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USA Eliminated

Michael Orozco's early red card -- the third minute! -- put the Americans in a massive hole, and after a pair of Nigerian goals, all the USA could muster was Sacha Kljestan's late penalty kick. The 2-1 loss, coupled with the Netherlands' 1-0 victory over Japan, left Peter Nowak's squad (1-1-1, four points) in third place behind Nigeria (2-0-1, seven) and the Dutch (1-0-2, five).

Read the FIFA match report by clicking here.

Saturday's Quarterfinal Pairings:
*Brazil (3-0-0) vs. Cameroon (1-0-2)
*Argentina (3-0-0) vs. Netherlands (1-0-2)
*Italy (2-0-1) vs. Belgium (2-1-0)
*Nigeria (2-0-1) vs. Ivory Coast (2-1-0)

Tuesday's Semifinal Pairings:
*NIG-IC vs. ITY-BEL
*BRZ-CAM vs. ARG-NETH

By Steve Goff  |  August 13, 2008; 7:25 AM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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Comments

So was it a monumental mistake for Novak to pull Adu out at the end of the Holland game?

Posted by: Jester64 | August 13, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Yes. I would say more than monumental mistake to pull already suspended guy from an important game that needs more goals.
It is a mistery to me that Altidore was not in the game not long for every game specially he is the most offensive striker we have. Boooo

Posted by: td | August 13, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Michael Orozco!Michael Orozco!Michael Orozco!Michael Orozco!Michael Orozco!

Let's play the blame game, shall we.

Nigeria Loss-Michael Orozco! Nowak (why did this guy not play Charlie Davies earlier?)

Netherlans tie- Nowak! Sacha K.! Holden!
But remember SK did score in this game.

Japan-Oh wait a second I forgot, we won that game.

Young players make mistakes. in the case of Michael Orozco! Young players can make catastrophic mistakes. Oh and by the way as much as I love McBride he did not fir into this team at all.

Posted by: Johnny | August 13, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

(repost from previous post)

If I'm going to complain about officiating, it won't be on Orozco's bonehead elbow ... it'll be the PK awarded to the Netherlands on a shove just inside the box late in the game against Japan.

My player rankings from USA-Nigeria

Guzan: 6, several reaction saves kept the US in the game
Wynne: 6, a beast on defense, took ball away from Nigerian attackers repeatedly
Parkhurst: 4, gritty defending, but got beat on both goals
Edu: 5
Orozco: 0, red-carded for elbow in third minute
Klejstan: 4, his PK eases his rating; he continually gave the ball away in midfield
Szetela: 5
Holden: 5, several dangerous free kicks
Rogers: 3, abysmal tournament; he contributed little on offense and was worse on defense
McBride: 4, disappointing, got few chances
Altidore: 4

McCarty: 4
Feilhauber: 4
Davies: 6, hit the crossbar on potential game-tying goal

Should I give rankings to Bradley and Adu also? :D

---

I'm a big Marvel Wynne fan now ... and not just because of his name ... the man is a beast, and I see the men's national team in his near-future.

Time for McBride to retire for good. Say what you want about lack of service, he wasn't impressive when he did get the ball.

I've been a Klejstan fan prior, but Sasha was a huge disappointment in this tournament.

I don't want to hear Robbie Rogers name linked with the USMNT anytime soon. I almost hoped he'd get red-carded ...

And sigh ... not enough for Jozy in this tournament.

---

As long as officials continue to reward dives like Babel's with PKs, the players will keep diving.

Posted by: United fan in TN | August 13, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Good job, Orozco.

Posted by: Skyler | August 13, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Altidore was doing next to nothing in the first half today so his substitution was OK with me. Feilhaber came in and gave the team a better two way option.

This tournament was lost on the lack of composure by the US. The final 10 minutes against Holland and the first 3 against Nigeria.

Ironically, the US won the match in which they played the worst. They got better each and every game but the results got worse.

Posted by: A Rickey | August 13, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

You know, I don't feel any bitterness toward Nigeria.

In fact, to make things better, I received an email this morning from the King of Nigeria's lawyer telling me I am the sole inheretence to his fortune. All I have to do is send him my bank account and credit card number!

I love those Nigerians....give us free money and all!

Posted by: Ameobi | August 13, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Now at work - still disappointed in US Soccer again.

I won't blame Orozco or coaching decisions or smog or referees or anything.

We have two problems - we are catching up to a game that is still progressing. And we are still not putting our best players toward this sport.

That said, Kljestan is probably off to Europe sooner than later. So is Edu. So is Parkhurst.

We also need MLS to be a single table so guys in the league are actually competing every night.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | August 13, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

That was a kinda depressing way to go out.

Posted by: sitruc | August 13, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Novak to LA NOW!!! Perfect fit!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I am proud the way our guys played. Their tenacity defending was incredible. There were so many times defenders recovered for each other or snuffed what seemed to be a half chance for the Nigerians.

It is the little things that we need to improve on to make us get over the hump (e.g. Wynne's poor touch and cross after making an incredible run as he had someone wide open in the box... Holden's miff on the six where he had time to control and knock it in.)

I remember Gulati saying it once, but the US just does not seem to have luck on their side as they clearly were one of the better sides in the tournament.

Also, I think there needs to be criticism of McBride. He did not do much at all in this tournament and I'd much rather have put/kept Altidore up top.

Overall, proud effort, a few hindsight coaching errors/questions, and bad luck kept us out of the quarterfinals.

Posted by: Stone | August 13, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

As Nigerian-American, I was so conflicted watching this game. I really wanted Japan to hold Netherlands to a tie. But it wasn't to be, the Dutch just keep getting by with their luck and bad play.

I know Orozco is young but getting carded in the first 3 minutes of a crucial game is monumentally bone-headed. And on a play where the US got the free kick too.

Altidore wasn't doing much before he came out. Still I would have expected McBride to come out instead. He has done nothing significant except win fouls.

Regarding Marvel Wynne, he's really got to work on other parts of his game. All he has right now is speed. Sure you can't teach speed (thanks Balboa) but speed isn't enough at this level. He has to be a good option overlapping on the wings and crossing balls into dangerous positions.

Posted by: Bart | August 13, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Please explain why you put Robbie Rogers at left back instead of subbing McCarty in putting him on the back line, moving Rogers up. Altidore should not have been subbed out, McBride should have been pulled.

We had no attacking midfield. Nigeria was not playing a smart game. We easily could have pressed harder with Rogers in the attack. Feilhaber was awful. Whined about everything and did little to impress after he came in. He would have done better in back with Rogers up. Novak's subs puzzled me when he was at DC too.

Posted by: David | August 13, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Why is everybody saying Nigeria didn't play a smart game? Apart from the stupid challenge by the keeper (who I think was bored for the lack of action), I think Nigeria did well to press on the attack. As the Netherlands showed us against the United States, you can't sit back on a 1 goal lead. Especially when a tie won't do Nigeria any good. The say the best defense is attack and I thought Nigeria did that pretty well. Besides, the US team wasn't attacking all game long. So why sit back and let them (US) attack when you (Nigeria) can take the game to them?

Posted by: Bart | August 13, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Goff -

Any clue why the US Team covered the crest on their uniforms with tape? Were they really concerned about being targeted for wearing the red, white and blue? Didn't their kit make them stand out anyway from the other teams in their group?

Posted by: BaltoFan | August 13, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Most great players learn to control their emotions and think more. Despite coaching decisions, without those penalties in the last 2 games, we would likely be moving on. Tough way to learn that lesson. Less nads, more brains and skills.

Posted by: Albert Hall | August 13, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

It only looks like an elbow from behind the play. When you see the play from the referees angle it's hard to fathom why he gave a red card.

Posted by: Phillip | August 13, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

A quick math problem:

Two games, each with three possible results. What is the probability of the one combination of results that will eliminate the US occurring?

American soccer fans already know the answer:
100 percent.

Posted by: Jeff M | August 13, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Orozco should never be allowed to wear a US jersey again. Inexcusable red card.

Posted by: Bill | August 13, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

This is a big disappointment. Obviously we made our own bed. This game should have been a nonfactor if we got the 3 points against Netherlands. Multiple mistakes cost us that game, just like they cost us this game.
I've been following US soccer since 2001 WCQ and boneheaded mistakes seem to consistently cost us in these tournaments. I do believe coaching has held us back somewhat, but it really comes down to the players.
If we were eliminated because we were not one of the better teams I would have been fine with it, but the thing is we were one of the better teams and we should have advanced. Lets hope Bob can fit Bradley, Adu, and Altidore into the full team during the upcoming WCQ in order for them to be ready for 2010.

Posted by: bob | August 13, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Goff -

Any clue why the US Team covered the crest on their uniforms with tape? Were they really concerned about being targeted for wearing the red, white and blue? Didn't their kit make them stand out anyway from the other teams in their group?


Posted by: BaltoFan | August 13, 2008 8:30 AM

----------------------

I had heard that the teams were not supposed to wear the logos of their respective football federations on their Olympic uniforms. You'll notice that the other squads actually came up with Olympic-specific crests.

Frankly, I don't understand why Nike/US Soccer didn't jump at the chance to try and pawn off more "new" merchandise. The white tape covering the logo just looked ridiculous, bush-league even.

Posted by: DE | August 13, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Dissappointing end to a nice little run. Ozorco's red really deflated much of the hope and excitement I had for the team. They fought well considering.

I'm impressed with Novak's team.

But, it's over. There were a few good take aways from the tournament.

1: Adu does well when given space, but can be marked out of a game easily.

2: Aston Villa has a great young keeper.

3: Feilhaber is not ready for international competition and would sit on the bench in MLS.

4: Maurice Edu will not stay in MLS long.

5: While it was nice to see McBride wear the shirt one last time, his contribution to the Olympic squad was minimal.

6: A year of hard work in Europe will do wonders for Altidore.

7: Marvel Wynne is fast, which is good, but he hasn't learned how to cross the ball yet, which is not good. And,

8: Kljestan will see a lot of action in World Cup Qualifying.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Sad loss and somewhat predictable following the red card. They did an admirable job of holding on for as long as they did. Nigeria's constant problem is lack of discipline and it almost cost them the match. Nowak's one mistake was not having one or two more defenders on the team roster. These tourneys are won by teams playing good defense. He didn't have anyone to slot into the right back position when the match dictated playing for a 0-0 draw.

Several posters objected to the foul on Babel in the Holland match. From the both camera angles it was a clear take down and the official had to call it; no different than the call in the US-Nigeria match.

Posted by: Orange14 | August 13, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

@ BaltoFan:

the IOC doesn't allow national badges in the Olympics, unless it is a special Olympic Team badge. This was obviously the USSC badge, not the USOC one, and therefore had to be covered up or get fined. I think they used these unis because the ones specially made without the badges from the first two games were losing numbers (literally, look at McBride after Japan, he's missing a "1".)

Posted by: northzax | August 13, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Its easy to armchair this thing now, but man, I'd have loved to have seen more of Charlie Davies. He has speed and skill - and doesn't mind mixing it up.

Orozco - dead to me.

Think some of the criticism here is a bit unwarranted considering the US was playing with 10 men for 90 minutes tonight. Think a lot of the errors could be attributed to bad play. However, as much as I blame Orozco, there's still a seething anger at Holden for his dumbassery with a minute to go against Holland.

But, Robbie Rogers had no business out there in defense - looked like me trying to play defense in an Olympics... Then again, who do you bring in? Guess PN thought it was better to save the sub. One of those coulda, shoulda, woulda situations looking back on it.

I thought Sasha played okay - guy was running his ass off out there covering a lot of ground. Yes, he got sloppy late in the game but I think that was fatigue. To that point, he'd done a nice job, with a few exceptions, of holding things together in midfield.

Wynne is a few skill sessions away from being a pretty darn good player. Just hope someone is capable of helping him, but is it too late?

Adu and Bradley received some dumb yellow cards that came back to haunt the US. And word is that Altidore is still injured so he probably could not have gone the full 90 - that's why he came out.

But what do I know? I just water the plants and take out the trash...

Posted by: napoleondynamite | August 13, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Caught the 2H before work, was anyone else shocked that Kljestan took the PK? He made it, but prior to that he looked like he could barely stand up b/c he was so tired.

I also thought the team took way too many stupid yellows for dissent/time-wasting in this tournament.

Otherwise, what can you do? I thought the team did a good job in a tough group, and was a stationary wall/Davies header away from the medal round, but hey, that's football, sometimes the breaks go against you.

Posted by: New England Guy | August 13, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Once again, the USA is so close, but yet so far. We just can't seal the deal.

That said, I think the ref was a tool. I guess this means Orozco can't play in the next Olympics. ;-)

Posted by: Dave | August 13, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely inexcusable red by Orozco how can you get frustrated enough to throw an elbow within the first 3 minutes of the game? And to make it worse the referee had already blown for a foul on Nigeria. I just can not believe he made such a boneheaded mistake. Sacha continued to cheaply give the ball away in midfield as he did in the 2nd half against Holland. Until he cleans that up I can't see him getting much playing time for the national team. With all that said I think we out played Nigeria and deserved at least a draw but it just was not to be.

Posted by: dwbpnm | August 13, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Good effort by the guys and gained some experience, now they can return to their real jobs...

Posted by: Kev | August 13, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Every player that makes a mistake (no matter how big it is) should not be automatically elimnated from playing in the future.
Altidore is injured folks. That is why he didn't play that much and maybe why it looks like he wasn't hustling.
Nowak did fine. Except for US Soccer fans no one expected us to advance and we came as close as possible to doing so on two occasions

Posted by: Over Reaction | August 13, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I noticed sometime in the second half how much this game reminded me of the US/Poland match in 2002, except I was praying for Japan to score instead of Korea.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I got up too late to see the Orozco elbow. Just saw it on nbcolympics.com (how cool is it that you can see EVERYTHING online? Hats off to NBC for that).

The video did not give a good angle on the elbow but the referee did not hesitate so you have to believe it was there. Did you notice, however, that the guy he elbowed was the same Nigerian that tried to insert his foot through Orozco's ear a half minute earlier? Clearly a awful act by Orozco but I like his play and was hoping to see something that would explain it.

Posted by: Old Colt | August 13, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Why is it so hard for our fans to admit that *sometimes* the other team played a better game and/or is better?

Nigeria had a dynamic team out there today. They were exciting and creative. Sure they had some breakdowns in team shape, but they looked to me the better of the two sides hands down.

Understood we were playing with 10 men and that helped them a bit, but I feel that the right team advanced out of this round. I'm not upset about this result at all.

Posted by: USAfutbol | August 13, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I was frankly unimpressed with the US play in each game - the late yellow cards against Holland - putting players out for the Nigeria game - were simply stupid (and the commentator during the game was justifying them). US didnt deserve to advance.

Posted by: CSH | August 13, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

overreaction: the only exception would be something that shows a lack of character and embarasses the team. and by that I mean a deliberate injuring of another player or throwing a punch at a coach or official. and that should only be a suspension.

but you're right, these are kids, let's not forget that. the ones that learn from this will be back. Anyone think Wayne Rooney should be left off the England squad for his bonehead red against Portugal in 06? how about Beckham kicking Simeone in '96? Becks is the only person to have been twice red-carded wearing the Three Lions, maybe he should have been left home from '05 on?

I know we're all upset and annoyed (by the way, how great is it to be annoyed that your team didn't make the next round in a tough group? this is new for us) some of these guys will learn from this experience and get better and stronger. some will wilt and vanish. it's the way of the world.

Posted by: northzax | August 13, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

we had a good team and not making it out of the group stage is not acceptable.

Posted by: joey | August 13, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"...the late yellow cards against Holland - putting players out for the Nigeria game - were simply stupid..."

Posted by: CSH | August 13, 2008 9:28 AM
----------------------------------------

I agree with you on that. And I think that's the reason why we don't do well outside of CONCACAF. We're too prone to mental breakdowns.

Physically, we're able to compete against any team and often more fit than most teams.

Technically, we're getting better, but still not to a level needed to be considered in the top 10, but hustle and heart often covers for this weakness.

Mentally, we're immature (not in a childish way, but in a young and growing way). Too often we lose our heads, even for a second, that costs us games.

I think that this is why Mexico (and Mexican club teams) tend to be successful in international play--they're mentally strong and have a much greater understanding of how the game progresses.

But, what can you really do? We're an extremely young soccer nation. We'll get better. I don't see us winning a World Cup or even an Olympic medal any time soon, but we're getting better.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

USAFutbol I'm willing to admit when another team plays a better game than us. Example one would be the Japan game we were lucky to get a win out of that game as Japan certainly had the better chances. Does Nigeria have some good players who showed some skill and we would love to have playing for us? Certainly. But did they outplay the US? Absolutely not. I think we had more/better chances in the game but we lacked the composure to 1) not get a stupid red card and 2)finish the chances we created despite being down a man. And at this level the difference between winning and losing is often your composure under pressure. The good news is that this area should improve as our players play more and more games in high pressure environments.

Posted by: dwbpnm | August 13, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

bummed about the U.S. getting knocked out? YES.

BUT....even more bummed that a sorry, arrogant dutch team that did next to nothing walked into the next round.

that's soccer for you

Posted by: falls church | August 13, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen any games in this year's Olympics. How's the overall quality of play?

Brazil-Argentina would be an awesome semi-final, if it happens. However, if I had my choice, I'd like to see the Ivory Coast win it all.

Posted by: Moving On... | August 13, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Agree with what you say TCompton - I think that pretty much summaries where we are as a national team. Nevertheless I'm dissapointed as it seems there is enough talent in the US (player and coaching) to put forward a more mature effort.

Posted by: CSH | August 13, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Just saw it on nbcolympics.com (how cool is it that you can see EVERYTHING online? Hats off to NBC for that).

... Clearly a awful act by Orozco but I like his play and was hoping to see something that would explain it.

Posted by: Old Colt | August 13, 2008 9:25 AM

I agree on these points. I would add that I think the complete video feed on all events is provided by the Chineese organizers and NBC just buys it and posts it on their website, so hats off (I think) to the organizers and to NBC for buying it and posting it in a useable format.

I also liked Orozco's play in the tournament and was sad to see him go. The elbow was the wrong move at the wrong time, but it didn't seem that bad (this was no Charles Barkely elbow) and the Nigerian sold it well.

Posted by: Amanda | August 13, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Against Netherlands towards the end, I was screaming, "take out McBride"!!!! He wasnt running at all and they still had one more sub, could have taken more time off the clock. but no, he had to leave him in. And guess what? the goal went through his feet(McBride)

Posted by: JAV | August 13, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

off topic, but Ives is reporting that eddie lewis in now with LA, and Gibbs has joined colorado.

question. how can LA afford Lewis? must be that fuzzy math.

Posted by: steve-o | August 13, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Lets be realistic, McBride is old, he didnt do diddly squat, and to leave him in all three games, not doing much. Just makes me mad, lets get over it, he was a great player, but time wont forgive anybody. We have young guys could have been running more than him. USA made the same mistake, they made at the 2006 WC. Buy the way bad move by Chicago, Letting go a young talent, for McBride at age 36. Please

Posted by: JAV | August 13, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Against Netherlands towards the end, I was screaming, "take out McBride"!!!! He wasnt running at all and they still had one more sub, could have taken more time off the clock. but no, he had to leave him in. And guess what? the goal went through his feet(McBride)

Posted by: JAV | August 13, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Michael Orozco:

"Have you never been mellow?
Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you?
Have you never been happy just to hear your song?
Have you never let someone else be strong?"

Posted by: OWNTF | August 13, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

moving on: By looking at the pairing Brazil v Argentina won't happen. It will be Italy vs Brazil or Argentina. Unless IC surprises them.

Posted by: td | August 13, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

OK, the QF match-ups are pretty intriguing... but this tournament is still a joke. 4 more red cards today. Jeez

Posted by: Kev | August 13, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse


Agree with your summarization, TCompton. I'm nevertheless dissapointed as I believe there's enough talent (coaching and player) in this country to put a more mature product on the field.

Posted by: CSH | August 13, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Nigeria finish with 7 points? Two wins and a draw not a loss.

Posted by: Glenn | August 13, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

McBride was a disappointment, for sure--it seemed like he was in there to keep the other teams' back lines honest. But with no service and little creativity, the back lines figured out fast that he was a non-factor.

Our young guys are fast, moderately physical, and play a creative, surprising style of football. That's not the type of game McBride and the last generation of USMNT played. Putting him in was akin to trotting out ten men and a traffic cone, and I think that was one of our main weaknesses.

Sacha has to be the most infuriating player to watch--he is alternately brilliant with his vision and hustle, and then launches the laziest passes and awkward dribbles I've seen in a Nats game in some time.

Posted by: Logan Circle | August 13, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Ah, what might have been. So close.

Dumb fouls (e.g., NED freekick), dumber yellows (e.g., today's suspensions), and a dumbest red.

Really missed Spector.

I was surprised to see how poorly Feilhaber played. He's got to adjust the mentality or he's done.

Love McBride, but this didn't seem to be his situation. If Nowak wasn't going to play Adu in the middle, they should have brought in Donovan rather than McBride.

Davies looked very interesting and would like to see him again.

Posted by: Postmaster | August 13, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't disappointed at all because I had no expectations for this team. The team has talent but always underachieves.

And players need to be better coached on the distinction between playing with intensity and playing with emotion. Confusing the two leads to the stupidity of reactions like Orozco's and lets the other team take you out of your game or, as in Orozco's case, take yourself out. The object of the game is to win; not to defend your pride, retaliate against real or perceived wrongs whether by the referee or the other team. Unfortunately, Novak is not the coach who could even begin to teach that.

And how about a new poll? Which was more boneheaded? The US boxer who stopped fighting because he thought he had won before the fight was over or Michael Bradley who deliberately earned a yellow and took himself out of the third game?

Posted by: Arlington-VA | August 13, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

This isn't the first time Orozco has gotten a red card in the third minute of an important game either. I think he just gets a little too jacked for the big games.
I have to say though, the ref was more justified to give him a yellow and tell him to cool it than to give straight red at the beginning of such an important game for everyone out there. It's the beginning of the game and everyone's pumped up - Orozco was only pushing off the other guy after a hard battle for the ball. I'm not saying it wasn't high hard elbow, but come on - straight red?!?
One thing to remeber though for the bashers out there, he did assist the go-ahead goal against the dutch. I think we'll see him on the team again in the future.

Posted by: Oooffffff | August 13, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Nowak could've put Ianni in...

Posted by: RK | August 13, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

FYI NBC Olympics.com has the entire match, use the navigation bar in the comments to find plays . . .

Yes, it was an elbow, but more of a touch, really, not a vicious elbow at all. The Nigerian took it in the chest and flopped to the ground like he'd been shot.

Silly play, but the red card is way too harsh.

Posted by: delantero | August 13, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Ianni, Come on he is too slow and could have been beaten even more.

Posted by: JAV | August 13, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Edu completely loses his man on the first goal. All he head to do was stick with him and he would have cleared it, instead he ball watches and his mark slides behind him.

Simple stuff, this game

Posted by: delantero | August 13, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

On the second goal, Parkhurst falls on his arse . . . wow, that was bad.

Posted by: d | August 13, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

There will be three West African sides in the quarters. Interesting! But then African teams have tended to do well in age-restricted champtionships, including the Olympics.

Posted by: The Jeff | August 13, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, their keeper comes flying out with cleats up, takes out Edu with a high leg and is only shown yellow!!!

Posted by: de | August 13, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, mistakes by the players and the coach at the end of the Netherlands match now have to be paid for. Should never have come to this -- extremely frustrating!

Posted by: teamn | August 13, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Orozco was the worst player on the team, by far. What an idiot.

But, generally speaking, Bradley is as much at fault. His stupid inability to play a clean game is killing the United States. Same with Adu.

We should have won the group, but we end up going home. Unbelievable.

Posted by: Hacksaw | August 13, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The yellow on the Nigerian keeper was the right call, hew wasn't the last man back at that point - three other defenders were back there. It's right on the edge though, and the ref probably should have done it anyway to compensate for his bad judgement at the beginning of the game.

Posted by: Oooffffff | August 13, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

the last two games left me pulling my hair out, too, but I need to side with the folks looking at the positives. Everyone we saw play for the US had some great plays, some more than others (Adu, Edu, Altidore). And everyone made some dumb giveaways, dumb fouls, missed marks. But I think the level of play and potential compared to what we've seen in the past gives me hope for 2010, or more so 2014. The kids are definitely getting better. For a country that didn't put together a strong WC team til 2002 (no disrespect meant to the previous teams that we've built on, because they were the seeds), we're on a nice trajectory.

Posted by: e | August 13, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Who knows what would have happened if not for the red card, but Orozco should lose sleep over that BS for a long, long time.

Posted by: Anthony R. | August 13, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

And US fans need to stop coddling these players. The completely blew it and there's no reason to be giving them "credit" for working hard... They need to win or they need to find another job. Im sick of the US being the Boston Red Sox of the the 70s and 80s and 90s.....

Ugh.

Posted by: Hacksaw | August 13, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

You can be the best player in the world but if you can't keep your emotion in check during big matches then you should NOT be on the field.

Posted by: Dave | August 13, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Why do you have to be the last man to be sent off for a two footed studs-up challenge? That excuse is nonsense. The keeper should have been off.

Posted by: Nate | August 13, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I missed the game, since I came home late from the DC United US Open Cup match last night. Is it worth watching the match online?

I'm really disappointed we got knocked out. I thought this team had something special like the U-20s team during last summer. What ultimately did them in, it seems is the yellow/red cards and Stuart Holden's foul outside the box in the Dutch match.

You can't blame him too much for missing the breakaway in the Dutch match (or missing the opportunity to pass to Sasha); I'm sure fatigue plays a role at that point in the match.

Too bad about Orozco. I thought he played great the first two matches. I don't know if I've ever seen a match with a red card that early, though I remember when the Arsenal keeper got the red card early in their Champion's League finals against Barcelona a few years back and how much that changed the match.

Posted by: Bill in Md. | August 13, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

They blew it. No sugarcoating it. They had two huge chances to advance and screwed up. It is the Olympics, the goal is to medal and they failed...one BIG F

Posted by: Dave | August 13, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Any way you look at it the US in the last two games managed to snatch DEFEAT out of the almost certain jaws of victory.

This was a massive choke by the US. The blunders made by several players just shows their complete naiveté when it comes to international play.

I would have to say this ranks up there with perhaps the greatest collapse in US Soccer history to date.

Posted by: Nick from Big Soccer | August 13, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I think that this is why Mexico (and Mexican club teams) tend to be successful in international play--they're mentally strong and have a much greater understanding of how the game progresses.


Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 9:40 AM
-----------------------

And our one player who plays in Mexico's first division is...

Posted by: Chris | August 13, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Whoever said that the Nigerian keepers' challenge on Edu didn't deserve a red simply because there were other defenders is dead wrong. I'm sorry: the dudes cleat was KNEE HIGH!!!!!!! It wasn't a matter of him being the last defender, it was a matter of his challenge being insanely reckless. Not to mention the referee didn't even call a foul when the last defender dragged Davies to the ground in the 80th minute. The straight red for Orozco was crap. Replay confirms it. The referee bought the Nigerian's acting, which is a damn shame both for the US and for the integrity of the game.

Posted by: Reston, Va. | August 13, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Orozco should never be allowed to wear a US jersey again. Inexcusable red card.

Posted by: Bill | August 13, 2008 8:49 AM

------------------------------------------

And there's our first over-reaction of the day.

People do stupid things. The kid make a huge, huge, huge mistake, but let's not jump off a bridge.

Posted by: Brian | August 13, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I am still bummed out about this. It is going to take some time to come to grips with how we played ourselves out of this tournament.

I am frustrated with Orozco. He is a kid with a bright future. I expect more, especially from him (because of the level that he is playing at).

Same goes for Bradley. The first yellow was silly. The second??? C'mon.

Ditto for Freddy. The 2nd yellow?!?!

Bradley had lame excuse. Fredy brushed off his responsibility ("that's football...I can't lower my intensity")

These are guys who are playing in hardcore soccer enviroments. That is not to down MLS. I love MLS (heck, I love the USL). I'm just saying that these weren't boneheaded moves by some guys who have a hard time getting minutes in an MLS match with the first team.

I am incredibly frustrated right now. It's gonna take some serious time.

Oh yeah, McBride--he looked subpar. All of the sudden, what looked like a very clever choice before the games (we were assured that he would reagin his form) looked more like a lifetime achievement award. If anyone deserves one, it's McBride but this wasn't the time or place for the testimonial match...

I'm still trying to evealuate Nowak's performance...

Posted by: yankiboy | August 13, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

think that this is why Mexico (and Mexican club teams) tend to be successful in international play--they're mentally strong and have a much greater understanding of how the game progresses.


Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 9:40 AM
-----------------------

And our one player who plays in Mexico's first division is...

Posted by: Chris | August 13, 2008 11:38 AM
-------------------------------------------
Chris, you beat me to it...

And that is a big reason for why I expected more and am so disappointed in Orozco (and likewise Fredy and Bradley).

I'm not disowning any of them. They are our boys and I appreciate their efforts. But like some previous geniuses already stated, we need more than efforts, we need results...

Posted by: yankiboy | August 13, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

does this mean McBride will play for Chicago against us on Saturday night?

Posted by: Glenn | August 13, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

For those lamenting Freddy's and Bradley's yellows...I'm sorry, but those were crap. Bradley's second was stupid. The first? A complete non-foul. He shouldn't have flirted with disaster to draw that second yellow.

Freddy's? The first was crap. The second? He was just running out the play, actually got his foot on the ball, and Vermeer sold it like typical Euro trash. That was a crap call, IMHO. Freddy was perhaps a tad overexhuberent, but I won't slam the kid for running out the play and trying to make something happen.

But the sum of those four yellows was way, way harsh.

Posted by: Reston, Va. | August 13, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

As a team, USA had huge disciplinary problems. They had to play Nigeria without their key midfielders, and then a man short for 85 minutes. When a squad has these problems, look to the coach.

Going forward, Wynne can take your breath away. Defending, he can cause heart attacks. On Nigeria's first goal, Parkhurst was a traffic cone. Wynne could have gone down to block the cross. He didn't.

Did Orozco learn elbowing in Mexico?

The two biggest coulda, woulda, shouldas: an injured Spector not on the team. An out-of-fitness McBride on it, especially when he's forced into the lone-striker role.

As for player reputations, it was a bear market. The USA has lots of work to do for 2010.


Posted by: Running Cloud | August 13, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I HATE you Orozco you mental midget

I HATE you Holden you dutch double agent

I HATE you Wynne for not knowing what to
do with a ball in the final 1/3

I HATE you Nowak for not putting in Davies earlier and for pulling Adu in game 2

I HATE you Bradley for being the coaches son and getting an idiotic red

I HATE you Rogers because you suck

I HATE US SOCCER, ARRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: Hater | August 13, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I think that this is why Mexico (and Mexican club teams) tend to be successful in international play--they're mentally strong and have a much greater understanding of how the game progresses.


Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 9:40 AM
-----------------------

And our one player who plays in Mexico's first division is...

Posted by: Chris | August 13, 2008 11:38 AM
-----------------------

Just because Ozorco plays in Mexico certainly does not mean he represents the Mexican national team's or their club team's understanding of the game and success in international competitions.

Plus, he plays for San Louis. Given that they've never won an international trophy, kind of excludes them from my earlier statement too.

But I'll assume that you knew that and were just giving me a hard time.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

And you can apply my last statement to Michael Orozco too...

Between the watching the United game last night, the Olympics late last night, and the early morning disappointing US loss, my sleep deprivation is leading to dyslexia.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Did Orozco learn elbowing in Mexico?"
YES, YES, YES, he reacted like the mexican player.

Posted by: OrlandoGator | August 13, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Those blaming Orozco for the red card need to get a grip... Orozco acted out, but the Ref must be on the Nigerian payroll to give a straight red in the 3rd minute.

the Nigerian keeper's foul on Edu was just as bad, if not worse than Orazco's elbow.

but, why was our center back the one that had to earn the penalty kick ... McHead was useless today.

Posted by: Brian | August 13, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

People, the red card was deserved. This is an Olympic tournament, not the EPL. You can't throw elbows. Period. The fact that our team was not prepared for this realty and frequently lost its composure is a major coaching failure.

Posted by: DCU | August 13, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The fact that our team was not prepared for this realty and frequently lost its composure is a major coaching failure.


Posted by: DCU | August 13, 2008 1:48 PM
---------------------------------------

Blaming a coach for a player lossing their composure is about as baseless as blaming the Nigerian who got elbowed for the red card.

It was harsh call, but FIFA's instructions are to give red cards for intentional elbows, which it was. What can you do? It happened, you move on.

Orozco helped the US qualify for the World Cup, was selected as a Best XI in CONCACAF Qualifying, and had an assist against the Netherlands. He made a mistake, got punished, and will hopefully learn from this... if not, oh well. It'll be his loss in the long run.

The guys on the field are professional athletes. All of them. If they lose their composure, it's their actions--not the coaching staff.

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

There I go again... not the World Cup, the Olympics

Posted by: TCompton | August 13, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

There I go again... not the World Cup, the Olympics
==========================================

You're not alone. At halftime of the WFED broadcast last night, we learned that Heather O'Reilly scored the fastest goal in WWC history earlier that day.

Posted by: The Jeff | August 13, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

lol at the ref being on Nigeria's payroll. That's just a hoot right there.

BTW, Nigeria clearly outplayed the US. What with the US trying to defend for 90 minutes (blame Orozco for that). Also, anyone remember another US player (Benny) getting a yellow card AFTER the ref had already awarded a free kick to the US. Yet he kept running his mouth like he was entitled to something. That's what killed the US: mental mistakes. Freddy Adu thinking every little nudge on him ought to be a free kick; Bradley forgetting he was already carrying a yellow; Holden causing a stupid free kick and Orozco using his elbow AFTER he had already gotten the free kick call.

Posted by: Bart | August 13, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

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