Top Stories

USMNT celebrates second straight World Cup Round of 16 berth


Photo by John Todd/


RECIFE, Brazil — For the U.S. Men’s National Team, this may have been the best loss ever.

The U.S. was defeated by Germany in a Group G finale played amid torrential downpours Thursday afternoon, but the 1-0 loss to the group winners was overshadowed by the fact that the Americans advanced to the Round of 16 after Portugal mustered just a 2-1 win over Ghana in the match they played simultaneously in Brasilia.

Both Germany and the U.S. celebrated amid festive scenes at Arena Pernambuco almost immediately after Thomas Mullers’ 55th-minute bender stood as the winner. The pro-U.S. crowd in attendance was especially rowdy in cheering on the Americans, who had accomplished what so few pundits believed they could by advancing out of a difficult Group G that many considered to be the Group of Death at this summer’s World Cup.

U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his players basked in the temporary glory alongside Germany, knowing full well that they had accomplished one of their bigger goals despite tasting defeat for the first time in Brazil.

“Yeah, (it was a little surreal),” said captain Clint Dempsey. “It would’ve been nicer to celebrate after the last game in terms of the performance we put in but at the same time being able to advance out of a difficult group like we were in, getting into the knockout stages, it doesn’t matter how it happens. You’re there, so you enjoy that moment.”

Part of what made that moment sweeter to the U.S. was that it had proven plenty of skeptics wrong. The Americans were not given much of a chance by most accounts to make it into the Round of 16, but they did so with a late win over Ghana in their opener, a draw with Portugal that could have been a win if not for a late goal from Varela in the second match and a narrow defeat to Germany on Thursday.

Midfielder Jermaine Jones even went as far as bringing up an example during postgame interviews of people doubting the Americans’ ability to safely navigate themselves out of the group and continuing on in the tournament. Jones talked about the moment during the send-off series in which the U.S. was in New York for a media appearance in Times Square and former U.S. Men’s National Team players and current ESPN employees Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman were put on the spot and asked if the U.S. would advance from its group in front of the American players.

Lalas and Twellman said no, but that they would not mind being proven wrong. That moment added a little more to the fire in the bellies of the U.S., which fully believed that it could and would get through the difficult group months before actually doing it.

“We lose the game but it’s a nice lose so everybody is happy that we come to the next round and you show some people (wrong),” said midfielder Jermaine Jones. “We have that time when we were like in New York in Times Square and Alexi Lalas and Taylor (Twellman) and there were people talking how we have no chance to come through to the next round. The team is always looking forward and we got it and we showed people that we have a good team and good atmosphere.”

The U.S. might be among the final 16 teams at the World Cup, but it could have been eliminated from the competition had Portugal or Ghana won by certain margins. As a result, Klinsmann and his coaching staff were keeping track of the score of the Portugal-Ghana game throughout the course of the U.S.-Germany bout in rainy Recife.

The players were not. Instead, they focused on trying to pick up the three points that would’ve given them a first-place finish in the group.

“We didn’t have really much of an idea what was going on in the other game,” said centerback Omar Gonzalez. “I think with 10 minutes left Tim Howard came up and said a score, but I have no idea how he got that information. I wasn’t too worried about the other match. We came into this game wanting to win this game, but when we went down 1-0 we wanted to tie it up and if we couldn’t tie it up we wanted to keep it at 1-0 because we knew that was our best chance of getting through.”

The Americans will enjoy advancing to the next round for a bit, but it will not take them and Klinsmann very long to shift gears and focus on the task that lies ahead with a July 1 showdown vs. Group H winners Belgium in Salvador.

The U.S. will not have the rare luxury of being able to celebrate that one with its fans without being victorious, but on this Thursday in Recife they could.

“If you’re writing a script – you wouldn’t ever write a script that had you losing a game -but if you were looking at how this would play out you’d say, ‘Beat Ghana, draw with Portugal and play like heck against Germany,'” said U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “Germany is a great team, great credit to them. They’re a very, very good team and they were better than us today but we did what we needed to do.”


  1. To beat Belgium, we need to have the mdfield right. Last time Belgium humiliated us here was our midfield: Klejstan, Davis, Jones, Cameron.
    Don’t ue any of them except Jones.
    Go with these guys: Mix, Beckerman, Bradley Jones
    Up front: Wondo, with service from from Deuce and Zusi
    Why not Altidore? Give him another rest period of recovery plus he as the forward in the last Belgium debacle. Wond at 100% trumps Altidore at 70%.

  2. Belgium certainly beatable. have yet to play a complete defensive game, and they do not defend as a team with all 11 as of yet…maybe they will but not yet they haven’t. crazy talent on that team tho obviously

  3. What makes me nervous is we that we have a very specialized roster. JK built it looking at those three games specifically. It’s built around defense and set pieces. We just don’t have anybody to chase the game with. I agree with the assessment from someone earlier. Lando and/or EJ would be a big help in those situations. We’re through now though, and the end result probably wasn’t effected all that much.

  4. I want Alexi and Taylor to tell them to their faces that they will not win any of their elimination games. We want to keep that bellyfire burning.

  5. I realize it isnt popular to credit US announcers, but Twellman has been all over everything.

    Any scoop, he has it. His color has been spot on most of the time. He is entertaining, if you listen to his podcast, you know that he is fun to listen to.

    So why does everyone bring up a small mistake of saying the US won’t get through, when most on this site said exactly the same thing ? It is an insecurity with the US among it’s own people.

    Ian Darke is a joke of an announcer, seems like a nice guy, who bumbled his way through scenerios of the US going through, he couldn’t take 5 mins to figure that out before the game ?
    Yet I never see anything negative about him…why ? If he were American this site would explode. If it were Lalas, the internet would blow up.

    • Ian Darke is one the best broadcast announcers on television. Period. He’s up there with Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth for football. He clearly loves the US team and his calls against Algeria, for the women against Brazil, and against Ghana have played a huge part in the growing bandwagon for US Soccer.

      Twellman is better than John Harkes. When he is not trying to be Alexi Lalas, he’s much better. Yes he gets scoops. That’s not the measure of a good announcer; that’s the measure of an insider. I much prefer Twellman when he sits back and provides analysis rather than trying to say what he would have done. He’s fine but it would have been interesting to see what Darke would be like paired with an old hand like Dellacamera.

      Please, please Fox, keep the Gus Johnson experiment if you like, but hire Ian Darke for the big games and the USA games next World Cup.

      • Darke and Ale Moreno (the star of every game I’ve seen him announce for me) is the pairing I’d absolutely love to see. Twellmans alright but Moreno is a perfect ten as far as color goes

      • Moreno is a homer for all latin teams… i thought he was going to run down to the field and blow Rafa Punk Marquez after the Croatia game.


      Your criticism of Darke’s ineptitude after Ghana tied Portugal 1-1 is spot on. Darke’s inability to quickly explain that if Ghana went ahead 2-1 v Portugal (while the USA trailed Germany 1-0) and those results held, then the USA would be out and Ghana would go through, left the average U.S. soccer fan in the, well… dark. For approximately 20 minutes we should all have been cursing Cristiano Ronaldo for his last second assist until he put Portugal ahead of Ghana 2-1 helping U.S. fans to breathe more easily. Truly, those are the nervy moments during the simultaneously played final group games that the top teams like to avoid by winning their first two games. Soccer is about long stretches of suffering ending in beautiful moments of glory and elation. New fans can’t feel the tension and be drawn in without an accurate picture of the fragility of the moment. Darke certainly bumbled this most recent opportunity.

      Having said that, it doesn’t seem right that the USA were so close to elimination despite their 2-1 win over Ghana. If the Ghana/Portugal score had been reversed, giving Ghana 4 points and a -1 GD, the USA would have been eliminated despite also accumulating 4 points with a -1 GD. The second tiebreaker is goals scored and Ghana would have tallied four; one more than the USA’s three. FIFA should change this rule and give more weight to the head-to-head matchup in a two-team tiebreaker.

    • Listening to Gus Johnson call all of the U.S. matches in 2018 (assuming we qualify, of course) will make you better appreciate Ian Darke.

  6. US deserves a lot if credit. We did prove some people wrong.

    However, don’t forget who also proved people wrong… Portugal and Ghana. Portugal played like ship. Ghana couldn’t link passes or finishes while dominating us for 90 minutes. Then, a sleepy German side beat us 1:0.

    Plus, when faced with criticism, it can help others rise to the challenge so maybe the US did feel compelled to prove the Lalases wrong. Maybe we should thank them, too.

    Klinsmann hasn’t done anything so grand. Getting out of group stage should be expected now. Quarterfinals should be new barometer for success. Semi-finals? Major achievement.

    • Alex you’re right making out of group play should pretty much be given or expecting going forward. Right now the bar was set by the 2002 squad. Getting to the final eight should be the goal this and next cup and beyond that is just fuggin gravy. Beating Belgium would make me feel completely satisified as long as the US plays Argentina tight but let’s be honest not going to beat Argentina on SA soil right now.

      • A much weaker US team tied Argentina in friendlies the last two times the teams met. The Argentina team was at full strength. I am not so sure Argentina will get a pass by the US.

  7. While Klinsmann has gotten the tactics and substitutions correct. I can’t help but feel as if the 23 man roster isn’t as deep as it could have been.

    The team misses wings that can exploit opposing (out of position) fullbacks with pace, like Germany and Belgium. Zusi has largely struggled to keep possession and has failed on corners, other than to the unmarked John Brooks against Ghana. Bedoya is a valuable player as he covers for Fabian Johnson’s overlapping forays forward but provides minimal creativity in attack. Sure Klinsmann has DeAndre Yedlin who has world class speed, but he’s a defender rather than a playmaker.

    The roster also lacks any depth at the holding midfield spot. Bradley, Jones, and Beckerman are now all starters leaving the only options to bring of the bench: Geoff Cameron (out of position) and Mixx Diskerud (more attacking mid than destroyer. At this rate any suspension, injury, or fatigue may cause the US an immediate exit.

    The final and most confusing spot is up top behind Jozy Altidore. Jürgen brought Wondo and Jòhannsson, who is coming off an injury at the end of his club season, to back up Jozy but has opted to play Dempsey out of position. Maybe one of the two could have been dropped for Eddie Johnson or Terrence Boyd, who would have provided a like for like switch.

    I hate to harp on this but Green, Davis, Jóhannsson should have been out for E. Johnson, Donovan, and Edu.

    • EJ is an egotistical, streaky player who I’m happy isn’t anywhere near the US team. Never again please.

      Donovan on the other hand still makes me sick and it’s an embarrassment to fans and US Soccer.

      • I still think something went on between Klinsmann and Donovan back during those 2012 CONCACAF 3rd round qualifiers where we were looking very poor and getting very little leadership from Donovan. I also tend to suspect that Donovan was one of the anonymous sources – maybe the leading anonymous source – for Strauss’s article last year. The criticisms of not doing things the way players were used to sounds exactly like what he’s been saying this world cup.

        All that to say that I think we’ve benefited from him not being there. Not because I don’t think he could have helped us on the pitch, in theory. He’s definitely more of a physical asset than Green or Davis. But because Donovan was not really a leader and, even more importantly, he didn’t believe in what Klinsmann was doing. That is a cancer in the locker room. It doesn’t matter what he’s done. If he doesn’t buy into the collective vision for the team – or at least act like he does without undermining the coach – you can’t succeed with him. Donovan was still criticizing Klinsmann’s workout schedule while they were waiting for the 23 man roster cut. It’s not that he can’t take criticism; Klinsmann doesn’t appear to mind it at all. He took much worse in Germany. It’s that Donovan aired his grievances in the media in order to undermine the coach.

        You can have the most talented, experienced guy in the world if he doesn’t buy into the system, it’s not going to work. That’s true in business and it’s true in sports.

    • Javier great points about Edu and Lando. Green and Davis don’t add anything imho. I’d prefer to see Wondo (physical presence) or Aron (creativity and good speed) up top with Clint roaming in his natural position as well as Bedoya replacing Davis. Gonzalez played exceptionally well did not think he would hold up. Still would prefer Cameron if he’s fully fit. Seen enough of Belgium to know that they are a very solid squad almost as good as Germany. Beating Belgium will require the US to attack which will leave them exposed at times on the flank. Johnson and Beasley are going to have their hands full Mertens and Hazard.

      Belgium has seeming under performed so far with narrow victories in a group that imho was one of the weakest. The US now has confidence after making it out of the toughest group. Belgium will not scare them however they need a break somewhere to pull the upset. A Vincent Kompany red card would be nice as he is reckless at times.

      Having Altidore would be huge as his physical play would match up well vs the Belgians, doubt he plays unless it’s a 10 minute or less cameo at the end. Penalty kicks would be fine with me as Howard can match Courtois but will be hard to match them taking the kicks……

      • Why would you say the US players can’t take penalties as good as Belgium ?

      • That’s a good question, but the flip side of that conversation is who, besides Donovan, have we seen take a PK in a USMNT jersey in a while?

        Dempsey is an obvious choice. After that, I don’t have a good feel for anyone’s PK ability. I suspect Bradley is okay. I don’t know.

      • That’s a good question. If we got a penalty during the match itself, I’m not even sure who would take it. The last time I remember Clint taking a penalty was against Mexico in Columbus.

    • I actually see Yedlin starting versus Belgium on the right wing and Bedoya starting on the left wing.

      Those two will allow for excellent defense as will as overlapping by Fab and Beas. Yedlin and Bedoya will also allow MB AND JJ to play in more advanced roles where they thrive playing off of Dempsey better.

    • Completely agree with this assessment. Yesterday we were in position to chase the game and our only card to play was yedlin?

  8. Hey guys remember me, I said Mexico and USA were and are my dark horses in the World Cup.
    I thought Spain would show their class but it didn’t happen.
    I see mexico reaching the semifinal versus Argentina or USA, because if USA beat Belgium, get ready for a massive Argentina vs USA which USA can stop Argentina easily.
    I don’t know, but I see a Mexico vs USA semifinal but if one teams is ready for a semifinal and World Cup final is Mexico.
    On the other side, Brazil and Germany will meet in the semifinal.
    I would have love for USA to win the group, USA knows Algeria, France is not that strong but now we gotta look forward because if USA beats Belgium, then it will be Argentina and Mexico next.
    Vamos Yankees !!!!!!! I believe since 1994 not since 2014.

      • Argentina is on the edge of waking up to show who they really are or on the verge of being demolish.
        If USA get Belgium out of the way, Argentina will be crying for if they face USA, simply because they goalkeeper sucks, their defense is weak, and too much messi love.
        As for Mexico, they said they love the humidity and want humidity and rain against holland.
        The difference between Mexico and USA is not about the heart and soul they play with, is how deep the bench is and mexicos bench is freaking loaded.
        USAs bench needs a chicharito and Marco Fabian and Jimenez. Kilnsi needs to trust diskerud and johansson because abasing Belgium we need goals and pressure because don’t forget Belgium has the best goalkeeper in the world and lukaku is lout of control

      • With Sergio Aguero out vs The Swiss, and maybe the rest of the Cup, they may be favored but they have holes in their team also..

      • They have played better with Lavezzi than Aguero. His injury might be a blessing in disguise for them.

    • Optimism never hurt anybody.
      Argentina is just warming up. Messi is just warming up. Anyone saying Argentina is a walk in the park is delirious.
      First, focus on Belgium. Individually, they have some of the most talented players in the WC. They do have team issues (as in they really don’t know how to play collectively).
      Yes, anything can happen in this WC, just like it already has. Keep thinking positive, but feet solidly planted on the ground.

  9. Considering the group and the environmental difficulties, this is already a better accomplishment than 2002. Belgium has a lot of great players, but they don’t scare me as much as Germany or Portugal. Do we stick with a 4-2-3-1? I think we should be more aggressive in the next game and play more attacking soccer. Maybe play Dempsey and Johannsson up top and remove one of the midfielders in a straight 4-4-2.

    • no, not yet-not at all…US actually beat Portugal that time and tied the eventual semifinalist, let alone took it to Germany much more intensely in that 1-0 loss in the quarterfinal…getting to the semifinal would be an improvement over 2002

    • Stay with the formation the players know best.

      Besides, just because you say you have bigger numbers forward doesn’t always mean you have more attack. Midfielders and defenders can shoot, too, you know.

  10. For me the glass is half full..
    – For 5 games this specific squad improved its performance each game to the next (until the loss vs this stacked German team)
    – Its done so despite the most difficult schedule and field conditions of all 32 teams
    – Without Jozy
    – And we still haven’t peaked
    – And now we get to rest and prepare for 1 team-not a group
    – And our coach has pretty much gotten his tactics, lineups, and subs right

    I’m feeling damn optimistic against an underperforming Belgium…

    • Beating Belgium is possible. They don’t look particularly deadly. I only saw the game today so I need to go back and watch their other games. They have CB playing as Fullbacks too and we should be able to get at them a lot more than German let us.

      • They looked pretty pedestrian against Russia. I actually started rooting for the Russians midway through the second half because it looked like they were actually trying to score. Then Belgium seemed to turn on the afterburners over the last 10 minutes and managed to get a goal.

        They haven’t scored before the 70th minute in any of their games so far and have won all their games by a one goal margin.

      • There’s two ways to read that. One is they aren’t all that good. The other is they are good enough and confident enough they can play conservatively and pick their spots for a low-risk advancement through group play.

        The teams making deep runs aren’t always the teams that impress in group games. I think we’ve got our hands full. Not saying they’re unbeatable, but it would take a few bounces to go our way.

      • Go back to the ALG-BGM game. Trademark Fellaini header from a perfect cross. Hopefully Omar will continue his strong performance and be our answer to Fellaini’s hair. Well, we got Beckerman’s hair, but he would be out of position to mark Fellaini in the box.

  11. What do the 2013 Boston Red Sox, the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs, and the 2013-14 LA Kings have in common?

    Beside winning the championship in their respective sport, they also lost their final game before the “knockout stage” started.

    • not realistically but potentially. if the injury looked wosre than it was and he’s been resting it, there’s a chance.

    • Hammies are touchy injuries, and Jozy has hurt this one before. Might come down to choosing between the smart/safe option and the desperation option.

      • You guys, club soccer is his livelihood. Regardless of his situation there, he has to consider his health. It isn’t because he’s tired or wants to go home, but because a hamstring is kind of a key thing for somebody whose job has him running for a living.

    • I re-watched the game last night and there was a play where Beasley got whistled for a phantom foul right in front of the USA bench. Jozy leapt to his feet to protest. After the game he was moving around the field with the guys and looked really good. Maybe I’m just overly optimistic, but I think Juergen hasn’t been blowing smoke and we really will see Jozy the next game.

      And that is HUGE. He makes us a much better team.

  12. What if the order of games had been different yet the results the same?
    USA 0-1 GER
    POR 2-1 GHA
    After one game POR 3, GER 3, GHA 0 USA 0 (ger and usa losing tie breakers to be 2nd and 4th respectively)

    USA 2-2 POR
    GER 2-2 GHA
    After two; places remain the same. USA in last place with 1 point and a game vs our “nemesis” remaining.

    USA 2-1 GHA
    GER 4-0 POR
    after three games, USA get the win needed and with the help of the german 4-0 victory, move on to 2nd round.

    Now would this version change the mentality going into the 2nd round? would it be better to have to storm back after being in last the whole group stage and win the third game for morale boost?

    for me, i dont mind our path to the 2nd round. we made a statement (personally and to the other teams) in the GHA victory that we can play and are here to challenge the field. then we played better vs POR and were 25 seconds away from a victory. then we go up against the strong germans and realistically only lose by one goal where we could have tied it late in the game. all in all a solid performance remaining in the top two after each match.

    • Personally I think it’s better for us this way. I never thought we fully recovered mentally from the high of the Algeria goal 4 years ago.

      • Jack,

        If you remember, JK was an ESPN pundit in 2010 and said the reason we lost to Ghana was precisely because of what you said, that they were still patting themselves on the back over winning the Group.

        Notice how in these post games interviews everyone is talking about how they have work to do yet, about how now that they have gottenvto the “dance”. (Beckerman’s words) now they can get down to business.

        Belgium are awesome but they can be beaten and our guys know them pretty well. I hope the US is having penalty kick practice.

      • Mr. Expat, or is it Ms. Expat (One cannot be sure with someone who likes teeny girl songs like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun),

        Whatever the case I would kindly ask you to cease using this user name. You have dozens of user names already at your disposal to post 24/7 to your heart’s content. No need to use mine also as one of your sockpuppets. Okay? Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    • This is a good question, and yet one that could be used to support (or refute) almost any perspective. Frankly, I thought that going through today (even on the back of a well-fought loss) was better than going through on Sunday, and perhaps risking a blowout or a loss of focus.

      We’ll never know, but it’s a factor. Very clear in the takeaways from this group.

    • It is what it is. There are people who have written books about how the world would be if Germany would have won WWII. This is all pointless speculation. Let’s focus on how to beat Belgium.

    • That reverse order would impact how teams approach games. I doubt Portugal would go into a third game against Germany in that situation and give up four goals.

  13. This will get really interesting. USA could play for a tie or small loss before, but not anymore. I respectfully request Klinsy not start Brad Davis. He seems like a great guy, but he is out of his depth.

    • How would you now? He barely saw the ball.

      It was that kind of game. Players don’t have to have a series of signature moments to have done their job..

      Call me crazy but I have this insane idea that JK knows exactly what he is doing.

  14. Win or Lose Next Game.

    Is this 2014 WC Squad Round of 16 more Impressive than 2010 Squad?

    …I think yes

      • 2014 is more impressive so far, no question. in 2010, we tied a mediocre england team (got real lucky), tied a slovenia team, and barely beat a crappy algeria team.

        This year, we beat the best african team, outplayed Portugal (if there wasnt 5 minutes extra time, we win), and put in a 1-0 defeat, which almost tied vs. Germany. All without our key striker. Tougher opposition this year makes it more impressive.

        Can’t wait for Tuesday! Get fit, Jozy!

      • We played better than a tie against Slovenia, and had that one goal called back. But this year’s team has achieved more, no doubt. Hopefully we can keep that rolling against Belgium.

      • We also did it without our best winger, best attacking midfielder and best suitable back-up for said key striker.

      • all of this comparing and claiming one team is better or not, geez, is that really the discussion you want now? they’re still playing for crying out loud! the 2010 team won their final group stage game for the first time ever, scoring in the final group stage game (go look up how many times that has happened). This 2014 team advanced to the knockout rounds in a consecutive World Cup for the first time. they are all awesome accomplishments for the USMNT!

        It’s still one team, the USMNT.

    • Considering it took a last second goal to get us to squeeze out of the group of suck in 2010 compared to a last second goal from the 4th ranked team in the world to actually keep things somewhat interesting for the US in the group of death in 2014… Yes I think this squad is more impressive.

      • The theme song for the 2010’s Group should have been “Born to Be Mild”.

        A pretty humdrum Group all around.

      • GW, Slovenia was a heck of a lot better than this weak Portugal team! Slovenia won their Euro group allowing just 4 goals…the USMNT 2010 scored 3 on them in one half! Portugal all sizzle but no steak, Slovenia the opposite.

        And as we’ve seen once again, the TEAMS at the World Cup are dangerous, the sexy groups of individuals who don’t now how to defend as a team are not…like Portugal

        I love all the poo pooing of the 2010 team by some here. Get some security in the 2014 team’s accomplishments for what they are

    • This 2014 group was obviously much harder, but this team has much better players so I’d almost say that relative to their talent, the accomplishments are equally impressive.

      Just look at the the two rosters and the difference is astounding.

      Speaking of 2010, am I the only one who still dreams of what it might have been like with a completely healthy Davies, Holden, Demerit, Onyewu, and Jones?

      • No. Particularly Davies…his speed was a huge difference maker and we badly missed it during the Cup. I think with him we get bye Ghana pretty easily and are likely in the semis in Uruguay’s place.

    • +1 that was beautiful. To everyone who was saying negative things about JJ before the cup: I hope you are enjoying your crow.

      • I was one of them. Hated him all through out qualification. Boy was I wrong. Jones has been amazing. Somehow flicking the switch at the best possible moment. Dude is nails! It also justified Jurgen for sticking with him.

      • Before the Games started I picked Michael Bradley to be the best USA player in the midfield. He has been below average at best and “Germany” Jones has been a revelation! If anyone gets a Premier League contract out of this cup, it will be him!
        That being said, we need Bradley to step it up to have a better chance against Belgium.

      • I think he’s too old at this point. He’s played at the CL level before so who knows where he’ll end up, but I don’t think at his age he’s really looking at a huge payday from this.

      • Probably right, but there may be the odd Europa or UCL or newly promoted team from a decent league that just needs a toehold.

      • JJ has expressed an interest in MLS and would be very marketable for the right team – like NYCFC. He would be a nice piece for Kreis to place behind Villa.

      • DP contract in MLS. I feel like Portland, DC and Chicago reps should be sleeping outside his agents office. The kind of back bone those teams lack

      • He has a premier league contract in the Bundesliga. Unless you can jump to England to play on a top-four team, EPL would be a step down.

    • Lalas wants everyone to credit him for having the guts to tell the US players to their faces that he “really” thinks.

      Lalas is a typical product of that school of ESPN pundits who value, above all else, being able to make so called controversial comments designed to provide copy for developing future narratives.

      I remain skeptical of people who feel the need to endlessly proclaim their sincerity.

      ESPN likes to have these little dramas going on with their pundits hence the alleged conflict with Ballack. However, Ballack has grown much more comfortable with English and ESPN since 2010 and the so called conflict with Lalas is a complete mismatch and for programming purposes, a damp squib.

      Ballack has much more insight into the game. At this point Lalas appears to be as insightful as your average well informed soccer fan. He has very little to offer other than “set pieces”, “passion for the shirt” and “Americans fight hard” . Lalas is not unlike John Madden towards the tail end of his broadcast career. Not that Alexi was ever that good.

      • You are all wrong. Lalas is a smug blowhard idiot and all US soccer fans should openly mock him.

      • Don’t agree. Lalas played at pretty high levels, which was possible because he was a pretty fair defender, and which gives him insights most of us can only guess about.

        I don’t care for him much, either, but to say he wasn’t a good player or he doesn’t know more than the average fan seems a little silly.

      • Ballack is a good analyst, better than Lalas, and more tv-prepared than Van Nistelroy. Twellman is a joke. A bad one for that matter. But none can hold a candle (or caipirinha) to Roberto Martinez.

      • I keep hoping that Martinez will pick up a US player since he has to watch them so closely, but the only player I could see him considering is Besler.

      • to your point GW, look at how much e gets discussed here?

        he’s fun to stir the pot…I really don’t mind him tho disagree plenty, but also agree sometimes

      • I think Alexi’s problem maybe jealousy for all the in sight he claims to have he failed at the front office of NY and LA thats why he’s on tv now. He comes from an era of mediocre professional soccer so he just happened to be the brightest of a group of know nothings. The WC class of 2002, 2006 and 2010 will make better tv analyst. Imagine a US player with the resume of Beasley, Bradley, Jones offering commentary

    • He said: “Now you just fought one he!! of a fight
      And I know you hate me, and you got the right
      To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do.
      But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
      For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
      Cause I’m the son-of-a-b!tch that named you “Sue.'”

      From the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue”

    • Yeah, we can. However, my mind keeps flashing back to that 4-0 thrashing they gave us a few months back and how deep they are. They had Hazard coming off the bench today!

      • Correct it was 4-2. And if you go watch the highlights from that game you will see some of the worst defending of all time from the usmnt. I don’t see that happening again.

        With that said, Brazil and Belgium was my original pick for the final game for a reason. Belgium is legit. But this is a winnable game.

      • Actually, that was May 2013, quite some time ago. Belgium certainly has some talent and we will have to play well to beat them.

      • Talent, absolutely. Probably one of the most talented teams out there right now, with a HUGE future ahead of them.
        But in the group stages they haven’t convincingly shown that they have the team energy that can get them far in this tournament.
        Despite an inferior roster on paper against our group stage opponents, we’ve shown well as a team and have demonstrated that we can go toe to toe against them. We have a good four days of rest now, and I think this will be a great opportunity for us. In terms of group stage performance, Belgium is in the bottom half, and if we can bulk up defensively, clog the midfield and close up those gaps, we can exploit the width of the pitch and create some good chances. The great thing is that all three of Belgium’s group stage games have provided valuable insight into how to stop them and prevent them from creating meaningful chances.

      • US will definitely be looking at footage from that. 3 of 4 of those goals came from bad rebounds on US’s part. We’ll be more focused this time around. MB90 we need you.

  15. It begins to appear to me that this team is in a place where they believe in each other and themselves to a degree that they were ready to defeat Germany today. They will be ready for the Belgians. I hope Jurgen said to Jogi, “See you at the Maracana~!”


    • Oh, and this Brasilian-American thinks Germany is the team in the Round of 16 most likely to lift the Cup at the end. The USMNT could have taken a point from them today, even with the schedule/travel/conditions differences.

    • Among many observations after a truly uinque group stage, one stands out as a “theme”… specifically, it would seem that a huge premium being realized by teams that know exactly how they want to play for these approximately 6 weeks, and have built out specific plans for how to execute.

      Teams that have succeeded (Holland, France, CR, Mexico, and even Greece, to name a few) all seem to spent the last 1-3 months selecting and cultivating a clearly defined style, an explicit first choice group, and, and most importantly an idea for 90 minutes about what they are trying to do. The value of this shared mentality is incalculable. It allows them to weather storms and come right back with the same focus and understanding.

      By contrast Italy, England, and even Spain did not seem as consistent in their mentality and apporach– I did not get the sense that they had held particularly engaging or productive build-ups… more like “well let’s just do more of the same that we’ve been doing, which seems to be going in a good direction”. Ivory Coast was among the worst offenders. They were gifted an oppotunity to at last break through the group stage, but never once gave the feeling that they had an actual plan or style, and were unable to close out against a Greek side that never seems to have that problem (aesthtics aside).

      Brazil and Argentina are enigmatic here, as they have looked the part of both at various points in the first round.

      For me, Mexico-Netherlands may be the pick among matches Round of 16. Crazy contrast… interesting to see if one emerges dominant

      Great tournament we have on our hands, no?

      • and THAT would be epic!

        Does anyone else see the possibility of either Costa Rica or Mexico making it into the Semifinals??

        Because I do. The Dutch will come firing on all cylinders but Mexico is ready to come out and punch them right in the face. I’m so freaking excited, and i HATE all those teams. lol

      • Costa Rica in the quarters maybe, but Mexico, eh, no. I think the Dutch just have far too much quality for the Mexicans. They will expose the Mexican defense and this should be a good game for the Dutch.
        Mexico should be happy enough that they are even in the world cup finals… the players have never thanked us. Bunch of ingrates…. Go Oranje!

      • Should this really be a surprise though? Soccer is the only team sport I know of with this obsessive focus on who has the best players, to the exclusion of who has the best *team*.

      • With respect, NBA is different in three ways. The teams are perceived by the fan base as 1-3 players plus a bunch of others. You seldom if ever see discussion of who should start. Coaches and tactics are much more prominently discussed as leading to success or failure – Phil Jackson’s triangle offense comes to mind.

    • I don’t think anyone has said it, but this is also our first time advancing out of group in consecutive World Cups. Pretty cool – keeps on growing.


Leave a Comment