    He should come back in time from the broken leg but what kind of game shape will he be in? I think the US has to plan on him not being in South Africa.

  10. Bornstein plays in the middle for Chivas so trying him there for the USMNT is hardly a stretch. The World Cup has a lot of games in a short span of time, with a limited roster. Versatile players then are very important. Spector, Demerit, and Boca have all played anywhere across the back line so giving Bornstein time in the middle makes sense.

    I don’t think JB should be starting, but he’s not as bad as the all the whining would indicate. At the present time his versatility makes him more useful.

  11. The England match is just a hair over three months away. Don’t you think it’s a bit presumptuous to expect Jermaine Jones to start at the World Cup when he’s yet to see a minute of PT with the US team? Not hating – I wish he’d been healthy so we could have seen him in action these past few months. But as Ives mentioned above in reply to Dave’s comment, “Let’s play the guy who hasn’t played because he must be the answer” is just speculation.

  12. I think people have plenty of legitimate gripes with Bradley. But any time something critical is said, it’s quickly written off as some form of “Eurosnobbery” or a sign that critic is just impossible to please. Of course there ARE people who will blindly criticize anything Bradley does, but it’s nearly impossible to make a critical remark without being completely written off. And keep in mind, there are plenty of apologists who can see little or no wrong sitting on the other end of the spectrum.

  13. Please Barry, review the prior art here:

    (1) We’re trying to find a center midfield partner for MB

    (2) Torres was was unavailable for a bunch of games

  14. the only thing people should take from this meaningless game is that De Jong is an asshat and that Bornstein has no business going to S Africa.

  15. After watching the last couple of friendlies I feel that the provisional 35 man SA squad which is the next deadline will look something like this:





    Defenders (5): Pearce, Cherundolo, Bornstein, Goodson, (Simek-Reserve)

    Midfield (7): Holden, Feilhaber, Torres, Clark, Bedoya, Jones, (Rogers-Reserve)

    Forwards (4) Ching, Davies, (Findley-Reserve), (Johnson-Reserve)

    Keeper (3): Guzan, Hahnemann, (Perkins-Reserve)

    Would have had Holden in the starting line-up…and he may well be there come the cup, but after the injury the other night….

    upon removing the players I classify as reserve you get it down to 25 players. In my opinion from that group you take the 23 who are playing the most consistent.

  16. Ives,

    I totally agree that by moving Spector to the left, you’re losing your best right back. But you also have to consider what you gain. You’re giving up some at right back to gain some at left (I’ll admit I haven’t watched a ton of Rennes and West Ham, but based on the little I’ve seen, I like Spector at LB a bit more than Boca), and you’re keeping your best center-back duo together. You also have to ask yourself, who do you trust more in a World Cup–DeMerit or Cherundolo. It’s pretty close for me at the moment.

  17. I’m not too high on Beasley. Sure, he was an excellent player in 2005, but he hasn’t shown much since then, aside from one good month for Rangers. I actually thought he was pretty poor in this game – bad touch, dispossessed too easilty, all the same things that have dogged his game for years. His work rate was good and his service on the goal was nice, but that’s about it.

    If we do have to put Beasley on the field, for the love of God please put him on the left. I cannot imagine why Bradley (or Arena before him) would ever put him on the right. He is one of the most one-footed players I’ve ever seen, and you don’t want him trying to cut inside and shoot – his shot from distance is terrible.

  18. What do you mean? They struggle against us. If it weren’t for a lucky deflection, the score would have been 1-1. And if it weren’t for a boneheaded penalty, the score would have been 1-0 US. It’s not like we were blown off the field. I thought we hung in there well, and finally figured out how to attack, albeit too late.

  19. Comparing the USMNT to Barcelona is a bit unfair. Their bench would be the most talented players on our team. That said, I agree with the general premise. However it is beyond any single coach or staff to correct this problem, it will take years of recognition, then implementation to change our mentality. And I believe it must change from the bottom up, in other words, this must start at the youngest age.

  20. Ives, I don’t have a problem with Bedoya nor specifically with you, just with the general bandwagon mentality of people picking him for the 23 squad without having seen him actually touch the ball much. (If you have seen him in the Swedish league, then you have more ability to have an opinion here than virtually all). Sometimes these bandwagon’s are correct (Davies) but at least just as often they are not (Torres, Castillo, demise of Beasley, etc.) I had rewatched the game to see what I was actually missing in the wave of support, and as I said, I only saw him touch the ball 5 times, complete 2 passes, one totally harmless and the give and go. Running off the ball is a big part of the game, but people like Findlay (who got way more touches per minute played than Bedoya) would be getting rave reviews if that was all there was to the game. The best you can say about Bedoya based only on the two brief national team appearances is that he’s not intimidated and he is running a lot. You could say the same about Gaven, Davis, Rogers (at times), Klestjan, Mapp, Rolfe, etc. Is Bedoya clearly such a cut above our 2nd level of wingers to merit a late flyer on him for the roster?

    PS Not exactly a welcome aboard.

    (SBI-Welcome aboard Alf (I tend to be wary of no commenters when their debut is negative). This comment is much more reasonable and explanatory of your view, and to be honest, I agree with you about fans being too quick to annoint unproven players. It’s not something I do often. That said, I saw Bedoya play in college, I’ve seen video of him from Sweden and have spoken to people who have played with and against him. Also, you can’t ignore the fact that he had a strong year in Sweden. American attacking players having strong European seasons isn’t exactly common, especially not in year one. I picked him for my most recent 23 and obviously its a speculative pick, but there are reasons to believe he could be a surprise pick and a worthy one. Could he wind up not being a factor this time around? Of course there’s a possibility, but I personally like his chances.)

  21. Bedoya played at Boston College (with Charlie Davies). I saw him play a bunch of times there and, while he looked skilled and creative, I thought he looked too slow and not physical enough. I’m really surprised to see how well he’s doing (although I was hoping the Revs would take a shot at him).

    I think he’s probably a classic example of what’s wrong with college soccer and how it probably marginalizes some it’s own best prospects.

    Charlie Davies had skills then too, but the only attributes that worked for him in the college game were speed, speed and speed.

  22. The earlier points stand, but ok, I’ll let it go. I can’t deny that Bradley looked like our best player on the field against the toughest competition we’ve faced in recent memory. For the record, I’m a fan of both Bradleys and appreciate what they’ve done for the USMNT. I’ve supported coach Bradley against all the naysayers, sometimes on this blog, because I think he is a good coach and good fit for our program. I wish him and us well for the WC and after.

  23. Ives – Disagree with your question of “well if we ignored EVERYTHING Bornstein did wrong.. how did he do?” Fact of the matter is, he did do that. He has caused penalties before and getting burned like that by Sneijder (not the fastest) will only get worse against equal opponents. The hand ball was a comical error and would of all but ended the game. His deflection for the goal was his fault to for turning his back to the player as he shot instead of keeping strong.

    There’s a love for Bornstein and a “let’s give him another chance, I see improvements,” when they haven’t been warranted. He’s too slow and he’s not smart enough to compensate for it. Heath came in and whipped in much needed crosses and wasn’t found out with a lack of true speed. Yes he wasn’t against Robben, but Robben had an offish day compared to his form for Bayern.

    We can’t keep making excuses and ignoring the huge faults of Bornstein. We only get one shot at the tournament and three times Bornstein offered us the loss.

  24. SBI – If the Edu sub for Torres is pre-ordained to see Edu’s form why not take of MB? FYI – I think MB is an starter no matter what on his own merits so no MB bashing from me. It is a friendly after all like you mentioned above and we waht MB can do. Torres has not gotten the chance to play a full game with the USMNT? Edu can do MB’s job for 45 minutes. IMO.

    The real question is why guys like Sacha and Bornstein and Findley and Johnson who’ve played bad for long periods of time on the USMNT all get more time than Torres. Why is that?

    The sub of Torres and the inclusion of Bornstein after half time is a bad coaching decision. Even if it is friendly. IMO.

  25. He scored a goal man! You wanna bench him? I think Gooch and DeMerit are better center halfs, but Boca should be starting at LB if Gooch and DeMerit are both healthy come World Cup time.

  26. I say you only bring one of them. If Charlie gets healthy you bring him, Jozy and Ching. If not you bring Jozy, Ching and then either Findley/EJ (Dear God, help us if that’s the case)

    I think bringing a 4th striker would be a wasted spot, especially with all the talent we have MF and LD’s and Deuce’s ability to play up top. Casey doesn’t offer anything Ching doesn’t. Findley and EJ are crap. We don’t need both of them and hopefully won’t need either of them if Charlie is healthy

  27. Totally agree. Too many talented wingers (Donovan, Dempsey, Holden, and Beasley) to let more than 1 one of them sit on the bench. Of course I’m praying and hoping Charlie makes it back, but if he doesn’t then it’s Young Jeezy & Deuce up top, with Donovan and Beasley/Holden on the wings.

  28. Jermaine would have also put De Jong in his place. Tackle from behind? Hit him in the face like he did to Van Bommel that one time?

  29. Yup. Torres got the key tackle all the way in the corner,then brought it all the way up the field which eventually led to the corner

  30. With all due respect, you’re f*%kin retarded. Torres get replaced by Sacha, Beckerman or McCarty?? Remind me, which one of those 3 got called up to the Netherlands match? Oh right…none of them.

    If Torres gets left off the final 23 for South Africa it will be because of the already crowded center midfield we have with Bradley, Clark, Edu and Feilhaber.

  31. Yeah, the spirit of the rule is tough here, but really, if Bradley wanted to wait and see, he’d name CD and then claim a new setback if he couldn’t go. Fairly standard.

  32. WORD! Jozy was able to handle and if he had better help (Findely and the damned long balls) he would have probably scored! How I wish Bradley would realize that we should begin playing to our strengths and forgo the 4-4-2…….Seriouly, if Jozy can hang with the Dutch, damn, imagine if had Deuce or Landon right behind him as mid’s.. I can dream!

  33. Really? Clark over Torres? So long balling all game long and bad tackles? Clark will eventually get better because of where he is at now, but as of now…No…Torres is better…and if I have to say, Clark is in the games and plays badly (Brazil steal for The Landon goal withstanding) against El Salvador and T and T….Torres gets put into games against Costa Rica away and the Dutch and does somewhat decently (CR, we decide to do a 4-3-3 with an out of shape and place Beasley, an over the hill Mastroeni, Marvell ‘I can run fast all day, but can’t touch a ball for my life’ and The Klejstain)…Sorry, but maybe I’m biased, but Clark is the man left out of the big 4 of CM’s on the US National Team..Edu has a better touch and can hold the ball better.. Torres and Benny can hold the ball and Bradley is a Destroyer of Worlds….

  34. Speed is a wonderful asset.

    But to be useful,the person with the speed has to also be able to play the game. Need an example?

    Eddie Johnson would blow Bocanegra away 10 times out of 10 if they were running the 100 yd. dash. But I’ll bet you Boca can shut down EJ for a whole game. Why? For one thing running with the ball slows you down. For another, Boca knows more about the game and is a better defender than EJ is an attacker.

    Many great players and defenders ( Beckenbauer, Moore, Baresi,etc.,) were not fast but they knew how to play. Sometimes, it’s just that simple.

    Cunningham, Findlay, and EJ are all pretty fast, maybe as fast as Davies at his best, but that doesn’t mean they can play the game. And remember,our opponents have fast players too.

  35. Michael Essien and Claudio Reyna, two noted midfielders both played a lot of right fullback, so it’s an intrigung idea but I think Bradley is more valuable where he is.

    Actually, I’m more intrigued with the idea of playing Goodson at center forward. He’s not bad on the ball and is wicked in the air.

  36. Pure unadulterated, high test, full on,steaming BS. You think this is the NFL or the NBA it’s not. Come back when you learn something about the game.

  37. You’re probably waiting for the Black Helicopters to appear over the Home Depot Center to take Gringo away to an undisclosed location. Please stop with the illegal drug use.

    Why would Bob Bradley waste valuable time and effort calling up Torres so often if he wanted him to fail? If Torres does well that makes life easier for Bob.

    I mean, do you hire employees so you can see them fail and then fire them? In case you’ve forgotten Bradley’s job and life is a lot easier, the more good players he can dig up.

    The man whose job and career is on the line here is Bradley not you.

  38. I think feilhaber will be 50/50 call. I don’t see his cartlidge problem going away, and if he is left behind, we need a possessing type, so torres gets the nod. Rico and edu remind me of each other, but then again I think rogers is holden’s younger less skilled brother.

    Obviously bradley goes, Jones hasn’t seen any time for usmnt, so he doesn’t. Hasn’t Edu been fighting the injury bug on and off this season?

    it might come down to how well clark does in the bundesliga….If he sees consitant playing time, then he should go.

  39. Then Castillo should have made up his damm mind sooner.

    Had he done so it’s possible he gets some work in and is now the starter.

    Instead he comes to the US at a time when they are in the middle of a qualification battle and the US can’t risk working the new guy in.

    Ives is right, Castillo is basically a left midfielder converted to left back, which is not bad but the whole point to replacing Bornstein is to get a better defender in there and,having seen Castillo, I’m not sure that he is a defensive upgrade.

    Cstilo’s future with the USMNT is most likely at left midfield.

  40. Options have not been plentiful and the US is very thin on players so when you find one you stick him in there and build around him.

    Also compare his resume to his competitors for PT. Other than Jermaine Jones ( who has yet to be able to play a game for the US ) none of them can even come close to Bradley’s resume.

    Finally, I’ve watched Bradley since his first couple of US games and he was pretty good early on. More important, it wasn’t like he had a lot of competition when he was named a starter.

  41. In 2009, the US played 24 games.

    3 of them were friendlies, 6 were Gold Cup games,5 were Confederation Cup games, 10 were WC qualifiers.

    Michael Bradley played in 14 games, all the the Confederations Cup games (except the final for which he was suspended)and all the Qualifiers. Since he is a starter this is expected. He did not play in 9 games.

    1.- Crooklyn makes it seem like Bradley plays every game. Michael Bradley does not play in every game. He played in about 63% of the US’ games in 2009.

    2.- Bradley plays in every game because, among other things, he is a big strong guy who doesn’t seem to get hurt. Given what is going on with the US lately, one would think that is an asset.

    And what about his competition? Jones? Ineligible and then hurt. Edu? Hurt. Torres? Often can’t get released by his club and is largely ineffective when he does play for the US. Bradley has been productive pretty much from the start of his career and started 2009 with 2 goals against Mexico in a world Cup Qualifier. Benny? Inconsistent out of shape mostly and good only for about 20-30 minutes. Holden? Good in the Gold Cup but average since. There is an old saying that about 80% of life is just showing up.

    Bradley shows up when called and he usually produces. He and his dad can’t can’t help it if his competition rarely do the same.

  42. Anyone who can’t see how much Altidore has grown isn’t looking hard enough – especially when Findley was stinking up the joint up top next to him.

    Torres looked sharped and took the best shot for us in the first half. Playing at Pachuca has honed his skills much more than I expected.

    Bornstein, for all his heroics in qualifying, looked terrible at left back. Utterly overmatched. And our back line in general has to be a concern with Gooch still out and Cherundolo.

    Lastly, I’d like to take a second and trash Nigel De Jong. That was a bullshit challenge to make in a friendly and will cost Holden a lot of time to recover and possibly his spot in the World Cup. Totally classless play by De Jong.

  43. I agree 100% with van der Vaart.

    “A robust side,” van der Vaart said in Dutch, when asked what he thought of his opponents. “But not great in terms of quality. Hard to play against though. They played compact, we had trouble getting through. Soccerwise they’re not great but they’re hard to beat.”

    Soccerwise, we aren’t great.

  44. I think you’re wrong. Torres will be there, if only because he may be the last healthy midfielder left standing.

    Even if that is not the case, Torres is clearly one of Bradley’s “favorites” He calls him up all the time. He wanted to call him up for the Gold Cup but Pachuca probably didn’t want Torres away that much ( contrast that to Benfica not caring about losing Adu for the most of summer). And Bradley called him up for the Denmark and Slovakia games which Torres turned down. That’s 8 games Torres could have put to good use.

    This is not the behavior of a manager who doesn’t like a player.


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