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USMNT disappointed, but staying positive after tying Portugal

Jurgen Klinsmann, Fabian Johnson

Photo by Perry McIntyre/


MANAUS, Brazil — Cristiano Ronaldo stormed off the field after the final whistle, angry despite having just helped save Portugal from World Cup elimination seconds prior.

In that same moment, several U.S. Men’s National Team players laid on the field. They were exhausted and in dismay. A glorious chance had just been snatched from the palm of their hands.

The U.S. stood on the precipice of reaching the Round of 16 on Sunday night, having pulled off an inspired comeback at Arena Amazonia against Ronaldo and Portugal. First, Jermaine Jones scored a beauty of a goal in the 64th minute. Clint Dempsey followed up late with a dramatic close-range finish. The knockout phase was within reach.

Then, in a blink of an eye and with a mere second remaining, Varela nodded home a cross from Ronaldo in the 95th minute to crush the U.S.’s dreams of securing an early passage into the next round.

“We’re disappointed because we could all taste it. I think everybody could,” said centerback Matt Besler. “We could taste the second round. We were right there.”

Added goalkeeper Tim Howard: “Football is cruel sometimes.”

The U.S.’s disappointment was evident during the postgame talks with media, but so too was a bigger-picture mentality that eased the pain from a draw that felt more like a loss.

The Americans stand on four points from two games – almost as good of a start as anyone could have imagined or asked for from them before the tournament began – and they control their own destiny going into the final round of group games.

A draw is all that the U.S. needs against Germany at Arena Pernambuco in Recife on Thursday to reach the Round of 16 for the second straight World Cup, which might not be an easy task but is one that the Americans are up for.

“Obviously, we wanted to get that win really bad but we’re just keeping things in perspective,” said centerback Omar Gonzalez. “We have four points out of two games and we’re in good position. We’re just ready for Germany and we feel like we can get it done.”

Part of the reason for the Americans’ optimism is the fact that they put forth an impressive performance against Portugal. Yes, they fell behind early to a goal from Nani but then rebounded well by holding onto possession for large stretches. In fact, there were times in the game when Portugal had all 11 of its players in its own half while the U.S. knocked the ball around looking for cracks in the defense.

It was a far improved showing from the one that Klinsmann’s side delivered in the 2-1 win over Ghana last week, and reinforced the Americans’ belief that they are capable of going toe-to-toe with a talented opponent.

“I think the team is showing amazing progress throughout the last couple of weeks, so we build on everything that we work on,” said Klinsmann. “It’s more than five weeks, and you see more and more the quality and results coming through that building process. The way we controlled most of the game today against a very strong Portuguese side is just telling you how far we made it already.

“We’re going to build on all the good things that we did today and take all these things into the Germany game. Hopefully we can avoid then the things that didn’t go so well, which were not many, and continue that path. I think the spirit is very, very good. We are full of confidence. We made it a little more difficult now with having another game to play to qualify, but we knew from the beginning that’s going to be a tough group to go through and we are right there. We have one foot in the door. We’ve got to walk the second foot in there and get it done.”

Just as the U.S. had to manage overconfidence after grabbing a late winner against Ghana, it must now ward off any lingering disappointment with the Germany game approaching so quickly.

The Americans believe that process began almost immediately upon entering the locker room following Sunday’s match. Yes, they let a chance to reach the Round of 16 slip away but still have another to accomplish their goal.

“Realistically, we’ve given ourselves every chance to advance,” said Howard. “We’re optimistic, we’re pretty much right where we wanted to be when we started this whole process. We wanted to go into the last game feeling like we had a chance and we do.”


  1. Omar Gonzo’s only job was to knock anything down from the air…that’s it. Bradley whiffed possession, Omar was absent, Cameron failed his marking, and Howard did not punch it away. It was a series of failures that we need to correct because Klose and/or Muller will terminate us from this WC if we don’t. Every time Omar comes in something bad happens.

  2. Bradley should move down to Beckerman position, move Mix into the playmarker role, Bedoya seem too worn down to start, and we really Wondo to start this game to pressure German’s defense.

  3. I have been reading comments on this website for years and have never commented. Even though I have been a soccer fan for decades and the US team fan since 1990, I typically believe that coaches and players know better that people commenting on websites.
    But the pain of the last night is just too much to keep. For years I have been waiting for this country to finally understand that soccer is the best sport. We could have made such a major step. It would have been all over newspapers… And we would be through to the next round.
    So, I don’t want to criticize MB for losing the ball although he could’ve / should’ve kicked it away. And not covering Varela by the defense…
    But there is one thing that I believe is really bad. You lose the ball you immediately grab the other player shirt, you kick his legs, take a yellow, red, anything. 30 seconds. Same with Beasley. Go to Ronaldo and take out his legs. Get red, regroup, everyone back, game over.
    I am don’t even want to think about Thursday. Such mistakes are usually punished and this may be destiny. If our team survives – all the credit to them. If not, we might not have a similar chance for years, possibly more than 4.
    World Cup happens once every 4 years and the only thing that matters is the result. No one remembers how good or bad the play was. We need the result by any means.

  4. Cameron I think is most at fault for the last goal (too much focus on bradley give away) but FJ let varela pass him and should have yelled something to JC about Varela. FJ did not track ayew for ghana’s goal and got caught ball watching and he never got goal side of Varela once Bradley lost possession. I like him going forward but have not been happy with his defense – JC never saw Varela on his backside – he should have known he was there but FJ could have at least yelled out to him as he was trailing him all the way back (never goal side). I’ve played outside back and you always let the CBs know about the outside runners are if you’re not going to get goal side..

    • You mean GC right? Geoff Cameron?
      I agree that it appear communication was lacking on that last cross. That said, it was a beautiful ball, sometimes a great play beats you.

    • Besler just signed a deal with Sporting KC … but there is no way Europe is going to allow him to stay stateside …

      • Besler has really impressed but I don’t see a European team stepping up to pay what KC would want for him, Anti-American bias in full effect.

      • There is this meme that has traversed the Internet reporters and commentators that Matt is simply “really good at everything, but not great at anything” …

        Such ridiculousness …

        His instincts are great, his quickness as a CB is exceptional, and his passing is outstanding.

        I think Sporting KC will let him go to a top team if he is going to start there … If he is going to go to a team in a second division I think they do everything thing they can to make him a DP level signing.

        MLS is going to have to change the rules on pay if they are truly intent on keeping US talent stateside and bring in top international talent (not top OLD international talent)

      • Get real. It’s not ‘anti-american bias’; it’s just the reality of the market. If MB is out of range for a team interested in him, they’ll have 2-3 other, cheaper options observed during the WC.

    • I would say yes, definitely yes. But the issue here is the MLS and their need to getting paid as if it were a Real Madrid – Man U transfer. Big paydays are highly unlikely, unless it’s extremely rare talent that clubs can’t find anywhere else at a cheaper price.

  5. Many moons ago, before many here were born, I found out that a skilled player has the advantage over the house in blackjack, by counting the cards already played and adjusting decisions based on the ever-changing odds. Had to try it. Couple of months practicing against the computer. Four weekends in Atlantic City. Cumulative bets somewhere around $250,000 but $10-$25 at a time. Net profit for four weekends of my life: about $800. Minimum wage stuff. Bored stiff, you have to be a complete robot with every decision scripted by the system. Never played again.

    I didn’t come here to talk about blackjack though but about the one life lesson that made that experience all worthwhile.

    One of the books I read went beyond just the system of play and also described computer simulations of one’s stake over time, assuming skillful play. Because you have about a 1.5% advantage over the house, but (roughly) win 100% or lose 100% on each hand, the variation in outcomes over short periods of time is enormous. Even long periods of time. You can play perfectly for 8 consecutive hours – hundreds of hands – and have a one in three chance of having a losing session. If you play full-time for a year two things are near-certainties: at the end of the year you will have much more money than you started with, and at some point during that year you will lose each and every hour for 100 consecutive hours. You are all but certain to have made a lot of money when you subtract your stake at the beginning of the year from your stake at the end of the year, but when you are in the 98th hour of that inevitable losing streak, all you can think about is how badly you must be playing and questioning the system and your own ability to make it work.

    More generally, human nature is to be myopic, looking at the near term rather than the long term. Computer simulations show that if you step back and look at a graph of your stake over a long time from a distance, it will slope consistently upward… fairly predictably and consistently so. But if you step up close and look at almost any small slice of it, it looks very different. Only 3% of the time will your stake be at an all-time high. It is push forward, fall back, push forward a little more, fall back a little less, and always looking back over your shoulder and wondering, “Why do I have less right now than I did an hour ago?” Put another way, playing a system that provides a long-term certainty of becoming rich, 97% of the time you feel like you are losing.

    I used to reverse the words to an old Jim Croce song to describe the feeling: “Sometimes, I think it’s a sin, when you feel like you’re losing when you’re winning again.”

    That’s how I feel this morning.

      • Neither. Serious players use a proportional system: your average bet is a fixed percentage of your then-current stake. The “right” proportion is essential – not too high, not too low, on the order of 2% depending on a million particulars. But I digress….

      • Too big of a sampling. I go to Vegas 5-6 times/yr and my simple and relatively successful strategy is maxing the +s and minimizing the -s. After a beat I revert to my base line bet. If I’m having any luck at all, I can nicely profit quickly in the session. If I’m sucking, I’ll know it soon enough to minimize the losses. I bet 1 base unit, if I win I let it ride. If I win that bet I drag back 1 base unit letting the 3 units be my next bet. win again and drag 2 back thus betting 4 units. if that wins I drag 3 and thus betting the remaining 5 units.. and I stick to that max 5 units bet, dragging the profits, until it loses, then I start back at 1.. The reason is never increasing your bet during a losing streak which could be 5,6,7 hands in a row and could wipe you out if you’re increasing too liberally. I use this successfully for over 50yrs.. Oh forgot to mention that you must play your hands correctly, but I thought that was understood. BlackJack and video poker (providing you’re playing the right machines with the best payouts scale) are the only games in Vegas where you get the best odds to beat the house.. The last Portugal goal was to me like doubling down with 11 and drawing an ace while the dealer had to stay on 17.

        I am guessing that Ger/USMNT will be played so as to avoid all cards, injuries and over fatigue by both teams. I think that Lowe and JK will look each other in the eye and smile at each other.

        Does anyone know at what point do fifa erase all the group play yellow cards? or do they?

  6. It is easy to be critical when you are not playing the games yourself, and I have to confess to not having watched more than the last few minutes of the game (driving home from a referee assignment I heard a good deal of the second half on the radio — soccer just doesn’t translate to radio), but one think struck me about this team that betrays it as relatively inexperienced, or mentally exhausted. Twice in the final 8 or so minutes, I noticed that US players had opportunities to take the ball into the corner and hold it there. Once the player looked to cross and create an attacking chance, when that was not needed and I forget what happened the second time, but I was incredulous that the player didn’t just take the ball into the corner to eat up the clock.

    The fact that neither player did this suggests to me that they were poorly coached — at least with respect to that aspect of the game (and I happen to be a Klinsmann fan). That was one incredible shortcoming.

    • It was Yedlin I think. You could just see him thinking… They aren’t pressuring me…. He got tempted into a cross. He got the ball back and took it to the corner after that.

      I don’t think Yedlin was poorly coached. I think he is 20 years old.

      Wondo(31) got the ball and made no attempt to do anything but go to the corner. It’s just age and experience.

      • If you knew how Wondo plays you would also know that Wondo has played mildfield. And he is not too proud to defend. He is tireless and he has a lot more endurance than let’s say Bradley. He can play for 90 minutes in the heat of Manaus. It didn’t happen. Wondolowski’s background is cross-country running. Also he is unselfish. But often those qualities make people think that he can’t hold the ball. I think Wondolowski should have been put in the game in the 60th minute, and he would have found a way to score. He was given a chance three minutes before the end of regulation time when all the starters were totally exhausted and couldn’t focus on the fresh striker who could have provided a goal for insurance before the ‘general” handed Portugal the tie.

    • Sigi Schmidt had an article in this morning’s Seattle Times saying that as a coach you can talk about that moment all you want, but it is impossible to replicate it in practice. The players have to figure it out when the moment arises. Experience is priceless.

  7. We tried something which we were playing for, a tie

    We we made a formation change, 4-1-5. How, if we want to go for the win, it is false 9 time.

  8. Referring back to the article (ha, ha, surprised you there!), does anyone agree with “It was a far improved showing from the one that Klinsmann’s side delivered in the 2-1 win over Ghana.” Is it really fair to say that a tie is an improvement over a win? I was bummed by the giveaways, and was looking forward to the defensive integrity we showed against Ghana.

    Basically I see the Ghana game as good execution of a good strategy, and the Portugal game as a flawed execution of a different good strategy. If we executed equally well, it would’ve been 3-0.

    • i agree with the comment in the article. I think the point we did not play well against Ghana. Did not possess the ball. Instead took on wave after wave—rather successfully—of Ghana attacks. When we won, we felt lucky to have pulled it out.

      Against Portugal we actually possessed the ball…were not on defense the hole time and felt disappointed that we didn’t win.

  9. My biggest gripe with Bradley is that he applied ZERO pressure all game long in the midfield … he simply walked and let Portugal dribble right past him … he never stepped forward to pressure them even when they were lining up for a shot at our 18yd box. His lackluster performance in midfield defense is what upsets me the most with his play yesterday.

    The truth of the matter is – the US is arriving on the world stage as a real threat from now to the future. Klinnsman has made the right calls at the right time save for the Gonzalez sub – but that is only because of the cross that Cameron or Gonzalez should have been sitting at the penalty spot waiting for.

    We are making the move to the top of the soccer world … and I am 100% happy to have Klinnsman signed on until the next world cup. Imagine what our team is going to look like come the next cup …

    Beyond excited …

    • Bradley put in more work in terms of distance traveled than any other player on the field. Hard to criticize him for work rate. He expended a lot of energy in hot humid weather.

  10. agree with Bac above… the US’s chances of going through are better than 75% and they can control their own destiny. Not many would have predicted that and most of the teams in the WC would gladly trade positions with the US. And if only a few things had gone their way they would almost certainly be through…for one, if Germany had actually beaten Ghana as expected, there would be almost no question at this point. How the actual tournament has played out has vindicated JK in almost every way, but it will never be good enough for the hard core critics, who after leaving their comments here probably pass their days muttering into their beers about their superior soccer knowledge and LD and other left behind players.

  11. Why are so many people pinning this 100% on Bradley?? He hasn’t been good for two games, I get that and agree. However, a turnover 60-65 yards from goal should NEVER led to a goal. It’s not like Portugal exactly had a clear path to goal. They had to make a couple of passes before the cross. More blame is on Beasley for not getting tighter on CR7 to deny the cross and for Cameron for not marking. You are even lay blame on Gonzalez who was brought in to clear out anything in the air and he was nowhere to be found on the play. Look, Bradley should have not turned the ball over and he deserves some blame but far too people are laying 100% blame on him. Not fair at all.

    • Because MMV, they’ve never liked Jr to begin with. Always thought he was overrated and only on the Nats be/c of Daddy. They’ve never let that go…and now they think they have finally found vindication b/c he had the ball taken 65 yards from goal…with at least 6 players behind him.

      And posters keep using the phrase “MB gave-away”. Huh? The ball was taken from him. It’s not like he was trying to make a bad pass.

      the accurate criticism would be his first touch on the high ball. He did not handle that well at all. That touch—perhaps be/c he was drained—-put him in a bad spot.

      • And then theres the opposite side, the apologists that have always been on MBs side. He has been absolutely atrocious the past 4 games in a row. There is absolutely no denying that. And this is the world cup, you dont just play players because they have been good in the past, you play players that are in form NOW. and Bradley is not, it is as simple as that

      • I agree that he was average against Nigeria, but most people disagree with that. He had several turnovers worse than the one at the end of the Portugal game. Because Nigeria didn’t capitalize everyone forgets.

        With that said, I’ve always been a Bradley fan, and I remain one. For the US to reach its highest potential Bradley needs to be in the mix. He did look exhausted at the end of the game. Don’t know how much he will have in the tank for the Germany game. I hope JK has a plan to start some fresh guys we haven’t seen much of. Maybe Wondo, Mix or AJ could bring some fresh legs to the game.

      • MLSSOCCER had him at 9
        Prosoccertalk at NBC Sports had him at 9
        ESPNFC had him at 7.5

        Average at best, eh?

      • how much flak has he taken for giving up the ball on the attacking side of the field while surrounded by 4 defenders. Alot. Yet against Nigeria he commonly did much worse. Those raters were blinded by a couple of good passes and didn’t pay much attention to the mistakes. A 9 for that game is absurd.

  12. enough with these knee-jerk reactions-people see Bradley getting his pocket picked and then jogging back so now he’s worthless? Some fans have the emotional discpline of toddlers…. “I expect him to hustle”- sounds like a “smart” comment to make but is really idiotic….do you have any idea of how the conditions were on the field? Jones basically walked off the field in the first half forcing the ref to call the first ever, EVER, time out in the World Cup. Jones also fell over when Portugal had the ball in the US half-maybe that should give a sense what kind of conditions the players were playing through…

    and the whole “US outplayed Portugal” rhetoric is more a funcion of expectations going into the game than actual play over 90 minutes-how many dangerous on goal shots did Portugal have? Portugal could have easily scored another two goals…so could have the U.S.-which to me equals an even game

    US played worse than expected in the first 10 minutes going into a turtle shell for some inexplicable reason, especially after Portugal looked horrid vs Germany. Then the U.S. played better than expected, which means they controlled some of the possession versus ceding it all, but it’s not like US was laying a siege to the Portugal net, but all in either side could have scored more goals …

  13. It is funny that we are again on 4 pts after 2 matches… very similar to 2002….

    People forget that we needed a 70 minute goal from South Korea to secure advancement as we got dismantled by Poland…

    None of our qualifications to the knockout stage have been easy… we were 20 seconds away from having that last night… such a shame.

    • kinda reminds me of the US team in 2008 olympics-the late tying goal from the Dutch when passeage to the knockout round was oh so close… not to mention the El Salvador goal in 2012 olympic qualifying…

      I exepect Ghana to win by two goals and go through after US loses a close one to Germany-I’ll be plenty upset, but also encouraged by US showing-the team is making progress, it is undeniable

      • I was reminded of the ES game as I watched us give up another late goal from iffy defense when all we needed to do was game-manage to get a result and progress. Defensive development needs to be more of a US Soccer priority.

  14. I have been following the USMNT pretty much since the World Cup 1990. I have pretty much seen every qualifier and World Cup game since then. I honestly can say that performance last night was the best we have ever looked! Powerful, elegant, confident. Outside of the two Cameron mistakes, they dominated Portugal. Even when we were down, we looked confidently poised to score. USA has come along way since 1990. Eliminate those two slight lapses, and it would have been an absolutely perfect performance from top to bottom. And Klinsmann tacticianed a masterful game. Kudos to everyone involved! We can beat Germany. Go for the win and get 1st place. We are the best team in Group G.

    • Well said, but I wouldn’t go for the win against Germany. Too much at stake. Better to play defensively for a tie.

      • I think if a team scores the other team will back off and defend. I don’t see anyone pushing for a 3 or even a 2 goal win. Both want to go through. Both dont want injuries. Both don’t want cards.

        I bet we get a 1-1 draw.

  15. keep your heads up guys, you got this! two mistakes and they punished us for them…one in the last 30 seconds. the US played a great game and despite my disappointment, 4 points from 2 games is awesome. we still have a 75+% chance to advance. that’s incredible given the horror everyone had when the draw was held.

    it may be a bit difficult to get that #1 spot now, but as someone said yesterday, i’m not so sure i’d want to get stuck playing a motivated Algeria team that would want revenge.

    is it Thursday yet?

    • Juergy is going to play all the German-Americans that he picked up off the waiver wire, it will anger the Germans, and they will dispatch us 4-1.

      Or, we’ll draw.

      • Oh ya, Germany couldn’t use Fabian Johnson or Jones right now….

        I mean… its not like they are starting a CB at right back and have 3 defensive midfielders who are coming off injury.

  16. Germany comes out fast trying to score first, leaving nothing to chance as far as advancing. Then they sit back and take fewer chances, letting the US have possession. If the US equalizes, so be it as far as Germany is concerned since they still win the Group. Germany won’t fail to hit on a counter, though at least for 65 minutes or so. If its 1-1 by then or later, I’d expect both sides to risk little as either could be out with a loss. But gifts will be accepted throughout, and if yesterday means anything its that we can’t give any until the whistle is blown.

    • I see this as well. Germany gets their goal and sits back to avoid a loss. Maybe give Klose and Schweinsteiger chances and let Muller and Khedira rest up.

  17. 1. How many people now criticizing Bradley playing in an advanced role were the same people who were praising him when he first played there vs Mexico and saying we need him further up the field
    2. He lost the ball & he’ll have to live with that, but that was the first of four mistakes that happened in 10 seconds- If Fabian tracks the runner, or Cam clears the cross, or Omar wasn’t 25 yards in front of the backline(including being 10 yards ahead of Jones) then he doesn’t get crucified
    3. Where are the JK haters- Like it or not he’s gotten the strategy vs our 1st two opponents right

    When you get over the emotional gut punch(which isn’t easy) there’s too much overreaction.
    7 of 9 scenarios put us through.
    JK has gotten the game plan right
    I’d still take MB into battle any day and twice on Sunday…
    It ain’t over….

    • Absolutely agree. 4 points in our first 2 games is better than anyone realistically could have dreamt about. I am so proud of the boys for fighting back from a goal down early and getting a result. Yes it stings not finishing the game out with a W but we are in a way better position than anyone expected at this point of the tournament.

      • Valid point- But I’d make the argument leaving off Edu was more risky. I made this point long ago.
        Right or wrong, this roster was built to crowd the midfield specifically because of the midfield strength of our group opponents. So having a like for like sub (Edu) in case Jones, Bradley, or Beckerman gets cards or an injury.
        I thought Edu was the riskiest exclusion

      • Edu is overrated. The last games he subbed in for the US he was having to backtrack after being out of position or beat on multiple occasions.

    • +1. There are very few level headed opinions floating around right now. Who knew viewing the glass as half full was so un American….. Let’s just call it quits and bring on the lynch mob, the obstacles are too great.

    • I really do think the Ghana – Portugal match will be an ugly 3-3 affair. Portugal goes all out, and will tear through Ghana’s lackluster defense, but Ghana will have plenty of counters.

      • nah, a tie is because then it doesn’t matter what happens in USA/Germany. we would both advance. that would leave Ghana/Portugal at 2 points each which eliminates them both.

  18. Reading the posts on this site is like reading the UK newspapers ranting about Steven Gerrard and the England team, except they are talking about an under performing team and the US is an over performing team. I get that people want to criticize but to get 4 points in this group is a great achievement. The team has played at a level way about their talent. They play as a team, for each other and each gives 100% for their country, most of the ‘big’ nations including Spain and England don’t do that.

    Fact: Win, lose or draw the USMNT gave the best team performance at Manaus this World cup.

    And to those who criticize Bradley, do you doubt he gave 100%? Do you think he could have done more? No one’s criticizing Tim Howard for slipping and allowing that awful Nani to score for the first time this year. It was a great performance with a kick in the gut at the end, it’s time to get behind your team and stop berating them.

    • I absolutely do doubt that Bradley is giving 100%. On both hands i couldnt count the number of times that Bradley jogged along side refusing to pressure the opposition, including the shot that went off the post in the first half vs Portugal.

      • I’m not going to say he played a stellar game, but metrics showed Bradley covered more ground than any other US player, in a hot humid environment.

      • It isnt a marathon. Its soccer (or football depending where you are reading this). If he wants to cover the most ground, then he can jog in circles on the sidelines. But if you carelessly lose the ball with 30 seconds left protecting a 1 goal lead, I expect you to sprint with everything you got to get back.

        To say the least, he did not get back.

      • Again, not defending his play. But the argument that he wasn’t giving effort is silly.

        Watch the play where he lost the ball again. Yes he had four defenders converge on him. Why, though, was Beckerman within 5 yards of him on the offensive side of the field as that play progressed? For as bad a play as Bradley made, Beckerman was just as much out of position for that point in the game.

      • Bradley moved forward as he lost the ball towards our goal on the first touch. He was not tightly pressured. He had a bad touch. Not the first over the last 2 games.

      • he was closed down by 5 defenders and when Ballack was giving his analysis on “that goal” he specifically paused it and pointed that out. when Bradley got his touch, he had Beckerman right next to him along with a Portuguese player coming in from 5 different angles. which goes back to wondering why he didn’t just clear it.

        the give away from Bradley was not great, i agree. he should have done better with it but we had SIX defenders behind him.

        Cameron’s defending was criminal on that goal. when Ballack and Lalas went through the entire play, not once did Cameron even look behind him to see the three attackers off his shoulder. especially the most advance one, Varela. and of course FJ clearly didn’t speak up either. total mental switch off.

        meanwhile Besler, Beckerman, Omar, and Jones are effectively ball watching. granted, Jones is going to help cover CR with Beasley, but him and the others i just mentioned were jogging. not to mention they were covering an area that had 0 Portugal players anywhere near it.

        again, bad giveaway from Bradley which starts the break away. but with a little heads up play and some communication, that cross could have been covered.

        i’m more bitter about his missed goal. FJ put it on a platter for him and he hits it right into Costa. that, to me, was the bigger question. how does he not finish that?

      • i do agree it would have been nice to see him chase that down. but they sprayed it out wide to Ronaldo quickly. he wasn’t gonna catch up. and when he sees 2 v 6, he probably figured we had it covered. but no, Cameron switches off (again) and we get punished. FJ also should have been in there instead of ball watching. it’s a comedy of mini-errors on all parties. i also thought Beasley was way too slack on Ronaldo. he basically let him cross that in without a challenge. Besler is kind of in no man’s land while Omar and Beckerman are just jogging at the top of the box. Jones is the furthest midfielder back. a lot of bad positioning going on there.

    • Agree with all this except I don’t think that (Ronaldo aside obviously) Portugal has more talent than the US.

    • By claiming that they underperformed they avoid some tough questions about the hollowing out of the EPL, the value of some of the veteran choices they made, whether this tournament should be written off as “blooding” a new generation that might be ready to compete in 4-8 years.

      They get to say to themselves, the team was good enough on paper. Whether that’s really true is another question.

      Meanwhile we get decent results, and are now consistently out-performing them at these tournaments (while people claim we have to play there to develop). I mean, they ignore the implications of 2010 alongside this. Admitting our talent level is rising, our keeping is better, our team seems to play a better team game (particularly on defense), would cause cognitive dissonance (again) about a passive response to a poor tournament performance. So we are “over-achievers.” When in fact I think we have merely implemented a constrained game plan fairly well (albeit with several GA) and then caught some positive and negative breaks.

  19. I think I partially cracked the code on Bradley’s poor play:

    US – Ghana Distance Covered
    – Bradley: 7.91 miles
    – Rest of US Midfield Ave: 6.79 miles
    – Closest MF (Jones): 7.13 miles

    US – Portugal Distance Covered
    – Bradley: 7.58 miles
    – Rest of US Midfield Ave: 6.33 miles
    – Closest MF (Zusi): 6.96 miles

    He’s running himself into the ground. Doesn’t explain everything, but this is part of what’s going on w him. The formation or limitations of other players are demanding an insane amount of work from him.

    Not apologizing or totally explaining his poor World Cup, but this is a factor. He’s got to step up Thursday.

    • The way you deal with stamina is subs. Where were the CM subs? They looked tired. They have another important game this week now.

    • Irrelevant, most of that distance is spent jogging and having 0 impact on the play. Watch the portugal game, He put in very VERY few challanges that he was in position to make.

      • Fair enough but I thought part of the problem at the end is the CMs are basically standing around when we’re looking to pass. And when they got the ball they stumbled over their feet and were dispossessed.

        Where I’d disagree with the premise is that we are supposed to be “saving gas” with our tactical premise. Our whole approach has been to chase and chase on defense, and then blast forward on the counter. Good luck saving gas doing that.

        You address that by subbing the effort players.

      • No, it isn’t fair. Bradley had a poor game, but these guys are acting like he did nothing. No professional observers are freaking out over his play, merely saying it was sub-par.

        This is typical SBI-type hysteria.

      • It was only subpar factoring in the poor shot on goal, and the last play (which was hardly his fault alone. 8 men were behind the ball, ffs). Otherwise, he organized a potent attack. Some poor passes, but others that were good and probing.

      • You mean stood around and watched his mark hit a shot off the post and being otherwise completely worthless defensively?

      • Simple terms:
        Bradley, Jones, and Beckerman have played 180 hard minutes plus stoppage time without one sub. If they struggle at the end of game 2, or on into game 3, perhaps it’s time to discuss the wisdom of the personnel management notion of playing your core midfield in back to back to back games without rest or rotation or subs.

        “Well, people got hurt game 1,” except you have a choice who to pull late in that game (Bedoya), as well as whether you sub Gonzo or a midfielder in game 2.

    • Not saying I disagree but who should come on? Mix? Maybe, but it might have been a good idea to bring another central midfield type, like Edu or Williams.

      • Amen, I think the flaw is to play 3 DMs but have no like for like sub backing them up. Maybe he was afraid of tipping his tactical hand but they looked like they’d run out of gas.

        Kind of like no Boyd for Jozy. There are a bunch of attacking types not even seeing the field.

      • Roster selections are biting us in the a** right now, and its due to Klinsman being so stubborn. Donovan provides depth at Forward, outside mid, and could probably even play in Bradleys spot as an attacking mid.

        That means instead of Green we could have brought Boyd, Instead of Johansonn we cold have brought Williams or Edu. Should have left of Davis and brought Donovan which would have also allowed greater depth in 3 critical positions

      • Not saying I disagree, but you would be including Yedlin in that list except for his important contribution yesterday. That was an inspired selection.

        Missing Boyd hasn’t hurt yet, either. We scored twice with CD up top, and we’d only be using Boyd in a game where we need pressure relieved (like Germany, perhaps).

      • good points but Jurgen needs to play Davis and Green , he put them on the team for a reason

      • Yeah, I don’t think playing the 3 CM’s together was the plan when the roster was picked, now that it is looking to be our best option, subs/rotations game to game are pretty tough.

      • Doc, i think that’s spot on. Klinsi saw how the jr/jones/dreadlock trio worked so well vs. Nigeria…. Probably wishes he would have rolled out that experiment a little sooner. Cover for those positions would have been Edu..etc.

        Heck, just occurred to me, our other option for Dmid is Cameron. Maybe Klinsi will dip into that well.


      Folks, Michael Bradley is what Michael Bradley is – he is a very good, hard-running midfielder with an eye for good long passes – he’s often been described as the “Pirlo of Team USA”…and he is to some extent, though his work-rate is vastly better, and he doesn’t have quite Pirlo’s eye for the laser through ball.

      Pirlo is a deep-lying midfielder. So, honestly, is Michael Bradley…and he does his best work running around, hustling and chasing down everything in sight, and putting the occasional laser through and making the occasional driving run forward or timely late run into the box.

      He is not a true #10, attacking midfielder…but he’s trying to be, and we’re playing him as one. Why? Because we’ve got the same problem we’ve had as long as Klinsmann has had the USMNT – because we’ve got a pool loaded with hard-running defensive mids (Bradley, Jones, Beckerman, Edu) and no true #10 since we lost Stuart Holden. I like Mix Diskeruud but he’s a bit of a lightweight. Luis Gil looks like a potential answer but he wasn’t quite ready for this cycle. True #10’s – those guys who are just pure magic on the ball and just know how to pull the strings – are rare, and precious. Luka Modric springs to mind. Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas (the Spaniards had 3-4 of them, they just aged out). There’s several German players who spring to mind – Ozil, Khadeira, which is why the Germans are so dangerous right now despite a fairly pedestrian back line.

      We don’t have one. Heck, even England didn’t really have one. They were trying to play Rooney there, and despite wearing jersey #10, Rooney’s a withdrawn striker or at best a false nine.

      Next cycle – assuming the viciousness from certain USA “fans” who seem as entitled as English fans on their worst day doesn’t sour Bradley on the USMNT for good (hopefully he’s tougher-skinned than that) – Bradley will move to Jermaine Jones’ more withdrawn spot and hopefully Luis Gil (or someone similar) will emerge sufficiently to play as our true #10.

      Right now he is the best attacking midfielder we have, at least for the horrific conditions in Brazil, and he’s done a lot of good things and a lot of bad things…which is what happens when you play against world-class players in the Group of Death in Recife and Manaus and you’re at such a pivotal, central position.

      Perspective, folks. We beat Ghana. We should have beaten Portugal. This team has shown AMAZING progress…we’re so much better than we were in 2010 – and, Gawds, 2006 – it’s literally turning heads across the world. And this tournament is clearly shaping up to be as much about the ability to survive adversity and the conditions and keep on running and pushing forwards…and Bradley does that as well as any player the USA has ever had.

      Sorry, just speaking for me personally, I find it much easier to root for guys like Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey than narcissistic giga-stars like Christiano Ronaldo. Even if they ain’t perfect….

      • Stop making so much sense.

        no true #10 since we lost Stuart Holden.

        So glad you have brought this up. Imagine a healthy Holden at the top of the diamond with Jones in Beckerman’s current role, with Bradley where Jones is playing.

        We’d be ready to challenge for a semifinal placing right now. So sad about Stu.

      • Lee Nguyen, Freddy Adu..these are the #10 we need but Adu is out of playing shape and form. Nguyen wasn’t even invited, and instead we go with 3 DMs playing in the middle with MB90 in the role of attacking MF.

        If we had the idea of using 3 DMs, then Williams would have been a suitable sub for any of the 3 but at this point its futile to reconsider it.

      • Nguyen is young and a hot prospect for sure. I think he will definetly be involved for the next cycle. The only potential issue (and it is a similar issue adu faced) is if he is big enough physically (or so skilled to avoid the issue like messi) to not get pushed ofthe ball by big physical defensive midfielders and center backs.

      • yes, I believe his junket in Vietnam effectively killed any potential NT role he might have had. But it may have been a valuable life experience and the right life choice for him

      • Or instead of candy coating it for him we tell the truth that hes been god awful the last 4 games in a row? Get his sorry a** on the bench. MLS has KILLED his ability

      • MB90 gets away with his errant passing because MLS is MLS and even good players get away with that type of play but when it comes to WC level, there is more visibility due to the higher profile.

        Anyone see the RSL-TFC game from few weeks ago where MB90 was a non-factor too? Why weren’t people calling him out then in an MLS game?

      • Really do you think sitting on the bench and then being in the off season would have made Bradley sharper for this World Cup? MLS hasn’t hurt Dempsey’s game this World Cup. 4 MLS players were involved in our second goal. MLS is a legit league with a lot of talent. It’s just misunderstood and disrespected by Europeans because we play on a different calendar and the talent is spread around pretty equally among 19 teams. Concentrate all the talent into 2-3 teams like every other league in the world does and you would have teams stacked with players. Can you point to a single game Matt besler has played in for the USMNT where he has been outclassed by his opponent? You don’t think he is good enough to play in a top league? Yedlin is a 20 year freak athlete who has played first team minutes since he was 19 and was one of the better players at the U-20 World Cup, why isn’t he being picked up as a hot prospect by a European team? There is a very real bias towards American players and our league. What the last 2 World Cups have shown is there is not a huge gap talent wise between the top American players and any other players in the world. Everyone on that Portugal teams plays for a big team in Europe, and we took it to them for 94 minutes and gifted them the goals that allowed them to tie us. Soccer is really the only area where Europeans have an opportunity to disrespect America with any sort of legitimacy and they do.

      • Yeah no, top American players are no where near the average of other leagues. Thats the truth of it. You can advocate all you want for MLS but it IS NOT that good of a league. Lets put an MLS team in the Champions league and they will be absolutely embarrassed

      • Really you think an MLS team with Besler donovan, Bradley Dempsey, villa, Cahill, Henry, Keane, Beckerman, zusi, yedlin, Gonzalez, beitasure, wondo, Defoe, ect (and obviously I’m just naming well known international players) couldn’t hold there own and be respectable? Concentrate the talent into 1-2 teams and you have very good teams that if they played together like a club team would definetly be better than teams like Celtic anderlict, Ajax, ect.

      • How many of those player originated and played solely in MLS? Cut out all former premier league players and that list is cut down significantly

      • Also the fact that our best player this tournament has been Jermaine Jones, a German American who has played champions league ball consistantly

      • Who was the best CB on the field last night? Besler a career MLSer. If our players are so bad compared to players in European leagues why do we get the results that we do? Why were we able to take it to Portugal and out play them? Why did we grind out a win against Ghana? Why did we beat Italy? Why did we best Mexico 2-0? Why did we beat Nigeria? You are the epitome of a eurosnob you don’t actually look at he facts and just say they suck cause it’s not Europe. Look at the rosters of every MLS team, there is a lot of talent there it’s just spread out.

      • And who have been historically our better defenders? NOT player in MLS. There is not that much talent in MLS. MLS is getting talent now that players are getting to retirement and want a easy payout, its as simple as that. Until this league lands a Messi or a Neymar or heck even a Rooney in their prime it will always be a bush league

      • Except unlike some Americans I don’t think he has an agent looking for a high dollar move regardless of playing prospects, which can render the whole point of playing “in Europe” pointless. When Dempsey’s Fulham made its Europa run, they were led by him. That’s infinitely more valuable than being on the roster but not dressed or playing.

        I mean, the core of Jones’ career was Schalke. Not BL or BM or BD, Schalke. Right now he’s with Besiktas. I think it’s more important that a player is playing someplace challenging, anywhere, than that they are nominally on some great team but really riding the bench: Iker Casillas.

      • Nobody here is disputing Besler’s inclusion on the team. He is a good defender who uses his brain to play and positions himself well. I saw him against Cruz Azul so if teams are looking to exploit him, just watch that game.

        The issue of contention here is MB90’s role as an attacking MF. Would anyone who keeps giving the ball away throughout the match still be starting back to
        back games in EPL, La Liga, Serie A? Can you imagine Stevie G or Charlie Adam getting away with this, esp if it cost the team 2 pts?

        We already know his limits, so why not give Mix a chance or shall we continue to give MB90 free passes from constructive criticism?

      • agreed, but Holden, Modric, Xavi, and Khedira are #8s more than anything else. which is exactly what Jones and Bradley are.

        really hoping Mix and Gil turn into those awesome #10s for us.

    • Additionally, the US has had two venues with heat and humidity and has traveled the farthest of any team. I think you have provided some valuable information. And for those here who downplay the distance, they obviously aren’t distance runners or even joggers. I used to run 10k’s all the time and I can relate from personal experience. Even when I was in great shape and took it easy, I found it difficult to string two races close together without suffering.

    • Not the answer. He is off early in the games as well. Numerous passes are directed at him, but slightly be hind. He watches every one of them until they are picked up by the other team. His legs don’t seem to be there early or late and his confidence appears to be down. His passing is off. Almost like he is playing sick. Close ups of his face show a worried, tired guy. Not sure what is up. He just runs around without really doing anything.

  20. People asking me why I wanted Germany to beat Ghana so bad… this is that exact scenario…

    Portugal is not going to make up a 5 goal swing on us but Ghana can beat Portgual 2-0 and if we lose, we are out…. will be so painful.

    • In which games so far has Ghana looked like they had a clean sheet in them? Portugal will score. One moment of brilliance by Ronaldo and Ghana need two goals themselves at minimum. Not easy.

      They’ll also have Pepe back and perhaps others in the back, so I expect they’ll defend better too.

      • No but I could see Ghana scoring 4 goals against Portugal 4-2 I think we are in a bit of trouble

      • One thing to keep in mind is that Muntari will be out for Ghana due to yellow card accumulation. He will definitely be missed.

      • Crossing my fingers to have Portugal up 4-0 and then Ghana scores in minute 85 to deflate them. (And for us to score first against Germany.)

  21. Klinsmann has surprised me with what he has gotten right and what he has gotten wrong. His tactics have been on point. We have only allowed three goals against offensively powerful teams and we are created plenty of chances vs. Portugal. The substitutions have been iffy. Brooks instead of Gonza and Yedlin are both straws in his hat. Gonzo for Zusi was probably one of worst decisions I have seen this world cup. Klisnamnn’s ability to find a strategy without Altidore was very succesful, while has roster decisions have really come back to kick him in the backside.

    He has the USA in a good spot. Hopefully he can seal the deal. If he does, good for him and he has a great chance to get to the semis. If somehow we do not advance, then this WC should be considered a failure.

    • Klinsi has done everything right.

      He’s gotten his starting XI spot on each time, something Bradley Sr. could never do.

      His subs have all led to goals. The Gonzo sub was what we needed: A big guy in the box to deal with crosses. Unfortunately, that cross wasn’t near Gonzo and it fell to Cameron who incidentally “Gonzo-ed” it.

      Our tactics have been perfect. We dealt with Ghana even with two forced substitutions and playing Dempsey with a broken nose. Not many teams can deal with that much change in the first game.

      And our fitness has helped us both games, which is a testament to Klinsi emphasizing that aspect.

      He can’t help Cameron’s gaffs. That comes down to player responsibility.

      • Our Starting 11 has been good with the roster we have. Only complaint is Bedoya, who looked out of it Sunday. I think he needed a rest for the second game and I can think of a certain someone who would have been the perfect replacement.

        Gonzo was a pretty stupid sub. Let’s bring off our right midfield so that we can isolate Ronaldo 1v1 against our weakest 1v1 defender for the last 4 minutes of the game. Plus, lets bring on a guy who has the soccer IQ of a kindergartener girl. He was not at fault for the goal, but where was he? Would have been smarter to push Beasley into Midfield if you were going to sub off the man marking Ronaldo and put Cameron out wide to make room for Gonzo. You CANNOT leave Ronaldo alone in space and that is exactly what this substitution did.

        Tactics have impressed. Other than above sub, I like what I see. Kudos to Klinsmann. Exceeded my expectations.

        Fitness looked good. People faltered in the last 10 minutes, but thats expected in those conditions. Perfect time to bring on subs for those who needed them.

        Yedlin was a good move with his speed, well played by Klinsmann. Although his end play wasnt top notch, he got the job done and I think that experience will be very helpful for him.

        Wondo was eh. Did not do anything wrong and helped kill off time. Not complaining against Wondo coming in yesterday, but I think a stronger type like Boyd would have gotten the shielding done better. But that’s just preference with little to no backing on my part.

        Roster selection pretty awful. We do not have the players on the bench that suits our needs. Still waiting on that 80+ minute left side free kick that was necessary to bring Davis for instead of other options. Green also serves no purpose, way too young and out of his league right now. Its the 85 minute and Bradley looks tired lets make a sub. Too bad we did not bring any one to back him up. Williams, Edu, Kljestan, Feilhaber or even Ream, Evans, or Torres (long shots, dont get caught up on these guys) would have all been useful last night to close out the game or have start vs Germany so that. Instead we have Mix, who is a great creator in the making, but he serves no purpose against Ghana, Portugal, or Germany at our current level of play.

        Just an interesting article, you may be interested. Also shows how bringing on Gonzo for Zusi left the entire side Ronaldo was working on exposed, giving more than enough time for him to line up his cross. Had another wide midfielder been brought on instead of a CB, the wide midfielder would have been on Ronaldo and close down the space, not letting him whip in the cross.

      • “Roster selections pretty awful”

        I’m sorry, did we finally beat Ghana? Did we tie Portugal, a game we should have won? Are we in a good position to get out of the group of death?

        What more could you ask for in a roster? The starting XI have done well and so have the subs. Klinsi was new age in his coaching, his roster reflected that and has done a fantastic job.

        Williams is injured. Edu hasn’t been up for it in MLS. Sascha is poor and Feilhaber is the same as Mix. There’s no way Bradley is gassed because his other two central midfield companions were still sprinting all over the field in the 90th minute, after a full 90 of sprints while Bradley sauntered about.

        Your other points have merit, but you cannot complain about this roster except for wishful Donovan thinking.

      • I mean we beat Ghana in the same way we lost to Germany in 2002. The better team piles on pressure and looks like they deserve to win. Then a freak opportunity happens and the worse team scores a goal. Its right to be proud of the players for being able to weather that storm. Its not right to be proud of that win and flaunt it. We played no better than we did in 2010. Favor was on our side this time with Brooks being mismatched for the corner in the same way Bocanegra was mismatched with Gyan on that clearance.

        As I said, I have no fault with the starting 11. I mentioned my only complaint, which was a picky one.

        Subs yesterday let us down. Not the people who came on tho. Yedlin and Wondo came in and did their jobs well. Gonzo was useless, but that was not his fault (see above).

        What was disappointing were the options on the bench.

        Wondo is strictly a poacher. Its well documented. He is an amazingly successful poacher. But when are the USA ever going to be able to spare a mobile forward for a poacher against Ghana, Portugal, or Germany? The skill-set Wondo has is useless for the USA in the group of death. Agudelo’s and Boyd’s big frames make them ideal for either wasting time or coming in and getting a late goal. Wondo doesn’t have the hold up play that Boyd does or the ability to make something out of nothing like Agudelo does. All he can do is sit in the box and wait for that opportune time. And to utilize that skill-set, one of the other attacking players has to be sacrificed because Wondo cannot play up top alone.

        Bradley needed a sub last night, and there was no one we could put in. Mix is a fantastic player and hopefully our fix for a creative midfielder in the role Bradley is currently playing. But at his current level, he is useless against any team in the group of death. He cannot play his silky style of soccer in this group because its too physical or skilled for him. He doesn’t bring the skill-set the USA needs this world cup.

        Last night we needed leadership, a CDM, a strong forward, and a wide midfielder to come in to sure that game up. None of those options were available off the bench. Klinsmann picked his team by trying to have as many different options as he could off the bench. Up top he brought power (altidore), speed (johansson), poaching (Wondo), and finishing (dempsey) with no overlap. Each one of those players requires a different style of play to be successful.

        The midfield is similar. We play with 3 CM who are all defensive minded because of the quality of our opponents. We have no subs who can fill their role. We have one CAM who is too fragile to play against these top quality opponents. There were many opportunities to fix this problem. Ream could play CDM or CB and would have been perfect to take off Bradley in the dying minutes. Edu is much like Ream, but even has the experience our bench is sorely lacking. Donovan could have the one too take off Bedoya and been a offensive spark who has the experience we lacked. Then Chandler or Yedlin could come on in stoppage time and play the left side for Zusi instead of leaving it wide open for the best player in the world to exploit.

        The USA now has the pool so that everyone can have a decent replacement. The right replacements were not chosen and as a result the USA gave up the late goal.

      • This is spot on, all 3 of our CM were spent last night. It’s pretty poor planning by JK to not bring another CM sub

  22. They simply lost discipline at the very end. We were in a shell back all day, we managed to get just enough to come back from Cameron’s clearance, and then we put in Wondo and starting running it to the corner flag with some success. Just for no apparent reason we pushed people forward on some attacks as injury time progressed. That gave the room between the lines, down the flanks, and behind the defense that was exploited. It doesn’t make a ton of sense because we were almost frustratingly reticent to go forward during the rest of the game. You even see JK waving them back. And yet.

    Personally I’d have made midfield subs instead of Gonzo in the 80’s. We were able to play Wondo into space playing longball from the back but lost the ability to slowly build and maintain attacks, and started handing them giveaways.

    • They? Substitutes DeAndre Yedlin and Chris Wondolowski did not lose discipline. If anything, those two should have tipped Bradley and others to get the ball to the corner flag. If Yedlin could have done one more thing, i.e. center the ball for Wondo they might have had one more goal. But Bradley either was too tired or he simply was outclassed, he did not do what all players are told to do when the game is almost over, shoot it anywhere but into his own goal, and in some ways that’s exactly what he did.

      • Yedlin did center the ball. And hardly got it into the 18. Luckily he got it back, realized his mistake, and dribbled to the corner flag.

      • Actually this is where the problem started. Yedlin centered and Portugal cleared the ball. Yedlin then took the ball into the corner. I think he should have let the ball roll out of play and then did the whole I’m gonna throw the ball in, waste 20sec and then toss the ball to your teammate so he can throw it in. You take a yellow but you burn another 30-40seconds off the clock. Then you toss the ball into Wondo who is positioned next to the flag. Game over. Of course that didn’t happen and Yedlin did do a reasonable job of wasting some time, however I think he could have wasted it all. Of course Bradley should have killed it too, but then you have Cam and Fab Jo just ball watching instead of tracking Varela. So for sure there is blame to go around.

      • I feel like Yedlin wouldn’t be able to get all of that. He is 20ish years old. That kind of thinking takes maturity and its not there yet. I am just glad he saw his mistake after his first cross and then went to the corner.

      • It has to do with what when happened. It’s timing. Yedlin stood there for at least three seconds wondering if he should center it where Wondolowski stood or do something else. He did something else and that started the chain of events for the counter attack. I don’t fault him for that because Bradley should have done what I said before. kick it somewhere. other that toward his own goal.

      • You’re conflating two things that are separate, FJ up and Yedlin in is before we tie. Wondo and Gonzo come in after. Those subs are pointed two different ways. Once they went back into the shell after goal 2 there was no reason to leave it. I wish one of the DMs had come out because they looked tired, but the basic issue is that after Wondo came in for a period of time we were content sitting back and “iceing the puck” to the corner flags, and then suddenly they sent numbers up chasing #3. I don’t think JK called for it because there’s video of him just before their #2 waving backwards. They just got greedy.

        And it is “they” because the whole point of their counter is we are spread out the length of the field and they get into space and finally can hit a cross in space behind us, as opposed to us already being back and they have to go over the top, where the tall CBs would have been ideally poised.

      • I agree. Bradley should have been substituted with Brad Davis. The ball would not have been directed toward the US goal.

    • I think most of the rah rah types issuing that line of thought have either limited soccer knowledge — band wagon — or under-estimate Germany. There’s a reason the other teams have either bad GAs or GDs or both. This is not the “I need a result” game.

      • Yes, Germany is not the type of team you go into a game looking for points. They will try to win, and if we go into that game of just trying to get a draw instead of a win, we will lose in the worst case.

        If we go in with trying to get 3 points, then worst case we will get draw. So play with 2 forwards to pressure Die Mannschaft, and get draw in the worst case is better than looking for a draw and end up with 0 points.

      • That Ghana result was big because Germany now assuredly has something to play for. They might have even played us somewhat hard for table position, but with a potential tiebreak situation to fear we will get 105% of their effort. We will give the same, but this is a tough “get.”

      • A draw with the US and Germany wins the group. There is much less incentive for them than you think.

      • That’s cutting it close. You going to play for a tie in a situation where it’s win and in but lose and maybe out? Look at the Germany-Ghana experience, look at what we did to Ghana late, look at what just happened to us.

      • Gary is correct with respect to Germany not having some kind of urgency to win. There is no urgency at all for Germany; there is no must win for them; a tie gets them through as group leaders; even if they lose, because because of goal difference , they would go through unless the U.S. beats them 4 or 5 to 0. This is Gary’s point I believe..

      • And my point would be that most soccer teams would play for 1-0 or 2-0, cagey but not shut down, not just sit back passively and take a tie on purpose, which risks a bolt from the blue.

        Like the ones I just listed.

        I think you’re also under-estimating what the German scoring machine could achieve at half speed, as well as how well we can pitch the requisite shutout, which we haven’t done consistently in years in this type of game. Forgot we were playing from behind even with a cautious game plan?

      • the game won’t be easy, but Germany’s statistical chance of advancing is north of 95%. their chance to win the group is very high too since only a loss to the US would see them out of the #1 spot. i don’t think they’re worried. it’ll be interesting to see how these games play out…

      • Do you really think Germany is worried about a five goal swing? Of course it’s possible, but I would expect them to come out and play conservatively and make sure they get at least a point. Their defense looked awful in the Ghana game and I have to think they’re going to be careful about exposing them to much because we can cause them just as many problems as Ghana did.

    • Nonsense. It was a damn tough ending to a great game. I get the anguish. You vent a bit, then man up and move on. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, I deserve… the catch phrases of the weak, spoiled sniveler. Geez, I hope to &^%$ the incessant, entitled, whining and complaining isn’t the new America. I’d like to think overcoming adversity, picking yourself up, and going back to work is an American attribute.

      This was never going to be easy smooth sailing. There are many teams that have quite a bit more talent than the US and eventhe favorites have slipped up, made significant mistakes or just plain not looked good at times. Spain. Germany v Ghana, Belgium. Portugal. Netherlands. Argentina. The conditions, the pressure… it’s a war of attrition in many ways and the teams that can regroup, move past mistakes quickly, stay together as a team and keep fighting will have a big leg up. The US is in better shape than most thought they’d be. Focusing on what is rather than what could have been is the path to the next round.

      • Yeah, I appreciate that perspective. It is the Group of Death, remember? It really was never going to be easy.

        Speaking of regrouping – hey, we might even get Jozy back for the final game.

      • Shortly before the tournament started I wrote that getting out of this group might be the greatest achievement in the history of US soccer, better than 2002.

      • I agree. I’m not a blind optimist… but a realist. I have to say that, in spite of a last minute disaster, I feel much better now about our team and it’s chances than I did two or three weeks ago. As a lover of the game… so far, in almost all respects, drama, quality of play, goals, upsets… this has been a stellar World Cup. US going to next round would cement it for me and make it all time. That is far from out of the question. Here’s to that!!!!

      • right there with you buddy. this team knows how to face adversity and persevere. i think we’ll get the result we need thursday. stay strong boys!

    • I’m sorry I don’t agree with this we lost a winnable game we should be upset. Moral victories is for minor league coaches.
      The US has a serious problem with this that no coach seems to be able to address. Look at the confederations cup finals we did the same thing, we collapsed. The Bradley hate is warranted because great/good players show up in the final minutes of the game (Ronaldo/Messi). They don’t disappear like Bradley did, his only job at that moment was to pass the ball to God if he had too. Kick it so high that it takes at least 30 seconds to come to the ground. Instead of giving up possession fall on the ball and avoid the fast break every other team has the common sense to do this and he failed at that.

  23. sucks about the way it happened, but i’m happy with the point. our boys are doing really well, and it’s something to build on for friday.

    any update on besler’s injury?

    • He seemed to walk it off at the end. I’m sure he’ll be rested for a few days or at least light training. If I’m Klinsi, I’m tempted to use Brooks on Thursday 1. to give Besler more time to heal and 2. to let him strut his stuff against Germany.

  24. I need at least a day before I start thinking about Germany. I am still sick to my stomach and I couldn’t sleep last night. I just kept seeing the cross from Ronaldo over and over again.

    • yeah i usually watch highlights of us games. win lose or tie. but i dont think i want to be reminded how close we were.

    • For me, Bradley getting out muscled in the midfield is stuck in my mind. I am still furious at that. Seemed complacent and should have booted it to the corner!

      Anyway, moving on. Got the 4 points and on the verge of moving on. Big game on Thursday!

      • The central midfield looked exhausted but he pulled Dempsey, Zusi, and Bedoya instead. I don’t think Zusi or Bedoya have done much for the team, but I think defensively it would have helped to have people in the center who could run at the end.

      • I generally agree with your thoughts on Bedoya but not Zusi. I think Zusi has been pretty crucial for the team when he is on the field. I’m not sure a lot of players would have opted to make that pass to Dempsey when a shot was there for the taking. That playmaking and vision is pretty important.

      • Zusi has provided in critical moments in both games, but was pretty poor for most of the game yesterday. Incredible instinct and execution on his assist to Dempsey, though…

      • I think Zusi’s value is debatable because he has modest speed so they sit on his R leg all day and so except for when he gets a rare clean look, we get limited quality service. It’s like Brad Davis, nice when it happens but perhaps suboptimal as a 90 minute strategy.

        Ditto Bedoya, I just don’t buy having a bunch of people defending — even more than they are committing — is optimal strategy. Portugal had a soft defense rarely being tested because we tilted the formation back so much.

        And then irony of ironies we finally give them room behind the backline and voila.

      • Bedoya hasn’t provided much offensively. But he has done some quality work on the defensive side of the ball. Furthermore, who else on the bench would you suggest to replace Bedoya? Davis? Mix? Green? All have their negative aspects to their games that I think make in the end make Bedoya the better option. Unless you want to start Johannsson on the wings or move around the backline and put Fabian Johnson in the left midfield.

      • I think the answer to that is obviously Yedlin, you want to trade pace for pace and Bedoya is out there to defend. Also Yedlin is a converted striker and can and does get forward like Bedoya.

      • Your question brings to the forefront the fact that JK didn’t bring enough central midfielders to the dance! He instead included 2 players in Davis and Green who haven’t touched the field and lied about their importance to the team. It’s JK’s team and the team is showing its worth right now but I just hope that the injuries and fatigue that are becoming a concern don’t do us in down the road!

      • Zusi also put one of Yedlin or Johnson in before the Bradley goal. Wait, what? he didnt score from there with no keeper?

      • Only problem was that there is nobody to bring in defensively for Bradley, Jones and Beckerman for the purposes of holding a lead. I’m not at all knocking Klinsmann because he’s been spot on this World Cup with subs and tactics, but when you play all your defensive/holding mid options at the same time…You can’t possibly expect Diskerud, Green or Davis to fill there shoes.

      • Also had the same thought as the game wore on. Not easy to sub either Beck or Jones if we’re protecting a lead, but then he brought in Omar and I thought a 5-4-1 was an option but not sure we stacked it that way.

      • A good example of how hindsight is always 20/20. Normally, who would you want on the field more at the end of the game–Bradley, Zusi, or Bedoya? Why, Bradley, of course. Dempsey was limping at the end , so he pretty much had to come off. How many people at the time thought it was a mistake to leave Bradley on?

      • I don’t see how hindsight is 20/20 on the Gonzo sub. I saw little value added and he left the DMs on the field tired.

        And I don’t buy there’s no one on the bench who could be relied on to run for 10 minutes, provide an outlet, possess the ball in the CM, and play some defense. Geoff Cameron used to play DM and we have an abundance of backs, including the very one he subbed in, Gonzo.

        I also think that if Bedoya wasn’t being wasted as a starter — I’d prefer AJ, who will chase a ball just like Wondo and can’t be reasonably viewed as a liability — then Bedoya can come off the bench as a central sub with instructions to clog the middle and show to ball in the attack.

        The mistakes we made centrally were tired ones. Tired mistakes usually reflect either on player fitness — and I’m not moaning about people getting tired in Manaus — or man management, ie, getting tired people off the field.

        I was texting people before the goal worrying we needed midfield subs. You could see them looking tired on TV, and he instead subs F for D. And he was more than happy to think outside the box and push FJ up for Yedlin. Why not then push Cameron for Gonzo at least.

        Or we can play the internet passivity game where no change ever helps and everything always turns out just as the coach ran it.

      • If you watched the Ghana game, or the Portugal game up to any of the subs, you would see that Bradley if terribly off. He needed to be subbed. He has been lethargic, a poor passer and has done little to keep his place on the field for 90+ minutes. Not sure what is wrong, but he seems to be lacking in confidence. Jones and Beckerman were doing fine, so put in Mix and try to improve possession time. Changing the formation to put Beckerman on CR7 is suboptimal.

      • To reply further, everyone, in the livingroom where I was watching the game, thought that Bradley should have come off. I was getting similar text from my home town. Everyone thought that Bradley looked poor against Ghana and again vs. Portugal. Love the guy, but something is wrong.

      • I’ve had multiple people come up to me this morning at work who never watch soccer and they’ve all said, “What happened to Bradley. I thought he was good.”

        I just don’t think he’s been up to his standards, not only that, but he’s not keeping up with the standards Jones and even Beckerman are setting in the middle.

        I fully expect Mix to get a shot in Bradley’s position. I also think Mix is more suited for that role. Bradley is far better roaming in the center rather than being the creative head.

        Unfortunately for Bradley, that roaming role is Jones’ and if Jones continues playing like he is, he’s getting on the World Cup Best XI team.

      • Rewatch the game. Bradley played pretty well overall. Lot’s of good passes. Linked up with other players nicely. This is selection bias- you are clearly focusing on the last play he was involved in. He never fully had control of the ball and it was won by the Portugese players deep in their half. And he lost it with 2 Portuges players right on him- pretty much in a 50/50 scenario. The U.S. had numbers defensively on the Portuegese after that. You really have to blame the defense. Lack of communication and marking between Cameron and FJ. And Omar was brought on specifically to head iut crosses- where was he? He doesn’t have the playing 95 minutes in torturous heat/humunity excuse.

      • He was not impactful against Ghana or Portugal. His touch is off. Mistakes are up. He is not his self this tournament. That ball that he lost was poor. The 2 opponents were not that close and he simply lost the ball. Jones and Beckerman have outplayed Bradley the first 2 games. Something has to change and it isn’t the first two.

      • I definitely agree. Bradley only really took on that creative role in the past few months with Toronto and with this team. If we go down a goal to ze Germans I wonder if you sub out Beckerman for Diskerud and let Mix play CAM while Bradley drops back to his more natural position next to Jones. Thoughts?

      • Bradley and the CMs ran their legs off playing bunker, and sprinting up on the counter when it was called for. So they lacked the legs to make runs and execute technique late.

        I mean, surely you’ve played soccer tired? That was tired soccer he was playing. And if they won’t take you off, and you have to play that way, it’s risky. You start making tired plays and decisions. I usually blame that on the coach because if you’ve ever played that way you know you do the same stupid stuff.

      • I wouldn’t call our defending against Portugal bunker, just heavily leaning towards Ronaldo! Fatigue from the humidity obviously was significant but MB has to be better if we want to continue to make some noise in this tourney!

      • Have a bit of empathy for Bradley. Just not a natural fit for that attacking/creative midfielder role. But seems clear that no one else on squad could play that spot besides him. Also seems clear that Bradley has been in relatively bad form for weeks now.

        The U.S. deservedly got punished with the last-minute Portugal goal. There were three or four U.S. players in the attacking third when Portugal made the counter and scored (and Bradley poorly gave the ball away). Saw a cut-away to Kilnsmann screaming at them to get back and compress the field. They all should know this. Tough pill to swallow.

        At end of the day, U.S. just doesn’t have the players yet to compete genuinely at this level – meaning go long in the tournament. We can enter the W.C. and squeeze out some dramatic performances and results, but the long-view is profoundly limited.

        Other fodder for thought down the road – and coming from a gringo who favors tiki taka with some Euro-power play – I find it interesting and worth noting that the U.S. produced a great recent Olympic team made mostly of Hispanic-American players, but we strangely have only one Hispanic-American on the full Nat. team.

      • Hmmm, don’t remember that. The last time I remember doing well in the Olympics was the Freddy Adu/ Jozy Altidore led team. We didn’t even make the last one, thanks Sean Johnson.

      • The US doesn’t have the quality to compete at this level? What are you smoking? We have clearly seen the opposite. We outplayed Portugal and are doing better than Spain, England, Italy, Portugal, Russia and a whole bunch of other top teams. It is appearing that FIFA rankings of the US, which I thought were too high, are probably about right.

      • Apologies, I meant to say the U-20 team T. Ramos took to the U-20 W.C. They played wonderful soccer and were almost entirely Hispanic-American. This team is Ramos’ project for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, if I’m not mistaken.

        Re the U.S. and quality to compete, take a closer read of my comment. I’m precisely clear about what I mean. That said, as I mentioned, I’m talking about the long-view. The squads at this level have zero potential of winning the W.C.

        I’m smoking some of the best stuff.

      • He said “go long in the tournament” and, I’m guessing, look like we belong if we were to make it to the semis. We could get lucky and put a string of victories together and get far. We don’t look awesome, but likewise, I don’t see one clear dominating team yet. Maybe France?? Dutch looked good in game 1.

      • Yes, thanks for reading, Scott. And I agree – Holland & France looking excellent. I certainly think Costa Rica has played such a fantastic 1st round – much, much better than the U.S. Much more soccer going on in their world. You could argue that this is pretty embarrassing to U.S. soccer, a country with a population of about 300 million to Costa Rica’s infintesimal 5 mil.

      • Yup, this topic of why the US doesn’t do better comes up over and over again. But I will go ahead and posit my main reasons.

        (1) Other sports attract top athletes, particulary NFL & NBA which don’t exist in other countries.
        (2) People choose regular professions over taking the risk of playing soccer for years for little to no money in hope of being discovered. In poorer countries, counties with high unemployment, soccer offers an opportunity.
        (3) Soccer leagues prefer to take foreign players over domestic players because there is an assumption they are better. Foreign=better. American athletes can see this and this adds to point #2 above.
        (4) More soccer knowledge exists at the coaching level but I’m not impressed with it. I was watching a youth team practice and all they did was dribble around cones the whole practice. Then I heard the coach come over to the parents and announce that the next installment was due. Youth soccer has been taken over by business people.
        (4) America is organized around neighborhoods where you have to drive to a park to play soccer. It’s easy to organize a game of hoops or even football in your own neighborhood. But kids don’t really play games of pick up soccer. Their only experience is organized soccer. In other countries kids will choose to play soccer first over other sports in a pick-up game environment.
        (5) Back to organized soccer: A best case scenario for soccer is one season of games and one season of technical development only. Otherwise there is too strong an incentive for winning, even if W-L’s aren’t recorded. The season for technical development should be based on teaching technique–and there is room for different dribbling philosophies here– where kids learn the nuances of say, how Arjen Robben or Messi dribbles. Dribbling around cones is missing the point. Drills are supposed to refine skills but coaches and many people think that is how you “learn” dribbling. Go watch how tennis is taught by a top instructor, see how swimming or golf is taught by top instructors. They are teaching specific techniques.
        (6) Many people still think it is macho to make fun of soccer. This effects #4 above as well.

        Positives: I think youth soccer is making strides in some areas and trying to be progressive.

      • And, Scott, don’t forget the relegation system of soccer abroad. This seems to be a huge detriment to pro development.

        Good stuff.

      • All of you guys are either myopic, under 25 years old, or both. Certainly drowning in philistinism.

      • “…strangely have only one Hispanic-American on the full Nat. team.” Why is that so strange? Which Hispanic players are not on the team that should be there? I think the more interested thing to look at which players play a more Latin style. The answer is Clint Dempsey, the Captain is our most Latin style player. I also think the most important thing is that the U.S can now play a more possesion oriented game if they want and in the long run that will provide a better system for attacking latin players to thrive in. I for one believe that the future system/style for the U.S. to try and emulate which fits American soccer is the German system, but always with one flare/high skill attacker that is “Latin”- the Dempsey or Ozil type player.

      • It’s good question, Danny. I’m not 100% sure why I find it strange (but I’m 100% confident the question needs to be posed), but for a start, it’s bizarre because we have this huge country with this massive Hispanic population (that plays soccer), so I wonder, how is it that none of these guys have bubbled up to the senior team at this point? Why are they apparently saturating Ramos’ to-be Olympic team?

        Another thought. Jose Torres, to me, was the most glaring omission from the senior team this spring. It feels so cynical for him not to have been called in. He seemed to be tearing it down South this spring. I’m certainly biased in that I love the way he plays: always thinking, always probing, always looking to play simply, superb left-footed control, etc.

        Re Dempsey, I agree with you that if “Hispanic style play” can be equated with a certain kind of creative prowess then he fits that bill in some shape and form. But, that said, it must be noted that he’s a very limited player; he’s not a complete package in the purest futboling sense. “In form,” I would take a Torres or Donovan over Dempsey any day (if we were sitting around choosing sides for a pick up game).

    • I have been trying to stay positive, but when I woke up, the first thing that entered my mind was a vision of that damn cross. Ugh. Later I was thinking how much worse it would be to be a fan of Ghana or Portugal. Ghana outplayed the US, Germany had to come from behind to tie Ghana, Ghana could beat Portugal and still lose out despite playing excellent football all three games. As for Portugal, they can feel rotten because they were abused by Germany because of a stupid red card, then they were pretty much decimated by injuries in the back line and Ronaldo had an off game and their chances of advancing are mighty slim. Even German fans are probably disappointed that their team had to struggle to draw with Ghana. So, if misery loves company, we got lots to love.

    • The substitutions should have come in earlier for them to have a positive effect. And I would have not subbed Gonzalez in, this IS where an extra DM like Edu, Kljestan, Feilhaber etc, the list was long…..would have probably have been a much better to relieve the tired legs than Omar’s inclusion. Bradley should have been smarter and fouled, back line was high there was only two tired DMs (Bradley was playing a different role) and Cristiano was not man marked, what the…???? I wrote pleading against this kind of crap, still…..Im very happy with the USMNTs performance and results in both games. I just hope its enough to go thru.


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