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Shea delivers late winner as USMNT beats Costa Rica to top Gold Cup group

Landon Donovan, Brek Shea

Photo by Howard C. Smith/


EAST HARTFORD, Conn.– In a tightly-contested match between two teams not budging in a battle of tactics and organized defending, the U.S. Men’s National Team were going to need a special sequence to become the first team to score a goal against Costa Rica in four months.

That special sequence took 82 minutes to find, but the Americans did finally find it, with Brek Shea capping a pair of outstanding passes by Joe Corona and Landon Donovan to finish off a game-winning goal in the U.S. team’s 1-0 victory over Costa Rica.

The victory, a record eighth-straight for the Americans, sets them up with a Gold Cup quarterfinal showdown vs. El Salvador in Baltimore on Sunday.

U.S. goalkeeper Sean Johnson saved the night for the Americans when he made a dazzling save on a 82nd-minute shot from Carlos Johnson. Corona quickly found Donovan upfield with a long pass and Donovan spotted Shea making a lung-busting run up the middle of the field and delivered a perfect pass to him.

Shea did the rest, slotting his shot past Patrick Pemberton to give the Americans the lead and help erase the bad memories of his awful 45-minute performance vs. Cuba.

“To be honest, no I didn’t,” Shea said when asked if he thought he would be called to play vs. Costa Rica. “I still prepared as if I would, because you never know, and thankfully I did.

“Just makes me feel good that I got out there and erased last game,” Shea said. “Because the only way I’m going to be able to erase those was to get back out there.”

Johnson started the game-winning play when he denied Carlos Johnson’s goal-bound header with a stunning reaction save. Corona’s quick thinking led to a vital pass to Donovan on the right flank, and the U.S. career leader in assists quickly spotted Shea’s sprint down the field, and behind a Costa Rica defense that was slow to get back. Donovan’s inch-perfect pass caught Shea in stride, and after taking a touch, Shea slotted home the vital chance for the first goal of his national team career.

“It was like a blur. Not a fast blur, but like a slow motion,” Shea said. “I had tons of time. my only thought was making sure I had that first touch, and it didn’t bounce or, you know, how things have been going lately it might have hit my knee or something.

“I’m just glad it went in.”

The U.S. went out and tried to play attacking soccer from the opening whistle, but breaking down Costa Rica’s 5-4-1 defensive shell proved extremely difficult. The result was a real tactical battle, with the Ticos flooding the middle, and the U.S. countering by trying to work the flanks.

The match was a tightly-contested encounter all night, with Costa Rica’s stingy defense keeping the U.S. attack under wraps with a five-man back-line and heavy pressure from midfield that didn’t give the Americans much space in the attacking half of the field.

Chances were few and far between, with Chris Wondolowski and Donovan struggling for service in the first half as Costa Rica’s five-man defense, which at times saw nine players defending and pressing the ball.

“It’s like Groundhog’s Day with these teams,” said Landon Donovan. “They all just want to play defense for 90 minutes. Costa Rica is a lot better at it than Belize and Cuba are.

“They had to win the game to win the group, so it was strange that they wanted to play that way, but I think it shows how they feel about us,” Donovan said. “In the end it’s nice to win the game. I think the performance was solid.”

The second half saw things open up a bit more, but the U.S. still didn’t find real chances until later in the second half, as substitutes Herculez Gomez, Shea and Corona helped breath some life into the offense.

The match looked like it would turn in the 55th minute, when Pemberton handled as Landon Donovan shot outside of the penalty area, but referee Courtney Campbell issued a yellow card instead of a straight red card. Most likely because of the fact Donovan’s shot was struck right at Pemberton’s chest (Pemberton raised his hands in front of his chest and blocked the shot with his hands two feet outside the penalty area).

Jose Torres nearly scored on the ensuing free kick, curling a perfect left-footed free kick that was heading for the top right corner of the goal before Pemberton reacted well and pulled off a diving one-handed save.

The U.S. finally found the winner in the 81st minute immediately after Sean Johnson pulled off a stunning save to tip Carlos Johnson’s header off the crossbar. Corona fed a long pass to Donovan, who quick chipped a perfect pass into the path of Shea, who converted the match-winning chance.

“I think we saw an entertaining game, a game that we pushed towards the end in order to win it, and the team really deserves a huge compliment,” Klinsmann said. “Because we could have taken the easy (way out) in saying ‘you know what, we’re first in the group and a tie is fine,’ but a tie is not fine with us, so the team pushed it, grinded it until the last minute, and deserved another goal, and a beautiful combination there, and therefore, i’m obviously happy.

“First place, nine points, and you can see the players have chemistry developing that’s fun to watch.”

What did you think of the match? Who impressed you on the U.S. team? See the Americans winning the Gold Cup? Hoping for another USA-Costa Rica showdown in the Gold Cup semifinals?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. There are other factors that Klinsmann has brought to the team. He has brought competition to the roster. The depth is a direct result of his trying so many players and giving them a chance to prove themselves.

    He is getting the US Youth Soccer/NCAA mentality out of the program and bringing the professional mindset needed to compete against the best.

    The Belgium and Germany games were far more valuable than playing Guatemala 100 times.

  2. I wouldn’t call Corona’s pass quick thinking. In that situation he should be conditioned to look for Donovan and Donovan was probably calling for it. But he got it done.
    By the way, Ives, didn’t you say on the latest SBI Podcast that Shay shouldn’t see the field again after his Cuban adventure?

    • Pretty sure I wasn’t the only one, and even Shea himself said he didn’t think he would see the field again, so what’s your point?

  3. I am glad you recognize the passes by Corona and Donovan on the goal; they were fantastic. Torres had an incredible first half and Diskerud was solid throughout the game. The sloppy play by Parkhurst, Hold and Corona at the end of the game gave me heartache; nearly led to a tie. The US will clearly have to step up its play if they face Costa Rica a second time. I wonder if they will call in Johnson or Zusi; if Gooch is hurt, Gonzalez or Besler should get called in as well.

  4. “It’s like Groundhog’s Day with these teams,” said Landon Donovan. “They all just want to play defense for 90 minutes.” “They had to win the game to win the group, so it was strange that they wanted to play that way, but I think it shows how they feel about us…”

    “We’d rather play Belgium ten times than El Salvador one hundred times.”

    I really hate playing in CONCACAF. I think Donovan’s comments ring very true – virtually every Central American team plays like clones of each other when they face us, and to what end? Not that I mind beating Costa Rica and Honduras frequently, but how many times does one have to lose 1-0 before one realizes they need to change strategy. Maybe they are just so sure that if the game opens up, they’ll lose by more? It makes for some brutal football. There are times that I just want the US to make the World Cup just to see us contest a meaningful game against a side that can actually play fairly and openly.

    Also, the true incompetence of the majority of CONCACAF referees has finally come to the surface. The ridiculous penalty against Haiti, the game-altering blown offside calls (or non-calls) for Cuba, and the absurd decision not to give Pemberton a red card last night are only the most egregious faults the refs lately

    • Good post. There was virtually no difference in tactics between CR and our previous two opponents. The only real difference is CR is much better and more highly skilled than the previous two. From my viewpoint in the stands, CR went into bunker mode from the opening whistle, with 5 MFs playing defense. There was very little space sideline to sideline, which made for a predictably unattractive match.

      Historically, a lot of games in CONCAFAF are like this, and don’t expect it to change. Expect it again on Saturday with El Salvador. They’ll follow the same tactics.

      Compared to what I’ve seen in other CONCAFAF matches in the past, the officiating is on par. You just learn to expect blown calls, whether you attend the games or play in the games. I’m sure some of us can remember the infamous Peter Pendergrast from Jamaica. In those games, even my young daughters who officiated youth games were joining the fans around us in laughing. For a lot of these referees who officiate in their home countries, they are just not prepared for games at the level of the GC.

      • El Salvador won’t play defensive. After the US, they have been playing the most attacking soccer at the Gold Cup. Should be a great game.

      • Have to disagree. El Salvador had to play attacking football early on against T&T because the latter scored early. Additionally, T&T were seen as a team that ElSal should be collecting points against. They played a midfield-mire against Honduras until they were down – and they HAD to attack Haiti the whole time because they needed to win to advance. They also didn’t do so very successfully – that penalty was a travesty.

        I think it’s all when and good when the Central American teams open up against the Caribbean sides, but they virtually never do so against the Yanks. I think this will be yet another game of 9 men hanging around the defensive midfield while 1 capable striker (Zelaya) hopes to benefit from a counter. It will, in all likelihood, be just like most of the other games we play against UNCAF teams.

    • Openly and fairly? You mean like the Italian diving team, or like the Ghana handball team? Even Brazil gets extremely nasty if the game is close. Actually, I think Concacaf gives us some good practice playing against the refs. JK is right that we have to look for a 3-goal margin every time, or the blind refs and diving forwards will push us out.

      We do respectfully well against good teams, but seem to get consistently knocked out before we get a chance in front of the class-A refs..

  5. Teams should bunker in and play defense against us. It was so simple for CR to bypass our midfield and get behind us with only a few numbers in attack, why would they pour defenders into the attack when they don’t have to?

    I feel dirty saying this, but Beckerman needs to be out there covering the back line and clogging up the p-ssing lanes.

    • CR played numbers behind the ball and then pressed that backline up to squeeze the midfield, they did not just bunker in. That team is very good defensively and organized, and it took something special to crack them

    • we had more recoveries last night between Torres/Holden/Mix then any other combo. and we played the toughest team yet. granted, that’s because they put more pressure on us then the others.

  6. Holden still rounding into form, I think he’s better served coming off the bench for rest of tournament, as well as Shea.
    I think this game shows Wondolowski isn’t as strong a striker as we were lead to believe from the last few games.
    Michael Orozco has played well at CB, I think him and Goodson should be the starting pair for the rest of the tournament.
    They are clearly the favorite to win the tournament based on form – I hope they keep it up and bring the Cup back to the US.

    • Holden is fine. He turns the ball over because he tries to play faster than his teammates.

      His touch and vision were great and his movements were generally good. I think he’s so inclined to attack, and good at it, that we really need a dedicated defender behind him.

      In all honesty, I’d pull Parkhurst out and plug Holden in at right back. The crosses he was making from the spot where the right back would normally be were excellent.

  7. Not only did Holden go a full 90, he led the team in successful p@sses (74) and in spite of a packed-in midfield by CR completed 84%. Most of the unsuccessful were the sort of chances worth taking – chances that would not have existed had he and Mix and Torres (who was really a 3rd CM) not done a great job of moving the ball into CR’s half, splitting defenders along the way. All three, but especially Holden, played a great game. We may have had trouble penetrating the back line, but throughout we dominated the midfield – 63% possession and unlike earlier games, much of that was pushing forward not dumping off to the back line. I’m stumped as to why Holden isn’t getting more love here.

    • I think Shea gets sent back to Stoke.

      And more importantly – yes! Torres. I thought it was hands down the best performance he’s had in a US shirt. I’m kind of surprised that more aren’t commenting on that. I thought he’d typically been very flat whenever he played for us, but last night his passing was crisp (with one exception I can think of) his control on the ball was very solid, and he tracked back when he needed to. I thought it was a fine performance from lil’ JFT.

  8. I liked Torres’ game

    Orozco/Goodson pairing was good

    Stu and Mix were overall steady in the middle, comfortable in possession, a little less bite…but the biggest thing is we didn’t get countered up the gut, so I thought they did fine.

    Classic LD vision and speed of thought…that stuff never gets old…literally

    Wondo needs these types of games…he put himself in good places, but should have done much better with the ball from Bedoya. LD put him through with a wonderful pass but he didn’t have the pace to beat the defender to the ball… we all know speed is the issue, but that was a brutal moment of truth. He needs to pick it up against the better teams to have any chance.

    Great to see Shea recognize the run up the middle and finish…that goal will do him a world of good.

    Bedoya was off, and I just don’t feel great about Parkhurst when he’s on the ball.

    Game saver from Johnson.

    I still would rather see LD at flank mid… Against the better teams, I think he would see more of the ball and be more involved in the build up…get him out of the congested middle. Play Herc as the point with Wondow underneath him.

    Overall a solid well managed effort.

  9. Pretty dull game,

    1. Love the “it was like groundhog’s day” comment by Donovan. I love watching the U.S. on the break, which doesn’t seem to happen quite as much when the opposing team has all their players behind the ball.

    2. Perhaps because of this, I saw a lot of service in the air to Wondo and LD, neither of whom are all that great in the air. Anyone who has watched LD play knows he works best with the ball on the ground, one-touch play, etc.

    3. JK seems seems to have a great deal of faith in Shea; after his last poor performance I was surprised to see him enter the game; can you imagine if he would have missed that golden 1 v 1 opportunity (which he nearly did!) combined with that poor performance?!

    4. US had difficulty taking care of the ball those last few minutes, there were some pretty bad giveaways — Shea, Corona, etc. — Parkhurst had to take a man down from behind because of one of them resulting in a yellow — these giveaways by the midfielders gave Costa Rica some end of the game chances they probably shouldn’t have had.

  10. Just got back from Hartford. A few thoughts:
    – It was hot and muggy. Strength-sapping weather. Both sides tired in the 2nd half.
    – CR played hard and tough. A big step up from the last few games. I was expecting a draw.
    – JK continues to impress me with having this team prepared.
    – Good to see Bedoya. I paid attention to his play, and he did pretty well. CR packed the MF, but he linked well and created a few chances.
    – Wondo had an off-night. Probably fatigue.
    – Defense was solid all around. CR had a handful of good chances.
    – Holden plays 90 in a tough, physical game.
    – Shea got very lucky on his goal.
    – No MoTM. No one stood out.

  11. Good result and we played pretty well against a good team, a few observations:
    -Sean Johnson was alright but still looks shaky at times, personally i like hamid a bit more but they’re very equal and both need to improve
    -orozco and goodson together looked good, didnt allow any chances really through the run of play
    -i would have liked to see beckerman in for diskerud, the holden diskerud combo is a bit too attacking for my like, also if beckerman plays he will sit and allow whoever is next to him to always go forward
    -both bedoya and corona looked sharp
    -wondo didnt score? hes crap again…i kid, i kid
    -i wouldnt like to see any roster changes but ive heard shea and diskerud might be released back to their clubs, id like to see them replaced with besler and EJ if need be

    My 11 for Sunday

    • Not sure Shea is fit for 90. Also, I’d give the nod to Mix over Holden at the moment. Love Holden, but I think Mix is a definitely sharper at this point.

      • if anything i would push diskerud forward a bit like where torres was today, i see mix playing closer to goal due to his lack of defensive commitment at times

    • Sean Johnson of all people looked shaky?

      And really nobody in the US Soccer community has BIl Hamid over Sean Johnson.

      • I think he still has a ways to go in commanding the box on cornerkicks and things like that. Tremendous shot stopper, obviously.

      • Exactly my thoughts. Watching Howard or Guzan on a corner and they are yelling at the top of their lungs. SJ was completely silent on some of those corners tonight.

      • exactly and his decision making on when to come off his line during corners was suspect. Several times when I thought the ball was in close enough that he needed to charge in and take anyone out who got in his way he hesitated before coming out. That is worse than sitting on his line because he ended up in no mans land off his line but well away from the cross coming in. He has a lot of work to do on corners.

      • I’m not huge on either of the keeps actually, but i like hamid just a bit more, ive seen him save DC a few points this year, and i havent seen sean johnson do the same. But it is hard to rate keepers due to the sample size.

      • Obviously Sean showed something in training that Bill hasn’t. I doubt it is based solely on the season. Did you see how bad Chicago was at the beginning of the year>

      • Its a moot point anyway. They are fighting for the scraps at the #4 spot at best. They both need lots of seasoning.

  12. US soccer is coming along in terms of depth — up until this yr our Gold Cup team would basically be an A- team but this team is a true B team — players who were not used w/ A teamers in recent WC qualifiers. And this B team is showing quality. Full B team = a GOOD sign for US soccer

    • A few years back we sent a B team to South America and thoroughly embarrassed ourselves, and the tournament for inviting us. I wonder… how would this squad fare at that level? I think they’d be respectable. That’s coming a long way in a short time.

    • i agree with your sentiment–that a full B team is a good sign–but the 2009 cup was also a full B team, not even close to the A team.

  13. I will say this, don’t know where everybody ranks this crew (a,b,c) but JK is gonna have some tough choices. I just looked at a depth chart from January with WC14 predictions. 4 standouts from this tourney weren’t even on there. and only 4 on this 23 man squad were mentioned. let me run some names. altidore, Dempsey, Howard, Guzan, Bradley,j jones, chandler, edu, Cameron, dolo, boca, e Johnson, j Johnson, zusi, f Johnson, klejstan.

    we got a ways to go, but I think that if these guys pull it off, then the WC14 roster is wide open.

    anybody on this board is gonna have a tought time making some of these tough choices.

    I can say only 4-5 guys totally stand out as must haves at this point.

      • For once, a USMNT coach may be able to pick the players that best implement his tactical plan, rather than building the plan around who is available. That’s the only tiebreaker I can see below that top 5-6.

    • I was thinking the same thing… outside of Dempsey, Howard, Guzan, Altidore, Bradley, Jones and Donovan does any one else really count as a lock? I guess Cameron since he can be plugged in at 3 different spots…

      GK-Howard, Guzan, Rimando
      CB-Besler, Gonzo, Cameron, Goodson, Fiscal, Onyewu
      LB/RB-Dolo, Parkhurst, Chandler, Beasley, Castillo, Cameron, Evans
      LW/RW F.Johnson, Donovan, Shea, Corona, Zusi
      CM Bradley, Jones, Holden, Beckerman, Mixx, Klestjan, D. Williams, Cameron
      F Altidore, Dempsey, Gomez, Johnson, Boyd, Wondo

    • I don’t know. I mean, I like the Gold Cup performances so far, sure, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The A-team is much more cohesive, and looks better from start to finish, then the B-Team. And the A-team is playing in much higher caliber games, against higher caliber opponents (on average). The Gold Cup is important for the purposes of figuring out depth chart and who makes the WC roster, I agree… But I don’t see alot of changes from our current A-team starting 11 to the WC starting 11. Maybe 3-4 changes, tops.

  14. Everytime I see Brek Shea int the starting 11 I cringe. I think he tries to hard. However, everytime I see him off the bench good things happen. Klinnsmans first game, win at Azteca, this game. His size and speed has to be scarry to a tired defender, especially on a hot night.

    • That’s why he and FJ is a terrific left sided combo. Each can play both, and each will play both over the course of a game in which they start together.

  15. I’ll rely on Lando if he keeps making sick crosses to Shea on the goal scored. Lando has looked really great this gold cup (would have liked to have seen him come back for ball more today, though). He’s like the Lando who’s decided to get Han unfrozen from that carbonite!

  16. I think wondo demonstrated why he isn’t really good enough for this level. Wondo is a pure poacher. He doesn’t have any touch. Against a good team that can press the us it forces him to the top of the box where he can’t do anything because his first touch always let’s him down.

    • Also doesn’t make the channel rubs in space to open up the field, and is a little slow to the ball. Nice player in the box though.

      • Wondo may lack WC game, but he didn’t get much service either. His chances were not as promising as they were in the first two games. Remember, everyone else also struggled to score. Seems the Wondo critics were just waiting to pounce. He still has value, though.

      • +1

        He worked hard to get a few half-decent chances in the 1st half and really had no service. I thought he had an OK game, worked hard, got into good positions.

      • You get less chances against better teams and you have to do more work to help your team create them. Wondo didn’t look up to that task and this is only CR’s B team. Excellent poacher but just like Warren Barton said at halftime the international game demands more.

        Altidore got dumped on for the same thing for like 2 years until his hold up play and ability to make runs outside the box developed a bit.

    • I’m not the biggest Wondo fan, but I have a hard time saying that a guy who scores goals, even a poacher, isn’t worthwhile to have around as a backup. No one is calling for him to be more than the guy who comes on in the 75′ to push for the late equalizer. Say what you will, by Wondo’s got a fever. And the only prescription… is more goals.

    • Umm yeah, the B team does. Other than Beasley, there was no a single starter from the qualifiers ont he team, and even guys like Corona didn’t really see the field.

      • This 2013 and Spain still relies on Fernando Torres at forward? Their attack really needs to develop players or they’ll never win anything

      • Fernando Torres and Andrea Pirlo have not been playing for their national teams since 2002 World Cup. Keep deluding yourself and not face reality. Let’s talk during 2014 World Cup when Ghana will take USA apart for a third time with different players from 2006 & 2010. Reality check, very long way to develop still relying on a player from 2002 World Cup.

      • Uh, Pirlo has been playing for the Italian national team since 2002.

        And tonight was not exactly a good game for arguing that the US is too reliant on Donovan, given that he didn’t exactly have a big game.

      • Sorry dude Pirlo has not. He was not on the Italian team to Korea Japan 2002. The point is USA still relies on a guy that has been around since 2002.

      • He got his first cap in 2002… You may be right that he wasn’t involved in the World Cup. However he was playing for Italy in 2002.(4 caps)
        If you want nuance in a conversation, It helps if you are specific rather than just tell people they are wrong.

      • Donovan was only 20 years old and was given “Best Young Player” of the tournament. What is wrong with relying on a 31 year old who has been your best player for the past 10-12 years?

      • I don’t think you’re up to date on our latest rosters. Donovan hasn’t played a game with our first squad in quite some time. We don’t rely on him anymore when players like Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey, and Zusi have taken their game to higher levels. But JK is certainly open to Donovan rejoining the first squad. He just has to prove that he’s ready.

      • I don’t care if the dude was around in 2002 or 1992. If he can get it done and be important for the team a la Pirlo (and by the way I’m not saying LD = Pirlo) why is that a bad thing?

      • Sorry dude, the fact remains that Italy relies on a guy that has been around since 2002. In fact, Italy relies more on Pirlo than the US does on Donovan – which should be obvious given that he has barely played over the past year or two.

        If you want to be a successful troll, you’re going to have to work on your facts and logic.

      • what exactly is the point you’re trying to make? because I have a hard time understanding it. US is not a world-class country because LD is still relevant to the NT (even though he is yet to play in the Hex)?

    • The team relies on everyone to play their role. Donovan still has one. His was a beautiful first-time assist. He’s paid to do just that. Still a clutch player.

      • +1000

        Don’t know how people are so willing to write off players around here. Landon has easily proven that still an important part of the USMNT going forward.

        My question is why does it matter that it’s 2013? If you can get it done, you can get it done!

    • It’s 2013 and Donovan is still quality. Perhaps not enough to be a lock as a starter as he has been in the past, but still quality.

      What difference does it make to our development as a national team if he still plays a role on it? If he’s quality, then he should be there. If he isn’t, he shouldn’t. Do you see anyone on these message boards, or elsewhere, who says that the US has arrived as a soccer powerhouse? The thing is, putting together a national team is a constant fine line between winning now and developing future talent. We’ve done that over the past decade, are doing it now, and – I hope – will continue to do so. Donovan’s role on the team, or non-role, has very little to do with that. Let’s enjoy the process, and hope for results.

      • Please stop comparing yourself to Italy, five time World Cup winners. US needs to develop younger players, before the core of Ghana’s U-20 takes this team out of 2014 like in 2010. That would be what, 3 straight.

      • Stop comparing ourselves to Italy? That’s interesting that you would ask me to to do that, since I didn’t actually ever compare us to Italy. Since you mention it, yes, the national team development process between the US and Italy is (I expect) very similar – in that you do exactly what I said: balancing the players who will help you win now with the players who will help you win tomorrow. Just because Italy has a longer tradition of it, and has better players than the U.S. (obviously), doesn’t mean that the process is flawed. So, to your original point – “omg are we still using landon donovan??” – yes, we are, because he can still perform, and he can still help the team strike that balance.

  17. Mixx didn’t click because he was playing Dmid — his job was to sit back which is kind of a waste of his skills. And yes, Holden is still shaking off rust. And yes, Bedoya is vanilla at best – would prefer Becks in dMid and then move Mix or Holden into his spot.

  18. 1st off think the US, overall, did well. At our best we’re starting to figure out how to attack through middle and over top (and not just on wings) but tonight we couldn’t get that through the middle attack going. Partly good Costa defense, but also part central US middies getting tired and not running into space to receive ball as #10s should.

    Guess it’s nice to know MIxx can play d-mid but what he brings to this team is a willingness to attack the middle and split defenders with passes instead of the playing backwards or out to the wings (which is fine sometimes but not ALL the times). Cool with developing Beckerman as dmid – has to cut down on some risky passes / turnovers that come from his past as a more offensive minded player. Jermaine Jones? My issue with him is that 1) he draws cards too easily and 2) he goes up too much which means Bradley is forced to move out of his creative attacking spot to cover — Bradley far better when paired with Dmid who stays at home like Cameron and maybe Beckerman (we’ll see how his defense progresses — he’s undergoing the same experiment that Beasley is undergoing but has not progressed quite as far — defense is about steady first and he’s not quite there)

    The end. 😛

    • Beasley is not the long term answer there. He’s making a great effort, but world class teams will run him to death, and world class forwards and mids will (continue to) knock him down.

  19. Three cheers for Johnson as he grew more comfortable as the game went on. In addition to the big save from the corner kick, he also made a good save in stoppage time from a set piece.

    Donovan’s pass to Shea was magnificent. I think some people are being too hard, the CR’s got some breaks from US shots. Had Wondo’s back kick been a few inches either way, its a goal. Certainly, Shea’s goal was partially blocked, but a least he kicked it on frame. Good things happen when the ball stays below the crossbar.

    Costa Rica was a much better team than the US has seen, it was a good test for the US team.

    Lastly, kudos to Klinsman for developing a strong second team so WC starters are not exhausted next year. And, there is a pool of good talent to draw from if players on the first team begin to get sluggish. I can’t remember a time when the US has had so much depth.

  20. Four things I noticed:

    1. Can we be done with Bedoya now? I’ve never been a fan and he didn’t do himself any favors. Corona to start.

    2. Johnson had a very good game. Hope he’s able to put his u20 gaff behind him now.

    3. Mix and Holden really didn’t click like I hoped. I peg that down more to Holden than Mix. I thought Holden was a bit all over the place and let himself go toward the end of the game. Mix took more of a back seat, playing the central disciplined role.

    4. Klinsi was MOTM tonight. He played the midfield tandem we all wanted, he gave people Bedoya when they asked, and he again made the adjustments he needed to make to win the game. A round of applause from his doubters.

    • Yeah, a disappointing game for Bedoya. I tihnk Holden is just rusty from not playing for so long. It’s great to have him back, but he obviously needs to get a few months of playing time under his belt before he will be totally back.

      • I appreciate it the kind remark.

        And I do really appreciate Donovan’s assist. But I don’t see it as World Class. I think any of Holden, Corona, Torres, or Mix would have slotted it through.

        Donovan had the foresight to take a look at the field before receiving the ball, saw Brek wide open and made the cross. While a brilliant play and great accuracy, I just don’t see it as something overly difficult. I think the most difficult part was just noticing the open man, which very few of our players do. There were a few times when Mix made a Bradley-like run and could have been played through, only for the player with the ball to make a backward pass.

      • wasn’t his best, but it’s one opportunity. hard to judge it all on one opportunity against the best team this team has faced yet by far

    • Agree on #3. Love both guys and I’m rooting for Stu but he needs to get more games. I am excited about Mix. He’s done quite well in this tournament.

    • I was unimpressed by the Stu/mix pairing. Lacked bite and forcefulness going forward. Two technically gifted players with vision, but they are too similar to pair up as starters. French wines are predominantly about finesse, California wines are about Power. Need a bit of both.

    • Holden isn’t all the way back yet, but the thing I noticed tonight is that he seemed to be put into Beckerman’s role of being almost a sweeper, playing more of a defensive mid than a distributor. He did come forward when the US was dominating possession, but his role seemed mostly defensive tonight.

    • I’ll take Corona over Bedoya for sure, but Bedoya is a solidly reliable guy to have as a backup winger/attacking mid.

    • It was Holden’s and. Dix’ first match together. The former’s first :90 and the latter’s biggest international match yet. Patience.

    • I’d rather be done with all the, “can we be done with X player,” after every match. These guys often play a hundred or more good matches to be called into camp, yet fans are done with them after 90 minutes. It’s a classic overreaction to a small sample size. If guys play well for their club teams and have a skill set and tools that the manager likes, he will call them in and continue to call them in regardless of whether they have a mediocre match or two. Bedoya has been lighting it up with his club team, may be on the verge to an Eridivisie move and has put in some good stretches with the MNT. If he looks good in training and fits into JK’s game plan, I’m sure we’ll see him again next match.

      If we were “done” with every player the fans have been done with, we wouldn’t have any of our best players. Fans have been done with MB, Deuce, Jozy, Herc, Wondo, JJ, Corona, LD, Zusi, Guzan, Beasley, Parkhurst, Goodson, Gooch, Brad Evans. Heck, I’m not sure we could even field a squad without the players everyone has been “done” with.

      • Thank you for the statement, Tom. Long overdue. If I see a post like that, I just ignore the post, and ignore the poster..

      • I said I was never a fan of Bedoya’s. Which means my comment about being done with him as a starter extends back throughout his career on the men’s team.

        Last night’s game was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and why I made the observation that Corona should be our starter on the right hence forth in this tournament. Bedoya has had loads of opportunities and beyond a pretty goal against an already defeated team, I really haven’t seen him do anything. At least Shea, due to size more than skill, creates and has assists to match his solid goal.

    • I’d rather be done with all the, “can we be done with X player,” after every match. These guys often play a hundred or more good matches to be called into camp, yet fans are done with them after 90 minutes. It’s a cla$$ic overreaction to a small sample size. If guys play well for their club teams and have a skill set and tools that the manager likes, he will call them in and continue to call them in regardless of whether they have a mediocre match or two. Bedoya has been lighting it up with his club team, may be on the verge to an Eridivisie move and has put in some good stretches with the MNT. If he looks good in training and fits into JK’s game plan, I’m sure we’ll see him again next match.

      If we were “done” with every player the fans have been done with, we wouldn’t have any of our best players. Fans have been done with MB, Deuce, Jozy, Herc, Wondo, JJ, Corona, LD, Zusi, Guzan, Beasley, Parkhurst, Goodson, Gooch, Brad Evans. Heck, I’m not sure we could even field a squad without the players everyone has been “done” with.

  21. I only saw the second half, but from what I’ve seen in the previous two games, Orozco is quietly having a very solid tournament. If he keeps it up I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the 23 come September

    • I’m with you the whole way. More than any other player, I’ve been impressed by Orozco. He is reading the game really, really well; he isn’t afraid to get physical; he is mobile, and he can pass. Obviously, we are still dominating possession, but Orozco is proving that he should get a chance to show his wares in front of stiffer competition.

    • Agreed. He needs more of a test, though. Sorry to see Gooch sit, but if he’s not in the big picture, then so be it. Test Orozco.

    • Very well said. Everybody is looking for the “breakout” player of the tournament. Fact is, it’s too early to say. But everybody seems to be looking amongst the attacking players. Nobody can argue with Orozco thus far. Not a single demerit that I can think of. For all the complaints everybody has voiced about Omar G., it’s strange. But really, all these conversations mean nothing until the tourney is over.

  22. Very upbeat game, fast pace, few dives or cheap fouls. All in all, very fun to watch. Even my young daughters were into it.

    Wondolowski was a bit of a dud and should have been replaced by Gomez shortly after the half. Shea coming in scared me but made me eat my words shortly afterward. Corona did fine although not such an important factor as Cuba (no surprise). Donovan looked tired late and I would rest him and bring him into El Salvador game at half or shortly thereafter. Holden also likely would benefit from a shorter turn on the field against El Salvador. As a long time fan, I am happy to see JK’s plans working, and generally a good second alternative at each position, with a few of these guys likely now to push for spots with main team for WCQ in September. Congrats to JK and entire coaching staff

  23. it was a stalemate until the counter off the fabulous Johnson save. great match, glad the luck bounced out way after the ridiculous non-val against a goalie out of the box handling a ball with both hands.

    other than that it was a great match I thought…

  24. Where are all the Jermaine Jones haters?!?!

    I love Stu. I followed his rehab on Twitter and watched all the videos from his training in Delaware as they were posted. After the last two games people have been clamoring for the Bradley/Holden partnership. Stu might be the future (and I HOPE he is in Brazil) but don’t throw out JJ. Let’s not forget that JJ has given his all for this team, including a hole in his foot from the Snow Cup!

    I am a fan of the USMNT. If Stu recovers and dominates, he should start but the guy just played his first 90 minutes in almost 2 years today. Don’t be so fickle folks. JJ should be in our starting line-up!!!!

    • You at be right. I mean Holden only got one yellow and JJ would have had at least two yellows. All joking aside. They both have a role to play in the system.

    • I agree. Glad to have Stu back, but he is obviously missing sharpness after two years away. We still need to give him plenty of time to get up to speed.

      • Agreed. If I’m coach, my 2 starting central mids are Bradley and Cameron. Bradley and JJ is like gerard and lampard – it doesn’t work.

        holden was solid today, and i’m a huuge fan of his, but he’s a ways from a starting a-team spot.

      • Disagree, because ultimately I think Cam ends up starting at CB… I know it’s far away, but that guy needs to be on the field, and I think he has a shot at dethroning Gonzo or Beasler

      • I absolutely agree. Cameron behind MB is way better than JJ pretending to play behind him while roaming all over. JJ just doesn’t want to shade behind MB. Cameron’s height in front of the back line is also a huge plus.

      • I’d rather have Donovan, Holden, Bradley, and Zusi with FJ at LB and DMB on the bench in case of an injury. DMB is not the answer at LB in Brazil.

    • He certainly is beginning to ask some questions of a midfield pairing (JJ and MB) I thought would in pen at the world cup. He certainly lacks some sharpness (70/84 ~ 83% passing) and quite a few turnovers (15). That said he was all over the field, his 127 touches were by far the most of any of the front 6 (31 more then Mix). With continued improvement he’ll find the field, be it on a wing, with one of JJ or MB, or in a central midfield trio.

      • See, I’m perfectly happy to get behind this.

        If Stu sharpens up, gets the rust off, and challenges for the starting spot, that’s great–the more competition and depth, the better. I am extremely happy that he *finally* seems to have recovered and is now moving in the right the right direction.

        I just find it ridiculous when people are so willing to write of Jones because Stu had a couple of good games.

    • JJ is a very good player, but we all want to see the Bradley/Holden partnership because we don’t think JJ allows Bradley to play his best. Hell, Bradley looked better playing alongside Cameron (albeit in one game).

      • Playing in a more advanced position with cover (Cameron) behind him vs. having to track all the way back to goal to collect the ball

      • The irony is that most USMNT fans want to see a true d-mid play next to Bradley, so MB can have the freedom to roam and play box-to-box.
        But if you listen to Bradley interview, he says his preferred position is the #6.

      • I wouldn’t call that ironic.

        Bradley prefers #6. Many fans think he plays better in a more advanced position, because he is also the guy in the pool who can control a game while offering good attacking support. Unless you’re suggesting that players should only play in positions they prefer, which isn’t how it works.

        Maybe someday we have a creative attacking CM that will allow Bradley to actually play the #6. I’d like that. I like Mix. Someday.

      • Precisely. Jones’ forays forward are done with little regard to Bradley. Jones is skillful and delivers some great attacking passes, but Bradley is better in advanced areas than Jones is, and he doesn’t seem to get into them as often when he plays with Jones.

        I’m not saying Holden is for sure a better partner for him than Jones, but I’d like to see how they work together.

      • that’s fine, but i wouldn’t. he did well defensively once again last night. not perfect, and him and Mix will have to figure it out, but i’d rather have that midfield.

        of course, i think Beckerman in there would be fine too. i just prefer the other 4.

  25. I know it’s a cliche thing to say, but i saw no more life in the attack after the substitutions. Other than his fabulous run on the goal, Shea looked tired, Corona made the one pass on the counter, and Herc didn’t do anything. Breakaway aside, they were playing better before the subsitiutions.

    • The subs had 10 minutes to play. 2 of the were integral parts of the scoring play. I don’t understand this criticism?

    • So of the two subs that came in, one launched the attack and the other put his one chance away, yet you’re disappointed? Subs that come in with 10 minutes to play in a tied game have one goal – score.

  26. Also I’d like to find everyone who claimed Holden and Mix could make up for Beckerman–who is rightfully getting a rest before the knockout stages.

    • I thought Holden and Mix did a good job and in a big game. Not bad at all. But yes, I am with you – Beckerman plays an important role in this particular midfield.

    • Those two were fine. Bedoya, Wondo, and Donovan were mostly useless combining with them for link up play. That was the issue.

      • The spacing between Donovan and Wondo was off for the first half. Part of the problem. Another part is that Mixx and Holden started a 0-0 match against Costa Rica instead coming into the 2nd half of a game that went 1-0 just before the half against Guatemala. Costa Rica is simply much more difficult to break down.

        Lastly, its really hard to call Donovan “useless” when it was he and not Mixx or Holden who set up the Shea goal.

      • the issue was the midfiled too though, not playing quickly enough through the squeezed field, getting caught in the middle. That kind of D CR played wants one touch balls thru midfiled into space behind the D line. Midfield did not provide those balls all game. Forwards need to drop off the defensive back line too and make runs from places that don’t begin right up against that high line of CR’s

      • Not quite.

        Costa Rica ran over our midfield in the first half. Even Wynalda was going on about it.

      • ran over our midfield? Costa Rica was packing the back end with a 5 man defensive line and pretty much 5 midfielders, forcing the US to play from the wings not conceding space up the middle. Which is exactly what they had said they wanted to do, the US had possession in both halves and for the most part Costa Rica didn’t get a shot on goal….US had a few chances despite this but could put it on frame….Wondo should have gotten 1 on each half but no the US midfield was not overran….The overlap from the right back was missing….Parkhurst turned it over a lot, hell Torres and Mixx ran wild on Costa Rica in midfield!

      • Not so. CR played “bus and run” – waiting and living for the counter. They looked much more aggressive in parts of the field but other than that it was our guys trying to draw them out or look for an angle of attack.

      • Ran over our midfield? They barely touched the ball. Wynalda going on about something means it probably didn’t happen.

      • +1. as with alexi lalas, i appreciate him because he’s one of the only commentators/analysts that don’t care about carrying water for the usmnt, but you can usually disregard about half of what he says.

    • I missed the first half, but in the second it wasn’t like they were overrun. I’m actually surprised that people are giving Holden so much love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see him coming back, but he is still missed some sharpness. In terms of vision and passing, I was once again impressed by Mix. After this tournament, I really hope he can take a step up in leagues. Get Mix to Holland.

    • Find everyone, AND MAKE THEM PAY! Haha Beckerman is underappreciated but i understand some people having trepidation about him playing a significant part in the WC. Which is the fear that some people have i think.

      • Beckerman is a really good player, he has done very well in this Gold Cup. I just don’t see him, barring injuries, in the WC.

      • You are the very first to make this point. And to nobody as I haven’t heard anyone say he should start in Brazil. Could we move on?

      • Exactly. I think Beckerman, like Mastroeni before him, is a good CONCACAF player, but not world-class like Bradley and even Jones at times. A good backup D-mid for the World Cup team, which I would think MLS should always be able to provide to the Nats.

    • At one point it looked like we might need Beckerman to stabilize the defense, but honestly I’m apt to give CR credit for making us struggle to find a goal. We seemed to be spreading the ball around enough CR was just staying organized and making it tough to penetrate the back line.

      It’s too bad Wondo blew his chances early, otherwise we might have cruised to a 3-0 win.

      • I don’t think he blew his chances. He put a few shots on goal and forced the keeper and players into big saves. That diving header would have been a goal had it not went off the defender’s shoulder.

      • That header was NOT going in…..if anything it was going to travel across in front of the goal, it did not get redirected by Wondo diagonally but more straight back away from him

      • CR was happy to allow possession in our 3rd, even up to the midfield line. The US struggled to crack that D all game, and it took an old school counter attack to beat them finally. CR pushed forward and almost got their winner, then got caught up filed and conceded after 2 perfect passes covered the entire field

      • CR was happy to allow possession in our 3rd, even up to the midfield line. The US struggled to crack that D all game, and it took an old school counter attack to beat them finally. CR pushed forward and almost got their winner, then got caught up filed and conceded after 2 perfect pa$$es covered the entire field

        Landon’s pa$$ was the difference

    • Disagree on this Sanfran. What beckerman brings is defensive bite and vey little forward movement of the ball. Tonight we held the ball so much that the bite was not needed, and may have been there anyway. Holden was not all over the ie.d, but he was where he needed o be and Dix was no slouch.

      • During a few times in the first CR actually had some decent spells of possession on our half and it was looking like they might have a slight edge in the midfield battle. Sure we still dominated possession that half but most of it was pa$sing back and forth between the backs so it wasn’t like there was great rhythm that Beckerman would disrupt.

        Things got better once CR tired from all the pressing though. By the second half he definitely would have been a liability.

    • very different game tonight to come out and say that. Beckerman ma still start next game anyway

      CR squeezed the field, forced play within a box a third of the field deep whenever possible, pinched from the weakside…none of the other teams so far asked anything like what Costa Rica did tonight

    • I think most people were saying that we needed Beckerman for helping the defense. And this is the first game we didn’t concede a goal. So I’m not sure what point you are trying to make because I do not think there is anyone who can claim with a straight face that Beckerman gives us more going forward than either Mix or Holden.

  27. I’m guessing there will be a sizable Salvadorean contingent making the trek up from DC. Should be a lively crowd.

    What are the rest of the quarterfinal matchups?

    • Honduras vs Costa Rica right after the US v El Salvador game on Sunday…. and Mexico v Trinidad & Tobago before Panama vs Cuba in Atlanta on Saturday.

      I wish we got the evening game…we get the 4 o’clock game time….oh well, drink plenty of fluids and bring tons of Gatorade guys!

    • El Salvador fans are frothing at the mouth about Klinsmann’s idle comment that “we’d rather play Belgium 10 times than El Salvador 100 times”. No matter how accurate, it does come off as an insult. That’s OK – it will just add some extra excitement to the outcome.

      • I know, like 3rd world countries don’t already have a reason to hate us, we’re Americans after all, now we have our Euro coach putting them down too…

    • I know boo Shea for even kicking the ball in the direction of the goal. Can you just be happy? What the hell is wrong with soccer fans?

      • He shouldn’t be criticized much but honestly….he could have easily missed that point blank, the goalie did throw himself towards his left and Brek’s right, at that point Brek got him to do what he wanted was Brek wanted to shoot more straight ahead the easier and shorter distance….but he probably should try to clear more space to make sure a better keeper, say the guy who is the 1st keeper for Costa Rica, cannot deflect it with his leg….as it did hit the CR keeper’s leg if I’m not mistaken… or he could have rounded him with a tap to dribble around him and than either easily tap the ball into the net or walk into it with the ball. Either way it was close….lol

    • Yeah, but he made a great run, controlled well, and put a decent shot on goal. Sometimes a player needs a break or two, and I’m glad Brek was rewarded for his effort. Now hopefully he can carry it forward.

      • Yes. And anyone who has ever tried to take a ball and make a composed finish after sprinting 90 yards knows that it is hard to do anything precise at that point. He put it on frame and it went in and that’s all that matters. Hope it does something for his confidence.

        Now if I were Shea, I’d be working hard on crossing the ball . . .

    • Let’s just appreciate the fact that he trapped the ball perfectly on an all-out sprint and put his first Int’l goal in, m’kay?

    • agreed. CR should have been down to ten men on that intentional playing of the ball with one’s hands. A suburb intramural league ref would have gotten that call right.

      • “A suburb intramural league ref would have gotten that call right”

        Actually no, we had this happen in our rec league game last week, and the ref waved it off. But he was wrong too.

    • Out of curiosity, if you save a ball out of the box with your hands, do you get that added to your stats!?!?!

      The hack on Landon right in front of the linesman was almost as atrocious as the outside the box save. How could the guy not call it when it was like 5 yards from him?!?!

      • Which one was that? I can’t quite put my mind to what minute or even half it happened in? I thought the on on Torres after the hand outside the box was the worst….tackle or hack I should say from behind and nothing…..Klinsmann was already livid over the yellow instead of red for the keeper, but they showed him out of his seat and yelling after the foul on Torres

      • 45 minute off a throw in. Miller hacks LD down. Not a red card offense or anything like that but it was without a doubt a foul and the linesman is right in front of it and doesn’t even acknowledge it.

      • Probably because LD sold it like an Italian. Show some grit and maybe they help you out. Especially in a game where he was fine with letting them play a bit without touchy calls.

      • I did see the linesman tell Donovan after the game that he missed it. As a basketball official I have had to say those words a Few times and I clearly read his lips. In my opinion, kudos to the linesman for owning up.

    • I think the keeper got away with just a yellow because the ball was coming straight at his body, anyway. He certainly gained an advantage from playing the ball with his hands, but I was ok with the yellow once I saw the replay. 9 times out of 10, that’s a red, though.

      • It’s irrelevant whether his body was in the way or not though – it was an obvious goalscoring opportunity regardless, and denying it with a deliberate handball is an automatic red card. That’s the rule. Doesn’t say anything about it definitely being a goal but for the hands – just a goalscoring opportunity, which that clearly was.

      • yes, but the keeper’s body was also coincidentally seemingly right inline with the goal, which was why it probably should have been a red.

      • If you saw him on camera he reached for the red while talking to his linesman on the batphone, I think he changed to yellow because there was another defender that got behind the play and was Standing on the goal line.. he still blew it but I think that’s what happened

      • the announcers mentioned that there was a teammate behind him, but the ‘last man’ rule doesn’t apply on this play. if you deliberately use your hands to stop a goal or goal-scoring opportunity, it’s an automatic red, every time.

        it couldn’t have been more obvious that the ref simply didn’t know the rules.

      • Exactly… he shouldn’t have ever picked up the bat phone.. that same guy has a history of bad calls with us ( I think I just named myself Capt. Obvious)

      • Nate: The law you wish to apply is “denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball.” This includes outfield players blocking shots on the goal line with their arms, but it can also include players knocking the ball away from an attacker

        The position of other players helps to determine whether it is an obvious goal scoring opportunity (wether the OGSO was denied by foul punishable by free kick or penalty kick or deliberate handling). If someone else had a chance to block it, it’s not. There was a CR defender behind the GK that might have been able to stop the shot. Thus, no OGSO, and no send-off.

        FWIW: I went for my red card immediately, and then put it back in my pocket once I saw the defender in behind on replay.

      • this has to be the dumbest interpretation of the laws of the game i have ever seen. Were you his clueless 4th last night?

      • You’re gonna have do better than that to rile me.

        Take it up with FIFA, because that’s the way the LOTG are written and interpreted. I direct you to bullet four, interpretation of Law 12, Denying a goal scoring opportunity:

        There are two sending-off offences that deal with denying an opponent an
        obvious opportunity to score a goal. It is not necessary for the offence to occur
        inside the penalty area.
        If the referee applies advantage during an obvious goalscoring opportunity and
        a goal is scored directly, despite the opponent’s handling the ball or fouling an
        opponent, the player cannot be sent off but he may still be cautioned.
        Referees should consider the following circumstances when deciding whether
        to send off a player for denying a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity:
        • the distance between the offence and the goal
        • the likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
        • the direction of the play
        • the location and number of defenders
        • the offence which denies an opponent an obvious goalscoring opportunity
        may be an offence that incurs a direct free kick or an indirect free kick

      • You just disproved what you said above.
        How, exactly, did I do that?

        You need to check yourself. The laws agree with me. You would have been cautioned by now.

      • Lol by saying one thing in one post then disproving it in another. You have no idea how laws apply you are just reading them verbatim and acting like you know something.
        I get you are trying to be smart but that is not how the law applies which you stated in your first post. Take an officiating course before you start copying and pasting laws you don’t understand.

      • I have taken an officiating course (USSF 8) and am a referee (98% on my exam – marked the wrong circle on a coin flip question). That means I know the 4Ds of DOGSOs.

        You’re wrong, because the Distance and Defenders Ds weren’t satisfied. That wasn’t an OGSO because there was another player behind the goalie. But for the foul, you’re looking at a 25 yard shot on goal past two defenders at 20 yards and another defender standing at about 10 yards from goal. That’s not an OGSO. To a referee, this is a very obvious call.

        Furthermore… I did not post the laws. I posted the interpretation to the laws – which referees are tested on as well – and you have yet to tell me how they contradict what I said.

      • It did satisfy distance and defenders. In this case the goalie is the SECOND to last defender. In other cases it is usually a field player.
        Like I said learn the rules. It doesn’t happen very often just like the goalie being the second to last defender in an offside call. Btw I have refereed for over 10 years and have seen officials who score 100% on the test and can’t manage a game or interpret the rules when it happens on the field. You obviously are one of them.
        I don’t have to show you it contradicts. Re-read what you wrote on both. The first is how you feel, the second is the laws and one disproves the other.

      • Yes. The first one is how I feel regarding the play and the second is the guidance that tells me what do do. You do need to show me the contradiction, because anyone else reading this can’t see it.

        Do it now. Or don’t, but realize this: I am directed by Law 12’s to consider the location of other defenders before sending off for DOGSO by foul or handle. A 25 yard shot through three people (GK CB @ 20, CB @ 10) isn’t an OGSO, because any one of them can stick a foot out an block the shot. Thus no send off. I don’t like attacking fellow refs, but if you can’t figure out that a shot from distance through three players isn’t an OGSO, you need to put down the whistle because you’re hurting the game.

        (BTW: The big training issue during my first year of reffing was passes back to the goalkeeper. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.)

      • Yes. The first one is how I feel regarding the play and the second is the guidance that tells me what do do. You do need to show me the contradiction, because anyone else reading this can’t see it.

        Do it now. Or don’t, but realize this: I am directed by Law 12′s to consider the location of other defenders before sending off for DOGSO by foul or handle. A 25 yard shot through three people (GK CB @ 20, CB @ 10) isn’t an OGSO, because any one of them can stick a foot out an block the shot. Thus no send off. I don’t like attacking fellow refs, but if you can’t figure out that a shot from distance through three players isn’t an OGSO, you need to put down the whistle because you’re hurting the game.

        (BTW: The big training issue during my first year of reffing was p@sses back to the goalkeeper. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.)

      • In fact.. I rather doubt you are a ref, because you can’t seem to explain why that is a DOGSO using FIFA laws and guidance and USSF guidance on the matter. You’re just prattling on about my supposed, “contradiction.” Try to explain why its a DOGSO, please. Imagine it’s the details section of your match report.

        It’s possible that you’re just not aware of the guidance on the issue, but that would make id difficult to pass your re-certs, not to mention a poor arbiter, indeed.

      • Yes you are directed by that law. Hooray you get the Law right. If a player goalie knocks the ball on purpose (outside the 18), to stop a ball on target he obviously is stopping a goal scoring opportunity. I bet you think a defender tackling a player that is about to go 1v1 with the goalkeeper isn’t a red either, do you?

        You obviously have no reading comprehension if you can’t see the contradiction.

        I am pretty sure I don’t hurt the game when I am asked to do college games when I am at college age but thank you for criticizing me. I feel sorry for anyone who has had you as an official who can’t get any grip on the rules and interprets them in whatever way you see possible.

      • In fact.. I rather doubt you are a ref, because you can’t seem to explain why that is a DOGSO using FIFA laws and guidance and USSF guidance on the matter. You’re just prattling on about my supposed, “contradiction.” Try to explain why its a DOGSO, please. Imagine it’s the details section of your match report.

        It’s possible that you’re just not aware of the guidance on the issue, but that would make id difficult to obtain your re-certs, not to mention a poor arbiter, indeed.

      • If a player goalie knocks the ball on purpose (outside the 18), to stop a ball on target he obviously is stopping a goal scoring opportunity.
        You missed a word and it is an important one: OBVIOUS.

        There was another man behind the GK who could have stopped the ball. That makes the GSO non-obvious. Are you seriously doubting that the CR defender at ten yards could have stuck his foot out and blocked the shot? If he could have, then it’s not an OGSO. Full Stop.

        Look… I thought it was a red initially, and so did Campbell, because both of us were following the ball, but the AR was johnny-on-the spot and told him there was another player in position to block the shot, negating the OSGO. Go back and watch the replay. Campbell is about to send off Pemberton when the AR gets in his ear about the non-obvious nature of the GSO due to the positioning of the defense.

        And your example of a man about to 1v1 with the keeper? Insufficient info. Where on the field? Which direction is play going? How far away is the ball? Could be red, yellow, or just a foul.

      • The funny thing about you, Casey, is that if you are a referee, you are clearly an ambitious one who wants to advance. To do that, you need all three or four members of your team to be on the same wavelength, because the game will move faster than you can handle in the middle. This play was an excellent example of an AR helping out an R on a very difficult play, when the R was about to make an incorrect decision that would have drastically altered the match. This was good referee team work, which you should desire to emulate, not disparage.

      • That’s great. Glad you read nothing I wrote. I told you why. Just because I don’t spell out it for you like a Kindergartner doesn’t mean I didn’t say it. I don’t give many reds so I don’t have to fill out many match reports with ejections. Do they players have to explain the rules to you too?

      • You haven’t told me a darn thing other than that you don’t understand the meaning of the word, “obvious,” or the phrase, ”
        the location and number of defenders.”

        Here’s an example that should, hopefully, clear it up for you:

        Team A shoots from 25 yards at team B’s goal. There a two team B defenders along the line of the shot: One at 20 yards (B1) and one at 10 yards (B2).

        Legal play: B1 does nothing and B2 blocks the shot off his chest/foot/head.

        Offense: B2 deliberately handles the ball.
        Punishment: B2 is sent off for DOGSO by handling. That there was no one behind him makes the ball flying past him an OGSO. PK to team A

        Offense: B1 deliberately handles the ball. Since B2 could have blocked the shot, do not send off B1. Caution for USB. DFK to Team A at spot of handling.

        And “When you’re college aged?” Son… I’ve been reffing since you were in diapers. Don’t deign tell me what is an OGSO and what is not.

      • I saw them do a few games in qualifying too. I don’t think they would be picked anyways. Ugh I hope no officials are chosen from this region.

    • True…but the scoreboard don’t care, someone had to pick the ball out of the net and the 3 points are just the same.

      It’s a rivalry in a tourney – sometimes beautiful doesn’t happen.

    • It was an awful shot. But we don’t get more goals for beauty. I’ll chalk off the poor effort as nerves. He’s finally gotten over his scoring slump. Does that mean, like Wondo, Shea scores a hat trick next game?

      • it wasnt awful…couldve gone into the stands or into pembertons’ gut

        it wasnt a perfect finishers strike but i’m not surprised cause he’s not sharp physically and he’s been lacking confidence lately

        he put it on target w/ pace and it snuck thru

      • good things happen when you put the shot on frame and force the keeper to make a save. But Donovan created that goal. He should be getting at least half of the credit. What amazing vision and execution. Dempsey simply does not have that element.

      • The whole sequence was beautiful. From Johnson’s fantastic save, to Corona’s vision and ability to put Donovan into space while being under pressure, LD’s fantastic pass on a bounce to play Shea on goal and despite a subpar shot on goal he did put it on frame, and the ball generally doesn’t score without the shot being on frame.

      • Please remember to give Shea credit for and incredible run from the 6 yard box where he was defending up the pitch to beat the defense. This is every bit the great play that Donovan’s pass was. Not every winger is heads up or hustles enough to be in the right place to make the pass look good. As to the shot being luck “luck is the residue of good design” or in this case outstanding effort.

      • The shot was like Jozy’s against Cassillas! Keeper dove one way he hit right at him the keeper deflected it reaching back

    • Shea flubbed that shot right at the keeper. He is low on confidence, but a goal winner will cure the lack of confidence quick

    • Ha, I was thinking the same thing! He was actually lucky it went in, it was right at the keeper, and not in a Landon Donovan-right-at-the-Slovenia-keeper kind of way either.

      • I believe it’s 8 in a row. Wins in WCQ on June 7th at Jamaica, June 11th in Seattle vs Panama, June 18th in Salt Lake City vs Honduras, July 5th in San Diego vs Guatemala in a friendly and the 3 Gold Cup Group Stage games….

        If they beat El Salvador which they should, then we have 8 and possibly 9 vs Honduras or Costa Rica again…..if they win out vs Mexico or whomever it’s 10….I hope they go on a streak of double digits. A win in Bosnia could make it 11 games in a row heading into San Jose for the Sept 5 game at Costa Rica

      • We’re already at 8. You left out the friendly win against Germany.

        If we win the Gold Cup, we’ll be at 11.

      • Not to mention, Costa Rica was beaten in non-snowy conditions by our B-Team (WHEN DID THE USMNT POOL BECOME THIS GOOD!!!!)………very impressive.

    • Agreed. We were called Klimsi apologists when we defended him last year when the Bradley mob came out with torches. We ever had pro Arena backers. Certain writers on this site and journalists didn’t believe.

      Klinsi has done this team, these players, and us fans well. We’ve won incredible games, we’ve broken records, and he’s helped his players get better.

      I don’t always agree with everything he does but I appreciate what he’s trying to do. 2014 will be his legacy. Hope we can pull it together.

      • we didn’t believe because he made mistakes and bad decisions. he has learned from them, although it took him awhile. good for him, good for usa.

      • You are so right. You know much more about the game than he does. Surely he has made a few mistakes but everyone’s criticism of him was mostly unfounded. But you are right. You always are.

      • ? You guys point to recent results of success and say he is great, so why can’t others point to the teams struggles earlier in his coaching and say he must have learned. Is it to possible a coach would actually learn from experience?

        I like the USA team right now, but WE WERE depressing to follow in the beginning. He has obviously changed on things, like releasing the names of starters the night before, instead of saying “Dempsey hasn’t done shit” he sings Dempseys praises.

      • as always, the truth is more nuanced than you want to believe.

        i’m starting to come around to klinsmann, but i certainly don’t feel bad for doubting him due to our poor play (in games that mattered) and his early insistence on a 4-3-3 formation with 3 d-mids.

        once he started changing things and the team started winning games, *gasp* fans started appreciating him more.

      • Completely agreed.

        People, it’s undeniable that he made some mistakes. His 3 d-mid/3 forward lineups were never, ever, going to work. Even his biggest defenders have to admit that. But to his credit, he’s learned from his mistakes, and he now has the team rolling. He’s doing a great job now. We can’t really ask for much better from a coach.

        It’s OK to change your opinion on someone’s performance over time, folks. It’s not like you have to be either pro- or anti-Klinsmann and stick with that no matter what.

      • He was playing the best ayers he had available at the time. You say it was 3 DMids, then explain the continued usage of Torres early on? That didn’t work so he went with in form players. Unfortunately for us that was 3 dMids. Now he has healthy in form interchangeable parts. Central players playing on the wings. Midfield players as backs, forwards thriving as wings, the process has had some success, and the process is starting to show dividends.

      • Simply playing the best available players was never going to work. A midfield featuring Jones, Beckerman, and Edu, will never, ever, on any planet, against any opposition, be able to generate any attacks. I have no idea what you’re trying to say about Torres, but now that you mention him, starting him over Beckerman or Edu in those games should have been a no brainer, since he at least has some playmaking skills.

        After a string of woeful offensive performances, Klinsmann went away from those dumb lineups and started to play lineups that made some actual sense. And the team is playing better. He corrected his errors. Credit to him.

    • None of this matters, he has to get a solid performance in the World Cup if he wants credit from me. I haven’t been cheering or doubting him, just letting him do his job. All of these games will be meaningless if the team does not perform at the WC. I will judge him once the job is done.

      • I agree. I love the way the team is playing right now, here’s to them continuing to improve over the course of the next year and having strong showing in Brazil.

        The gold standard, for US world cup showings, IMO is the 2002 team. I hope to see them achieve at that level.

      • Exactly. Since when has the US struggled to get wins against regional opponents? A solid friendly win against Germany notwithstanding, there’s really not much to get excited about. You can only beat what’s put in front of you, but let’s be honest we still have no idea whether any of this will translate to the WC.

      • Doesn’t anyone remember our top 10 ranking and Confed Cup success with BB? We’ve had the good times in the GC too.

        I agree that the true test is the WC…

        Let’s wait and see.

      • Lets not forget that it took a 3 goal victory by brazil over Italy to put us thru in that confed cup.

        And it took a Brian Ching injury to get C.Davies playing time.

        And Stu Holden sat on the bench at 2010 while Rico started at MF. And Holden had already shown CM prowess for Bolton that year.

      • Stu Holden was still rounding into form from his injury after Nigel de Jong almost removed his leg in the friendly against the Netherlands.
        You could easily argue that Edu should’ve played over Rico Clark, but Holden wasn’t fully fit then.

      • Bradley regime – 2002? Dempsey in 2002, while he was attending college? There is so much factual inaccuracy in this comment. I hope you’re just trolling.

      • You’re a moron Dood. At least bother to do some work before you comment. We bear Italy in Europe. Never done before. Check. Beat Mexico in Azteca. Never done before. Check. And then we go onto beat Germany and tie Mexico again in Azteca. Whether you like it or not, JK has led is to a lot of firsts. Give credit where it’s due and don’t make dumb remarks. It’s lazy and typical from SBI posters.

      • Ha ok. Ill believe we’re making progress when friendly wins stop sparking the kind of comment u just wrote above.

        For every Italy win, there’s a Belgium loss. For every Mexico win there is a Canada tie. Point is there’s not enough there to really measure our progress cuz concacaf sucks.

        Get ur inflammatory crap out of here.

      • I think the first and main measure of progress is how deep the team is now. Would Bob EVER have thought to start A Sean Johnson in goal in a game like this one? Sure, part of that is due to time and the existence of MLS, but Klinsmann has managed personnel far better than Bradley ever did. (I actually thought Arena did a good job in discovering and trusting new talent as well) Unlike 2010, we will have no unknown quantities going into Brazil.

      • “Point is there’s not enough there to really measure our progress cuz concacaf sucks.

        Get ur inflammatory crap out of here.”

        Self-aware much?

    • I certainly didn’t guess the starting lineup, but he was dead on and made it work. Very good player selection and tactics by JK. CR played a tough game.

    • I maintain the same position I always have: that JK should be judged at the end of the WC. Results in friendlies and CONCACAF don’t mean that much. The only things I’ve questioned are some of his methods. I vehemently hated his 3 D-mid formation and I’m very glad he’s finally tanked that. I think those of us that came out against that have been proven correct and it’s good that JK can learn from his mistakes. I also didn’t like his public criticism of players. I thought it was counter productive, but it seems to not really matter much at this point, so I was probably wrong on that one. It also seemed as if he was overtraining his players and they came out looking flat and tired on several occasions in big matches. He admitted his mistake regarding that in one match, and seems to have corrected his methods in that regard. So, to me, it seems that he’s made some big errors and gone through a spell where the team’s attack looked incredibly weak, but he has fixed his mistakes and come through itto the point where the team is dominating CONCACAF competition the way it is accustomed to. Let’s face it, though, he was hired to take the next step and we won’t know whether he’s been successful in that regard until after the cup. To me, making a few good substitutions is meaningless in that department. Any manager can do that. BB and Bruce did that on any nuber of occasions. I don’t see any real signs that the team is playing on a higher level than they did under BB or Bruce, but I hope they will get there. The talent pool is much deeper and we have more guys in top leagues than every before so hopefully we CAN take that next step and JK can be a big part of it.

    • Sorry, I can’t get too excited over beating up at home on teams from the weakest region (sans Oceania) and a bunch of German tourists. I’d like to see the US team play some meaningful games against better competition.

      • +.5

        Let’s not forget, though, that we are dominating weak opponents in a way we never have before. Prior to Guatemala – Belize – Cuba, I think our record for cumulative goals scored in three games was 13. We put 16 by those sides, and it could have been more. I think it’s worth keeping in mind that we may still be winning, but we’re winning differently now. But the proof is in the Brazilian pudding.

      • Belize is one of the worst national teams I have ever seen if not the worst. Cuba even scored 4 against them. Don’t think the goal differential means much.

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