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USA-GUA Aftermath

Some observations from the 1-0 USA victory.....

-- Very nice play by the Americans the final 25 minutes or so of the first half. Not a good effort, not a good performance after the break. They'll be happy to claim the three points, while the Guatemalans will not be disappointed in dropping a one-goal decision with El Salvador and T&T next on their schedule.

-- The inclusion of Hejduk and Twellman in the starting lineup was a bit of a surprise, but keep in mind that Bob Bradley needs to manage minutes carefully with two matches in three days and another next Tuesday.

-- Guatemala is, um, not good, but its physical, aggravating style has a way of disrupting the opponent and keeping it in the match. Just infuriating to watch Carlos Ruiz's lack of respect for the game. Dangerous, tricky player, but not enjoyable to watch. He clearly got into Onyewu's head and manipulated the referee into several favorable calls.

-- Sweet goal by Dempsey, created by Beasley's header behind the defense to Twellman, whose cross found the mark. Under a new coach, Twellman has yet another chance to prove he is more than just an MLS star. The more I watch him, though, the more I see Jason Kreis. His missed opportunity off Donovan's sensational cross in the 38th was inexcusable.

-- U.S. could have put the match away with another goal just before the break, but in the second half, the Americans simply lost their way and allowed Guatemala to gain confidence and dictate play. After weathering a mild storm, they slipped back into trouble when Onyewu received his second yellow for a clumsy challenge in the 73rd.

Not a good night for the Americans, yet three points nonetheless.

Next: T&T on Saturday at 5 p.m. (Eastern) at Home Depot Center.

Howard 6; Hejduk 5, Onyewu 3, Bocanegra 5, Bornstein 5; Donovan 6, Feilhaber 6, Bradley 6, Beasley 5; Twellman 5, Dempsey 6. Subs: Johnson 5, Ralston 5, DeMerit 6.

Here is the goal:

By Steve Goff  |  June 7, 2007; 11:03 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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that ref was just awful... anyone know what gooch's first yellow was for?

and for a channel dedicated to covering soccer, how could FSC be so clueless? They didn't show replays of anything, and didn't even announce how much stoppage time was being added on to the end of the game. Bretos was too busy figuring out how you would say 'Swisher' in Guatemala.

Posted by: pat | June 7, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse


- The USA didn't adapt to the ref. They didn't play smart and let themsleves get pushed around.

- A couple players had very very difficult matches:
Onyewu (has he improved at all since we first saw him in 05?) Bradley (not the d-mid we need. Still the spacey kid who played undedr his dad with the metros.)
Johnson (No spark off the bench)
Twellman ( Remains a poor finisher internationally)

Some had so-so games:
Bornstein (Should get better)
Hedjuk( Decent defense and a black hole offense but we knew that)
Feilhaber (Would like to see him with a decent d-mid)
Beasley (In and out of the game)

A couple had good games
Donovan ( Great on the wing until the cheap shot from Ruiz)
Dempsey (Most dangerous man on offense)
Bocanegra (Made up for Gooch)
Howard (Not really tested but kept things together)

Posted by: Skip | June 7, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Donovan a 6? I really didn't see it. I saw maybe a couple good runs but he passed terribly and did you see his set pieces? Wow. To me he just demonstrated more and more that he can't produce when it matters. He did have that nice fake injury too.

Oh and Carlos Ruiz is definitely the biggest diver in conference, obviously.

Posted by: Niv | June 7, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Ruiz must have these refs on the payroll. Welcome to Concacaf, all you Euro players.

3 is harsh on Gooch. He had positioning problems but he was winning every ball in the air. The first yellow was BS.

Hejduk just ate up minutes. He can do that.

Twellman was a mystery start for me as well, but when EJ got in there, he made Twellman look great.

Bradly and Feilhaber are composed, smart players, but needed to be more creative. Great summer for them to grab hold of there postions with the USMNT.

Beasley was promising. 5 is too low. Great header to set up the goal.

Posted by: JkR | June 7, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I think you hit it on the head re: Ruiz. He's talented and I'm sure he's tough to defend, but I hate to watch the fouls and the theatrics.

I'm starting to the think Gooch is just a big body and he's being thrust into a position he's not truly qualified for. In that respect, he's very Stokes-like, at the risk of renewing the anti-Stokes sentiment. I liked him, however the shine is coming off that apple.

Posted by: Beaker | June 7, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Ruiz was an absolute disgrace. He has taken "simulation" to a new level, and the sad thing is that the ref bought it. Argh!

Posted by: Paul | June 7, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Never mind the yellow/red cards -- Gooch never had a feel for the game and let Ruiz (and the referee) get under his skin. I was surprised he didn't show better composure.

Donovan's crosses were superb, his set pieces were poor.

Other than the header that launched the goal, Beasley did nothing for me.

Posted by: Goff | June 7, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I think Ruiz got into the ref's head. Did you see how Ruiz and their coach was working over the ref? Bradley needs to keep learning spanish so he can defend his players as much as the spanish speaking coaches are arguing for a foul. But Gooch needs to learn that all teams are going to be targeting him to draw cards. Gooch needs to play smarter.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 7, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

If that had been a road game, I would be reasonably pleased with the team's ability to hold on and get the three points. But at "home" we should be way more composed. Should have been at least 2, if not 3-o by halftime, instead we let them hang around, get a little confidence, and we lost the momentum.

The Ref
Another fine CONCACAF reffing debacle. Great comments from Skip. Totally agree that the US players did not seem at all clued into what the ref was calling, whereas Ruiz and some of the other Guatos sure picked up on it quick. Did Ruiz set a record for fouls "drawn" in that game? I liked the one where he and Gooch went up for a ball and Gooch didn't touch him, but Ruiz crumples to the ground holding his noggin' -- free kick! And speaking of....

I think his size makes him more of a target for the refs than anything else. Since I watched in Spanish, I still don't understand what his first yellow was for, since the foul was _against_ him. The second one... unbelievable, and yet, somehow not surprising -- he's gotta know that dude is looking to fall down in that situation.

At this point, it seems pretty obvious that he belongs on the right flank, serving it in -- he looked dangerous in that regard. However he needs to work on his left foot, both power and accuracy. At point he created some nice space for himself in the box and then heat a weak dribbler to the keeper.

Great assist on the goal and then blows an open header at the 6? Still, I'd rather see more of him than EJ, who seemed totally lost and disintrested when he came in.

The only US player who looked consistently dangerous. He's the player Landycakes wishes he was (although that "Don't Tread on Me" rap was pretty cringeworthy).

Posted by: edgeonyou | June 7, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The bad thing about Beasley that got to me was how poorly he combined with Bornstein. Donovan and hedjuk by contrast read each other well. If only Hedjuk had an offensive ability. Might have been interested to see Donovan and Albright on the same side.

I find Feilhaber intriguing. His vision could be quite good once he gets used to international play.

The good thing about Ruiz is how well he uses his upper body.

Last time United fans really saw Bradley he was crying on the sidelines in the game that got his father fired w/ the metros. It was obvious that the kid was in over his head back then but his dad played him all the time. that stopped by the next game and then Mikey was gone to Holland.

Fast forward to now and Mikey is once again on the short list of his dad. Today we saw Guatemala control the center of the field. Bradley once again was spacey- not noticing who's around him. The kid does not yet have the talent for the big time.

Posted by: Skip | June 7, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

"Since I watched in Spanish, I still don't understand what his first yellow was for, since the foul was _against_ him."

When he hit the ground on his back, his legs kicked up. The referee apparently thought he was kicking at Ruiz from the ground, rather than just bouncing.

Posted by: Kevin | June 7, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I was disapointed that Bradley (the coach) left two defenders with yellow cards on the field for that long. It was clear to everyone else shat the US was drawing a lot of calls it really was a matter of time until one of them picked up the second. Who knows i might be over reacting but i feel it was just bad coaching on his part.

Posted by: pino | June 7, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse


out of curiousity, what were your ratings at the end of the first half? I'm curious how much they dropped from the second half...

Posted by: Zero | June 7, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the Bob Bradley era. Hey Sunil, you get what you pay for. I don't want to make too much of one game, but it was the first real game at the helm, and damn, I could have sworn we were back in 1992, watching the Nats struggling to get a result against a minnow at home and playing some ugly football to boot. I love this sport as much as anyone, but that match was hard to watch.

The US's first real showing since the Cup debacle, and we get another flawed lineup, more awkward tactics and slow adjustments (um, when you lose a hulking central defender in the 70th minute clinging to a one goal lead, make an immediate sub next time. what was the prolonged delay that all about?).

I have been saying it all along and I pray I am wrong, but this is not going to end well with this coaching regime. I don't care how much the players claim to like him. When it comes down to it he's out of his depth (but if the fed wants a puppet, well ..) I have nothing against Bob and I know he works as hard as anyone, I just think it's a bad hire for this position at this time in the history of US Soccer.

Keep your fingers crossed that England sweeps Russia in ther head-to=head qualifiers in Sept/Oct, 'casue Guus Hiddink and Klinsi were at the top of my list and maybe Sunil might actually get it right for once if Hiddink gets fired (he'll have to submit roster control of course, and let real football people run the team without meddling, which seems to be a problem over there at the Fed).

How Twelleman or Hejduk would ever get a start in a game of this magnitude blows my mind. They have proven exactly what they are time and time again. At some point progress needs to be the rule with this organization. I don't mind sticking with Benny and Bradley all game, casue this is about the future. I can take growing pains with them and bring on more Lee Nugyen, etc. - it's hard to stomach this with the likes of Ralston, Hejduk and Twellman on the pitch.

Anything close to that kind of game against Mexico (or even Costa Rica, Canada or maybe even Hondorus), and this Gold Cup could go down as a massive embarrassment.

Gooch needs to wake up. Treating Onyewu like he's as entitled as LAndy is a joke. Give Jay and long run with Boca in the middle of defense (Cory Gibbs is by far the best central defender we have right now, if he could ever get healthy again) and make Onyewu sit an extra game after his suspension is over. He needs to check himself big time. I don't care if he needs a new contract or not. His on-field cockiness, coupled with silly decisions and erratic play, is getting old.

As for the refs, yeah, it stinks but that's CONCACAF, and we should have learned to adjust to the negative tackling long ago. Onyewu played right into it, and others followed.

As for EJ, I think you guys are being a little tough on him. he came into the game after the US had lost the plot, then they lose a defnder and the coach is letting the game slip away. The mdifeild was a mess all game - except for Landon's service - and it was kind of a fire drill in the offensive third. EJ should have had 90 - bottom line. You score back to back hat tricks in the top flight of your domestic league entering a big game without another proven international striker on the entire roster (Dempsey is a midfielder), you get the start. Seems simple enough to me.

Wow, I'm pretty angry. I need help. And this afetr Schilling almost throws a no-no and the Sox win. If they had lost I might really be in a mood.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | June 8, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Pretty suprised that the ref fell for every dive Ruiz took. I thought his rep was well known. Bradley, not a good showing but I still think he deserves consideration. Landon has shown time and again that he's most dangerous as a withdrawn forward. Onyewu getting 2 yellows out of the way in the early round is better than an untimely sit-out later on however I think Demerit will show everyone who belongs beside Bocanegra. A win is a win and this round is more about finding chemistry than fielding the strongest side.

Posted by: burp | June 8, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

One other thing ... is Bornstien now a lock at LB? Like, again, I am all about builing for the future with kdis who should be in their prime by 2010, but I am begging to get a look at someone else out there. Guess I'll have to wait for the Copa America.

IS Heath Pearce on this roster? Guess Spector could play over there a bit (though he lacks the pace to be a burned overlapping on that side, he is more technical on his day), and mroe sound in his own end.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | June 8, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I thought this was one of Twellman's better games for the national team, at least in recent tries. I actually thought of him as another Jason Kreiss until today's game. He and Dempsey combined for some sweet plays in the 1st half and he ran off the ball pretty well. The missed header was a disappointment, but it happens to the best of them. I think he earned himself another look as a starter.

On defense, I think they should at least try DeMerit as a central defender. Gooch needs to work on his positioning and ball skills if he wants to move to a decent European team.

Posted by: Gene | June 8, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Is it me, or did we not win a single one of our own goal kicks or Howard clearances? It seemed like our guys jumped up in the air and woefully misjudged the ball every time, especially Beasley and Johnson. I think I've seen that before - oh wait, yes, WC06.

As with WC06 as well, we were much, much better when we kept the ball on the carpet. There was some inspired stuff, actually. Once it goes into the air, though, we look completely and utterly lost. And as good as Landy was (and he did look good), please let someone else take free kicks and corners.

I didn't think OO was that bad - he got screwed and you can say "don't let Ruiz in your head" all you want, but you are getting fouls called for breathing and they are getting nothing called on them for hacking the crap out of us, you're almost helpless at that point.

That said, I really hope Gibbs is anchoring central defense in South Africa 2010.

I'm also all for the Charlie Davies project, we need true forwards desperately.

Posted by: c-hawk | June 8, 2007 12:56 AM | Report abuse

i thought Gooch lost his cool too easily. He is a big target and as such, refs all over the world will see him more of an aggressor even in cases where he is the recipient.

Not fair judging EJ as such. situation was already bad when he came in.

Coach Bradley actually had a good strategy this time around putting LD and Edjuck on the wing. Last time around US played Guatemala, the ball got clogged to easily down in the middle. By putting speed on the wings, you move the ball up and down the field more easily. and who better to run up and down the field than Edjuck. This guy is like the energizer bunny. LD did a great job crossing, an area which has been missing tremendously. However by the 2nd half, the US moved away from that strategy. which resulted in the messy half that you all saw.

Bradley kid is just that. a kid. but very good one i thought. He was calm and collected and calm things down. but he needs to be more involved in terms of moving the ball up and down the field, control the game. I think he should be the skipper because of that. Bocanegra in my opinion lost his composure too quickly. Not a good trait for a captain. Bradley has a lot of potential and will be better in the future.

Beasley is not the same he used to be. I don't see him remaining on the team for too long if he does not improve. he has lost a few steps and it shows.

still not a fan of Twellman. but he certainly hustled on a lot of balls. can't take that away from him. EJ was the opposite: waiting for the ball to come to him.

Posted by: Gtexas | June 8, 2007 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Jason, I can't believe you're blogging on here and running the Redskins Insider (and home life with two kids, not to mention reporting duties for the Skins) ... man, you are a machine.

Just want to say thanks for all the recap and analysis. We don't get any coverage of US soccer out here in Asia, and this site is one of the ways we "Yanks Abroad" keep up.

Good on ya!

Posted by: Paps in Manila | June 8, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Re:Jason La Canfora et al.

Wow, if I had only read your (and quite a few others) posts I would've thought we'd lost the game 0-2 or worse.

My take on the game was much, much lighter. If you're getting those kind of calls against you and you've got 2 games in three days, then I think an ugly win is on tap. I'm going to wait to make huge, sweeping judgments about Bradley's tenure until, well I don't know, maybe after he coaches more than one Gold Cup game.

Posted by: RJ | June 8, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Donovan's streak of impotent set piece serves continues...
Is there not someone else who can send a dangerous ball in for us? Maybe he has been working with DCUnited on corners all these years...

Posted by: qtip | June 8, 2007 6:45 AM | Report abuse

It was truly amazing how long it took for the Guatemalans to get a yellow card. One player, the #2, repeatedly tackled late with studs up including a particularly nasty one on Hejduk which was a play on situation. Does the ref not realize that you can let play continue and then go back to the player to issue a yellow?

I think most of you are being too harsh on Twellman. While certainly not a striker that should be starting for a national team that expects to be taken seriously on the world stage, he was much better last night than Eddie Johnson. Twellman linked up well with Donovan, Beasley and Dempsey. There were quite a few times when the US was pressed in the second half where Twellman came back for the ball to hold it up so that the US had time to compose themselves. Sometimes you just need a striker that isn't afraid to take a beating and will go all out for the team, something that Eddie Johnson hasn't shown for the national team recently.

Eddie Johnson continues to look tentative on the national team. I don't agree with the person who posted that back to back hat tricks in the MLS definitely earns you the start for the national team. It should get you a look from the coach but you have to back it up with good performances in training. I also don't think that Johnson can play well as a lone striker because he isn't that great at holding the ball up and then making passes other than back to the midfield.

I thought Donovan had a solid game with his wing play. Hopefully, he stays on the wing for the next few games. He shouldn't take another set piece for a long, long time as his deliveries were terrible.

I think the US will look better defensively without Gooch in there. He hasn't looked his best recently and I don't think his head is right after being sent back to Belgium. Demerit should be able to do the job against T&T and is a solid backup.

Posted by: Jared | June 8, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Favorite Bretos moment: (paraphrasing) Feilhaber is being seen as a favorite for the coveted #5 jersey.

Posted by: bbarrie | June 8, 2007 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Good analysis Goff.

Some wild overreactions from your readers though.

Bradley's tactics worked. When we tied 0-0, everything was down the middle. Shifting Donovan wide and positioning Beasley wide led to many chances and the goal. Guatemala should've been down to 10 men in the 1st half on several occasions.

Hejduk has been our most consistent big-game performer the last 10 years and had a solid night.

M Bradley had a couple shaky giveaways but he & Feilhaber are the future 2-way midfielders for this team.

The only thing I fault Bradley for is not subbing Gooch off before the 2nd yellow; it was obviously inevitable.

We won. The ref and Guatemala ruined the game.

Posted by: Andrew | June 8, 2007 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Carlos Ruiz is my least favorite player and I'm glad we don't have to face him again. In MLS, they finally got wise to his antics, but apparently CONCACAF refs don't watch MLS games. I think Goff had it right when he said that Ruiz shows a disrespect for the game.

On another note, how come no story on the game in the print edition of the post? All we got was 1 sentence. Was that because it ended too late?

I, too, saw it on Spanish TV and don't speak Spanish, so I was also confused on Gooch's first yellow. Was it really because the ref thought he was trying to kick Ruiz?

Posted by: Dsmac | June 8, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Excuse my ignorance, but did Ruiz get his nickame for his penchant for flopping about?

Posted by: Tim | June 8, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

A lot of you need a reality check. Like Goff said, it's a very difficult thing to manage minutes for every player in the pool over the tournament, not to mention the Copa which comes next. So you're not going to have your A squad out there for friggin Guatemala, OK? Use your heads and think about why each player was out there, don't just complain about it.

For instance, all the Hedjuk bashing needs to stop. He made consistent forays into the Guatemalan third, and made good overlapping runs. It's not his fault that no one else understood what he was doing. When they did, he made some nice crosses. Is he going to be on the World Cup roster? Of course not. But Frankie has been a great pro for a long time, and this squad needed a little experience out there. That starts with him and Charlie Blackmouth, since Claudio, Palbo, etc. are out to pasture.

As for Twellman, he was in the right place almost every time the ball was in their third. The man's positioning is impeccable, no matter how much everyone writes him off. So he missed the header, big deal. Happens all the time. He made Dempseys goal; he and Beasley, who is continually overlooked because of people's ridiculous expectations. Notice how no one ever talks about how he did all the work that led to Dempsey's goal against Ghana in Germany? It's like if you don't dislike the kid, you don't REALLY know soccer. F.

All in all, an expectedly ugly, choppy match. But we're still finding our feet, everyone, and beauty takes time.

Posted by: Grotus | June 8, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

in the end, the US doesnt have a top-quality forward or central mid. the talent just isnt there at this point. i think that scoring on guatemala and winning are a huge improvement compared to our last showing against them.

Posted by: Ed Lee | June 8, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

If the ref nips the cheap tackles from Guat early on -- instead of continually allowing the play to continue -- then the game doesn't get out of hand. What the heck was Gooch's first card for? I had hoped that the officiating would improve, but I guess Ref's in our region will always be awful.

Anyway, a point's a point. Someone just needs to rake Ruiz and take the card.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 8, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Actually, 3 points are 3 points, but it would be hard to tell from this thread...:)

Posted by: JkR | June 8, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

this is suppose to be our A team.

hejduk is not first team material.

bornstein should maybe come off the bench if we're winning for minutes, but is not a starter...oh wait...i'm sorry...he played for bob at chivas, so ink him in the starting 11.

beni and mikey are automatic starters. so much so, that our best central midfielder is pushed out to the right and our best righ midfielder is playing forward. bob, no matter what, make sure mike plays.

for god's sake, he gets limited playing time at herenveen. that's all the justification you need.

i'm a fan of benni....but a midfield of beasley, landon, benni/rico, dempsey would have been better.

if the plan was to win the gold cup, use the copa to give our younger guys a run so that we can play them in 2009 at the confederations cup, then our lineup and play was aweful.

but hey, at least mike bradley got another cap!

Posted by: lb | June 8, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Just curious, but how could anyone watch the game on Telefutura? I'm not sure about any other cable providers but on RCN it was unbearable to watch because of the shoddy reception. But I guess it was better than listening to Max.

Posted by: Andy | June 8, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Man, some of y'all need to see the big picture here. Yes, it was a subpar effort by the U.S. team and exposed some issues, but this ALWAYS happens against Guatemala -- doesn't matter where the game is played, doesn't matter who is on the field, doesn't matter who the referee is. This is the way it is. The U.S. got their first-half goal they needed and had a chance to kill the game with a second one before the half. They didn't do it and clearly dropped in form in the second half, but how many serious opportunities did Guatemala generate? One? Two? Even with a man advantage for 17 minutes, how many times was Tim Howard tested?

If the T&T game were to unfold the same way, there would be good reason to question tactics, personnel decisions and why the greatest coach in the history of world soccer, Juergen Klinsmann, was not hired by the USSF(sarcasm like no other). Perspective, folks, perspective.

Posted by: Goff | June 8, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

it seems like bradley is loyal to players to a fault. like someone else posted, why isn't there any competition for the left back spot? i don't think bornstein is good enough to have it locked down yet as it appears.

i haven't seen enough from michael bradley yet either, aside from his willingness to go down with reckless two-footed tackles.

Bob made a statement that he wouldn't consider Adu or Altidore for either of these summer tournaments so they could focus on the U20. Michael is going to the U20s also, and his pops doesn't seem to have a problem with getting as much playing time for him as possible.

Posted by: pat | June 8, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that refs still fall for Ruiz's whole routine. If Christiano Ronaldo is in the game, he's going to do stepovers. If Carlos Ruiz is in the game, he's going to take cheap shots and dive. How are refs the only people in the world not on to this yet?

This game was probably good prep for a World Cup qualifier, what with the lousy ref, physical play, and hostile crowd. Our guys - particularly Gooch - need to learn how to manage that environment better.

Aside from the missed header, I thought Twellman had an excellent game - good movement, good holdup play, some nice combinations near the goal. Beasley and Bornstein disappointed me, Beasley with his poor touch and Bornstein with his poor one-on-one defending. I wish Heath Pearce was on the roster.

Posted by: Jeff M | June 8, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Max Bretos (or the other guy) mentioned that it was Mastroeini's type of game. Given, the officiating, Pablo would have seen red on his first tackle if he were playing.

Gooch is a victim of his size, rather the referee's perception of him based on his size. I don't buy Bretos' comment that he is angry; he is just big.

Our Achilles heel is the first touch. Apart from Donovan, it is dreadful. Until we solve that, our transitional game will suck.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 8, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I just read a recap of the game from El Periodico, a Guatemalan newspaper, and they have an interesting point of view on the game; that they were the underdog given the resources and size of their country but were able to put up a good fight with grit and guts and a fantastic strategy designed by their coach.

a different take, from the Diario de Centro America is more favorable to the Americans. In the first half the americans showed they were technically and tactically superior and successfully broke the weak guatemalan defense. (Chapin, anyone know why that is a nickname for the Guatemalan team or what it means?) but, they go on to say that by using the wings in the second half the chapin team was able to get more balls into Ruiz and cause problems of the us team.

It is always fun to read what other countries have to say about our team and a game against us.

Posted by: bribri | June 8, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Chapin is Spanish slang for a citizen of Guatemala. Not sure of its origins...

Anybody know?

Posted by: Goff | June 8, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"Man, some of y'all need to see the big picture here."

Steve: If everyone saw the big picture instead of quibbling about minutae, you wouldn't have the second highest hit count in the Sports blogs. Perspective, Steve, perspective :-).

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 8, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Grotus. Especially regarding Twellman.

Posted by: Terp | June 8, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

This is the first game in a series of important matches throughout the summer. I'm thinking Bradley is wisely rationing his player pool in order to not burn out any one set of players. As we saw with the DeMerit sub, we have a wealth of players that can come off the bench and fill in at the same level as those who got the start. I'd rather have that then a strong starting 11 with nothing else behind them.

Posted by: Logan Circle | June 8, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

With the US going up against Ruiz, was it smart to put in Gooch? Or was it to be a learning experience for him?

I'd rather put an MLS experienced central defender in there. They pretty much know how to neutralize the little puke now, or at the very least know his tendencies.

Posted by: Kim | June 8, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Bob made a statement that he wouldn't consider Adu or Altidore for either of these summer tournaments so they could focus on the U20. Michael is going to the U20s also, and his pops doesn't seem to have a problem with getting as much playing time for him as possible."---Pat

Adu and Altidore play in MLS, which is in season. Taking them away from their club team to play U-20 is enough. Bradley plays in Holland, so he's in the off-season. He can play in all summer tournaments and not miss any club matches.

Posted by: Lynn | June 8, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I like a win as much as the next person, but 3 points or not...should we not be demanding a beautiful game of our own?

Happy with the win, not happy with the failures to finish. Disappointed by the failure to maintain composure and intensity in the 2nd half. The US players should take a page from the Chinese players book and just 'play on' after a bad call. Why argue? I've never seen a contested call be overturned.

The US used to play the same disruption game the Guats employed. Frustrate the opponent by packing it in and hope for a goal off a quick counter attack. The US players should have been mentally prepared for that and been able to work it to an advantage.

There was a lot to be positive about, but it's time to grow up and play smart, attractive soccer.

* a side note...Gooch looked ghastly on the dribble.

Posted by: Beans | June 8, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Gooch: The problem with this man is that I don't see much evidence that he's progressed as a player since we first saw him in 05. And by progressed I mean either on the Nats or in his club career. When we first saw him most of thought/hoped that he was at least the successor to Eddie Pope if not an improvement. Its hard to see that being the case now.

Bob Bradley: The question for the coach is can he really truly form a coherent team, a team that is solid in all its parts? Ever since his Nowak-led Chicago days he hasn't done that. Can he improve upon his metro and Chivas ways? Jury's still out.

Guatemala- Sure Stephen Goff, Guatemala is difficult. But they are ranked so low in the world rankings because they get regularly beaten not only by the Mexico's and USA's of the world but by a whole lot of other teams as well. They just aren't that good. Last night's game wasn't a strong test, yet Guatemala exposed the softness of the american player, much like United used to routinely expose the softness of Bradley's metros.

Posted by: Skip | June 8, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

How could you possibly give Beasley a 5? He was one of the few MFs in the game that looked dangerous. Other than Donovan, we looked really flat in the midfield. I really think it is a waste of talent to put him on the wing.

Posted by: DMB | June 8, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

How could you possibly give Beasley a 5? He was one of the few MFs in the game that looked dangerous. Other than Donovan, we looked really flat in the midfield. I really think it is a waste of talent to put him on the wing.

Posted by: DMB | June 8, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Re: Left back

I was also skeptical about Bornstein when he was first called in, but let's look at the other candidates:

Pearce - Good on the ball, but very bland in all other respects. Personally, based on his play the last time he was in, I see him only getting recalled when there are injuries (note the plural). Nothing against him, I just think we can do much better.

Dunivant - Good crosser, able to play physically. He isn't the fastest, but he might be the best positionally out of all the US left backs. He's hurt right now, though, so for this tournament we have to move on.

Spector - Good technique, reliable, strong, but a bit slow. He's more comfortable in the middle or on the right, though. Still, he's obviously going to be called in because he can play every defensive position.

Other than them, what's out there? Bocanegra and Gibbs are both clearly better at center back. Burciaga Jr. is great offensively, but can and will get caught upfield at the international level. Wade Barrett? Josh Gros (yes, LB is thin enough that a guy that DCU might not start at LB enters the equation for the nats)? Come on.

I'll take Bornstein over Pearce and (depending on the opponent) even Spector at left back. Dunivant is often hurt, so Bornstein becomes my first choice for this tournament. Trust me, I'm not over the roof about that, but that's the reality for us at left back currently.

Re: Guatemala

They are quite possibly the least appealing team to have to watch in the world. Everything that is wrong with soccer, they do. Diving, ref-baiting, cheap fouls, and virtually no attempts at actually playing the game. In the literally thousands of games I've watched in my life, I have a hard time recalling such an intentionally insipid, devious side.

Re: Michael Bradley

He's really not that bad. Last night was not his best, but he's not nearly as bad as people have made him out to be. His last season with the metros, he was often the sole DM behind a massively disinterested Amado Guevara. He did a respectable job for a 17 year old then, and he has grown quite a bit since.

Frankly, I think he has earned his chance. Would I start him over, say, Ricardo Clark? No (actually, I think Clark would have thrived against Guatemala and that this was obvious from our last meeting with them). He would be on my roster, though.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | June 8, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Buried in the youtube link is a video compilation of US soccer in the early 90's.

Highlights: Preki's goal defeating Brasil, Balboa's almost greatest goal ever bicycle kick, Tab Ramos to Ernie Stewart to beat Colombia 2-1, etc

Posted by: delantero | June 8, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Goff--I thought you nailed the ratings...other than maybe DeMeritt.

I love that the Redskins reporter blogs on here. That's really cool.

Overall, I don't think we have a better outside flanker than Hejduk. Think about it--he would have been a big help in 2006.

And, Twellman had a good game. Yes, he missed a sitter, as forwards sometimes do. But, he played well. I like Altidore as a star for the future, but I want these guys to earn their spots.

It was a decent start for the tourney for us.

Posted by: jj | June 8, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Meaning the US has come so, so far since a bunch of college kids at Italy 90.

Posted by: delantero | June 8, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Is the fact that Bradley plays his son all the time a sign that he is one of those coaches who picks favorites and shows blind loyalty to certain guys? If so, could it be the influence of Nowak (with moreno, carroll, etc.)?

Posted by: wondering about bob and peter | June 8, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

And, what poor defending on that goal! Dempsey was wide open...and Twellman's man reacted really late.

Posted by: jj | June 8, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Bradley plays his son all the time? Bradley certainly hasn't played all the time since his dad has been coach. I doubt he'll play all 3 games in the first round. His game last night wasn't all that great, but in general he is a strong player who deserves to get lots of minutes, especially since his club team is out of season right now. If we see Bradley start regularly after playing a string of bad games... that's when we start to get worried. Until then i'm excited for the kid!

Posted by: Jake | June 8, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I thought the outcome was about what was to be expected--although not what we wanted, and the reffing was exactly what was to be expected. I'm just amazed at how much I agree with JLaC's comments. I thought he was dead on, particularly with EJ and the defenders. Gooch's growth as a defender hasn't materialized as well as we all hoped it would, and I'm glad we'll get to see a different option.

You Post sports guys continue to suprise me, and that's really quite a complement. I'm just curious, did you watch the Spurs win too?

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | June 8, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Jason LaConforna. From the get-go, I did not agree with Bob Bradley's appointment. I do not the the program has advanced, still has not adjusted to international comeptition, lacks talent, lacks the ability to development and identify talent. That is why we need an experineced foreign coach, who has the expertise of finding, developing, and adjusting the American player on par with other power nations. I was very unimpressed to say the least from the game last night. Sunil Gulati should be fired. He is a clown, and has taken the team a step back. I forsee us struggling to qualify for 2010. If that happens the USSF needs to be dissolved, and we need to start from scratch. I think that as a fan of the national are expectations should be to dominate and win every single game. Anything less is a disappointment. Until the USSF realizes this, the US always be a middle of the road team.

Posted by: DC United Fan | June 8, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

So, wait. We win against a scrappy, physical team in our first meaningful match under a new coach, and the response is to discuss dissolving the USSF? WTF?

Posted by: Logan Circle | June 8, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The fact that Michael Bradley was on the field after the 50th minute is obviously down to NEPOTISM. He was very naive, timid, and polite when defending. Inserting Ricardo Clark would have been better for midfield congruity. Bradley was simply out of his depth.

And when will someone grab Donovan by the throat and tell him to stop taking free-kicks and corner-kicks? He's truly awful at that.

Posted by: dr techie | June 8, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Bradley is on the field because he's exciting, young and talented. Suggestions of nepotism are silly. I am no fan of cheatin' bob, but Bradley has been for the most part staller in the games. Feilhaber, too. I have no doubt in my mind that if his last name was smith, he'd be on the field.

Posted by: DCAustinite | June 8, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Just a quick comment on player selection that DCU Fan's post brought to mind:

Most foreign international head coaches aren't really that adept at recognizing developing talent. They have mature leagues, that have mature player development pipelines for each team. This is especially true of European international teams. The clubs (notably Ajax) do the lion's share of the work, not the national federations like the USSF. Argentina is the one exception that I can think of that has true skill at recognizing and developing young players into their national system, but that's still in the context of the domestic league teams until their worth enough to be poached by Europe.

I don't think we should expect the USMNT coach or really the USSF to be adept at recognizing and growing talent. It's not done that way in soccer in the rest of the world, and it's not done that way in the US in any other sport. I think Bradley should judged on his picking from the professional pool to prepare for the next World Cup, and winning these games now using as many of those players as possible. Little Bradley is a reasonable prospect for the 2010WC, so I have no problem with him being there. Identifying players and developing them for anything other then WC 2010 should be someone else's job. The chances of a 17 year old US player making the 2010 squad are almost zero because of the way our soccer landscape looks, so I don't think the USMNT coach should bother with those players at all, whether it's Klinsmen, Bradley, or anyone else.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | June 8, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Heydude didnt bomb. I havent seen him play for the Crew this year, but I thought he was going to be the weak link. I was wrong - he played ok, and worked with Donovan pretty well.

Bornstein and Beasley didnt look as comfortable with each other, and the central midfield pair seemed to disappear at times.

Posted by: the cheat | June 8, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the Bradley hating in here. If him and Feilhaber are the midfield of the future, and because, imo, the only tournament of consequence is the WC, wouldn't it make sense to get them to play together as much as possible prior to WC qualifying and south africa?

I like Donovan on the wing and Dempsey up top. Even though thats not his position, he might be our best option up there. The dude is fearless. Eddie Johnson, on the other hand, is not. He seems to timid to play facing the goal and to take a shot when given the opportunity. Also, I dont remember him winning anything from a Howard goal kick. He just doesn't seem to have the confidence to play at this level.

Beasley is in and out in every game. Its really frustrating, because you'll see flashes of what made him so good prior to 06 and then he'll go back to poor touches and errant passes. Even the most routine passes he would miss. I felt this way about him even after the China game last week.

Posted by: ngu | June 8, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Thought this game was an improvement over last US-Guat encounter. We had quite a few opportunities in spurts so if one or two goals were scored by us it would have made result more encouraging. More negatives with external rationales, like crappy refs, some lack of player cohesion based on our mixture of MLS and Euros. Some young guys might be better as comp goes on to gain experience and lose jitters (Bradley). Dempsey was a nice surprise and Beasley tho not perfect was incrementally better than recent MNT performances--Ithink he is on the rise. Disappointed in Onyewu, not 'cause of cards, but lack of technical improvement as others have mentioned. I wanted Demerit earlier and thought maybe he was injured, glad he's not. M Bradley is not over-rated, Herreveen wouldn't release him for U20 Concacaf and seems reluctant to release him when not obligated--and he doesn't play much. His youth, his skill, his potential, his physical growth (4 inches in a couple of years, his energy make-up for his inexperience. Remember Arena had him train in WC preps last year. Nepotism? right, if he hadn't been given a chance ya all would be blasting his ommission. What I like about B Bradley is his open-minded selection of promising youth who have paid early dues for Euro teams.

I'm liking Howard alot these days and hope Demerit can stabilize the defense. By the time we play in final rounds of this comp we'll be in fine form and should take the cup. Chemistry and form will be the reasons for success.

Posted by: cuzco03 | June 8, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I hope Bob doesn't pay attention to a thing U.S. fans say because after reading so much tripe here and on that other soccer message board (rhymes with fig locker), I'm starting to believe that 90% of these fans don't have the slightest clue about international soccer. It's embarrassing.
As Goff said, perspective!

Posted by: fig | June 8, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Anything short of a red card and you get a 5 or 6? Guatemala didn't score so I think some of the backline should get credit. I thought Feilhaber was off and Bradley was slightly better. I agree that Feilhaber is one for the future, but I hope Ricardo Clark gets a chance tomorrow (and probably should have started last night). There's a difference between a regular starter and a young fringe first teamer that got sent to the reserve squad. Or at least there should be.

Howard 7; Hejduk 6, Onyewu 3, Bocanegra 6, Bornstein 6; Donovan 5, Feilhaber 5, Bradley 6, Beasley 7; Twellman 5, Dempsey 7. Subs: Johnson 5, Ralston 6, DeMerit 7

Ref: 3.5!

Posted by: Ric | June 8, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Ugly match.

I would rather have seen Donovan substituted instead of Feilhaber at that point in the match.

I was yelling at my TV for Bradley to yank Gooch for DeMerit after the yellow, I could actually see Onyewu's composure exit his body after he got the yellow.

Posted by: Eric | June 8, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

RE: watching the game on Galavision

Someone questioned how one could watch the game on Galavision vis a vis the RCN signal. I was just watching it over the old-fashioned airwaves, via rabbit ears, channel 47 in the DC area. Not great reception, but good enough.

Speaking of which, Mexico v. Cuba just started on Univision, channel 14. I've got it on just to try and get to know the enemy a bit better.

Posted by: edgonyou | June 8, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

It looks like Twellman is the US version of Fatty Lampard. Great for club, horrible for country.
Yes England fans, Fatty Lamps stinks and Germany will be celebrating later this year when we beat you 5-0 at the new Wembly. :D

Posted by: papa bear | June 11, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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