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A look back at the USA’s 2010 World Cup

DonovanBradley (GettyImages) 

The 2010 World Cup keeps rolling on, but for U.S. national team fans, the reality is still sinking in that the United States' exciting World Cup run is over.

Success or failure? Tournament to remember or tournament to forget? While the disappointment of Saturday's loss to Ghana is sure to leave the lingering tinge of failure, we have to ask ourselves if the tournament the team did play was memorable and whether it exceeded or surpassed our expectations.

Truth be told, I don't see how anyone could call the tournament a failure. Winning the group, playing some exciting attacking soccer and capturing the interest and passion of America's mainstream, even if only briefly, was more than most could have imagined happening before the tournament began. The hard part is that there was certainly an opportunity lost because the USA missed a chance to potentially reach a World Cup semifinal, and play two more games to keep increasing the interest in the sport back home. That's why, for many, the aftertaste following the USA's World Cup is a bitter one rather than a sweet one.

If you haven't had a chance to read my post-match and post-tournament coverage of the United States over at, here are some stories to check out:

My column on the Ghana loss

My piece on the USA players's World Cup grades

My look ahead to which players may be around for the 2014 World Cup

I will give a more detailed take on the potential USA 2014 team on SBI on Thursday (if not sooner). For now, here are some final World Cup observations:


I think Bob Bradley did a great job during the World Cup cycle, but I also think two World Cup cycles can be too much for any coach. While I wouldn't consider it a major mistake if he returned, I do think it is a good time for a change, both for the national team and for Bradley.

Bradley was the perfect coach to groom a young team and help it through the transition after the retirements of Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope. He integrated new players, strengthened the team's schedule to a level that would have seemed unimaginable four years ago, and did a thorough job of looking at all the talent in the pool.

Now I see a change being made and Sunil Gulati will need to find a coach who brings a strong resume and experience in the international game. Juergen Klinsmann makes plenty of sense and it would be intriguing to see what Klinsmann could do over the course of a four-year cycle.

Change for the sake of change wouldn't make much sense to me, so I wouldn't really see the point in replacing Bradley with a coach from MLS. I do think there are some very good coaches in MLS, but I wouldn't really see the benefit of letting Bradley go and turning to someone in MLS. Now, if Bradley moves on and makes a run at a club job in Europe, then I could see someone like Dom Kinnear or Stevie Nicol being given a call.

That said, I still see Gulati looking for a big name. Be it Klinsmann, Carlos Queiroz or Ruud Gullit (okay, that last one was just to see if you were paying attention).


Landon Donovan got all the headlines, but Michael Bradley was the most impressive player on the U.S. team over the course of four matches in my book. I really can't see him staying with Borussia Moenchengladbach after the World Cup he just had. Where do I see him going? The English Premier League makes the most sense.


I know nobody likes playing the "What if" game but I can't help but think that, with a healthy Charlie Davies, Oguchi Onyewu and Jermaine Jones, the United States would have been a semifinalist with a chance of pulling off a big upset.


Whoever is the next coach will need to start grooming some centerbacks ASAP. Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra will be too old for 2014. There are some great prospects in MLS, but they need some serious seasoning. Tim Ream, Ike Opara and Omar Gonzalez are all quality, and I'm still convinced Geoff Cameron could be a standout centerback in Europe if he were allowed to develop at the position.


That's all for now. I will share my 23-man roster for 2014 on Thursday. For now, please feel free to share your thoughts on the U.S. team's World Cup. any of my Fox stories, and any of the above thoughts, in the comments section below.


  1. That’s one thing I will say that BB did well. He made the team a team. They played together. The older guys were leaders, and the whole team played their hearts out. We didn’t have to deal with this prima donna BS like some of the more high profile teams. A tactical genius? No. But a smart and able coach? Yes.

  2. +1. See, I think all the Gold Cups are important. National pride man. That’s why teams in UEFA take the Euro Cup so seriously. It’s national pride. Until we can take pride in winning and winning everything (or at least trying) we will not progress. We should send our best team into any tournament, especially ones we get an invite too such as Copa America.

    Also, has anyone thought about the fact that if Brazil wins the WC there will possibly be two spots open in the Gold cup in 2013. Think about it, they are the World Champs (who get an automatic invite), the host country (who get an invite), and quite possible could be the CONMEBOL champs (who also get an invite). This would leave 2 spots open, who would get those two spots?

  3. Essentially we have 5 defenders. 2 defensive mids sitting just in front of the defense, granted they are also “offensive” players in that they are the outlet from the defense to the offense and sometimes they push up.

    I don’t know what defenders would fit there. New Zealand in the world Cup played with 3 defenders, so did Chile, do you mean to tell me that they have defenders that are “better” (by that i mean more tactically aware, bigger and faster) than we do? Ryan Nelsen? A 35 year old central defender…bigger and faster?

    Goodson is big and fast, not saying he would be the best. Gale, Gonzalez, Cameron, those are all people who could be strong CB options. I don’t know, man. That’s what we have 2 tournaments and 4 years to figure out.

    Also, I’m not saying we run all of a sudden change to a 3-5-2 a week before the Gold Cup, that’s what training is for. That’s where people become knowledgeable about their assignments. That’s when they become tactically aware. They have to grow into the system.

    I’m not saying 3-5-2 was/is the best option, but it’s certainly not the worst.

  4. Her is what Gomes said about Bob Bradley:

    Gomez defended Bradley’s tactical decisions, many of which had worked during the tournament.

    “Bob’s a great coach,” Gomez said. “He did what he believed what was best for the team. We win as a team. We lose as a team.”

    Gomez said he has no problems with how Bradley used him.

    “Absolutely,” he said. “Bob was very fair to me. I loved playing for him. He gave me an opportunity of a lifetime, and I’ll always be grateful to him.

    Strange that so many of the comments here can find nothing good to say about BB.

  5. Ives, do you think it’s fair to say that the two early subs vs. Ghana were a major factor? If BB hadn’t burned two subs replacing the inept and ineffective Clark and Findley by halftime, we could have brought on more fresh legs as the game neared or entered the extra 30 minutes. That might not have stopped Gyan’s goal, but it might have provided a little more spark to have Holden or Buddle or Torres come on with Gomez…

  6. obviously they were developed up to a point before the EPL. My point is that the EPL developed them to the next level, from promising youngster in a lower division, to world-class international players. That’s not too hard to understand.

  7. New lineups withOUT MB? Sounds great, particularly since he was arguably our best player this world cup.

    I think it’s great to do that in unimportant Gold Cups and friendlies. But if the match has any kind of Confederations Cup or World Cup implications, there is NO WAY IN HELL MB should ride the pine.
    No way.

  8. Moyes is not leaveing everton for a nats gig, if he did it would be for scotland. Ditto for Wenger. You might as will put santa claus and teh easter bunny n your list.


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