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Mexico 4, USMNT 2: The Highlights

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fTvZqC-ycE]

Comments

  1. Top 5? I could name around 10 guys better than Howard. A top 5 keeper wouldn’t be playing for Everton. Howard is on the decline.

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  2. Also when you say:
    “Bradley needs to stay. . .there’s no replacements that are acceptable, and I think he’s learning”

    The national team isn’t a place for “learning” how to coach.

    I think BB did a good job these past 4 years, but clearly the team isn’t going anywhere with him so it’s time to change.

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  3. Not a blowout? I don’t think we watched the same game then. Mexico dominated our A team in a way I’ve never seen before. They picked us apart in a clinical manner. It wasn’t even close.
    You say we were crippled, what of Mexico losing their top Central defender during the game with Marquez’ injury? Dolo’s injury isn’t why we lost. Mexico was running us in circles before he got injured.

    You say had no other choice than playing Bornstein, and I couldn’t disagree more. It’s the finals, and you switch Lichaj, a young inexperienced defender from LB to RB when he was just starting to be comfortable there with Boca by his side and inject Bornstein, someone who hasn’t played in forever and not one single minute all tournament. It’s simply irresponsible. If you don’t like Spector, then shift Boca out left and put Gooch in the game, for example.

    Finally, please explain, looking at over a year of poor playing what justifies that BB should stay? Is there anything in our results vs decent teams in the past year that indicates anything positive to you? Is getting humiliated at home by Brazil, Spain and Mexico, unable to beat, at home Poland, Chile, Columbia or Paraguay, losing to Panama (??!!)… is any of that encouraging to you?

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  4. Well said Adam!

    As for Mexico, hats off to them. Not only they played great, but they also respected their opponent(s), including the US.

    The previous Mexican teams also had the better talents, but they seemed to always underestimated the US. It felt weird last week where I couldn’t find a single degrading quote from any of the Mexican players/coaches.

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  5. I don’t think Bielsa would work out well for the US. He’s pretty much a “my way or the highway” type of guy. If you think Klinsmann wants control, Bielsa would be a total nightmare for the guys at the USSF. He’s also not very media friendly. Doesn’t really like to do interviews, his post-game discussions are notoriously long-winded and detailed. He also caused a bit of an uproar in Chile when he twice seemed indifferent to meeting the President of Chile and basically refused to interact with him because Bielsa, it was rumored, disagreed with his politics. Can you imagine if he did that to a US president if he doesn’t like their politics, US soccer would be making headlines for all the wrong reasons. He knows his stuff and is a tremendous coach, I just don’t see Gulati or anybody in the USSF handling his quirks and personality well.

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  6. You make the most sense of all of the anti BB sentiments I’ve read. The biggest problem BB has, IMO, is his son. They are a package deal, and if MB can’t hold the damn ball for a little longer we’re screwed ( I do love his attitude).

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  7. It was NOT a blowout. We competed, despite being crippled by an ineffective left back. In fact, I was thrilled by our offense.

    I’m not a BB fan, but, I give him credit for this tourney. He found Adu is in fact a legitimate asset, and he had no other choice than playing Bornstein (No, Spector is waaaaay tooo slow). AND, given Bornstein’s previous performances, he did alright in the second half. I’m just glad they didn’t score more than 4.

    Bradley needs to stay. . .there’s no replacements that are acceptable, and I think he’s learning.

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  8. I understand why anyone would be upset about the ceremony being in Spanish and not English, especially after the heart-breaking loss. It’s worth remembering, though, that Los Angeles was part of Mexico before the US won it in a war. I suggest we embrace the Mexican culture that we have here, by including their language from time to time. . . . digressing, I still hate losing to them (they were better), and why the hell doesn’t Mexico do better on the world stage? The should be making semis in WCs, but not a one. . ..

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  9. Wow Adam, I was with you for a while there and then you blew it. Howard not world class? Please. He’s top 5 at worst. I’ll grant you he didn’t have his best game, but to indict his overall ability? Name me 4 better keepers in the world.

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  10. In my view, a US coach must achieve the minimum following results (and comport himself appropriately otherwise) to keep his job: (1) Qualify for the World Cup (with relative ease), (2) Make the knockout rounds of the WC, and (3) Win the Gold Cup in a Confederations Cup Year. Bradley barely hung on with 2 and didn’t get 3, so its time for him to go. Our apex was 2-0 against Brazil, the World Cup was an epic flub and miracle goal away from being a total disaster, and we’ve given up 9 goals to Mexico in the last two Gold Cup finals. But putting in (and keeping in) Bornstein should be the final nail. I thought the Adu move/Donovan benching showed that Bradley was growing and maybe had some fresh ideas. But the Bornstein move showed yet again that Bradley’s in game decision making hurts the team, and we simply don’t have the depth to make up for bad coaching decisions. Bradley isn’t a bad coach the way that Sascha isn’t a bad player. He’s just not good enough anymore for the level we want to be at.

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  11. stargate,

    Mikey really crapped the bed on film. If I recall, his coach in Germany benched him for undisciplined play at one point. It was really blatant on film. I didn’t catch it live, but while reviewing the tape I caught myself saying…”What the F$%^ is that idiot doing?”

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  12. Bob Bradley isn’t a bad coach, but he’s had the reins for two cycles and it’s time for new blood.

    Like others have said, the entire system and structure needs an overhaul. Pay-to-play is the largest of many reasons why our senior Nat team is woefully average.

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  13. agreed on Bradley. I never liked him even when he played well.

    Sunil has to clean house now and start preparing for WC 14 or we will be crushed again.

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  14. I would really like to know what the USSF has done to avoid any hard questions from journalists. Almost every major soccer writer gives Bradley and Gulati pass after pass. Is everyone scared of being frozen out by USSF? (Like what happened to Trecker?)

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  15. The problem was that the entire ceremony wasn’t entirely in Spanish. It was in both English and Spanish, I remember watching it and hearing it. So do a lot of people. I think Howard was pissed in general due to the loss and heard what he wanted to hear which riled him up even further. His reaction wasn’t exactly xenophobic, but more sour grapes and probably not wanting to hear anything related to Mexico or the Spanish language. Especially since the question that was asked of him when he made those comments wasn’t even about the ceremony. He just wanted to vent and he did. If the US had won, I don’t think you would have heard a peep out of Howard about what language the ceremony was in.

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  16. I rewatched the game and here are some random comments…however, Mbradley REALLY stood out negatively on the rewatch…

    1) Our center backs, as they currently stand, lack elite athleticism. Like I’ve been saying, the US needs to find 1 monster center back. The current crop is adequate in terms of adding depth…only.

    2) Losing Dolo at RB HURT. Bradley’s terrible decision making came into play next. He brings on Borenstein,,,YIKES! He should never suit up again. Just a complete disaster on so many levels. Bringing Edu in at CB and shifting Boca out would have made much more sense. Luckily, we do have depth w/ Chandler at RB. A ton of pace…he could have come in for Dolo. Oh well.

    3) Michael Bradley…I’ve spoken about his undisciplined play before, but he was completely out of sorts. No one, and I mean no one, is even mentioning this. I watched him closely and he left Jones and the center backs out to dry on countless occasions.

    Michael Bradley had a complete shocker on film and continues to display long bouts of undisciplined play in his marking, defensive positioning and marauding nonsensical offensive forays. He was directly culpable for 3 of Mexico’s goal by being woefully out of position for various reasons. His mindless running is often mistaken for a player that is working hard, but, in fact, is a function of an undisciplined player.

    4) Howard had a shocker and came up SMALL.

    5) Adu, at least, illustrated his elite talent. He needs to play. However, part of the problem is that Bradley kept pushing forward which clogged the space underneath the striker so Adu pushed out wide to get the ball. In a true 4-2-3-1, the 2 def mids need to act as a pivot. This fell apart against Mexico as Bradley ran around like chicken w/o its head. During this first 25 mins, Adu found some space underneath, but that disappeared quickly. And, you could tell that he was the only player the Mexicans feared as they doubled him the entire 2nd 1/2.

    6) Clint should have been up top the entire game. I don’t know why Bradley started Landy up there. Landy needs to run off the ball and utilize his speed. We were successful when the switched during the game…and it was Landy / Clint recognizing this during the flow of the game…not Bob.

    7) Mexico’s team is the best that they’ve ever fielded. Chicharito, although a bit quiet in terms of on the ball participation, caused so much confusion amongst the back 4 with his runs, that the US lost focus on the other attacking players. Mexico wanted a track meet…and got one.

    8) Speaking of track meet…the US needed to do the following after going up 2-0. For the rest of the 1st 1/2, the US should have dropped to a 4-1-4-1 with Jones sitting in front of the defense and Clint dropping into the middle and playing more defensive. Adu up top and the wingers pinching in. The US needed to play ugly footy and clog the middle. Bob did nothing. In the 2nd 1/2, I would have brought in Edu, assuming it was still 2-0 and taken off Adu…leaving Clint up top. Oh well…Bob has never been known as a game-time decision maker.

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  17. When did I say Mexico had poor players?
    I’m just saying overall, save for 2 or 3 MExican players, the USA’s talent is more or less equal to Mexico’s. Mexico was more zoned in and motivated for the GC, for sure and deserved to win it. But who’s fault is that? In the end, it’s poor coaching and poor player management over the past year which costs the US big time.

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  18. Yeah and not only that but where are the hard questions? Like the whole Chandler situation stinks to me, yet Bob says he he worked it out with Nuremburg and the press says “ok.” How many coaches would just let a player of that caliber miss their regional tournament? Has anyone even tried to interview Chandler and get a response? I hate to say it but I think that kid is going to end up in a German uniform.

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  19. Roy, look at the whole past 12 months and you’ll see the USA was unable to beat any decent team while getting blown out by good teams. The signs were there that BB’s magic touch had faded.

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  20. How was BB’s coaching poor in the final? Clearly Bornstein was a blunder. Lichaj had played LB decently and our RB gets injured. Why shift Lichaj, a young inexperienced player, over to RB during the final of a major tournament? Not only that, but they bring in a guy that hasn’t played a minute during the whole tournament and barely had any PT during a whole year. It’s tactical suicide.
    Sure hindsight is 20/20, but the Licaj to the right + Bornstein to LB is really not a very reasonable option. There were many more reasonable options, the first coming to mind is Spector for Dolo. Boca to the Left and Gooch with Goodson in the middle could have also been another emergency option. But really, why bring Spector along? Isn’t he our emergency RB in case Dolo can’t go? Wasn’t that why BB brought him along?
    Anyhow, it’s too bad all this debating and putting into question of the coaches’ decisions have to come from the fans rather than from the journalists.

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  21. what reports? I’ll cry if that is true, but it shows that the problem is not merely Bradley. Many foreign coaches would probably be very dissatisfied with the youth setup here, but many would probably also like to put their imprimatur on it, yet all we hear is something to the effect of ‘coaches needs to work inside the US system.’ Even Landon has said there were kids more talented than him who he played with while growing up in SoCal, but they couldn’t pay to play and were lost. For Gulati and his minions, life is good, filled with expensive buffets and box seats at Nats games, so there is no need to change anything.

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  22. Rather than look only at this individual match, in which no question Mexico was the superior side, if you look at the tournament as a whole the US played at a barely acceptable level. I’m ambivalent about coach Bradley, but this GC gives you very little confidence going forward with him, and if this is really all about the WC in the end, then we should move on to a pair of fresh eyes.

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  23. I think you’re being a bit naive. In the last couple of match ups Torrado has owned Bradley, and I don’t care where they play, Torrado is better. Mexico has skill all over the field, just because you haven’t heard of them doesn’t make them poor players. It is evident to almost anyone with eyes that Mexico has better first touches and quicker passing than the US.

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  24. In any “serious” soccer country, the press would all over BB for his poor coaching during the game… but no matter what, the complacency of our expert writers is dumbfounding.
    It’s pretty disappointing, as a fan, to see that the specialized press is always so temperate in their criticism of our coaching staff. Already, during the WC, when Rico Clark kept getting chances when it was clear to everyone Edu was much sharper, I was frustrated, as a dedicated USA supporter no to see more scathing in the press about this clear coaching blunder.

    The press is good at laying the blame on the players when they perform poorly, but totally mute when it is reasonable that they apply the same energy into criticizing coaches or USSF decisions.

    I’m not asking for overkill like we’d see in 99% of soccer playing countries after such a rout, but a little clear and objective criticism would be welcome.

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  25. To play devil’s advocate, 2 of Mexico’s subs were direct replacements of injured players. That points to Mexico’s depth.

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  26. Believe it or not the US had this game, 2-0 up and scoring 2 well engineered goals. Honduras went to OT with these guys and we were up by 2, and still pressing (they were missing too mind you). Then BB makes a defensive decision (as usual) and everything goes down the drain. You can’t switch up the defensive like that (players are already confortable in their roles) and worst of all bring in a player like Borntein. Cherundolo out Spector in and the game continues……Edu in Bradley/Jones out and the game continues.
    We have players that are game changers but need another coach to spot those talents. Until recently Adu was a JOKE on this forum to many but a few of us (I know who you are) but he comes in and becomes the best US player in the final. He use to be included on most people’s so call “Bradley’s mistake list”: ADU, WONDO and ROGERS but look how people talk about him now and avoid mocking him (now that’s funny). We need to stop selecting players based on WHERE YOU PLAY and have a coach that can recognize and harvest talent, and help motivate them to the next level (e.g Panama and Honduras have coaches, not necessarily world class, working with talent inferior to us but had a very strong showing….imagine if they had our talent pool!!! that good coaching)

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  27. I everyone forgetting that Mexico lost Salcido and Marquez, after Torres Nilo came in for Salcido he shutdown Adu really well, and this was Reynoso’s first cap by the way. The USA should have explioted Mexico’s D as well but the fact is they shutdown our play and started playing possession and good passing, always targeting the right side of the U.S. defense because even when Dolo was in Mexico already had 3 chances to score. Gio and Barrera gave us hell and Torado and castro shut jones and our Midfield down in a heartbeat…The U.S. dint take care of business but from prior games I was expecting a loss, I just thank God DeNigris did not come in because it would have been worse for us…The US lost to a good team there is no shame in that.

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  28. USSF had its chance to bring in Marcelo Bielsa. According to reports, he had a whole plan for player development which would have required the USSF to relinquish control as with Klinsy.

    Bielsa would have been a great coach for the USMNT.

    Cheers

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  29. I thought of the possibility of Lichaj pulling a Suarez and said it at the time during the game to my son, in fact. But I’m happy he didn’t. For one thing, he actually was rather close with his head and made quite a valiant effort, as the replay shows. For another, it wasn’t a game situation that made as much sense as the one Suarez was in, either, as we were already losing (not tied) and there was a chunk of time left (not the end of the match heading toward extra time).

    Plus you have to remember that even Suarez got incredibly lucky when Gyan’s ensuing penalty hit the crossbar.

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  30. I agree that Gio is the engine that makes this Mexican team run. Chicharito is a bigger star, but Gio is extremely important. As for poor finishing by the USMNT, none of the three strikers that BB Bradley brought started the game (Altidore due to the injury, Agudelo and Wondo due to not being ready to being a starter at this level at this time). And they still had 2-0 lead. The reason they lost the game was defensive lapses rather than inability to score. It goes without saying that Bornstein should never play for the USMNT again. Going forward to 2014, the defense remains the biggest question mark. It is unclear who would be playing the two CB positions, traditionally a strenth of the USMNT. Ream is clearly not ready yet, Gooch never fully recovered from his injury, Boca will be too old by 2014, Goodson might be an option, but he has his limitations. Chandler and Lichaj are likely to become answers at the RB and LB – their emegence this year is on of the positives. Another positive is the play of Adu – could he become that creative, technical midfielder that the team needs? He certainly played his part in the teams last 3 goals and demonstrated a big change in his attitude. Bedoya and Altidore had a nice tournament overall, although Bedoya largely disappeared in the final. Holden, when he recovers from injury, is likely to strengthen the midfiled. I also think that the team will be undergoing a change in generations (as Donovan, Dempsey, Boca, Dolo, Jones will be on the wrong side of 30 by 2014 – some of them are likely to make the team, but would be more effective off the bench). Also, the 4-2-3-1 formation is here to stay.

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  31. Last night should be where it ends for Bob Bradley. It is time for a new man to look at this collection of talent and bring new ideas to the pitch. A man who will put the eleven best Americans at their respective position, regardless of past duty for the national side. It is time for the U.S. to find a manager, American or not, to take the 2-0 lead back to the dressing room and hoist some silverware after a major tournament. Nothing less can be acceptable any longer.

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  32. Called to provisional roster, then dropped due to injury.

    It isn’t like Bob was just ignoring better options at outside back, folks. And as much as the Bornstein moved doomed us, I didn’t see a lot of better options. One thing that may have worked was pushing Bocanegra out and moving Edu to centerback, although that could have brought its own disasters. Fact is, we lost probably the one keystone player in an already suspect backline. Once that happens, Mexico is going to adjust to exploit it with their best midfielder, and thats going to be all she wrote. I’m not sure there’s any tactical adjustment we could make at that point, and that’s probably what is frustrating us so much.

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  33. After reading through everyone’s response here it actually makes more sense to me now why it was in Spanish. I think Tim, like many US soccer fans, are tired of feeling like second class citizens when it comes to soccer in the US. However, if you don’t win, you can’t build a fan base.

    In terms of why the Gold Cup is in the USA – $$$ – plain and simple.

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  34. I’m surprised that no one has really mentioned that one of the key problems with the US is that our best player, Donovan, will never get any better because he refuses to challenge himself. Can you imagine how good Donovan could potentially be if he accepted the challenge to play in top leagues? And no, playing in the EPL for two months and some minor time in the Bundesliga does not count. It baffles me that he is satisfied with staying in MLS and doesn’t realize how much better he would be in a better league. No offense to MLS, but you are not going to raise your skill level to world class by staying in that league…

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  35. How do you not settle in with a 2 goal lead? All the US had to do was hold out for 20 minutes and mexico goes into a shell. Checkmate.

    Donovan should have been pulled back as he would have helped cover for Bornstein some, who shouldn’t have been in there. Got to say though, Howard is guilty on at least 2, maybe 3 of the goals. For every super athletic move he makes, he makes a stupid one. That’s why he’s not world class.

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  36. Ever since the Reyna retirement the US midfield has gone back to being completely overrun by good teams and most of the time at best being able to hold their own against the weaker teams. In WC we were pretty much dominated at midfield by England and Ghana and played fairly evenly against Slovenia and Algeria. One could argue that our midfield struggled to control the game against many of the CONCACAF minnows in this tournament. Until we develop a combination of talent and tactics that allows our midfield to gain some control over the pace of the game, we will continue to see one way traffic against the better teams, no lead against minnows/middling teams will be safe and our results will boil down to luck. Against England, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico we now look about as likely to get somewhere as we did in the mid 90’s. Occasionally we survive the non-stop barrage that our defense is under and score enough fast break/setpiece goals to eek out a flattering result. Mexico was crushing us the entire game, making our entire team resemble an assembly of traffic cones. Bornstein or not, was not going to change the fact that we were under constant siege. Plus, Mexico always had two against one on that side because while Bedoya was helping on defence on the right (in large part because he couldn’t keep running up into Adu parked on the right when we had the ball) there were acres of space behind Landon for Barrera and Dos Santos to terrorize whoever was defending that side. Lichaj hadn’t yet totally cracked by the time he got shifted over, but there was plenty of danger from that side even before Bornstein ever set foot on the field … Soccer is a game won and lost by the ability to hold and control the ball in the midfield under pressure. We had one player capable of doing that on the field yesterday, and sadly that was Adu … Landon and Clint never developed into the types of players able to assert their will on the flow of the game at the elite level, and MB seems to have topped out well short of that as well. Holden may be our best middie right now, and even he is more of a destroyer at Bolton (leading in tackles, takeaways, etc.) than a holding/offensive force (few goals/assists).

    Until we can at least make it tough for good teams in the midfield and hold on to the ball enough to minimize the number of chances the other teams have running at our defense, we will continue to be a BB team – stiff upper lip, hard working to the end, somewhat organized and professional, but ultimately toothless. Go back to rewatch the 2002 WC and you will see a US team that was able to actual impact the game in the midfield and control play for long stretches agains very good teams. We haven’t seen that in the long time and will not see it for a while yet given the talent pool available.

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  37. The country doesn’t have an official national language, the majority (now) speak English, but as a nation we don’t have an official language like others do. Individual states do (won’t surprise you which ones), but as a nation that bill never gets passed and is usually a poison pill in politics to try and alienate recent immigrant voter bases (i imagine it would offend those who speak creole in your state if they tried to pass English as the official language).

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  38. I agree that there are some major flaws in the youth systems in the USA. When you listen to Dempsey speak of his own personal experiences, it’s clear that the structures in place don’t make it easy for children of low income households to really make it through the ranks.
    However, I think this is somewhat being addressed by MLS academies, so it’s going in the right direction, though obviously there is still much to do to get our more talented youths developed in the best conditions. But still, I’m pretty optimistic about this; we’re on the right tracks I think.
    The next step for me is to revamp the college soccer system, which I firmly believe hampers player development greatly, when compared with what 17-20 year olds soccer hopefuls experience over in more established soccer nations as far as exposure to optimal training and formation conditions.

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  39. I’m tired of this sentiment that if you ever dare criticize anything relating to another country or its native language, you are therefore xenophobic. Using it for anything and everything devalues real xenophobia when it manifests itself.

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  40. I don’t disagree with your assessments, but my question is, who exactly are we hiring that is an upgrade on Bradley?

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  41. Pure ecstasy. Euphoria. That’s the best way I can describe it. Fantastic celebrations with some fantastic fans.

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