Brazil 3, USA 2: A Look Back

USADejection (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                            Photo by ISIphotos.com

The U.S. national team had Brazil on the mat, but the five-time world championship reminded us why its trophy case is full.

The United States' 3-2 loss to Brazil wasn't about subs not made, or made too late. It wasn't about American mistakes. It was about the Brazilians' talent, determination and belief that their beautiful soccer would always help them find a way to win. Could have things broken a certain way to help the Americans pull off a dream victory? Yes, but the fact that they didn't doesn't take away from the progress made and respect earned by the U.S. team on Sunday and throughout the Confederations Cup.

Sure, nobody wants moral victories, and the victories against Egypt and Spain had the U.S. team feeling like it could beat anybody, but the reality is that the U.S. team in South Africa overachieved and pushed itself to new levels that will only help the national team program as it moves toward World Cup 2010.

So what went wrong on Sunday? After a truly impressive first-half of soccer, the Americans were done in by crushing early goal and an unrelenting Brazilian attack that had the weapons to eventually pick apart the previously-stingy U.S. defense.

Luis Fabiano's early second-half goal was absolutely vital because it meant the Brazilians only spent 40 seconds dealing with the burden of erasing a two-goal deficit. Once Fabiano's first strike went in, the Brazilians knew they would find more chances and an inevitable equalizer. That early goal also cast some doubt in the mind of the U.S. team, which had to know Brazil would start pouring on the pressure.

The Brazil attack was brilliant at continuously feeding its most dangerous players, Kaka, Robinho and Maicon, who pumped in service from the flanks seemingly at will. Jonathan Spector and Carlos Bocanegra did all they could to stem the tide in the first half but by the second half the repeated attacks were destined to bear fruit for the Brazilians. When Dunga inserted Dani Alves and Elano to provide even more ammunition to the wing attack (as well as give his team two serious set piece threats), the Americans were bound to cave.

Fabiano's second goal came courtesy of a beautiful Kaka run and cross, and while Spector was the player beaten by Kaka, he was hardly the only one to blame for letting the ball through. Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra both had opportunities to stop the cross, but neither succeeded, and when Robinho's shot hit the crossbar, Fabiano took advantage of a rare lapse in concentration by Oguchi Onyewu and headed home the equalizer.

Bob Bradley was keenly aware that his team was tiring, and becoming more vulnerable, but he had few options to turn to. Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein were set to come into the match when Fabiano tied the game, and while it is easy to say now that an earlier substitution would have prevented the goal, the fact remains that all the U.S. players involved in Brazil's second goal would have still been on the field.

If Bradley's substitutions revealed anything, it was how thin the U.S. roster actually was in this tournament. With Michael Bradley suspended and DaMarcus Beasley suffering through a terrible run of form, the Americans had few reliable and experienced options to bring off the bench. There is already second-guessing going on about why Jose Francisco Torres and Freddy Adu weren't used, but neither player would have made a bit of difference in stopping Brazil's onslaught on the flanks in the second half. While it can be argued that Torres would have been a better option than Kljestan, Bornstein's inclusion was certainly appropriate given the U.S. team's need for some speed and fresh legs on the flanks.

We should really stop and take a minute to look at the disparity in talent between the two teams. While the U.S. team's nucleus is strong, its fringe and bench players in this tournament were not up to par compared to Brazil (and that would have been the case even if injured options such as Maurice Edu, Brian Ching and Steve Cherundolo were available). Brazil's second-half subs were Dani Alves and Elano, two players worth eight figures on the open market, and Dunga never even used Alexandre Pato. Bradley turned to a pair of MLS players who, while they may actually be headed to Europe this summer or winter, aren't anywhere near the same class (and the same could have been said even it was Torres and Adu instead of Bornstein and Kljestan).

Lucio's game-winning header may have taken away the U.S. team's chance at a moment of glory, but it didn't erase the 225 minutes of inspired soccer the Americans put together from the Egypt match to the Brazil match. That stretch of soccer has given this U.S. team invaluable experience and confidence and is sure to become a seminal moment for this group. The Americans will not only learn from their successes, but also from the second-half failure against Brazil.

Here are the USA player grades for the 3-2 loss to Brazil:

  • Tim Howard (8)- Made clutch save after clutch save and deservedly won goalkeeper of the tournament honor.

  • Jonathan Spector (6)- Provided a perfect cross on Dempsey's goal and stopped attack after attack from Brazil before finally giving in on Brazil's equalizer. Still a very strong performance.

  • Carlos Bocanegra (5)- Made some key stops but was beaten repeatedly by Maicon, whose pace and ability to get perfect crosses off quickly troubled Bocanegra all match.

  • Oguchi Onyewu (6)- Dominated in the air again but had some mental lapses that gave Brazil a few golden chances.

  • Jay DeMerit (5.5)- Beaten for Brazil's first goal, DeMerit looked a notch below the player who stifled Spain.

  • Clint Dempsey (6.5) – Clutch finish on the first USA goal but he didn't have the same impact defensively he had in previous matches and that hurt the U.S. team.

  • Landon Donovan (7) – Wonderful work on his goal but, like Dempsey, he didn't display the same defensive tenacity he showed against Spain.

  • Ricardo Clark (6.5) – Stepped up and put in a ton of work in midfield to help make up for the loss of Michael Bradley, with his smart pass leading to the break on Donovan's goal.

  • Benny Feilhaber (6)- Showed very good work rate and ability to provide defensive bite, but he tired in the second half and started fouling, which lead to him being subbed out.

  • Charlie Davies (6) – Great pass to assist on Donovan's goal, and showed confidence and fearlessness, but he committed too many turnovers and didn't have many passes aside from his assist. 

  • Jozy Altidore (5.5) – Drew his share of free kicks but failed to muster any dangerous chances. Fatigue got the better of him in the second half.

  • Sacha Kljestan (3) – A turnover machine while he was in the match.

  • Jonathan Bornstein (4.5) – Gave the team some energy, and had one decent shot, but he was never going to slow down Brazil.

  • Conor Casey (NA)- Not enough time to do anything.

Now that you have had a day to digest and reflect, what did you think of the U.S. team's performance in Sunday's final? Proud of what they accomplished or still upset that they blew the lead? Feeling good about the team's future?

Share your thoughts below.

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138 Responses to Brazil 3, USA 2: A Look Back

  1. dman23 says:

    The one thing I think about when seeing the pics of a dissapointed US team is how this experience is going to bring this team together. More than likely about 80% of this team will be together for 2010 and I feel like this experience will mold them tighter than ever before.

  2. GO USA says:

    Anybody see Jozy’s comments on the ticker on ESPN, he said that he wants to leave Villareal to go to a team that will play him. He said he needs playing time all year. Im happy that he finally said it because I think he has earned the right to talk about leaving. Hopefully somebody will try and get him and give him the playing time he deserves.

  3. timmy says:

    i think you’d be hard pressed to find a brazilian who passed to lucio better than klejstan yesterday. he blows.

  4. Dominick says:

    Has anywhere seen an article/reference to how big the TV audience was? I’ve been searching for 20 minutes to find out the overnight tv rating.

    The amount of interest in the game was great to see. In Chicago, the overflow bar for people looking to go to the Globe pub was packed as well.

  5. sucram89 says:

    I think Tim Howard and the defense need to communicate more. Because Timmy almost never passed or rolled the ball out to the defense. Every ball he sent out was basically a long 50/50 that went directly to Brazil.

  6. brad says:

    Guys… The most important thing is that our players land with new clubs in Europe…

    Here’s whos stock went up:

    Oneywu, Spector, Demerit, Davies, Altidore, Donovan.

    If these guys land with bigger clubs, we’ll be in good shape for 2010…

  7. Josh says:

    Pretty much my thoughts exactly, Ives. Tough nucleus, extremely thin bench. Some of the bench players need to A) move to Europe and compete for playing time, and B) step up their games big-time. As we saw, in a short tournament, a red-card can be killer, not just for one game but the next as well. With our A team in the game, I like our chances against anybody, but no wonder Bradley’s reluctant to go to his bench, given the options available.

    But given how well they played against Egypt, Spain, and Brazil, I expect nothing less than for the US to open a SERIOUS can of whoop-ass on El Tri in August. If they didn’t back down from the two best teams on the planet, there’s no reason to back down from the weakest Mexican side in years.

  8. Aljarov says:

    For all the remarks about beasley’s poor form, Kljestan’s season has gone right off the rails. Ever since that hattrick against Sweden wasn’t parlayed into his dream move to Celtic, Sacha has looked demotivated, off his game and his productivity and work rate have evaporated.

    Kid needs a move, and soon, to reenergize himself….same for Beasley (and Altidore too for that matter)

  9. JD says:

    If you want to look at an area for improvement check out the pass completion percentage stat at Fifa.com.

    link to fifa.com

    With a few exceptions this stat is dominated by Brazil and Spain. To me, it’s one of the biggest flaws of the US team – too many easy giveaways.

  10. stephen says:

    Agree with the ratings.

    We obviously tired and hopefully this will turn into a learning experience for players and coaches in that we’ll have to have better possession to finish off a game like this.

    Given that midfield seems to be our deepest position when healthy (and when Jones arrives), maybe we’re better served with Dempsey up front?

  11. PetedeLA says:

    Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see the whole game yet, but when I look at the pool of players I wish I saw one true winger. IMHO a player who sticks on the touchline, and can dribble past the odd defender could be of real use to this team. I can only think of Jemal Johnson, but I’m sure there are others. A true winger is a great way to kill the clock.

  12. gel65 says:

    IVES,why is it that ive seen a number of rumors for some of our players to go abroad and receiving offers,but not a one about donovan anywhere.Hes our best player and i just feel his whole germany experiences are still being held against him.Have you heard anything about offers for him?It will be a shame if hes force to return and deal with the galaxy.let beckham go deal with that by himself for the rest of the season.

  13. BFBS says:

    I agree with Ives’s every word except for the assertion that if the injured options were available they would not have made a difference. If Edu comes in for Feilhaber to start the second half, we might all be delirious right now.

  14. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I’d like to declare a one week moratrium on negative comments. This was a great showing. We didn’t discover any NEW weakness – we knew we didn’t have the depth of the top rank squads. But we did learn soemthing about our strengths and potential.

    Still, I’m sad this morning. I pretty much agree with you Ives, except that I think that if we did have Bradley, Edu, Ching and – yes – an in form Beasley (as a late sub instead of Bornstein) maybe we would ahve done a better job killing off the game.

  15. gj says:

    Ives you have it spot on, the difference was the bench, we have no depth behind the starters. I hope the gold cup will show us if we can get some players that could help us with the depth problem.

  16. Marc says:

    do people think that davies is actually the answer to play the 2nd forward position (assuming altidore continues to improve this season)? davies’ pass to donovan was great, but he gave the ball away too cheaply other times. his speed is unquestionably an asset though. to me, his pace makes him more valuable than a guy like cooper, who might be more technically sound.

  17. Marc says:

    i think donovan is in a precarious situation. if he moves, he needs to do it before the european season starts. otherwise he will join in the winter, and as we saw last year, its very difficult to break in to a roster. we can’t afford for him to be rusty in 2010

  18. Beech says:

    The bench was the difference.

    The only person the US had any business subbing into that game in that situation was Bradley Jr. He unfortunately removed himself from that possibility in the previous game.

  19. jp says:

    Well said Ives.

    On a more general note, the Spain vs. Brazil final never happened, so we can only speculate. We did get to play against and assess both teams.

    Who do you think is the best team in the world right now, Spain or Brazil?

  20. Murphy says:

    Ives–Sure, you’re right that the subs didn’t lose the game for us, but after Sacha’s terrible game vs. Brazil why bring him on again? I think it would have been better to give Torres a shot than put in a slow Kljestan who likes to turn the ball over.

  21. im glad that everyone finaly sees what i have been saying about Sacha Kljestan. One performance against a european c team and everyone here was all up on the kids nuts. Hes a decent MLS player AT BEST. No reason to have him anywhere near the pitch yesterday. Sames goes for Conor Casey

  22. whatagame says:

    Spot on analysis Ives! I think this tournament has truly forged the members of this team into guys who will go balls out for each other. They showed a lot of heart in the end and they now know they can be in any game. A deeper bench will be key. We need a few more destroyers in midfield who can hold the ball (Clark, Edu, Bradley are already great options – Feilhaber can do some of that but is a better transition player).

    Demerit, Spector, Feilhaber, Davies and Clark booked their reservations back to SA with their performances here (Howard, Guzan, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan, Altidore and Ching already had tickets). Now let’s see who else steps up!

  23. Craig says:

    Very proud of what the team accomplished. Going in I would have been happy with getting out of the group stage & finishing 4th. I also feel good about our top 11 (12 including Feilhaber)but as Ives mentioned depth is an issue. Looking forward to see who from the B team steps up in the Gold Cup & hoping everyone gets into a club situation where they get minutes in the season ahead.

  24. dman23 says:

    We WILL have depth in the year to come assuming everyone stays healthy and Jones comes into town.

    Probable Off the bench at any time:

    FWD: (Jozy/Charlie Start)

    Adu (still don’t think he’ll see the mid)

    Ching

    Cooper

    Also, keep in mind Donovan and Dempsey can move here

    MID: (LD, Jones, Bradley, Dempsey start)

    Benny

    Edu

    Torres

    Rico Clark

    Beasley

    Sacha

    Holden

    DEF: (Boca, Gooch, Demerit, Spector/Churundolo Start)

    Spector/Churundolo

    Bornstein

    Pearce

    Chad Marshall

    Heydude

    Parkhurst

    Orozco

    Wynne

    Seems like decent depth at the first 2 or 3 players at each position after the starters

  25. Scott says:

    Agree with most of it Ives,

    But subs do make a difference. Even in your play by play you were asking about subs in the 64th minute.

    It was 2-1 then and subs in the 65 min could have made a difference.

    Frankly, We should have come out in a pure defensive 4-5-1 with 3 CM and LD and CD as wingers/defensive Wingbacks. Either CD or JA should have come of at the half.

    That would have made a difference. The extra CM should have been Torres as he can hold possession under pressure better than Sasha.

    Those are my opinions. I may be wrong, I admit that. But one cannot say that subs don’t matter when you are holding on to a lead and expect nobody to call BS.

    Love everything you do though, so this is a constructive critisism.

    Just my opinions

    PooBah

  26. ko'd says:

    Ives,

    One of the best statements I have heard: “The United States’ 3-2 loss to Brazil wasn’t about subs not made, or made too late. It wasn’t about American mistakes. It was about the Brazilians’ talent, determination and belief that its beautiful soccer would always help them find a way to win.”

    We got beat by a better team. Sure, people could say we lost a 2-goal lead (we did), but we needed some (more) lucky breaks to beat Brazil. Brazil was just better than the U.S. Not too many people would argue with that. But the U.S. showed that it could still create opportunities.

    I am excited about what the team showed over the course of a week. I have a good feeling about Azteca.

  27. Fire BB says:

    Fire BB!

    The team (excluding a few awful players who shouldn’t have been anywhere the roster) gave their all yesterday. Unfortunately, they were let down by their coach… again. Simply pit, bb isn’t going to get us to where we want to go. He lacks tactical awareness, doesn’t understand squad selection or how/when to substitute players. These shortcomings have been readily apparent for quite some time now but I fear the team’s success will cause temporary amnesia to the team’s detriment.

    As landycakes said after the game, we don’t want respect, we want to win. I only wish the big wigs in us soccer had the sacks to do what needs to be done to help us achieve this goal.

  28. GO USA says:

    We played amazing but im gonna have to agree with the majority of what everybody is saying that we lost it because of depth. I honestly don’t think Brazil wins this game if we have Michael Bradley. Bradley is such a monster in the midfield for us. Not to mention if we had a healthy Edu, no way do I think that Brazil wins. Thats where i disagree with Ives, he said that our subs would not have been up to par with Brazil’s. If we have Edu and Bradley available to close down the Midfield I don’t think that Brazil would have been able to break the defense. All in all our players have earned a great sense of credibility. We can say that our players play great together.
    I also have to say that Donovan basically outperformed almost everybody in the whole tournament. Its amazing that he plays in the MLS and yet still outplays players that make millions more and play for the bigger teams. Donovan is a truly gifted player and Im glad he showed everybody in the world what a player he is. Not to mention that he did it against the worlds undisputed best teams in the world. There are no excuses for teams around the world to not want him.

  29. Kaiser says:

    Great comments, Ives.

    I feel it was a lack of mental toughness that did the U.S. in. That first goal in the second half completely changed the outlook for the team…they were playing scared and intimidated (completely opposite of the first half when they outran, outworked, and outplayed Brazil). Bradley admitted as much in his post game comments. I wanted to yell through the TV screen, “You are still up 2-1! Reorganize and pick your heads up!” I am not upset that our boys lost to Brazil, but rather that the team’s mental focus wasn’t there in the second half (especially leaving a guy unmarked on a corner!) like it was against Spain.

    However, ever team goes through this. Every team needs to learn “how to win”. This U.S. team took a big step in that process. Bob did a good job to get the team here, but now is where the real coaching begins. Can he help this team find that mental toughness for WC2010. This is when he shows us how good of a coach he is.

    With all that said, I am very proud of our boys. They did a great job, represented thier country well, and hopefully will learn and grow from this.

  30. Brett says:

    I’m sorry. I want to believe we didn’t collapse from a healthy perch, but we did.

    We lived dangerously in the first half and were fortunate not to concede. In the second half we packed in again and paid for it.

    The rate at which we were outshot in the game is almost laughable for a competitive match.

    We didn’t lose to “joga bonito”, we lost to allowing Brazil time and space to work the ball up the flanks, content to rely on “emergency defending” to save us.

    We proved we can play with the best teams, but we also proved why we are not yet one of them.

  31. BossTweed says:

    jp:

    I actually think Brazil is the best team in the world right now. Coming into this tournament, I ranked them #2 behind Spain; but they have a physical element that Spain does not (see Fabiano, Felipe Melo), but still maintain technical skill across the field to dominate possession. I think they have the proper balance of “beautiful football” and strong physical play to play successfully against teams with various tactics. As we saw, Spain can be dominated in the air and pushed around by a more physical team.

  32. Roberto says:

    I’m very proud and agree that there is no comparisons between the rosters and their depth… But the key to the loss was that on the early goal in the 2nd half )and IN MOST dangerous plays… Maicon was given TOO MUCH freedom and space to go forward. US should have given him special attention on the second half.. Yes, especially him. More so than kaka. Maicon was key in all goals

  33. Andy in Atlanta says:

    I still think that Kenny Cooper is going to break out at the Gold Cup… He and Adu will really have a chance to show their talent in an otherwise lesser known group of players.

    Davies did a ton for his stock…

  34. green says:

    Big props to the team for showing some heart and pride after the first two games. Brazil was never going to be an easy game.

    Ives says:
    “Bob Bradley was keenly aware that his team was tiring, and becoming more vulnerable, but he had few options to turn to.”

    I ask:
    Why, through 5 games (some at altitude), were there 5 field players unused throughout the tournament? And if he didn’t trust them, why were they on the roster in the first place?

    Seems to me that for a tournament where your going to have players running out of steam, you HAVE TO have players you can turn to.

    Not trying to blame Bob here, just a thought as to getting ready for the big tournaments. It’s impossible to compete without any depth.

  35. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Just think about us having a viable LB and getting Edu and Jermaine Jones into the fold… we have the talent to make a run in 2010… hopefully our great effort here and a win down at the AZTECA will see us solidify a 2 seed in the pots for the draw… we deserve a 2 now…just a fact.

  36. T says:

    A good post Ives and I hope this keeps things in perspective for all fans. The difference in quality of players was very noticeable in the 2nd half and Brazil were simply the better side.

    Sacha needs to get his head right. I don’t know if he’s having personal issues or something, but he is simply not enjoying himself. Did he complete a pass yesterday? It was tough watching him out there.

    I hope that guys don’t get too down and remember that next year is the real deal and there is still more to accomplish.

    Many lessons learned and many positives to build on from this tournament.

    Come on Yanks!

  37. Tommy H says:

    timmy- funny comment but heart-beakingly true. C.Casey looked lazy, he was supposed to defend and he just jogged. Woly would have done better.

  38. dman23 says:

    Am I the only one that’s excited for what’s to come from this core group the average age is 25! Great Great experience. They won’t win the world cup, but have at least proved on any given day they can compete with the best. I really don’t think they will have as difficult as a group in group play.

  39. Xander Crews says:

    Ives,
    I’ve got to disagree with you from the very beginning. If you’re going to say that we lost this match because of Brazil’s superior talent, then you must also diminish our performance in the first half. Essentially, then, what should be said is that we didn’t play all that well, but rather Brazil looked that poor in surrendering a two-goal lead in the first 45 minutes. If that’s the case, then why didn’t we put MORE on the board?

    You’re trying to have it both ways, and you can’t. By saying their talent eventually wore away at us is downright offensive to the players who started the match, because for the first 45 minutes, we matched their supposed superior talent.

    We lost the match because we failed to make the needed tactical adjustments. Brazil scoring under a minute into the second half tells me that our guys were not of the proper mindset coming out of the half – and that falls on Bradley. He tried to sit on the lead with players who he had run into the ground. In the tournament, 13 players played at least 450 minutes – four of those were Americans and seven were South Africans. If, as you claim, we needed additional speed and fresh legs on the flanks, why not Marvell Wynne? Sure, his skill level is not up to the international level, but if you only need someone to be a nuisance on the flanks, Wynne fits that bill. Why not lift someone like Dempsey and put Wynne as an additional back to help Bocanegra?

    Bradley’s inability to adjust and think outside of his comfort zone is what cost this team a spot in history. I’m proud of the play of our guys, but more upset as ever about US Soccer’s inability to find and willingness to settle for something less than an international-quality manager.

  40. EA Scott says:

    Really heartbroken by the loss yesterday, but PSYCHED about the US men in general. While our depth failed us yesterday, I think this tournament was not only a great showing for our boys, but I think our depth really improved. These guys proved they can play with the best and are challenging for starting roles:

    - DeMerit, Spector, Clark, Feilhaber, Davies

    Bocanegra is the answer at left back

    Ching, dolo, Edu, and frankie will be back soon enough

    Torres needs some time! He should definitely be in the mix as well.

    Jones is on the way, and hopefully Adu and Altidore will get better club situations and they will be ready for 2010.

    Overall, I’m feeling really good about the US. Now let’s kick ass in Azteca!!!!!

  41. green says:

    To follow it up. . .

    The lack of true wide players is still a huge detriment to our team, again. We really need a couple more wide options that we can go to when need be. After LD and CD, we have few tested options. This should be a priority for the next year.

  42. BossTweed says:

    I think forward is the one area that is still a question mark for the US, which needs to be addressed before ’10 World Cup. Altidore played serviceably, but this was certainly NOT at breakout performance for him by any means. I thought he had his best game, in terms of holding the ball up, in the final, but his first touch is still not where it should be. It was difficult to evaluate him on anything besides his ability to hold the ball because he played most of the tournament alone at the top with perhaps only one other striker; not too much to play off of. Davies, on the other hand, showed a horrible lack of touch, but his speed is a significant asset for the counter-attacking style we displayed successfully against Spain and Brazil. Honestly, I think Davies cemented his spot in the lineup moreso than Altidore did, who could have competition from Ching. Not so much because of Davies skillset, but because a raw speedy forward is more valuable to us tactically than Altidore.

  43. timpramas says:

    Bradley was unavailable due to red cards or accumulated yellow cards for the final of the 07 Gold Cup, the deciding third ’08 Olympic group game and this championship game. He is an important player for this team and needs to stop making these mistakes.

    Why wasn’t a US player on the far post for the corner kick where Brazil got the deciding goal? The shot hit the far post and went in.

    Torres plays a deep lying midfielder for Pachuca and although he is short and not fast, he plays defense pretty well for Pachuca. I have never seen any moment where I thought Kljestan has played well defensively. Given the need to keep possession, Torres would have been the better option. Kljestan has been a turnover machine throughout his national team career. I see his potential as well, but why doesn’t the USMNT also see how special Torres could be if given consistent playing time?

    Instead of subbing Casey for Clark, I would have substituted Casey for DeMerit and switched to a 3-4-3 given the need in the last few minutes to get players forward and pressure Brazil upfield. If the US gets the equalizer, Bornstein can drop to left D, Bocanegra can move to the middle and the US can revert to a 4-4-2 during overtime.

    In the second half the US midlfield got pushed deep into our end, and when balls got cleared away it seemed like Brazil won the ball and played it back in to the US end. To lessen the gap between the mdifield and forwards, perhaps a switch at halftime to a 4-4-1-1 might have allowed the US to better transition from defense to a counterattack.

    The US goalkeeping is superb and the defense has improved tremedously. Where the US failed in the second half was an inability to pressure Brazil upfield (due to fatigue and an inability to maintain possession). Brazilian players had time to decide what to do with the ball and play the ball without pressure. The US had to either cut out the pass or defend a player near the goal after he received the ball. To win these games the US needs to hold the ball better and pressure an opponent long before the defensive third of the field.

    Up two goals it should have been Brazil chasing us around trying frantically to get back in the game, not the opposite.

    All in all an encouraging tournament. I have supported Coach Bradley even after discouraging defeats and belive he is a good coach. My one fault with him is he seems to give chance after chance to certain players (Beasley, Kljestan, Mastroeni, Califf) when there seem to be better options (Clark who finally got an extended look, Torres who hasn’t received one yet, and DeMerit who also got an extended look).

    I can understand the Kljestan sub in the context of not believing Torres should be put out there when he hasn’t played the whole tournament, but that should not have been the situation.

  44. AdamTheRed says:

    Torres, what did you do to piss off Bradley so?

  45. I liked this quote from El Pais (a Spanish newspaper):

    El trofeo, otro trofeo, volvió a Brasil. Pero la valentía, y buena parte de la gloria, pertenecen a la selección de Estados Unidos.

    Translation: The trophy– another trophy– went to Brazil. But the valor, and a good part of the glory– belonged to the team from the United States.

  46. Dan says:

    I think most people’s reasoning for wanting Torres or Adu was the simple fact that they could hold the ball and keep possession, giving the defense a chance to rest, and maybe scoring another goal on the counter. Kljiestan and Bornstein might be better defenders, but they kept giving the ball away, leading to even more defending.

    The best example I can think of was in Euro 2008 in the Holland v France game. At 1-0 to Holland, France was creating many chances and getting close to scoring. Rather than bring on a defender, Van Basten brought on Van Persie and Robben, they scored a quick goal and another 10 minutes later, and effectively killed the game off. While we are not Holland, when Brazil was attacking, there was plenty of space available for us on the counter, and with a Torres out there, it would have kept Brazil honest. No guts, no glory.

    Bob Bradley’s sub patterns are too predictable and conservative. Dunga could bring on two attackers because he knew the US wouldn’t bring on an offensive threats to keep them honest. Anyone watching the game knew we were done once we saw Kljestian and Bornstein coming on. That’s how we all know they were poor choices.

  47. Pablo Chicago says:

    Brazil deserved the win, but we made them earn it. With that said, I agree with Donovan’s comment about being past earning respect and earning wins.

    The officiating during this tournament was suspect, and if it is any indication of what we can expect next year, we’re in trouble.

    After Lucio flew elbow first into the back of Donovan’s head, I thought he should have picked up a 2nd yellow. Would be nice to see someone other than the US go down a man. Not sure if it would have made much of a difference in this match though.

  48. BossTweed says:

    Also, was anyone else disappointed with Bocanegra at LB. I mean, he played about as well as I thought he would; but he’s simply too slow to deal with the likes of Maicon, or any fast winger for that matter. Furthermore, the ability to distribute is more important on the defensive flanks, and I think he is lacking in that area — he had a number of turnovers that could have been avoided. Honestly, I think Bornstein is a better option at LB. I know Bocanegra plays that position for his club, but I think he is much better suited for the middle. Unfortunately for him, I think I’d give the edge to Demerit in that category. At this point, I would prefer Bornstein to start on the left and see Bocanegra as a defensive sub that would allow Bornstein to move to MF, or be a late game sub for Bornstein or a CB.

  49. Johnny G says:

    This tournament did for us exactly what it was supposed to do and then some. It was supposed to gain the team some experience before the WC next year. It got the guys some time playing in SA and playing with each other. It also really helped shore up our back line. BB would be insane not to bring both Spector AND DeMerit back to SA for the World Cup. They both proved themselves beyond a shadow of a doubt. I still think Hejduk deserves a spot on the team as well though. His experience and work rate are invaluable.
    The loss to Brazil really demonstrated our lack of depth and gives Bradley something to work on before next summer. He MUST make sure he has a strong bench if we’re going to make a showing in the WC. When our guys run out of gas and you are forced to bring on Sacha or Bornstein…well, those guys don’t have what it takes to compete with a Kaka or DeRossi.
    It was a real roller coaster watching the game and I was disappointed that we couldn’t hold that 2-0 lead. I was still proud of the effort most of our guys put in though and it really has me excited about our prospects next year. We really have something solid to build on now.

  50. mike says:

    Nice post timpramas. I was also wondering why there was no one on the back post for the go ahead goal.

    The Kljestan sub was baffling. But then again it shows the limited options coming off the bench. Would have much rather seen someone there who can try and maintain possession.

    In the 2nd half, Davies and Altidore might has well have been sitting out. I don’t remember them once holding up the ball or winning one in the air. It would have been just as well to bring in 2 defenders and play 6 across the back.

  51. Jags98 says:

    LD had a great tourney, but do you really think a big club is willing to pay what he makes in the mls.

    No, think about it. He has issues; he does not or will not ever get stuck into a player. Have you ever seen him slide a player besides coming from behind. His Def is horrible, look what he did with Maicon. He gave the guy pressure like a forward would. Jog over to him until he releases the ball.

    Not to take away from his goal, but he ran to the sideline screaming ME, ME, ME. He is a baby compared to European players.

    I have to wonder why the clubs in Europe are not picking him up? Its because they know he wouldnt work out. Two failures in Germany and a third shot only because a friend was helping him out.

    I would love to see him go, it would only help him, but he has gotten his butt kissed too much here to become a better player and make it over there.

  52. Will - Yo says:

    Ives, your point is taken about the subs, but I still believe and know based on playing some tough games (albeit at a much lesser level) that if at least one sub (Borstein) was brought in 5 min earlier, it could have brought a disruption to the game that the US dearly needed at that point. (When Brazil subs, the US players need to watch who is coming it to prepare for them so their subbing doesn’t count.) I still feel this way regardless of the drop in quality of the incoming player.

    The players needed to be able to recollect their thoughts and spread motivation around. Your story may not have had the space to develop this, but it should have at least acknowledged the value of a break, the soccer world’s equivalent of a time out, especially in a game like this. In fact insert one sub and the second some minutes later. That is two stoppages of play.

    Or for that matter, a US player should have gone down for a minute or two to slow the game down. They were men out, always getting up after though challenges out there but sometimes, you should stay down when appropriate to get your under siege team, that mental break. Take a page out of Portugal’s play book!

  53. Improving says:

    We’re getting better but we certainly overachieved in this tournament. We will need to tone down our expectations for the world cup.

    We were severely outshot in playing both Spain and Brazil. One could look at our ability to score out of very few opportunities as talent but we were also very fortunate (or lucky).

    As controversial as it may sound, I think that if we had TIED both matches and had a more balanced number of shots on target, it would represent a bigger evolution in our game.

    Now, I know people would then argue about our ability to finish… but think about it first…

  54. Army of Dad says:

    Bringing Sasha on and not Torres was a mistake I think, though a bigger one was bringing Casey on instead of Adu.

    Down a goal in a final we need a play, maybe something spectacular and the man to give us that play in that game is NOT Casey. Adu is the only one on the bench there that could have come in and given us that play. Defensive liability doesn’t matter much when you are down in a final.

  55. gmen04 says:

    I am sure this has been posted elsewhere, but is there any reasons to why Torres hasnt sniffed the field since Costa Rica, to be given a starting slot in an important WC qualifier to not seeing any time in the 6 games since, seems odd.

  56. DCUfanTX says:

    Had the same team formation that defeated Spain being on the field, the US might have had a better chance at winning this thing. Michael Bradley’s absence really hurt and it showed tremendously in the second half. Benny needed to come on in the 2nd half like he did against Spain and create some opportunities for US and hold Brazil at bay even for a little while. US had not attacking options in the 2nd half.
    but you have to give Brazil due credit. they overloaded the wings, which pulled the centers to go help out Boca and Spector and opened up the middle of the field for Fabiano to take advantage.

    That tactic helped. but it was the talent that allowed it to work. in the end, Brazil was the better team.

  57. Out of gas. says:

    I think you nailed it Ives. Bradley has discovered a truly great starting 11. There is just too much drop off in talented, in form players on the Confederations Cup roster. Having said that, barring a ton of injuries, the US should be in a lot better shape depth wise next summer. There are a lot of midfielders who have a full year to round themselves into form.

    For me, three factors did the Americans in. Michael Bradley’s absence, the immediate second-half goal from Brazil, and good old fashioned fatigue.

    If MB was holding down the midfield, making timely tackles, and sparking quick counter attacks, the game plays out differently in the second half. That coupled with the magical Failhaber for Altidore sub with Dempsey moving up top could have proved all-important.

    For obvious reasons, the Brazil goal directly after second half kickoff was their most important. Demerit had good positioning in the play and made a good, agressive challenge. A combination of skill and luck saw Fabiano’s fantastic turn and shot slip just between Demerits legs and out of Howard’s reach into the back of the net.

    The US just didn’t have enough in the tank in the second 45 to keep the kind of pressure on the Brazilian midfield that they were able to put on Spain. As a result, Brazil was relentless in their attacking either flank.

    If the US had been able to avoid one or two of these things, they stood a good chance. Having to deal with all three was too much.

    In the end, they lost on one of the best headers I have ever seen. The power and precision of Lucios finish was second to none.

  58. EDB says:

    The only Sub i took issue with was casey over a more dynamic striker when we were down a goal. I thought Benny was ok, and sasha. Although I almost would have brought on pearce on the left move boca or demerrit to dmid.. but really i think it was just brazils quality that shined through.

  59. Ives says:

    Xander Crews, not sure if you are aware but matches are 90 minutes long and over the course of 90 minutes Brazil showed its superiority. The USA played a great first 45 minutes but assuming that level could have been maintained for 90 minutes if not for “tactical mistakes” is wrong. Saying Brazil is more talented takes nothing away from what the USA did in the first half. The USA maximized its ability and played at its highest level in the first half and deserves credit for that. In the end though, Brazil found another gear (which can happen when you have the world’s best players) and the Americans were unable to maintain their high level. All your ultra-negative blame-game schtick does is suggest that you think the USA would beat everybody in the world all the time if only they had the right coach running the show. Exactly how naive is that?

    Xander, I don’t normally call readers out but you’re self-loathing, super-negative mentality is pretty depressing. I’m not talking about the above comment, I’m talking about the tone of the majority of everything you’ve ever written on SBI. Such as:

    “Reading this entry made me want to puke. We beat an undermanned Egyptian side and now you people think we’re going to be able to handle Spain? Please divulge your source for your mind-altering hallucinogens for the rest of us, please…”

    and

    “For the fans who complained about Rossi’s celebration against the US, how was that any different that the American celebrations yesterday? Did anyone bother to check to see if the Egyptian goalkeeper was fine when he was getting his head stitched?”

    and

    “That was not a good game. It’s the type of slop that’s acceptable to get through in CONCACAF, but it’ll get us killed in the Confederations Cup. (After USA beat Mexico in February).

    Those are just a few examples. To be honest in reading your comments over the past few months I think most folks might wonder if you’re a fan of American soccer at all.

    It’s really up to you how you want to be as a fan, but you might want to try to lighten up and enjoy the positives and the progress American soccer is making rather than spending all your time focusing on everything that you think is wrong with American soccer.

  60. EDB says:

    also the difference between spain and brazil was that spain got frustrated while brazil just kept plugging away.

  61. dman23 says:

    Xander just got pwn’d…..

  62. Strider says:

    It really amazes me how many of you still think Bob Bradley is incapable. What US coach has accomplished reaching a FIFA tourney final before? None! What do you think he needs to do to keep his job? I think it was VERY clear that he was able to motivate the players to play hard. He found a workable formation and they beat 1 good opponent (Egypt), one excellent opp. (Spain), and played well against the arguably best team in the world right now. Those of you clamoring for Torres weren’t there, you didn’t see his practice sessions or know how he integrates with the rest of the team, yet you pontificate as if you were there. Believe me, Bob wants to win as much as any of us do. I say “Congratulations to the US MNT and to Bob Bradley for a job well done.”

  63. jpc says:

    Jags,

    You say Donovan has gotten his butt kissed, but the only thing I ever hear about him is people like you ripping into him… Have you ever heard a teammate say a negative thing about him??? maybe they have, but I’ve never heard about it… In fact, all i’ve ever heard is how much harder he works than every player in the US… You act as if he is some pre-Madonna, but the facts just don’t support it. You don’t like the fact that he doesn’t get “stuck in” and play defense???? Did you watch the tournament, he was the best defensive player on the field most of the time… Every player has their negatives, LD’s is his size, he’s small, meaning he’s not going to be, nor should he try some sort of menacing tackler?? Criticizing him for that is like criticizing Barry Sanders for not running like John Riggins,,, stupid in other words… Guy plays his ass off, and works harder than anyone, and is by far the best player we have, and that makes him a bad guy who is somehow incapable of getting a shot in Europe???? You criticize his goal celebration b/c you think it was about him. Tell me about any goal celebration that wasn’t about that one player???? any time a player runs into the corner after a goal they are celebrating THEIR personal acheivement, otherwise, players who scored goals would run to their teammates to congradulate them, or just run back to their side to try and get another… You need to Get off it, the argument that you and others like you have been making about Donovan since he came back from Europe the first time just doesn’t stand up to the facts… I get that he’s kind of a dork, and he’s not your typical American sports star, but the hate for it from so many is just astounding

  64. John1 says:

    I think the U.S. is a very good team that played well in this tournament. The very first game against Italy they played well until the red card. It is tough for any team to play Italy one man down. The second game against Brazil the U.S. gave them way too much respect, like they did in the second half of the final. The only difference was that in the final the U.S. was gassed. Against Egypt they played great. In the Spain game, the U.S. played well and parked the bus in the second half and got a few breaks and won. Against Brazil, the U.S. was already fatigued, basically using the same line-up. I really think having Maurice Edu, Brian Ching and Steve Cherundolo would have made a difference but it is all academic. The U.S.’s back four were gassed. It is just too much pressure to absorb. If the mid could have relieved some pressure from the back four, it would have been a different story. Hopefully Jones can be a great addition in the mid. The U.S. has one year to improve even more. It is paramount that U.S. players receive consistent playing time for their respective clubs. Even though the U.S, can beat any team in any given day, if the U.S. can improve their midfield, they will be even that much better. By the way, if Brazil does not get that early goal in the second half, the U.S. probably wins. It was a great learning experience for the boys. For me, Spain is still the best team in the world.

  65. Patrick says:

    Some thoughts:

    1) I’ve only been an avid USMNT watcher for about a decade, but in that time, I cannot remember ANY instance in which the team scored 7 goals in open play against such high quality competition. No set piece goals, no penalty kicks, no own goals by the opposition. If anything represents progress, that does.

    2) In the next year we need to find depth on the wings. We need to go into WC2010 with 4-5 guys who can play offense and defense on the wings at an international level.

    3) The US can win without the classic #10 (and Donovan is not a classic #10, see below). But developing skilled, creative, offensive players to work the center of the field should be a big priority for the WC2014 cycle.

    4) Landon Donovan is a winger. He could also probably play the holding midfield spot a la Claudio Reyna. He is not a forward, nor is he an offensive central midfielder. Playing out of position for club or country is a waste of time and talent.

    5) Give Bob Bradley some credit. Is he the best coach in the world? No. But lots of teams would have folded after the first two games and the US didn’t. And the BS excuse that Egypt, Spain, and Brazil were all having off days doesn’t fly either. Dominating Egypt, convincingly whooping Spain, and dominating Brazil for even 1 half takes talent and good play. Period. Those of you who seem to think some foreign coach can take the apple cider that is our player pool and make it taste like champagne every game are completely delusional. Stick with Bradley through 2010, then look at what your options are.

  66. jh says:

    Damn you Ives, with your common sense and perspective. I need somebody to blame and this entry doesn’t help me do that.

    Seriously, though, the points about the disparity in depth are well made. It makes me laugh to think that Alexandre Pato never made it off the bench in this game, and I don’t think I saw him play the entire tourney.

  67. Sushant Rao says:

    Generally, I’m a BB supporter. I agreed with his decision to bring the reserves to the South American championships so the main team could focus on the Gold Cup (and it’s entry to the Confederations Cup). That has proved to be wise move.

    I agree with most of his moves, though some are puzzling (Connor Casey over Kenny Cooper?). That said, there’s one move he did / didn’t make that has me scratching his head.

    In the 2nd half, Brazil had us under seige. We were getting tired and we needed some energy + offensive bite. What does BB do? He takes out Feilhaber & Altidore and replaces them with Klestjan & Bornstein. It was clear that we got a lost a lot of offense with those moves (and we got worse at that point).

    I kept thinking, well, who else could BB bring on? DMB showed he shouldn’t play and Adu/Torres hadn’t gotten a minute of playing time.

    As my emotions died down, I realized that there was one mistake that BB did. When we were down 2-0 to Brazil in the 2nd group game and both DMB/Klestjan were awful, he should have replaced at least one of them with Adu or Torres (probably Torres). We knew at the half that Klestjan wasn’t cutting it and that proved again to be the case in the Championship game. Torres & Adu should have gotten some minutes in that game and they may have given BB a chance to figure out if either one could have helped down the road.

    I would say that’s the main issue I have with BB’s handling of the squad at the Conf Cup.

  68. gmen04 says:

    EDB makes good point, Brazil had the confidence in their game plan that they would come back Spain were clearly getting furstrated, neither team is used to playing from behind But Brazil clearly was more confident in doing so

  69. Jack K. - SBI MAFIA ORIGINAL says:

    Ha, Xander just got pwned. (Mental note, don’t diss Ives.)

  70. understood says:

    hate to be a negative voice…but if anyone thinks the performances we saw against spain and brazil first half are blueprints to success against good teams youre delusional…the only difference between spain and brazil is that brazil had the one moment of brilliance (fabiano’s first) that spain couldnt muster (which we know theyre well capable of)…and brazil was able to set up two scoring opportunites from the flanks that spain was unable to do…but in general…were not gonna consistently win games by being dominated in possession and defending like wild banshees…we played with heart…team spirit…all that…and psychologically it was wonderful for our team to get this experience and learn to play fearlessly against these teams…but were NOT gonna win these games consistenly getting outpossessed 60-40 and outshot by 20+ shots…

    also look at our attack going forward…against spain we were 2-2…against brazil we were something like 2-5 or something like that…thats another thing were NOT going to be able to rely on consistently…were not gonna convert such an overwhelming majority of our chances on a consistent basis…were gonna need to eventually play a more skill based technical game to consistenly compete at this level because we need to do a better job of maintaining possession and creating more chances

    thats leads me back to coaching decisions…obviously bradley has earned a reprieve and you cant complain about bradley until you see what happens in 2010…because he passed this test and 2010 is really the only true test between now and then (azteca or not there are no scalps to be had in CONCACAF at this point)…BUT having said that…he needs to stop playing favorites and stop insisting on burying torres and playing klejstan over him…if you wanna drink the koolaid and say torres is crap and he cant defend…then what justifies picking klejstan over him…how does somebody who cant start in MLS a better player than someone who gets consistent minutes for one of the hemisphers top 10 teams…weve already seen with bradley that sometimes he needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into making adjustments…or sometimes his teachers pets need to actually get hurt for him to give a chance to the more deserving understudies…HOWEVER…having said that…to bradleys credit…eventhough he makes changes later than he should…if you come in and impress you get more playing time…so heres hoping that somehow…guys like torres…holden…adu…jones…even for me personally guys like simek and rogers and orozco…somehow get chances to get on the field over the next year in order to prove themselves so that our “depth” problem can come closer to a resolution with guys that dont actually suck like beas klejstan bornstein…et al.

  71. Dan says:

    To address Bob Bradley, I don’t think criticizing him takes anything away from the USMNT itself, who I personally am proud of. Bradley did get the team to play hard, but only in 3 out of the 5 games, and only after our backs were against the wall. Luckily for us, those games allowed us to advance. Secondly, it seems like we lucked into having our best team out there due to injuries and red cards, rather than Bradley’s insight. One, example is Jonathon Spector. He is clearly better than Hedjuk, but if Hedjuk is not injured, he plays instead of Spector, and we lose Spector’s crossing and possession ability (and two goals off of great crosses to Dempsey). Second, Beasley has gotten way to much playing time, even after playing poorly the past 5 or so games. Only after he was absolutely terrible did Bradley have no choice but to bench him. I’ll give Bradley credit for not messing up the starting lineup once we did have something that was working.

    In regards to the substitution patterns, it has been clear that Kljestian is a turnover factory and is not good enough at this level yet. This has been shown over the past year with his play. 3 goals against Sweden’s C team that I think included 5 Detroit Red Wing players doesn’t make you international level. Torres was arguable our best player that first half against Costa Rica, until he was inexplicably taken off. Yes, he was partially at fault on the first goal in that game, but once he settled in, he played better than Kljestian ever has against a good team. Why does he not deserve a shot, but Kljestian does? It might not have made a difference, but with Kljestian, the result was a foregone conclusion.

    I think this tourney has shown we can compete if we play with heart, but the coaching acumen will end up making the difference between advancing out of the group stages at the WC, or getting to the quarters or further.

  72. japan says:

    I, like some others have already posted, would also like to know why we did not have a player defending the far post. I would also like to know how Dempsey was the 3rd best player in the tournament and not Donovan.

    The best thing that came out of this tournament for me is how we were able to score so many goals with minimal chances. 3 goals in 5 opportunities vs Egypt, 2 in 3 vs Spain, and 2 in 3 vs Brazil. The negative thing about this is how we can only create so few opportunities vs strong nations. We still need a lot of work going forward and I am still not sold on Altidore and Davies.

    I think we have the potential to have a good run in the World Cup but I can also see us pulling ’06.

    With that said, US did very well in this tournament.

  73. primoone says:

    -Davies did exibit some poor judgement in the 2nd half, but i think its due to inexperience at that level. He was still running and showing some speed but again, his decisions were a bit suspect in the 2nd half. Having said that, I think the subs were a complete waste. Defensively, something needed to be done. The winner was a set piece. But the corner was won on Bocas side…the brazillian equalizer was caused by bad defensive positioning on a goalie clearence…I mean, did the 2 goals come directly from the subs, you cant say that…but bringing in the correct players at the correct time may have taken a bit of pressure off our back line. Who knows. Thats why I cant be too critical but i can take away more positives than negatives soo will chack this one up to inexperience (coaching staff and players) with respect to holding a 2 goal lead against a great team. OR any team for that matter

  74. Jamie Z. says:

    I think Ives has largely got it spot on. In this particular instance, I think, we were undone by our lack of strength in depth and crippling suspensions and injuries to key players (how nice would it have been to be able to slot in Mo Edu, Jermaine Jones, or Mikey Bradley after 60 minutes?).

    But in the end, that’s not really what matters. US Soccer took a big step forward this past two weeks. And what’s more, I think this tournament was an accurate indicator of where this team really is — coming into its own and able to take apart any team in the world on its day, but still prone to the lapses and mistakes that separate the good teams from the great ones. We’re not a superpower yet. We have demonstrated the ability to really go at teams and take them off their game. We can play the upstart. But we’re not going to be able to do that on a consistent basis (meaning ALL the time) until there is greater depth and a stronger cultural infrastructure for the game in this country.

    There are some very obvious things we need to improve on, and I think this tournament highlighted a couple of them. For one, we need to avoid the naive challenges and mental lapses that result in dubious red cards and crippling goals against. I think the fact that no one was sent off or could have been sent off against Brazil was a promising sign in regard to the former. Hopefully, this experience helped the young core of our team adjust to the speed and intensity of the international game and will put us in good stead for the World Cup next year. Also, I don’t think we’ve shown the ability to come from behind that the superpowers rely on after their own lapses. Time and time again, I’ll watch a team like Bolton take and early lead on Chelsea or watch us go up against Brazil, and I think, “Yeah, but how long will it last? Can they hold on?” And more often than not, those goals lead to the weaker team being punished in the second half. Soccer is a 90 minute game and playing brilliantly for 45 minutes will only get you so far. The best teams can hold that concentration and rally to punish their opposition’s mistakes, even when things don’t start in their favor. They can adapt to the situations that they are confronted with in real time and take advantage of any mistake to assert themselves on a match.

    But this all isn’t as important as what we did show this Confederations Cup. I think we showed the world that we are coming into our own as a footballing nation and that we’re a scrappy, competent, hardworking team that deserves respect and preparation from ALL its opponents. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and hope this is a sign of more improvement to come.

  75. ag nigrin says:

    Thanks Ives for giving Xander Crews a well deserved spanking. He has been asking for it since day 1. He must be a Mexican spy/trouble maker…

  76. CT says:

    Dan: As I said in another post, we don’t really know much about Torres (unless there’s someone out there that follows Pachuca). I believe we have only seen him play 1/2 of 2 games for the USMNT. We cannot assume that just because a player plays in Mexico he’s by definition better than a US player (Need I remind you about Mexico’s record against the US recently?) So there is no evidence to support your claim that Torres would have been better at holding the ball than other alternatives. You’re just presuming he’s better b/c he plays in Mexico.

    Such is not the case for Adu. We’ve seen him give the ball away countless times in all the competitions in which he has appeared. He dribbles excessively and often dribbles right into pressure and loses the ball. When he loses the ball he falls to the ground, then gets on his knees pleading for a foul call as play continues away from him. If he was such a good player, he would not have languished on the bench for every team he’s ever played for. He’s great for his age group team, but he’s not great against grown men.

  77. KCB says:

    All analysis aside, today I am Proud to be a Yank. Great effort boys.

  78. kpugs says:

    The fact that Sacha, Casey, and Bornstein even played is a farce.

    On the other side of things, I’m kind of surprised by the behavior of Brazil. When down they played like a bunch of whiny little children, then they celebrated like they just cured cancer after the match. Ditto for their fans. I’m not saying it’s something I’ve never seen before, but I found it strange that after decades of being arguably the best national team in existence that they can be as petty as any other team or its fans. I don’t even necessarily have a problem with it beyond a couple of dirty plays and temper tantrums that I thought were useless.

  79. understood says:

    CT…

    you dont think pachuca is a better team than chivas usa? (and by extention you dont think playing consistently for pachuca is better than being BENCHED by chivas usa?) you dont think the mexican league is better than MLS? (remember were talking club teams not national teams)…

    you dont have to be a blind patriot to be a good USMNT fan

  80. Rich says:

    Once we were up 2 at the half, I did not care what the final score was. We had done everything that had been missing in the first 2 games and the previous set of qualifiers (and for that matter any away qualifier in the last 2 years). We played with heart and attacked. Hopefully this is the end of the 4-5-1. We need 2 attackers. They boys played well and left everything out there. It was great to see us play well and I am really excited going forward.

    J Jones will only help, Edu coming back and Cherundolo makes us deeper. I think Torres and Adu and Jozy will all progress, play more and get better. Finally I think BB will be forced to go outside of his old players and use some of the new up and comers and that makes us better.

    GO USA!

    I think one overlooked reason the US played so well in the last few games, and yes I think the 7 goals from the run of play is something REALLY positive, is that they finally played together a lot. They started to understand each other better and learn where each person was going to be etc. In the last year BB has tinkered a lot and that had to affect chemistry.

    Heck we almost did it anyway. In the csecond half, Dempsey was close, Davies was 1 toe poke away from a big chance, and Gooch should have tied it at the very end.

    Of course, Kaka scored a goal that did nto could and Timmy stoned Fabiano on a breakaway! So maybe the score should have been 5-4!

    Yves, got to disagree slightly. I agree that the 23 players that Brazil brought to the tournament are way deeper than the US team. However a different sub strategy could have made a difference. As soon as Sacha got up I started yelling no at the TV. I liked his play at the Olympics, but we needed to hold the ball, and he just does not do that. Torres had to be as good, or better.

    At halftime I started trying to figure out who BB could bring in, and the only thing I could come up with was Bornstein. The basic roster, with MB out, just was not good enough. But Bornstein could help slow dowwn Maicon who was a real problem. The defensive scheme just left too much space on the wings, and where Spain does not like to cross the ball into the box, Brazil is good at it. It was just a matter of time before USA would go down.

    Yves, maybe you could do a piece on why Adu and Torres were on the team at all. Were they just there to see what it was like? Why couldn’t BB take players he was actually going to use?

    Great posting keep of the good work. Will look forward to your work on the Gold Cup and with the transfers of US player abroad.

  81. EA says:

    I actually thought the subs were (as) effective (as they could be)…

    Bornstein was reasonably effective going forward, and was a capable defender going back.

    Sacha’s giveaway was rough, but he looked good in most other aspects.

    And I still don’t get the Casey hate. He’s there to eat up space on a set piece, and finish with the head if the opportunity arises.

    If we win a corner late, I don’t think Freddy Adu’s stepovers or Marvell Wynne’s speed would have done us a damn bit of good. Let it go.

    I saw heart from every American that stepped on that field yesterday.

    Kudos, boys.

  82. Dan says:

    CT: I agree with your assessment of Adu. He’s not ready. But what I have seen with Torres in the few games he has played for the US (and that has been more than just Costa Rica), it that he is calm on the ball and can keep possession better than most people on the team. He may not turn out to be the answer, but he has shown more than Kljestain has against good competition.

    Torres has obviously done something to upset Bradley, whether it was complaining about being taken off at halftime in Costa Rica, or pouting during training. It’s not just me who sees this, plenty of columnists have mentioned it and question why Torres hasn’t been given a minute.

  83. DC Josh says:

    I love my country, and I love the US mens national team. Nothing bad can come from the Confederations Cup. Looking forward to seeing them live again next week at RFK.

  84. CT says:

    understood:

    We’re talking about individual players, not teams. Are you saying that every single player for Pachuca is better than every single player for Chivas USA? If you are, I just don’t agree.

    I’m a Houston Dynamo fan and have seen the Dynamo play many Mexican League teams over the past three years. There is a difference in quality, but the difference is not that great and the Dynamo have won several of those games (including games in Mexico). As a result, I don’t automatically assume that a MLS player is inferior to a Mexican league player simply because of the league the player plays in. That’s not blind patriotism; it’s just common sense and opinion based on observation.

    Having said all of that, I agree that we need to see Torres play more in order to get a better feel for where he ranks on the USMNT. I plan to watch Pachuca play in Apertura 2009 and assess Torres myself. In Clausura 2009 he played in all but 6 of Pachuca’s games but only scored 1 goal.

  85. madmax says:

    What went wrong?
    Bradley although ahead 2-0, needed to make drastic defensive changes at halftime (Maicon had way too much time to cross). He didn’t. At 2-1 he didn’t ajust. At 2-2 he started to bring in his personal favorites. At 2-3 he completely lost the picture.
    Bradley has shown in other matches that he freezes up tactically when things turn sour, (Costa Rica, Italy, Brazil I, and II). Those claiming that he had no bench curiously overlook the fact that he made all the roster selections. Without the facts, I suspect he played the fewest players (in minutes) of all
    ConFed Cup teams.
    To sum up,
    Bradley freezes in games.
    He makes poor, late substitutions.
    He makes poor roster selections.
    He’s willing to play his favorites at the expense of the team.

    Can he change in one year? The insertion of Kljestan and Bornstein with the game still in reach does not look good.

  86. Paul says:

    (1) No way Altidore deserves a 5.5. He was ineffective and overmatched.

    (2) Bradley took way too long to make any adjustments. Sure, his cupboard was almost bare, but Klejstan? There’s not much you can do against Brazil, but with your lead cut to 2-1 and your team clearly tired and back on its heels, you can do more than nothing. How about: Altidore out, Dempsey (who was not tracking back anyway) up top, Torres as a wide MF — something to shore up the fatigued wide defenders and MFs.

    (3) Disappointing how the squad wilted at 2-1. Fatigue was a factor, yes, but the team seemed to lose its will and energy all at once, and was content (or felt desperate enough) to keep pounding long balls ahead to the aforementioned Altidore. Overall, whether it was coaching or players or both, no matter how good Brazil is, there’s no way you concede 3 (or 4) goals in a half.

  87. understood says:

    as to your first point…just for arguments sake…who from chivas usa could crack pachuca’s line up?…i think central defense and in goal you could argue your side…but when it comes to flank play and attacking play the gulf is wider than youre giving it credit for

    as to torres, thats another thing that US fans have wrong about him…hes not an attacking midfielder…and hes definitely not a winger…hes a central midfield possession guy…hes a claudio reyna xavi hernandez type of player…i think a lot of US fans have him misplaced because relative to what we have…his technical ability makes him seems like hes a tricky dribbler and a guy who can send the penetrating through ball…but hes more of a guy thats gonna make the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the goal

  88. Rastafari says:

    I knew when Shasha entered the game that the anxiety medication I took earlier wouldn’t be enough.

    I began drinking heavily.

  89. Angel says:

    Ives, You are a reported and you need to inform us of what really happen in Costa Rica with Torres. Why Bob Bradley call him for this tournament and not used him. It feel like Marcus Allen when he was with the Raiders and Mr. Davis had something against him and kept him at the bench. I think that something happen between Donovan and Torres when Torres took the free kick. But is time to us know what really happen and please as a reporter all of you guys from ESPN, Fox Sport, SI, & even You Ives need to get tuft question and crictized the Coach of USA. Let’s not just ask question but be more aggressive and with him. like the Mexican Media they are always asking the right question to their coach.

  90. CT says:

    understood: Ok, so Torres is a 5’5″ player that weighs 135 pounds who is going to make the pass that leads to the pass that leads to the goal. Given that the USMNT style is to have everyone stick in and defend except for the striker(s), will Torres really make that big an improvement?

    Look, I’ve go no love for Kljestan. He’s way out of form right now. But would Torres playing alongside a gassed Altidore, Donovan, Davies and Dempsey and being needed to track back and handle someone like Lucio or Melo or Silva defensively have really made that much difference? If you think so, great. I’m withholding judgment until I see more of Torres.

  91. Dan says:

    Angel, I believe some reporter asked Bradley about the Torres situation, and his response was “no comment, I don’t talk about individual players” or something along those lines.

    Btw, the games Torres played for Pachuca at the Club World Cup, he did very well for himself from what I remember. He also does not give the ball away cheaply, and retaining possession is what we needed at that point in the game, in order to relieve pressure on the defense.

  92. Steve says:

    Bob – I don’t want your I want you to use it!

    No more Klejstan! Give Torres a shot!

    Locks for 23 man squad for 2010:

    G – Howard, Guzan,

    D – Gooch, Demerit, Bocanegra, Spector, Cherondolo, Hejduk, Bornstein

    M – Donovan, Bradley, Clark, Jones, Torres, Feilhaber, Dempsey, Edu

    F – Altidore, Davies, Ching

    3 spots still up for grabs (and I’m sure I missed someone obvious) Ones a 3rd goalie so that’s 2 to go.

  93. Steve says:

    Take 2 on prior post:

    I don’t want your HEAD I want you to use it.

  94. dman23 says:

    @Steve

    I’d guess Beasley (for veteran), and Adu make it

  95. Angel says:

    CT

    Wow do you really about soccer or have you ever play before. It take skill and technical and yes I know height can also help a lot but the best player in the world has been short. Messi, Maradona, Kuna Aguerro, Teves, Xavi, Iniesta, Pato, Robinhio, Torrado, Donovan included and the list goes on and on. The point is if you can play and you have the vision you don’t need to be Big and strong, if you have the technic and can hold the ball and know how to move ala Xavi Hernandez you don’t need to be 6″. Soccer is totally different from American Football or basketball where you really to be tall. so please yeah Torres can do the job.

  96. dman23 says:

    My reasoning is Beasley has played anywhere on the field (he may has not done it well) but none the less he can help in any situation

    Adu gives us another F option with an attacking midd possiblity

  97. Xander Crews says:

    Ives,
    So what you’re saying is that unless you’re going to be the sort of fan that glorifies everything in every win and thinks that in every loss, the other team was simply “better”, that there’s no spot for you on this website? Gotcha.

    I’ve always been of the mindset that you’re not as bad as your worst and you’re not as good as your best game. That goes in every aspect – if you think it’s ‘self-loathing’ and ‘ultra-negative’ to examine strong performances for what went wrong and needed to be better, then you’re a fool. It’s often the good matches that tell you more than the bad ones. It’s easy to say we played poorly in Costa Rica, and it’s an absolute cop-out to say that Brazil was just “better.” If we’re truly to take the next step as a soccer-playing nation, we must examine why we choked away a two-goal lead and take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

    You want to talk about progress as a nation? Fine. I’m proud of the fact that our guys counterattacked well in the first half and capitalized on our opportunities. I’m happy that we learned our lesson from Brazil’s second goal in the group stage by turning it around on them, scoring on a counterattack from their own corner kick.

    But the fact of the matter remains that Brazil dominated play, much like Spain did. We’ve shown that we can not maintain possession against a quality team and take the attack to them, but rather play a counterattacking style (which is what most of the world does when playing those teams). There’s nothing wrong with playing that style, but don’t dare call that progress, not when we were doing that 10 years ago when we beat Brazil in the Gold Cup.

    How is it that entering this tournament, the United States had yet to lose a game under Bradley when winning at halftime, yet it happened twice in the course of five matches? That’s something that needs to be examined and analyzed so that it doesn’t happen again.

    Our players have progressed. Our coaches and tactics have not.

  98. Ives says:

    Xander, I never suggested what you just wrote, but I do think that any “fan” who is only interested in discussing negatives and what’s wrong with the national team and American soccer (such as your penchant for MLS-bashing), and NEVER posts anything remotely positive, even after significant victories, has some serious issues and really isn’t contributing much to the conversation in the grand scheme of things.

    There is room for being positive and praising, and room for being negative and criticizing, when both merit it. In your case Xander, you seem only interested in the negative, no matter what is being discussed or what the circumstances are. If anything, the tone of your comments make me wonder how exactly it is that you consider yourself a “fan” when you seemingly hate almost everything about American soccer.

  99. Angel says:

    Ives
    where is my post about Bob Bradley been a racist with guys with the Latinos Last name, I don’t blame Torres, Orozco, Arturo Alverez and now even Vidal or El Gringo Padilla or other guys with Mexican or other latin American Decended don’t want to play for USA. Is because the either are going to play one game and maybe make one mistake that is going to hunt them down for a long time and get bench for always. (Ricardo Clark, Sasha Klejstan, D. Beasley, Dempsey, M. Bradley, Mastroeni, Heyduk) all this have one thing in common and that is they all made a big mistake in big games and not get bench, Either got red card or lost a ball and went for a goal. That is my point. SO NO MORE LATINOS UNTIL THEY GET THE RESPECT.

  100. understood says:

    thats the problem…the us needs to elevate their style…the way they play now is great for getting results with limited talent…which is the situation were in now…but if we want to truly progress to the next level…we have to develop players who can “play.”…not just get stuck in…

    and as far as heft and height and central midfield…this is soccer not basketball or football…how big and tall are xavi and iniesta…how tall was makalele…edgar davids…seedorf…mascherano…pirlo…deco…moutinho…i can go on and on and on…its about how you play…and respecting different styles of players…why try to fit the square peg into the round hole…i think its to torres’ benefit that he offers different qualities than the “typical” US central midfielder

  101. I am happy the US made it to a final, and though I love the progress we’ve made, I still believe Bob Bradley is not the right coach. Though our depth was lacking (and mainly to injury ie Cherundolo, Ching, Edu), it is not hard to pick the majority of the starting 11, but Bob Bradley has not always done that and suffered (ie Beasley at back).

    His tactical mistakes definitely cost the game. Before the half, Altidore, Dempsey, and Clark were looking tired; after the half Brazil scores instantly, the same players are looking tired and not passing well so what does Bradley do? Nothing. Even when Brazil gets ready to sub he still does nothing. Only after Brazil equalized did he sub and that was for two players he have proven they aren’t quality yet.

    Our lack of options definitely hurt and Bornstein would probably make it on because of it, but putting in Kljestan instead of Torres was horrible. Kljestan has not shown he can play first team yet whereas Torres has done extremely well. And in the situation the US was in against Brazil in the second half, Torres would have been perfect. He is a great passer, good defender, and most of all he had fresh legs.

    A good coach does not wait as long as Bradley did when your team is looking tired in the first half, the opposing team has equalized and already subbed. Bradley either needs to rethink his strategies or resign because the USMNT has good players and they proved it against Brazil. They just need a good coach who knows when to adjust.

  102. Angel says:

    understood,
    Thank you for proving my point, that what I saying in my last previous post that this is not Basketball or Football(American) but is Soccer and they have been great player that are short. THANK YOU

  103. ThaDeuce says:

    Upset we lost. disappointed Coach Bob Bradley subbed in Sacha Kljestan. Proud of the games before, but the laceration of the most recent game still stings too much to gloat…

  104. socrates says:

    Another huge positive from the Confed Cup: Ives takes Xander to task. What will Michael Bradley have to say about this latest development??

  105. timlandrum says:

    Any word on ESPN’s viewing numbers for the match? Please post them if you get your hands on them.

  106. inkedAG says:

    Going into the game I figured the US would get demolished and it was a nice surprise that it was 2-0 USA at the half. The fact that we lost didn’t surprise me. I agree with some posters that going into a defensive shell and hope for a counterattack is not going to progress our team. Bringing the attack to our opponents on a more consistent basis against top teams will show progress.

  107. ko'd says:

    Thanks for chiming in, Ives. You stated more eloquently what apparently I have been fumbling over for the past 14 days…

  108. wr8d says:

    Angel-

    Sure, I’d like to see Torres play too. Many have questioned BB’s selections and subbing patterns, but do you really think he can afford to make choices based on race? We don’t have that much talent! I don’t see that Bob has gone out of his way to avoid using players with Latin heritage. Consider Mastroeni: if Bob didn’t like guys with Latin heritage why would continue to play an aging Pablo? Maybe it’s because he leans more on guys with lots of USMNT experience regardless of race (hence sticking with Pablo, Eddie Johnson, Beasley, Feilhaber when they weren’t really in form). Also, he’s used a lot of Bocanegra (and given him the armband!) and Bornstein who have some Latin heritage. And some guys with Caribbean background (Altidore, Rico Clark) have gotten plenty of PT. Bob didn’t have any problem making Chris Armas a key cog in Chicago. I’m sure there are other examples. I’m just saying, we all think that Torres is probably better than Sacha now, and that Orozco should be in the mix somewhere, but that doesn’t necessarily show that Bob is (despite other possible faults) a racist.

  109. EA says:

    “Kljestan has not shown he can play first team yet whereas Torres has done extremely well.”

    Please list Torres’ top five national team accomplishments.

    Or, to make it easier, list the top 3.

    I’ll hang up and listen.

  110. eric cantona says:

    my thoughts;

    - First off, tremendous effort by the lads. I was jumping around screaming my fool head off for all different sorts of reasons during this tournament. That’s what makes football great.
    - Based on the last few games, I think it is evident that there is enough quality in the USMNT to hang with the big boys. Granted, those moments rarely last a whole game, but they are there. What we need now is to find a way to CONSISTENTLY have that happen.
    - First touch. We learn how to trap a ball, any ball, within 12 inches of our feet and we will improve by leaps and bounds. This is a skill that is so woefully missing from most of the boys. The sad thing is that, with a bit of focused coaching and practice, even the ‘old dogs’ could improve. To me this is one of the simplest, easiest ways to improve our level of play with our current squad.
    - Did anyone else find Harkes’ lauding of Dempsey’s goal as a “great touch” grating? I certainly appreciate his being in the right place, and getting a touch on the ball. But if Harkes actually believes that he meant to go far post off of his thigh/shin, well, I have a bridge to sell him. By my estimation he was intending to side volley (with his FOOT!) that ball near post, and missed. A very lucky goal.
    - Casey? Still? WTF. What has he shown that allows for his continued presence in the squad. For f**k’s sake, bring on a defender at that point. Or Adu or Torres, you know, a guy that can HOLD the ball, and that might put in some EFFORT. Ugh.
    - If we continue to rely on players like Davies because they’re “fast”, then we’ll never truly improve because players that actually have talent will not get the playing time necessary to develop. I’m not saying that Davies should not get on the roster, but his touch is just this side of abysmal. He gets in great positions both through movement, and his speed, but he often lacks the ability to do anything about it when he gets the ball. I think he could still develop into a fine option but are there others out there (Adu? Cooper?) that could give us that added dimension that was missing yesterday?
    - Our back four has great potential. Hopefully we’ll keep them together to see how it develops.
    - BB has proven to me during this tournament that he cannot adjust to the game. His subs are baffling, and usually too late. I still think we need a more internationally experienced coach to make it to the next level.

  111. inkedAG says:

    I’d also like to say that for the last three games, the team was very competitive and was very happy for Tim Howard’s and Clint Dempsey’s awards.

  112. Drew_ROC says:

    IVES- What did TORRES do or not do to deserve his treatment?

    Why isn’t he being called into the Gold Cup?

  113. cfront says:

    “And I still don’t get the Casey hate.”

    the casey hate might come from:

    -casey being incapable of retaining possesion in any international matches this year

    -that he doesn’t even hint at being a dangerous forward when he’s on the field

    -his ability to halt all US offensive momentum despite his personal play being based only on momentum (ie all he does is run through people – that’s not soccer)

    casey’s image is based upon him appearing to be a big strong forward, which is fine except that he’s not even close to being tough enough for the role (a shaved head and a tough-guy stare aren’t going to cut it) or skilled enough for international play. any Division I college forward from a team with a top 12 seed would be an equal or better choice.

  114. Angel says:

    wr8d,
    I do understand what you saying, but I’m Latino and Mastroeni, Feilhaber, Chris Armas, Ricardo Clark, Bocanegra, EJ and Beasley they all either are made in the MLS or had played for him. This guy that I naming are playing in the Mexican League, By the way I’m not Mexican. But they play in a better level than the MLS no disrepect to my league. But they are in shape and they have better technic than those. Really I don’t want to feel that Bob Bradley a ricest let me delete that word cause in a propiate maybe he is not cause I don’t know Bob and I never met him either (Sorry Bob Bradley) but he got something against them, If doesn’t want us to believe that so why he doesn’t come up with explanation of why TORRES was on the bench all this time and why he took him out in the Costa Rica game. I think we deserve some explanation of maybe we are judge him wrong. That is all.

  115. Angel says:

    sorry about the misspell and grammer I just mad and I feel that something fishy is going on on the Torres, Adu and even Cooper. but more on Torres (is not he is the best player in the world or our saviour, is just something wrong thats all.

  116. Dennis Mueller says:

    Angel,
    I know Bob Bradley and he is not racist! Your comment is outrageous and you should be ashamed!

    I think Bob does exhibit loyalty to players and sometimes that loyalty can be a detriment. He asked Beasley to play in positions that needed to be filled probably because he thought DMB was the best of a bad situation. OTOH He did stop playing Beasley after a couple runs at his best position showed he was not in form.

    I was not at any of the training sessions for this tournament, I doubt if any of us were, but I expect that if we had been that we might understand why Torres did not play. How players interact with and play off teammates does matter; we get to see only glimpses of that in the games. I guess it is a matter of trusting someone’s (the coach’s) judgement as to what strengths the player has relative to what is needed at the moment.

    One thing the whole US team must get better at is keeping the ball. I know it is a focus of Bradley’s, but it is one of those things that is easy to say and hard to do. Possession requires so many fine details of passing, being in good spots, making good first touches, recognizing your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, quickly and properly assessing your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, etc. It is not something that gets solved in a month or even a year, it is a process and new players must constantly be brought into it and build on it.

  117. Angel says:

    Dennis Mueller,
    That is why I say that I delete the word racist and I say that I’m sorry for using that word and my apology to BB. But Like I said it before not until I get some type of explanation of why he took out Torres out and why he was bench I’ll feel there is something against him. I do understand how player have to interact or get alone but if you ever play soccer before you know that all that stay out the field. I give a example Argentina they have a big ego between than put the leave that all off the field even with Riquelme that is one the best player he play with Kuna, Messi, Teves n other in the Argentine team and even when he played at Boca Juniors he have to played alone with Palacios and Palermo. In Man U Cristiano had to get alone with Rodney and do you remember what happen in the World Cup between them. So please don’t tell me that Torres had a bad habit in the training session when he play for Pachuca with Profersor Mesa one of the Mexican Finest Coach. Please what have Bradley accomplish from Ojito Mesa. So do you understand where I’m coming from?

  118. Roy says:

    After sleeping on this I think you just have to hand it to Brazil. Dunga has done a great job building up a younger team and they’re playing with confidence and solid defense on top of the usual creativity and deadly finishing. Just damn near impossible to keep them out of the net when they have the motor going.

    US just needs to relax, build on this experience, and get some younger and more creative players into the regular mix.

  119. Angel says:

    Dennis Muller

    “One thing the whole US team must get better at is keeping the ball. I know it is a focus of Bradley’s, but it is one of those things that is easy to say and hard to do. Possession requires so many fine details of passing, being in good spots, making good first touches, recognizing your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, quickly and properly assessing your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, etc. It is not something that gets solved in a month or even a year, it is a process and new players must constantly be brought into it and build on it.”

    You said best but please tell me who in the USNMT has all those quality and that is why I don’t think Bob Bradley is the right coach for this team. Don’t get me wrong I think Bob is a good coach but he is not National Team level cause he lacks all those things you mention on your post.

  120. Adam M. says:

    Thoughts? With Jones and Edu, we should never have to worry about Sacha. I am still skeptical of Clark. I’m guessing there is something untold to the Torres story. Davies had nice moments and displayed some toughness, but he gave away the ball to easily and I remain hopeful that Adu will eventually win that spot. Clint should pair with Altidore, and Jozy needs to work on recieving the ball with his feet. He won’t be able to shield the ball with his body everytime. DeMerit should be our permanment starter, and if that leaves Bocanegra out if a better option at left back emerges, then so be it. Benny F. needs to start and slot behind the two strikers. Bradley is solid but needs to cool down a notch. Tim Howard is easily one of the best 5 goalkeepers in the world right now. Gooch needs to be playing for a much much bigger team. His game has dramatically improved. We are on the verge of depth, but we don’t have any yet.

  121. Dan says:

    Jen Chang at ESPN offers a similar analysis of Bradley’s tactic acumen and lineup choices that many, I think, would agree with.

    link to sports.espn.go.com

  122. John says:

    Angel

    BB coached Chivas USA for Petes Sake! Give it a rest! Claiming racism when none exists is almost as bad actually BEING racist!

  123. jimmygreaves says:

    Sushant Rao,

    Great point about the substitutes. Of course, sitting on your couch at home, you have the time and hindsight to see these things. Bradley, at the time, did not have the luxury of hindsight as you do. He had a game to win NOW and you always keep your best available players on , even if its only to score a goal to affect goal difference. The US didn’t score in that game but at least they did not concede a fourth goal. This eventually allowed them to move on.

  124. John says:

    First, let me say I was among the BB bashers last week.

    HOWEVER, I laugh at everyone who is trashing him for “inneffective” substituting against Brazil. What were his choices? Granted Sasha and Bornstein (funny how no one mentions he very nearly drew us level) were dodgy, but the other alternatives were hardly better. Our bench was thin due to previous injuries (what if we’d had Edu and Cherundolo on the bench)and Bradley’s suspension. Enough with the talk about Adu. HE’S NOT READY. Everyone seems to ignore the fact he can’t even get into a game in France, and he’s the key to beating Brazil? Please.

    We played a valiant game, made the most of our opportunities, and unfortunately finally succumbed to BRAZIL. Had Fabiano’s shot been half an inch to the right, Demerit stones him. Had it been a half an inch to the left, Timmy stones him. But it wasn’t, get over it. We went toe to toe with Brazil for 90 minutes just three days after beating Spain. It doesn’t happen overnight people! We’ve made HUGE progress, and if all continues to go well could be a legitimite challenger in ’14. We’ve got holes to fill, but lots in the pipeline. Hell, Donovan and Gooch are only 27 and they’re the grey beards on this team. Why nit pick an obviously inexperienced coach (who may be improving as rapidly as the team around him) that has taken us further than ANY OTHER COACH BEFORE HIM.

    BTW, all you experts out there, what do YOU do for a living?

    Yeah? I thought so.

  125. papa bear says:

    While our bench is OBVIOUSLY thinner than Brazil’s, forgiving the VERY late substitutions is a bit disingenuous. I’m not sure if it makes the difference totally, but it was obvious by the 50 minute that there were guys who simply didn’t have any gas left in the tank. A fresh body who could chase Kaka and Robinho around and do the bare minimum to stay in front of them would have been better than the swinging door some of the players turned to in the second half due to out and out fatigue.

    A great first half and I’m proud of the boys but this tournament still hasn’t convinced me of Bob Bradley’s ability to manage at the international level. The US survived on determination and heart alone from the Egypt game on as there was precious little in terms of tactics in any of those games.
    I’m not saying BB must go now, but he really does need to be a bit more innovative and smart on the bench than he has shown us.

  126. papa bear says:

    @Posted by: Angel | June 29, 2009 at 02:10 PM

    Your ludicrous point might have merit if not for three points:

    1) Bornstein is half Mexican
    2) Bocanegra is Latino (Mexican?) and is the captain and is put in no matter how many mistakes he has made or how ill suited he may be to go up against a particular opponent.
    3) Mastroeni was BORN in Argentina and is of Argentine decent. His constant inclusion in the first team would also scupper your theory.

    I think that the wave of Latinos just happens to be younger and Bradley worries more about winning than he does playing the best potential players at times. (you forgot to mention Jorge Flores too who also hasn’t been in the Nats picture for a year or so) I’m not a big fan of Bradley’s mindset in that regard, but i understand the desire to use it as I’m sure he’s being paid pretty damn well and would like to keep that job as long as he can.

  127. Jags98 says:

    JPC,

    Prove me wrong, please. It will only help the US and LD to be overseas. He did have a great tourney, like I said. Show me your facts?

    He has the opps to be a world class player, so why hasnt it come true, why is that so many Euro teams have not picked up on him, why does he have 3 chances lost?

    Consistency is one answer.

    And as far as the players or others in the press praising him, come on! Of course, what else are they going to say. When he pulls one of his casper the friendly ghost moves, does any teammate say he disappeared to the media. They play the game, just like you or I would. The criticism takes place in the locker room.

    Like I said, good tourney for him, and I hope something big comes along. His potential needs to be busted out somewhere tough to put him over the top. Congrats to him for his effort, but get off your knees.

    He is our best and our best plays in a small pond.

  128. jimmygreaves says:

    “SO NO MORE LATINOS UNTIL THEY GET THE RESPECT.

    Posted by: Angel ”

    ________________________|

    Angel,

    If Bob Bradley is a racist and hates latinos it’s pretty amazing that, as the coach of Chivas USA in 2005 he took them from last place into the playoffs. Don’t Chivas have some latino players?

  129. jimmygreaves says:

    Xander Crews,

    Its pretty hard to see how players can progress when their coaches suck.

    How does that work? Do the players meet off in a corner of the field and work stuff out that the coaches don’t know about?

    Comparing any prior Gold Cup experience to this Confederations Cup is very strange and pointless.

    Look Xander, the USMNT can beat any of the current “top ” teams in the world on a given day. You know why? Because most of those teams have rosters full of star players,any two or three of whom, together, make more money than the entire US roster (coaches and players combined). Do these teams have more talent than the US? Sure. But guess what, getting them to play together is not always so simple. Ever watch Holland? They should have a few World Cups or Euro Championships by now but they don’t because they spend all their time fussing about who is getting the headlines, who has a hotter wife or girlfriend and generally stabbing each other in the back. This Brazil team is very dangerous because they have shown that even though they aren’t as talented collectively as some of the great Brazil teams in the past, they fight for each other (having the best player in the world in Kaka doesn’t hurt either).

    Is Bradley the best coach in the world? No but this team seems to play for him and respond to him. And he and his staff developed a perfect game plan for the Spain game and executed it. They also had a great game plan for the Brazil game but got caught by Fabiano early and had no answers for a Brazil that probably would have beaten anyone on the day. I mean what options did he have in terms of subs?

    Fire him tomorrow after he’s just led them to this highpoint and what sort of message does that send to this team? Remember 1998 when Sampson suddenly went nuts and screwed up a successful the team just before the World Cup?

    Read what the European football websites say about this team and their coach and I think you’ll find they have a lot more respect for them than you do.

  130. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Is it just me, or have some people been conspicuously absent since we bet Spain?

  131. hotshot says:

    Ives.. I agree, it is hard against players of their level, maturity and experience. They have the ability to find ways to win from any opponent. The US was tired. It showed in the space in the mid and D but also in the finishing. I still think the coaching or the prep wasn’t right. I still think subs at the 60 or 65 minute would have helped a bit with energy. This had the potential to counter some of Brazil’s fresh legs and energy. Maybe they would not have been able to get crosses in, had less corners, silly fouls, etc. It is debatable about whether we have a lack of depth, sure. However, Torres and Adu have been playing in big games before and we shouldn’t underestimate the raw energy and talent of someone with the talent who has been on the bench and desire to play. That is something that could have through Brazil for a loop (in combination with some fresh defensive mid of course). What else do have to loose when you are down or even? Of course, I am guessing we are unable to compete at penalties with Brazil.

  132. Pete says:

    Yes, the U.S. was tired and the prep was lousy.Read Jen Chang’s review.It is spot on.

  133. KungFuKantona says:

    i agree with most of the posters who say that Casey has been crap. we gain absolutely nothing when he gets on the pitch. you may as well roll the dice with Adu than bring on someone who brings absolutely nothing to the game. what on earth would you lose?

    quite a supreme effort by our boys in white nonetheless. this tournament bodes well for the future in my opinion. it would be a much brighter future with a coach with extensive international (read: world cup) experience, though.

  134. madmax says:

    “Jen Chang at ESPN offers a similar analysis of Bradley’s tactic acumen and lineup choices that many, I think, would agree with.
    Posted by: Dan

    Absolutely right. Jen is able to separate the team and the coach performances. Many posters here are out to lunch on Bradley’s performance. They blame a thin bench although Bradley made all the roster selections. They give him credit for turning the team around when the reality is, he was forced to change formation and drop some of his favorites. There is nothing to suggest he would have made these changes voluntarily.

    Bradley was a hindrance to the team, Jen Chang at ESPN is spot on.

  135. JoeW says:

    Brad and Josh, put down the crack pipe!

    Getting our guys to Europe or higher leagues isn’t the answer–at least not when we’re a year out from the WC. The single biggest reason we had depth issues for the ConfedCup (there will always be players hurt–like Edu–at any given moment) was the number of players (Altidore, Adu, Guzan, Spector, Pierce, Beasley) who’ve spent big chunks of time in the past season not playing. They show up to camp not fit, certainly not in game shape, definitely not in-form and absolutely not at the top of their game.

    Look at what a move to a top Euro league did for Feilhaber?

    Maybe longterm we want these guys to go overseas. But in 2009-2010 if Davies goes to the Bundesliga for a mid-level club and sits, Donovan goes to Spain and sees only a few minutes for a top club (below the Barca/Real level), Altidore continues to be mostly a reserve, Adu doesn’t get major minutes….well….we’ll be hosed at the WC.

    Single biggest issue for the NT at this point is playing time. We’ve got a list of about 10-12 players who need to play regularly in the next year. And I’d be willing to see some of them (Altidore, Adu, Davies, etc.) take a step down in the quality of the league in order to insure minutes.

  136. realitycheck says:

    Sure, nobody wants moral victories, and the victories against Egypt and Spain had the U.S. team feeling like it could beat anybody, but the reality is that the U.S. team in South Africa overachieved and pushed itself to new levels that will only help the national team program as it moves toward World Cup 2010.

    I really don’t agree with the majority of what you said. In the last two games we were out-shot 14-60. And out possessed 40% to 60%. How is this good? We had opportunistic win, BBradly is playing the wrong people, making the wrong subs, we still can’t string together 4 passes in a row. Are you kidding? The soccer gods smiled on us.
    Let’s not be delusional and think we have the coaching, smarts, tactical skill to be top notch and compete with Spain, Brazil on a regular basis.

  137. The Ghost of Josimar says:

    @ Understood

    I could not agree more.

    We are not getting to the next level playing frantic, gutsy, all-men-on-deck defense against teams that maintain possession and let the ball do the work.

    We need to explore players that give us composure in the middle of the field, players who will allow us to retain possession.

    One such player is sitting on the bench: Jose Francisco Torres.

    That Sasha Kljestan gets minutes over Torres would amuse me — if I were, say, a fan of the Mexican side.

    Torres is not a monster on defense, but neither is he a glaring liability. Please, people, watch him play for Pachuca.

    As for Torres’ size? Size and strength are desirable. But one would hope that the Andres Iniesta’s of the world would put the small-guys-cannot-cut-it stuff to bed.

    This run in the Confederations Cup had me brimming with pride and as happy as I have been in ages. But it took us to the limit of a simple, rough-and-ready, conservative soccer that Bob Bradley epitomizes.

    Bob Bradley has earned his reprieve. He’ll take the squad to South Africa. But his appointment, in my view, remains a grave error. We need *much* more tactical sophistication next time. Plus someone who does not pick and cling to his early favorites.

    Hiddink in 2011 anyone?

  138. ThaDeuce says:

    Bob put in Kljestan….Bob put in Kljestan. I don’t know if I’ll ever wake up. Bob put in Kljestan. Is this a nightmare? I’m pinching myself but I can’t wake up. Bob put in Kljestan.