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As I Was Saying.....

Sorry for the delay. Having issues with that Internet machine thing.

U.S. game? Look on the bright side: All those players will be coming home soon to miss scoring opportunities for their MLS clubs (bitter sarcasm). One of the few to look good and show some heart during Copa has been Ben Olsen. Bornstein? Not so good. Heck of a through ball for the second Paraguay goal, though (in case you missed it, more sarcasm). Whatever. As we've discussed at great length, the U.S. went to this tournament to gain some experience. Some of the players will learn from it, others will not, and at the end of the day, Bob Bradley hopes his young players are now better prepared for difficult World Cup qualifying situations over the next two years.

As for Paraguay, it's a quality side that is scoring goals. Of course, they are not the same without the famed goalkeeper Jose-Luis Chilavert, whose quotes were as treasured as his free kicks. After a spat with Brazil's Roberto Carlos a few years back, Chilavert offered this gem:

"This dwarf shouted to me, 'Get up, Indian,' " said Chilavert, whose favorite game jersey was adorned by a sketch of a snarling bulldog. "After that, when they scored, he touched his genitals to provoke me. That's when I defended myself and I spat at him."

Or this, about a rival coach: "He's an alcoholic. He insulted me first and when I went for him, he scooted off like a rat up a drain."

Other things you should know:

*The Washington Freedom is alive and well (sort of). Before everyone flips out at the amount of space in the paper today, this will be one of the few times they appear anywhere in The Post this summer. Until the full national league is up and running, it will be hard to justify regular coverage. This, however, is an interesting feature by one of our talented summer interns about how the club is trying to persevere and be in position for the possible re-launch of the bigger league next year.

*Freddy and the U.S. under-20s will try to rebound from their underwhelming opener when they face Poland today at the U-20 World Cup in Canada. I am heading up to Ottawa Friday for the USA-Brazil match.

*Most importantly, Vinny Chase, Dennis Hopper and the "Entourage" boys talk Manchester United on HBO this week. If you've got HBO On-demand, check it out.

That's all for now. Hope to have some updates later, perhaps including details of the Marco Etcheverry tribute match this fall at RFK. Otherwise, I will be busy putting together a Greg Vanney story for Wednesday editions. I will rejoin you from Kansas City tomorrow...hopefully. (I'm setting my alarm for 4:15 a.m. to catch an early-morning flight.)

See ya...

By Steve Goff  |  July 3, 2007; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchday: USA-Paraguay
Next: Honoring El Diablo


Chilavert and Maradona were discussing who was the best soccer player.

Chilavert: I'm the greatest soccer player in the world.
Maradona: How do you know?
Chilavert: God told me so.
Maradona: I didn't tell you anything.

Posted by: Sam | July 3, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

boo Hiss

Posted by: greg | July 3, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Re: Chilavert

Stay classy, Asunción.

Posted by: the cheat | July 3, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It's great to see articles on the Freedom! & to hear more about the possibility of the league reforming. Don't listen to the complainers.

Posted by: m | July 3, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

As I read through all the comments about the US game, I am reminded how differently we all see the game. Its amazing how differently we all evaluate good and bad in this. I love that about soccer. Having said that, here's my take to the game:
Benny Olsen is sensational out there. I agree that he wouldn't make the "A" team, but he picked up the leadership ball and ran with it. Kudos to him!
Twellman had one good pass, but a lot of guys had one good pass. I think the tale to be told is he stunk the entire rest of the game. Why can't he do anything with the ball at his feet?
Johnson was pretty good and the effort level was there too. I'd keep him but not Twellman.
Mapp was great. I know that he gave the ball away a bit, but he was doing what needed to be done. We needed somebody to take the ball to the defense. I'm glad he did what he did. He opened other things up with the defenders knowing that he wasn't scared to go at them.
I think Drew Moor was average at best. He didn't mark well. He was beaten on a number of occasions.
Conrad is solid.
Bornstein is MVP...for Paraquay. How happy were they when they saw his name on the roster?
Feilhaber is the man of the future.
Clark is improving every match and will contribute very soon.
Olsen should not have been subbed out as evidenced by the team falling apart when he left.
And Keller is getting old. 'Nuff said'
All in all, I expected these results. I expected them to choke a bit. I even expected a pass back for a goal. These guys are getting experience that they can't otherwise get because the mainstays get all the other games. I absolutely think they should be in this tournament and can't wait for the painful play to end. This homer can't wait for a couple of these guys to develope a bit more and some other guys to go back to their MLS teams for good. But I do enjoy this first year post World Cup so we can see the guys who will be leading our team later in life.

Posted by: gomez4prez | July 3, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

4:15? Having to go to Kansas City?


Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 3, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Freddy needs to get his little feet involved in the game this time. He disappeared for most (if not all) of the game.

Also, where did the US dig up their left back? Man... he plays like Erpen.

Posted by: Hacksaw | July 3, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Game is at noon Central time. Flight is at 7 Eastern time. Flying home after the match. Long day, eh?

Posted by: Goff | July 3, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Bornstein, I love the kid...but he should sit for Pearce against Colombia. And Guzan and Davies/Gomez should take the place of Keller and Twellman, respectively.

Posted by: Reston, VA | July 3, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

talking about the U-20's....

Posted by: Hacksaw | July 3, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I watched the Entourage episode. Did anyone else notice how old that game was. They showed Van Nilsetrooy taking the PK which he missed I think against Chelsea. No wonder Sir Alex wanted to get rid of him. I wonder if Dennis Hopper is really a futbol fan. I am announcing to the world that I have an offical man-crush on Benny Feilhaber. This dude is really impressing me with his confidence on the ball, his vision, and determination to win lose balls. He needs to work on his defense and his free kicks, but man he's got game. DC United related, I am working on a commercial deal that involves Victor McFarlane's real estate company. He is buying a strip center in Rockville. I asked his attorney why was he buying a strip center in Rockville, when he should be building a stadium in DC for United. The response was, "you'll have to ask Christian Laettner." I started laughing. Good sense of humor.

Posted by: DC United Fan | July 3, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse


You are so wrong about Bornstein being at fault for the second Paragauy goal. It was Conrad who decided not to play the ball and leave Keller stranded in no man's land.

Posted by: soccer_patriot | July 3, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Game is at noon Central time. Flight is at 7 Eastern time. Flying home after the match. Long day, eh?

Ugh. Hardest working man in soccer...

I've been to KC once, and if I can help it, I'll never go back. Looking forward to reading about Vanney.


Posted by: DCBird | July 3, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I was cruising some Colombian and Argentine blogs today and there are some complaints about our inexperienced team being included in the tournament--that it was a wasted spot that should've gone to a more serious federation that would've fielded a more competitive team.

The most ridiculous thing posted on one of the blogs was that they put the blame on Bush for his row with Chavez! Like Bush has a clue where his pacifier is, let alone where the US Mens National Soccer Team is!!

Posted by: SoyManya! | July 3, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Davies and Nguyen both need to start against Columbia. As for Gomez, its still amazing to me he's even on the roster, talk about a lack of depth at striker (granted, someone like Altidore is above him on the player pool but is with the U20s). Kljestan did nothing so I hope he doesn't play again and Mapp gets a chance to start. How about giving Feilhaber a rest and starting Olsen in the attacking mid position, he's been the best player on the field both games :)

Posted by: G-Dub | July 3, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

For the most part the US played well and had some good stretches, but last night they just beat themselves. That back pass by Bornstein was horrible and after it was 2-1 the US just fell apart.

My observations/gripes:
1) Twellman and Johnson should not have started nor should they in the future. They had enough chances to prove themselves. If this was to see what other players could do then you need to play other players. At least with the new guys (Gomez/Davies), even if we lost they that much more gained more experience. (Before Gold Cup and Copa, I was a HUGE Twellman I am being unbiased in his regard)

2) MNT seems to fall apart after the half (even in Gold Cup). Not sure if this is a conditioning issue, players not in mid-season form, or what.

3) Demerit and Conrad are a solid tandem in the middle and should put pressure on Boca. and Gooch in the future

4) Much as I love the guy - Keller is done and should from now on be considered #3 on the depth chart with possibly Guzan being groomed as a #2

5) Feilhaber should be what the MNT team builds around in the coming years (excellent vision & poise on the ball)

Regardless, it will be tough for me to watch the game against Colombia knowing it means nothing, but hopefully Bradley will thrown in a "fresh" lineup and see some new faces and what they can offer down the road.

Posted by: mikemc | July 3, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"You are so wrong about Bornstein being at fault for the second Paragauy goal. It was Conrad who decided not to play the ball and leave Keller stranded in no man's land."

Pretty sure Bornstein takes "credit" for the messup on one of the US Soccer vids, but maybe he is just covering for his boy Conrad.

Posted by: thecheat | July 3, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse


Conrad also at fault on the second Paraguay goal, but still a terrible ball by Bornstein.

Posted by: Goff | July 3, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

When his teammates found Freddy, good things happened. Not to mention his free kicks, which were fantastic. Freddy was our most dangerous player, even though Rongen's plan was to practically ignore him.

Posted by: On the U-20s | July 3, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What's Namof's status?

Posted by: Chico | July 3, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Bornstein's backpass was suicidal. Conrad compounded it. They are both at fault.

Davies has to start over Twellman, or the whole idea of getting experience from this tournament will be wasted. Johnson is not a lost cause (especially since he was creating chances for others last night), but Twellman is the same player he was when he got his first cap. Let's see what Davies can do. Gomez doesn't really enter the discussion in my mind because he's not good enough to be there. I guess we can throw him on as a sub?

I'd also like to see all the players we took but haven't used yet. People could call it devaluing the competition, but we already did that by not sending our best squad. We might as well get some benefit out of it, or else no one will gain anything from the whole thing.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 3, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Goff, in everything I've always read you've always made a point to say that you're not a fan of any team and you're just there to do a job, yadda yadda -- but I'm unconvinced after reading today's blog entry. That level of very genuine bitterness only comes from fan-dom. Come clean: you're a USA National Team fan!!

BTW, from one fan to another: I don't see much to be upset about - we were never going to win Copa America; this was always about blooding the kids.

Posted by: soccer nerd | July 3, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Bob Bradley hopes his young players are now better prepared for difficult World Cup qualifying situations over the next two years."

Uhh, dumb soccer-newbie question, but qualifying for the World Cup means playing against CONCACAF teams, right? Despite evidently sloppy play during the Gold Cup, the fact that we won it bodes well for our "qualifying" chances for the World Cup, right?

Or is it that the CONCACAF teams we played against weren't at their full strength?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 3, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The effort last night although disappointing for the defensive error and the missed finishes was still solid overall. For a "B" team to dominate posession against a veteran Paraguay team, create plenty of good scoring opportunities was really what you want. Ok we failed to finish...the same issue that the A team had in the Gold Cup. Hudson was right that they needed to be more direct in the attack. Paraguay knows it got fortunate last night. We worked harder (we had to) but they got the win. So it goes. Bradley should go totally experimental vs. Colombia by playing all the young guys plus our man Benny who looked great out there.

Posted by: sbg | July 3, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I think all the games being in the US also makes the Gold Cup easier than qualifying will be. Playing Guatemala here is very different than playing them away.

Posted by: Sam | July 3, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Goff, in everything I've always read you've always made a point to say that you're not a fan of any team and you're just there to do a job, yadda yadda -- but I'm unconvinced after reading today's blog entry. That level of very genuine bitterness only comes from fan-dom. Come clean: you're a USA National Team fan!!


Nice try, mate! Just trying to be snarky and flip. Still not a fan of anything or anyone.

Posted by: Goff | July 3, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

""Playing Guatemala here is very different than playing them away.""

Not really. They still bite. Ruiz still flops around. We'll just have people yelling at us for 90 minutes.

Posted by: d | July 3, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Goff.. at least admit you're a fan of the word 'snarky'. We deserve that.

Posted by: d, dc | July 3, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I thought the spine of the US team looked very strong yesterday. Conrad-DeMerit-Clark-Feilhaber-(and yes)Johnson.
The finishing was pathetic-I think all those guys would agree-absolutely pathetic. But they created chances and dominated play for stretches of the game.

Going into today's game I wonder what Adu thought about yesterday's game. As he watches the senior team, who does he think he's going to supplant by 2010? Not Feilhaber, Clark, Donovan, or Beasley. And probably not Bradley. I just wonder where envisions himself playing.

Posted by: Metzeng | July 3, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Goff hates US soccer.

Posted by: RK | July 3, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Before everyone flips out at the amount of space in the paper today,"

I appreciated the article, although that may have been the biggest picture I've ever seen in the Post. What's up with that?

And who's going to cover soccer in the US when you're in China? George Solomon does a pretty good job. Give the man a full-time job.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | July 3, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Bornstein's backpass was suicidal. Conrad compounded it. They are both at fault."

I agree. They are both at fault, but I have higher expectations of Conrad (b/c he is a veteran) than I do of the youngster Bornstein (who is fairly new to the position).

Posted by: soccer_patriot | July 3, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I was cruising some Colombian and Argentine blogs today and there are some complaints about our inexperienced team being included in the tournament--that it was a wasted spot that should've gone to a more serious federation that would've fielded a more competitive team.

I agree. This team is an embarrasment to USSF and CONCACAF. We should not be there if we are not going to field a competitive team. Bradley should be sacked for bringing this roster to such a high profile tournament.

Posted by: So Md | July 3, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Whoever says Benny isn't A squad is sorely mistaken. This guy is quality and really knows how to anchor a midfield, as seen by our subsequent collapses after he gets pulled in the 60th.

I will be happy to see Olsen back in black when Bradley gets booed and hissed out of Venezuela with a keeper older than he is. I don't know what is more disappointing; our showing in the Copa America or our complete lack of respect for this tournament. In any case, we have taken several steps backward in the minds of our futbol brethern. I wouldn't be surprised to not be invited back.

Posted by: J-Mart | July 3, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Can the U-20 games be streamed? If so a link please....

Posted by: WOW | July 3, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Why does it seem that so many posters are blatantly ignoring the stated goal for the US in Copa: To give our younger players important minutes in hostile environments. Not once did Bradley say "Our goal is to win this tournament." Those calling for Bradley's head should probably have theirs examined.

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 3, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Chances are that a good chunk of these inexperienced players will be playing in South Africa in 2010, right?

If, God willing, the USMNT advances deep into the WC, I wonder how many of the critics of taking such an inexperienced team down to Venezuela in 2007 will stand up and say they were wrong?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 3, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

It is a high profile international tournament, not the Carolina Challenge Cup. It is disrespectful to the badge to take such an obviously inadequate U.S. team into such a bright international spotlight, and disrespectful to CONMEBOL to use their invitation as a tryout camp. There is a better way to approach this tournament (ask Hugo Chavez, or Steve Sampson), and there are better ways to evaluate players (like friendlies).

Bradley should be fired by email and told to find his own means of transportation back to the States.

Posted by: So Md | July 3, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Obviously I means Hugo Sanchez (sorry, Hugo).

Posted by: So Md | July 3, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

(R) Freddy Adu is God.

Posted by: fckalihi | July 3, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Adu just blew up the U-20 tourney. Dos Santos who?

And Zizzo...I'm impressed.

Posted by: Holy Cow | July 3, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"Kljestan did nothing so I hope he doesn't play again"

Oh but he did do something! He missed a wide open header from the 6...

Posted by: edgeonyou | July 3, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

They needed a point, they were handed three, and they went home with zero.

Tonight's game was one of the most despicable displays of finishing by a national team of men who get paid for playing this game that I have ever witnessed. I am personally embarrassed to be a part of the same soccer nation as the American attacking players on the field tonight. Tonight it became clear to me that as a national team we will not be consistently successful against stronger competition until some of these guys go to Europe to learn how to finish, no matter how many possession oriented, American style, chances they create.

I am still fuming, as it is only minutes after the game has ended. I just still cannot conceive how a team of professionals can blow five easy finishes. It is simply unbelievable.

Soccer is really a simple game. You don't win by keeping more possession than the other team, or by having more nice spells of play than the other team, or having more corners than the other team, or controlling the tempo of the game. You win by scoring more damn goals than the other team. That is all it is.

Some games you can go over and be like, you can't call all of those chances goals, you can't say they would have scored five goals...well in this case you can really say that. Those should have all been goals. End of story.

For some reason this is making me mad at MLS. I love the league. I follow my local club religiously and support everything the league has to offer. But right now I cannot fathom how many of the best players in said league can fail to finish an easy chance against not even that good a team. I mean, this is no Argentina, and we still lost 3-1.

Suddenly I want every striker who could ever score a goal in MLS to catch the next boat to anywhere, so he can experience a finishing drill or something. Of course this doesn't all make sense, but in some convoluted way it does.

I now turn my eyes to the U-20 World Cup, where I am depending on every player with some type of attacking skill on that team to take whatever offer abroad they can get. I beg you.

Posted by: castroviejo | July 3, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

here is something from another blog i found intereseting:

If you think Paraguay is "not even that good a team" you are totally wrong. England, Sweden, France... had difficulties to beat them. They have players who play among the best: Santa Cruz, Gammara... May be, the first you and your team should learn is to respect the adversory, there is no small team in football.
I feel you depressed, so i will say you that: see the positive and don't be so impatient. Ten years ago no one of these countries of South America would wanted USA as adversory. No french knew the existence of a soccer usa team.
Otherwise, Football is the most popular sport/game in the world, it means that each nation would be the best at this game. Even what you probably consider like poor small country, like South America countries have ambition, talent and often more footballistic history than USA. Participate to the Copa America is a great honor. You seemed to think(probably the disappointment) that only Argentina or Brazil, in this cup are better than USA, but it was right, they should have won all the titles, but it is not exactly the case.
Morever, France for example had waited a long time despite they have very talented players and trainers before been be Champs.
What you need before all is Children and passion. The more you would have Children who wil play football, (in the streets, or in clubs) the more you will have luck to find among them a Zidane. In a certain way, by this blog you contribute to the increase of passion and knowledge of soccer in your country.
Finally, what i really judge frightening in this team is not really the attack ( 2 goals on two matchs is not so bad(it is more than France for example none vs Argentina, and one against Paraguay) no it is the defence which in my opinion made the decision. 7 goals in 2 match it was too much, enormous. The goalkeeper has no the level, too old, not enough rythm, bad decision, i think there is better GK in usa than him. And the defence, too static, too "naîve",(at this level the pass toward the GK without a regard= a crucificion.)
Posted from France

Posted by: castroviejo | July 3, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Goff is going to hurt the U20 mojo - stay away!

Posted by: JSF | July 3, 2007 8:42 PM | Report abuse

One of things that a lot of people who are up in arms about the lack of finishing is that when you load players up with responsibilities that they are not used to, or you ask them to play and react at a speed that is faster than they are used to, they often will appear to perform up to the level that you are asking due to adrenaline, but you will see breakdowns in their game doing what seem to be the most basic, simple things. That is what we saw against Paraguay - a bunch of guys playing with a speed of thought that they were not used to and being able to do it, for the most part, but breaking down badly at key points in the game.

The thing that I don't understand is this - Where was the outrage BEFORE the tournament? Didn't Bradley release this roster way before the tournament? Didn't he say BEFORE the tournament that the Gold Cup was his priority? Why are people waiting until the inevitable happened to show outrage? Wasn't this pretty much what was to be expected? Did people think that he was planning on schooling a top Argentinian team with a B side? Why is any of this a surprise? If someone has a problem with it, the outrage should have been shared before the tournament, not now. What is happening now is what was going to happen all along. He let us know. Are people mad because the expected our B side to walk through top South American competition? The group of players that he chose have done as well as you could possibly expect. They played well with the inevitable breakdowns that you are going to get when you ask so many players to step up so many aspects of their game so much at once. I thought that it was to be expected, but I guess a bunch of people thought all of these new guys were going to go kick everybody's ass.

Posted by: Former Coach | July 4, 2007 4:30 AM | Report abuse

Seeing if I can make a link work . . .

All the goals in the U-20 USMNT v. Poland.

Posted by: nameless | July 4, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The U-20s showed the kind of poise in the attacking third and hae a balance to their team that the "B" senior team at Copa America lacks.

We have a decent player pool headed into World Cup qualifying, Olympic qualifying and Confederations Cup. Expectations on Pietr will no doubt grow.

Should be interesting to see what players move up/down in the depth chart for the senior and U-23 team.

Posted by: Bill in Md. | July 4, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Former Coach: The outrage started when Bradley was chosen, increased when he stated that the GC was his priority, and continued when he released his roster. Now the outraged are enjoying their "I told you so moments." However, as you rightly state, Bradley told us so long ago. No surprises here.

And for those who think that we are desecrating the most sacred Iglesia de la Santa Copa America by bringing a young team: How many times has a CONMEBOL country sent a "B" team to play the US when we brought our best? How many times have they used a match against us to audition young players? How many times have they not taken us seriously?
Shoe, other foot.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | July 4, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: So Md | July 5, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

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