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USA changing gears quickly, focusing on Canada

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photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISIphotos.com

 

By FRANCO PANIZO

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday's 4-0 defeat to Spain was the most thorough defeat the U.S. men's national team has suffered since a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2009 Gold Cup final, and it is something the Americans are planning to quickly move on from.

Not because they necessarily want to, but because they have to.

The U.S. team's Gold Cup opener in Detroit, Michigan is in two days, leaving the Americans little time to sulk over what went wrong and what could have been done better versus the world champs. Instead, the United States must focus on the task at hand: Canada.

"It's not ideal," said Michael Bradley of the three-day turnaround. "But having said that it is what it is. We all have experience of playing in games that come quickly, whether it's during the season and you're playing Wednesday Saturday, or different times in a World Cup, or Gold Cups in the past. We all know how to do it."

That type of mentality is something that head coach Bob Bradley will need from all his players if the United States is to avoid losing its first ever match in the group stage of the Gold Cup. The United States' northern neighbor will provide a different type of challenge, however.

Canada may not be as talented as Spain, but more than bragging rights will be up for grabs when it faces the U.S. team for the first time since a controversial 2-1 U.S. win in the semifinals of the 2007 Gold Cup, a tournament the Americans went on to win.

"They're not as strong as Spain, but there is more on the line," said Tim Ream, who started and went the distance against Spain in his fourth cap for the United States. "They're going to come out flying and we've got to come out flying. It's do-or-die time now.

"Obviously it's a group stage (match), but we want to win the group and get out of there on top. They're going to come in with a little chip on their shoulder and we've got to match their intensity, so we've got to go in and take care of business."

With Dwayne de Rosario and Julian de Guzman leading Canada, beating the Canucks won't be easy. Not when the game is being played so close to Canadian border, and not when Canada has posted a 2-1-2 record in its last five games against decent oppostion.

The United States will be favored to trump Canada course, but Bob Bradley knows better than that, especially when the Canadians are hoping to beat their archnemesis for the first time since April 1985.

"A team that we have a lot of respect for, a team that comes into this Gold Cup feeling confident," said Bob Bradley of Canada. "They've had some good results in the last six months, and so we understand that the first game of any tournament is always a tough one, and we expect a real difficult game against a rival."

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What do you think of the team's three-day turnaround? Worried about Canada? Think the Americans will win?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. I’m not a big fan of sports cliches either, but I don’t mind too much as long as everybody goes out there and gives it 110% every game ;). I’d love for our guys to be more creative in their comments as well, but it is what it is.

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  2. Gabe’s analysis was excellent. I don’t like to criticize players They are what they are and it is the coach’s job to put them into positions where they have the comfort level and ability to be successful. But Gooch is shot and Jozey is dangerously treading water. There are young hungry players from every country in the world passing him by.

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  3. The biggest positive I can take from yesterday is that Michael Bradley was very impressive from deep in midfield. This will allow Jermaine Jones to play in the advanced role that he thrived in for Schalke, and the role that Michael used to occupy.

    We know that our 4-4-2/4-2-2-2 is pretty reliable, but something that I would like to see is the lineup/shape that we saw in the second half of the World Cup.

    (http://this11.com/topics/show/5394/sbi-example-lineup)

    (Replace Ream with Bocanegra, my mistake)

    Kljestan will do the job that Feilhaber did, shuttling between left and central midfield. Dempsey, as he did in South Africa, will drop deep to link play. Donovan will come inside from the right, although still look to provide width and crosses. Altidore will again have the freedom to drift wide left as he likes to do so often. Bradley showed us yesterday how good he can be from deep positions, and dropped between the centerbacks very well to help us build play from the back. Him dropping between the centerbacks should allow Cherundolo and Lichaj to get forward.

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  4. “It’s not ideal,” said Michael Bradley of the three-day turnaround. “But having said that it is what it is. We all have experience of playing in games that come quickly…”

    Bradley is one of too many US players who weren’t playing at all, or are playing very little. The three day excuse must be listed second to bench splinters.

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  5. Look, many questions have been answered about this team, questions that would have persisted without the game against Spain.

    1. Michael Bradley and Stuart Holden are the two best CM in the pool.

    With Holden injured for the Gold Cup, the question for Coach Bradley becomes who to play next to Michael, Jermaine Jones or Maurice Edu? Both are similar players, with Jones having a more prestigious reputation. However, while Bradley is certainly more attack minded than either of them, the truth is that the return of Stuart Holden after the summer will almost certainly mean that one (or both) of the other two will be relegated to the bench.

    2. The back four is very much a concern

    There were many people on this board (myself included) that pined for the opportunity be given to Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream to test themselves against top competition. The result revealed that neither is quite ready for a regular place in the starting XI, although I would contend that Ream’s difficulties stemmed not only from personal errors, but also from a very sub par performance from his counterpart in the center of the defense.

    Steve Cherunolo is clearly at the top of the pool. I also think that, until he can regain the form he showed pre-2009 injury, Onyewu needs to be benched in favor or Clarence Goodson. Goodson has emerged as a force at the club level, and has been consistent in his appearances for the national team. At this stage, he is more solid than Onyewu, who seems plagued by lapses in focus and concentration since his injury. Physically, he is obviously not right. A situation to monitor as well has to be Timmy Chandler, and here’s to hoping that he will stay in the mix with the USA as opposed to being wooed by Germany.

    3. Jozy Altidore needs to re-invent himself

    Some may remember when Jozy burst on the scene. The guy was knocking in all sorts of goals. However, at current stage, he remains an incredibly raw talent with a sometimes suspect work ethic, making poor decisions on the ball with an inability to hold possession (although he didn’t have much of a chance to prove this wrong against Spain). Off the ball, his football IQ remains lower than one would like, as he struggles to put himself into the right positions and make the right runs at the right times. The guy has the physical tools to succeed, and can be an outright menace when his head is right. However, we haven’t seen that form in ages, and until then, the forward pool for the United States will suffer.

    4. The USA misses the speed of Charlie Davies

    People may further question the omission of Teal Bunbury in favor of Chris W. after this Gold Cup, as the USA lacks any real speed at the forward position. Juan Agudelo is certainly not slow by any means, but does not have the freakish pace of a Charlie Davies that made the USA so dangerous against teams like Spain and Brazil in the Confederations Cup 2009, evidenced so well on counter attacks.

    5. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley are the core of this team

    Pretty obvious. However, USMNT fans have long bemoaned these three for one reason or another (“Landycakes is a baby,” “Dempsey is lazy,” “Michael Bradley is only in the squad because…”). However, it is obvious that these are our best players. Furthermore, I think at only 23, Michael has the potential to be one an absolute legend for the USA (especially if Holden comes back strong) and could provide the nucleus for a strong US team for years to come.

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  6. Ha, No intent to troll. I love our team and fully expect us to show strongly against Canada, but everyone has to admit we looked to be in reverse yesterday.

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  7. After major tournaments does tend to be a time of change regardless of the outcome. So rightly or wrongly you just might get your wish.

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  8. They really need to improve their finishing, it´s not good enough, great goal though but it´s Mexico, they should be fairly easy.

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  9. With Josh Simpson, Atiba Hutchison, and DeRo, Canada has a bit of an attack. But their backline is possibly worse than the US.

    I want two strikers on the field (Jozy AND Agudelo) and Donovan, Bradley, and Dempsey to really push the tempo.

    Keep the pressure on Canada’s suspect D in order to not allow their 3 decent attacking players to get any rhythm.

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  10. It is what it is…..we have shown our butts to the world before a major competition. Smoked 4-0 with almost no threat on offense, and knowing our rival tied them and scored a goal. RSL couldn’t dominate a top college team they way they schooled us…..but there is the good:

    Robbie Rogers: shouldnt have been in the line-up at all. He had no reason being on the pitch and is not USMNT material.

    Gooch: has done a lot for the nat’l team but in current from he’s done….No ball control, no vision, can’t pass out of the back….hosed

    Tim Ream: I think played well when paired with the right players in Defense but still too green to play in the starting 11.

    Spector: For the last F***ing time, he is not a right back, regardless of what Sir Alex Ferguson thinks. BB is beating the same drums and expecting a different tune…..not going to happen, he’s a midfielder.

    And for Michael Bradley….Coming from the NUMBER ONE BRADLEY HATER ON IVES…..I’M A HATER NO MORE. He displayed skill, control and vision to salvage and try to control the midfield when things where bananas. His presence was immediately felt. Even though he doesn’t have a team…doesn’t play full 90 with villa….and I always say he’s shown favoritism….damn it they should because he’s the BEST (can’t believe I’m saying this!!!) option we have in CM.

    (SBI-I have to say that, given your history of criticizing Bradley, I give you a ton of credit for being able to admit that you were wrong about Bradley not being good enough. It’s a shame that some others are choosing to go the other way and come up with rather insane theories regarding Saturday’s match to avoid giving Michael Bradley any credit.)

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  11. I wouldn’t overrate Mexico just because they whupped a half-reserve New Zealand squad (it wasn’t even many of NZ’s regulars), and I wouldn’t underrate the US for having its reserves get squashed by a B+ Spain squad.

    The Business Side of US Soccer (Dan Flynn and Sunil Gulati) scheduled that “high profile” friendly three days before a real match. And I applaud Bob Bradley for going “Eff you guys and your “high profile” friendly — I’m coaching for results in the GC. I’m not burning my regulars 3 days before our toughest group opponent.”

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  12. Just because you see reality does not mean you dont support the national team. I.E- If my sister were to swim a race in the pool against Michael Phelps I would say the My sister will lose – big time. I am a huge supporter of sister but my Judgement is that phelps would win the race- easily.

    Same with the USMNT- Irishapple is a supporter of the USMNT but thinks Mexico is the better team.

    How can you say he is a troll? Logic and facts say otherwise.

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  13. Mexico’s keeper is playing out of her mind. I miss when the USMNT played with that kind of wreckless abandon on defense. But I am very hopeful for both the Gold Cup and the Women’s World Cup. And it looks like there are more fans for this game than when NYRB actually plays.

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  14. And what could be a more appropriate uni for a game in Detroit (“Made in America”) than one with Kid Rock… unless it would feature twin rappers: Deuce and Eminem!

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  15. Not a troll, but we can’t win the Gold cup with smoke and mirrors. Bob Bradley has to step it up because we look like we are regressing. We’re too dependent on Donovan. Gooch was always a liability but his athletic ability masked his poor decision making. Spain exposed us for what we really are, vulnerable and not in form.
    We need to be realistic. We have a great opportunity before us. We have to win our group. Period.

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  16. Spain was very good . We were very horrible. Gulati’s and Bob Bradley’s butts should be on the line for this. If we win the Gold cup it should buy them time. Other wise it is time for a change. Both need to go. We have not played well since the Confederations cup and I am starting to think that was an aberration. In 18 games in 2010 and 2011 we have won 5 out of 18 games. since the 2010 world cup we have won 1 out of 8. Bob Bradley blowing off poor perfromances is getting tiring. We don’t need to panic .We need to change.

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  17. word. the only touches mexico has on the ball are clearances on an errant US pass. if the USWNT were kicking field goals, though, they would be in business. a lot of great passing and movement on the buildup

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  18. If we don’t get our Sh@%t together Canada might suprise, I haven’t seen nothing from this team that warrants they’ll be favorites in this tournament. The forwards need to score like their oppose to, and the defense needs to quit watching the ball and mark their men.

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  19. I think we should replicate the ‘Hulkamania’ look for our team. Maybe even tear-away jerseys for when Tim Howard gets really pumped up.

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  20. I’m not too worried about Agudelo… 2 goals in his first 5 (6?) caps is not worrisome to me. Yesterday, the only thing I could really criticize was his ability to stay on his feet.

    People are saying Jozy did well enough yesterday, but I hardly noticed him.

    That said, maybe we push Dempsey up and pray some younger U.S. strikers bust their asses to earn a call up over the next couple years (Bunbury, Doyle, Braun, Bruin, Salgado, Mwanga pending citizenship issues…)

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  21. I’m not too worried about our defense. Starting the B team definitely took its toll yesterday, especially against Spain.

    However, Goodson and Cherundolo looked strong (aside from that last goal). Leave Gooch out of the starting lineup, start the second half defense and a strong midfield, and the US won’t have too much of a problem.

    Wondo positioned himself well yesterday with minimal results…it won’t quiet the “he doesn’t belong at this level” trolls, but it should. Agudelo worked hard, and Dempsey can always be pushed up with Donovan and Bradley to handle ball distribution in the MF.

    I wouldn’t say the USMNT is a lock to win, but the dire straits everyone predicts is a bit silly. Hopefully yesterday lit a fire under their butts.

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  22. I will be at the game Tuesday. Looking forward to it. Id like to see Jozy and Juan score – really, they are almost at a place where its coming down to a MUST score.

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  23. People commenting here seriously need to learn the definition of a troll.

    Someone saying that the US will not win the Gold Cup is not a troll. In fact, being realistic is the opposite of trolling.

    Someone making a joke about the horrific performance on Saturday is not trolling, they are in fact being realistic.

    You want trolling? USA SUCKS!

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  24. His face might distract from the strippers. The strippers are the key I think to your suggestions. It a winner.

    We could play his music in the locker room before the game to get the guys to man up. If you think that fits your plan.

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  25. He is being pessimistic in my opinion. I think we’ll rebound from the whipping Spain gave us and have a good gold cup.

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  26. yeah we should get shirts with flames and bald eagles on it, and kid rock, and strippers in american flag bikinis with the bottoms that go way above their hips, and monster trucks, and fireworks. Stuff that draws from American Soccer history.

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  27. If we change out of those shirts with the Beauty Queen sash we might win a game or two. Just saying. Look like a queen, play like a queen.

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  28. Canada is playing confident soccer lately, at least when on the attack…they have been unorganized defensively however, and can fall asleep for periods of time during matches.

    That being said, when Canada is in form, they are a tough squad…this should be a great opening match

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  29. +1, and michael bradley looks like a guy who is trying to drive a standard for the first time when he’s only ever seen automatic in this pic

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  30. Unfortunately, the USA is not going to win the Gold Cup this time around. We have no decent strikers and our defense is suspect. I think this tournament is going to be won handily by Mexico.

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