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U.S. Men's Thread

Optimistic Jonah Freedman column.

Chicago Tribune story, with the U.S. suggesting they perhaps deserved a bit better.

KC Star story, mentioning the "12 glorious minutes" in which the U.S. led.

Straightforward AP account.

Your thoughts go here.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 10, 2007; 10:17 AM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Next: That's Right, 11-0


I was at Soldier Field yesterday (from Kansas City). Quick thoughts:

- Game was not well advertised in Chicago I had several locals telling they did not know Brazil was playing the US.
- The field was HORRIBLE. It was very uneven with missing patches of grass and it looked very hard. The Brazil delegation came out and you could see everyone shaking their heads as they talked to stadium officials. This is embarrassing for the Bears and US soccer.
- Crowd was lively and evenly divided between US and Brazil supporters. Note, however, that too many people wearing yellow jerseys were NOT Brazilians. Lots of Mexicans, Americans (yep) and other nationalities wearing yellow. This explains the subdue crowd (fro Brazilian standards). Games in LA are quite different.
- Not sure if Robinho was fouled on that play at the end of the 1st half but his moves by the corner flag were just amazing (Cherundolo is still looking for the ball).
- Cherundolo played better than I expected. So did Bradley.
- Wolff and Beasley played as well as I expected. Poorly.
- I really don't like Onyewu but despite his own goal he wasn't too bad. Still bring Conrad back.
- Brazil did not use Maicon and Gilberto as effective as they normally do. The field conditions made it hard to play on the flanks, for both teams.
- It's amazing to see how much Robinho changes positions around the field. And once he has the ball, he creates spaces for himself and others.
- Ronaldinho was taking it easy on purpose. Kaka played harder but had trouble with the field conditions on his runs.
- Did I mention HOW BAD this field was?!
- Overall a very entertaining match that was well worth the high price of admission. US played very well (within its limitations). Brazil played well, despite not having much time to practice and being unaware of the Americans intensity.
- The ref was terrible. Bad calls against both teams.
- Look for Brazil to step it up a notch against Mexico. They're not happy about the recent trend against El Tri.

Posted by: JP | September 10, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

We played a great game against a great opponent. I never expected to win, but we were looking to be the better side for pieces of the match.

This was a prime example of how a ref can ruin a game with poor calls. It's tie for worst showing between the awful field and the horrible official; it should have been a 3-3 tie between the two "champions."

Posted by: J-Mart | September 10, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else watch BSPN broadcast? Please allow me to vent and hate on Eric "Whine-alda" a bit. In the first half Dave Obrien earnestly questioned him about the plausibility of the Yanks instilling a "samba" style of game. I think this is a joke b/c the even the Brazilians have trouble doing so anymore. Anyways, Eric of course humored us and said maybe, sometime, in the future. Then in the 2nd half he hates on Bobbey Convey for trying a cheeky move past a Brazilian defender b/c he couldn't beat the defender!! Well, he tried didn't he? Took imagination I suppose, other than playing the back pass. He is so annoying, and of course he criticizes Dempsey for not flopping in the box like he would. Oh wait, Eric, did you ever play in the EPL? No, and the fans would've castrated you for diving!! Ok I'm done, oh yeah Demerit and Conrad over 'Los and Gooch in central D, Feilheiber disappeared until 2nd half...

Posted by: Huey | September 10, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I hope this game finally resolves one issue for the US team...Never to call up Bobby Convey onto the national team again. For years, I have been waiting for his potential to show and it has never materailzed when he has played for the National team.

Posted by: Soccer Guru | September 10, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

A very entertaining game. Some thoughts:
1) Great defensive effort all around, especially in the defensive midfield.
2) Why didn't the forwards pressure the Brazilian backs more? Every time they did, the Brazilian backs made some mistakes. This is what Mexico did with great results.
3) USA needs someone who can actually cross the ball. How many times did they have someone on the wing who couldn't put the ball accurately into the box.
4) How many times did they miss a wide open forward on the wing. One more wide pass would have broken the wing in all alone.

Posted by: Hincha Tim | September 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes a very entertaining game! This game was a great measuring stick for the national team to know where they stand in regards to the best team in the world. I also hope the US Soccer Federation schedules more friendly games with Brazil and other top ranked teams (i.e. Argentina) between now and the next World Cup.

As for the players, I can't wait for Jozy Altidore to grow-up some more and help Dempsey in the front line. We also need more help at midfield. Beasley is not the answer.

Posted by: Soccer Fanatic | September 10, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I was also at the game yesterday and agree with alot of JP's points. Game wasn't well advertised here, unless you watch the Spanish-language stations, though they did have 4 guys from the USMNT throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game earlier in the week. (No strike from Donovan.)

The crowd was a good one considering that this friendly was scheduled late and started at the exact same time as the Bears' first game of the season. Also, it was more evenly split than I expected -- Brazil has a big bandwagon, but like JP said most of them are fairweather fans and they weren't really into it.

US looked really nervous at the start and just seemed heavier than their Brazilian counterparts. Granted the US scored first, but it could easily have been 2-0 Brazil by then had a couple things gone differently. Tim Howard played a great match. But until the final minutes the US was absolutely in this thing and had a chance to win. All things being equal, a great effort from the US.

Posted by: Andy | September 10, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Yes, entertaining game.

But just to be a downer, I don't see the US making progress. I am not at all as optimistic as Freedman is.

Posted by: ursula | September 10, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Freedman wants to put every game in Chicago? Bull.

Congrats to Chicago for hosting two good ones, but when RFK goes back to soccer specific, watch and see how fast and how well that stadium hosts games.

Posted by: DC Centurion's Shield | September 10, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo might have been our best players yesterday. Spector or Simek will inherit that right back spot sometime in the future, but Cherundolo solidly owns that position when healthy. For those complaining about a lack of service from the wings... I know a certain young American left back that can send in a pretty good cross, and his name is not Bornstein.

Posted by: Shatz | September 10, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it was the greatest effort in the defensive third, but the Yanks did a good job to break them down in the mid considering who they were up against. Good movement on and off the ball, I like the way Bradley has us playing as a team. Gooch and 'Los still make me uncomfortable on the ball, they each scored a goal by deflecting the ball off their bodies while running towards net. It was a tough break for Gooch, but I don't see how he is superior to Conrad or Demerit. Granted Brazil was pretty much gifted on Ronaldinho's free kick, poor play by Bradley Jr. in the box w/3 defenders and one attacker.

Posted by: Pele | September 10, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Jozy, Holden, Burch, I am waiting to see you all in the red white and blue.

Posted by: Felix | September 10, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Yep, Eric Wynalda is probably the worst thing about US Soccer. It seems every comment is intended to show how good he was. I thought commentary was supposed to be about the game and players. Another beef - yes the ref in this game made mistakes, but Eric trounces the refs in every game! I ref (not at that level obviously) and I can tell you, Eric needs to open the Law book. That guy is the worst.

Posted by: Eric stinks | September 10, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I think we can all agree Wynalda is a horrible color guy and embarasses soccer fans sometimes, expecially when he tries to make NFL predictions. But he sticks up for the game no matter what and that has to get respect. He does always rip the ref, but this guy was bad. That being said, Brazil made the most of their chances and seemed to score at will, almost like DC vs the Revs, tho they didn't have as much help and the black & red did from the ref...

Posted by: Revfan | September 10, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

when brazil wanted to, they showed skill we weren't capable of as a team.

we may have one or two guys that have it, but not as a team. that was on display in my eyes.

donovan is best in the middle, imo. while benny has skill, he'll have more in a few years.

bradley's lack of finesse is emphasized against teams like brazil. he's 3 or 4 years away from even being considered for a full 90. rico would've been better imo.

the ref was aweful. there should've been a pk for brazil and us at different points of the game.

while everyone is saying it was a close game, i disagree. brazil could've easily been leading by 3 at the end of the first half.

Posted by: redd | September 10, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Stop calling donovan in.

He doesn't want to play. He's sad about not being captain and being stuck out in the Adu role on the wing. He probably doesn't feel comfortible there. He's tired form traveling and losing with his club team. He's our most gifted (not best!) player and he doesn't seem to care.

Stop calling Donovan in.

Call someone who wants to play.

Posted by: Looking Dangerous | September 10, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Very disappointed to see the Brazilian take a dive to try to draw a foul and set up Ronaldinho's game-winning direct kick from just outside the 18.

More disappointed to see the ref call the foul, as opposed to the proper call of carding the player for diving.

And of course I didn't enjoy seeing the ball go into the back of the net after that poor dive and call.

Posted by: Flopping in a friendly | September 10, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The funniest part about the broadcast to me was Wynalda praising Ronaldinho for his humility. For some reason, I didn't think that was a trait that Wynalda valued at all...

Posted by: JJH | September 10, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

From Ives - USMNT to play South Africa (the day before the MLS Cup)

Posted by: emanon | September 10, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Stop hating on Wynalda - at least he knows the game. I think DOB was getting paid to say the word Bundesliga as many times as possible even though Wolff is in the SECOND DIVISION with 1860, not the first. Yes, Clint had a good game with Fulham last week. We got it the first four times you said it. Just read what they write for you on the cue cards, Slappy.

Posted by: AndrewM | September 10, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Humility is a very valuable trait - in others.

Posted by: Eric Wynalda | September 10, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Overall a good game by the U.S. I said that if gooch played he be responsible for at least one goal and have a hand in others. Boca and Demerit are the best pair to be playin the middle of defense(both are going to be around in 2010. we need a winger on the right side of the field! as for anyone saying anything negative about beas'...he can outpace alot of players and his defensive work is amazing, he never stops running! Also his defensive play allows for overlaping runs with our outside backs.

Posted by: XioPik | September 10, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

As much as I detest Dave O'Brien's play by play (and I use that term loosely) calling in soccer (he's probably good at baseball...and should stick to that instead), he is actually right that Josh plays in the Bundesliga.

Both the first and second divisions in Germany are the 'Bundesliga'... 1.Bundesliga and the 2.Bundesliga. American fans usually only refer to the 1.liga as the Bundesliga, but both divisions are part of the Bundesliga.

The 3rd division is the Regionaliga and the 4th division is the Oberliga. Next year there will be 3 Bundesligas....1.liga, 2.liga, and 3.liga as they do away with the current Regionaliga. A little difficult but at least they aren't as confusing as England!

It was nice watching the game with commentary over here in Germany with ONE announcer on Premiere. No color commentator nonsense. He was also very commplimentary to our American team, especially in the first half.

Posted by: Todd11 | September 11, 2007 4:26 AM | Report abuse

I rate Beasley's performance as poor. He pulled out of tackles, got pushed off the ball every time, didn't create much, wasted crosses, and was generally ineffective.

Donovan, also, was a waste of space. Why does he totally disappear in games? He couldn't hold the ball, couldn't push it forward, couldn't deliver services/crosses...he was useless and appeared very tired.

We need to just give up on these guys, or at least stop thinking they're better than they really are. I don't know that we have a better alternative, but these two are not game winners.

Posted by: Andrew | September 11, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

That being said, Brazil made the most of their chances and seemed to score at will, almost like DC vs the Revs, tho they didn't have as much help and the black & red did from the ref...

Posted by: Revfan | September 10, 2007 01:18 PM
Two facts (even though we all know Dell'Alpa is allergic to them).

Fouls: DC 20 NE 5 (yep, the ref was clearly biased).

Last 2 games (one home, one away each):
DC 8, NE 2

The teams created that aggregate, not the refs. Take your hanky and go home to Nichol, Revfan.

Posted by: Throwin | September 11, 2007 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Idiotic statement of the week, from Freedman's column, "It's looking unlikely winger Bobby Convey will ever make a difference for the Yanks again, either."

We're talking about a player who looked better than almost anyone else on the team in the runup to and during last year's World Cup, has been out injured for 6-8 months, with appearances in 2 games in that could anyone make a judgement about the future based on his play at this point.

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