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Adios, Costa Rica

That's my message as I prepare to head home after a fourth trip in about a dozen years to the land of Pura Vida (and volcanoes and rainforests and, of course, Spencer and Heidi).

The headline also serves as the catchphrase for the U.S. team, which suffered yet another humbling experience at Estadio Saprissa. The 3-1 defeat, which was never really in doubt, places the Americans in a precarious situation as they quickly turn their attention to Honduras on Saturday night in Chicago. While it's not a must-win situation, they do not want to carry a two-game losing streak (or even a home tie) into Azteca in August.

"We need to learn from tonight, but the most important thing is getting over it as quickly as possible, taking what you can from it," Landon Donovan said before the team boarded a charter flight to Chicago late tonight. "We have three days physically and mentally to turn it around against a very good team who has been resting and preparing for us all week."

Read my match report here. Player ratings? Not today. No one would earn more than a "4", so why bother. I'll leave it up to my wise Insider loyalists to score the underachieving participants.

"Obviously, the game on Saturday takes on an increased importance given the result tonight," USSF President Sunil Gulati said. "This early in the competition, one game sort of changes the momentum quite a bit. So it's very important we bounce back. Obviously, we didn't have a great game tonight. Bob [Bradley] knows that, the players know that. ... The early goal changed things quite a bit, and we didn't play well. We've played better here in the past and not come away with a result, but clearly tonight the better team won."

Looking ahead to Saturday, I asked Gulati why the USSF chose to play Honduras, which has a strong following in the States, in a big stadium instead of a soccer-specific venue, where the U.S. team usually has a distinct home-field advantage (i.e. Columbus vs. Mexico and SLC vs. El Salvador). From early indications, the majority of the 50,000-plus in Chicago will be supporting the Catrachos. For Gulati's explanation, keep reading this thread.....

"The size of the [Honduran-born] population is nothing like the Mexican population or even the Salvadoran population, for that matter. So you do all the research you can and at some point you've got to be able to play in some bigger venues. Bob and I talked about it earlier today, and he said, 'I think the guys would rather play in a game where we have a big crowd -- some of it [supporting the other team] -- rather than play in a stadium where we have 10,000 people for a game that is a World Cup qualifier.' I think that's a plus; I don't mean just for building the sport, but even for the atmosphere for the team. We'll see what it is like. ... I'm not sure what the crowd will look like Saturday, but given the sales, it may well be that a lot of fans are rooting for Honduras."

By Steve Goff  |  June 4, 2009; 2:40 AM ET
Categories:  Costa Rica , U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchnight: USA-Costa Rica
Next: Thursday Morning Kickaround


Move Bocanegra to left back. Start Gooch and DeMerit at CB on Saturday.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | June 4, 2009 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Translation of Gulati: "We didn't think we'd crap the bed in El Salvador AND Costa Rica, so we wanted to cash in on this game instead of caring who wins. Our bad."

Posted by: mjr24 | June 4, 2009 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Dear Gulati,

Population has nothing to do with's about passion. There is enough of a Honduran population that has the passion to go out to the park and watch their team once every four years try to qualify for the World Cup. Based on previous Chicago attendences, the US passion is lacking. Uh-oh.

Posted by: LAfanofSI | June 4, 2009 4:35 AM | Report abuse

US Soccer totally screwed amazes me how dumb/arrogant they can be.

we just got killed in Costa Rica and now are hoping that we win a "home" game to get to ten points and be looking good for qualification.

Why are we playing in Chicago/Honduras?

Why is US Soccer so stupid/arrogant? Do they really think that we can qualify playing all our games as the "visitors"?

Columbus...Salt Lake...or if all US Soccer cares about is money/stadium capacity...just play in Seattle (cept when we play Mex of course)

Terrible.....terrible....Bradley is crap....the usual american thoughtless...brainless coach...half our guys aren't playing for thier clubs...we only have one GK on the roster that is good ( Brad autogolazo is better than Keller/Hanneman???)...and we got totally worked by an average national side.
Ahhhh....what the hell!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: matthewjfyoungs | June 4, 2009 5:00 AM | Report abuse

That was the worst 90 minutes of my life.

The players had no confidence, no desire, no heart, no passion, no energy.

They should have simply forfeited if they were going to play like that.

I don't know how much, if any, blame can be put on Boss Bradley's shoulders. I thought he put a fantastic formation out on the field, and made good substitutions (although I thought Torres played very well in the first half). None of the players seemed that they wanted to be on the field.

Concrete turf should never have been allowed by FIFA. What a joke. How is any team supposed to play when the ball is constantly bouncing around up to their head.

Very bad day today. See you US supporters in Chicago tomorrow.

Posted by: adamsunited | June 4, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

The best player for USA, Torres, got subbed out. What's up with that.

Posted by: Barracudas | June 4, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Mastroeni, Beasley and Dempsey were dogs. Mastroeni missed key tackles on first and second goals. Beasley was just plain lost. Dempsey didn't complete a pass all night.

Posted by: Alsatian1 | June 4, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Gogg, you are being a little harsh. I probably would have given Torres and Davies ratings of 5. Of course we'd also have to give the first "2s" out to Beasley, Wynne and Pablo. I agree on the threes and fours...why bother.

Posted by: Beckster1 | June 4, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I think you can even make an argument that Torres earned a "6" in the first half. He kept possession well, made a lot of good passes, and disrupted the Costa Rican midfield when he could. I remember 1 instance where he gave up the ball deep in our own end, but fought not once, but twice, to win the ball back and start a counterattack. Why Bradley subbed him is beyond me.

To me, the worst players out there were some of the veterans that we're supposed to rely on in these hostile environments. Specifically, Donovan, Mastroeni, and Beasley. Donovan's free kicks and corner kicks were just awful. I have girls on my U-16 team that can take better corners and free kicks than he did tonight.

Maybe it is time to give some new kids a chance. Besides Torres, I thought Altidore did OK, relative to the rest of the team. He at least was trying to create some offense and did well holding onto the ball when it was cleared upfield.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | June 4, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Torres is going to be ok. He did fine on the ball, but he was a defensive liability last night. He was involved in the first 2 goals - not to say that Beasley/Wynne/Mastro, etc weren't ghastly either?

Sandy - what time are you going to be in Lot 8, tonight?

Posted by: J_S_F | June 4, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Enough with the Beasley experiment at left back. It's one thing to play him against T&T, it's another to play against quality teams. Someone better tell Coach Bradley to get a bona fide left back. You can't expect to take Beasley to the World Cup as a left back.

Posted by: tundey | June 4, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

"... I'm not sure what the crowd will look like Saturday, but given the sales, it may well be that a lot of fans are rooting for Honduras."

Sunil! Are you insane? You (ie. USSF) MUST do everything to give your team A HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE! PERIOD!
May GOD save you if the US loses to Honduras this Saturday night and we fail to qualify. You will be fired along with BB. JMHO

Posted by: Granitza78 | June 4, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

And why is Altidore starting when he's no match fit and coming off toe surgery?

Posted by: tundey | June 4, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I gave up after 45 minutes, which was 45 minutes after the team gave up. That was just awful, rec-league quality at best.

Bradley completely screwed the pooch coming out with an "offensive" lineup against an amped up CR side. Beasley is not a left back, indeed, he is not NT material anymore -- get a job playing and not sitting Damarcus and audition for a spot later. If Wynne had no speed, he wouldn't start even for Toronto -- no ball skills, no tactical smarts -- just fast. Mastro is past his sell date, that "effort" on the first goal was sad.

Simple rule -- if you are not starting for a club, you won't get called up. Maybe that might convince some of these idiots -- calling Freddy Adu and Jozy Altidore -- that going to Europe for the big bucks at big teams for big money might fatten your bank account, but if you want to play for your country you might have to sacrifice and play -- gasp -- in MLS or a "lesser" Euro league for less money. You can't win games with guys who aren't playing in competition week in and week out and are not match fit.

Finally, this is all Peter Nowak's fault for resigning and taking the Philly job. :-)

Posted by: griffin1108 | June 4, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Move Bocanegra to left back. Start Gooch and DeMerit at CB on Saturday.

Posted by: mjhoya12

Amen, brother.

Here's my player ratings.

Howard-6, for showing how good a shot must be to get by you.

Wynne-3, Gooch-3, Boca-4, Beasley-(-1)
Dempsey-4, Bradley-4, Mastroeni-hari kari, Torres-5
Donovan-4, Altidore-4

subs. Klejstan-4, Adu-5.5, Davies-6

I thought Adu did an excellent job when he came in. He didn't dribble straight into the wall of defenders, he used finesse and incisive passing(the only miscue was a fast pass that would have been fine on another surface). Him getting a shot on target was a victory for the US. Davies over Ching any day.

Beasley, retire. Mastroeni, I never wanted to see you again. Veterans, shame.

Bob Bradley? Last night we watched the failure of your system. The Stifling conservatism was blown away by skilled oppostion. The Confed cup is going to be a massacre.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 4, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Translation of Gulati: "We didn't think we'd crap the bed in El Salvador AND Costa Rica, so we wanted to cash in on this game instead of caring who wins. Our bad."

Posted by: mjr24
-------------------------------------------Ding! Ding! Ding!
We have a winner.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Torres might have been a bit off defensively, but he was the ONLY player creating last night. Down 0-2 and you pull the one guy who is creating opportunities!??!?! It was a shocking sub in my eyes. If anything, Bob should have put in Clark or dropped M.Bradley behind Torres in the middle, providing him some D help and more freedom to create. Does Beasley care? Confidence is not high, repeat confidence is not high.

Posted by: ddd001 | June 4, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

And why is Altidore starting when he's no match fit and coming off toe surgery?

Posted by: tundey

Because he was one of the best players on the field?

Best players out there were Torres, Jozy, Davies and Adu. Onyewu wasn't bad, but had to clean up for Wynne.

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure what the crowd will look like Saturday, but given the sales, it may well be that a lot of fans are rooting for Honduras."

-Suni G to US Soccer Press

Wow. I thought long and hard about the above comment (ok, not really). I was trying to think of some sort of other ridiculously hypothetical statement that I could conjur up just for comparitive purposes:

Would the eyes not roll back into your head if you read:

"I'm not sure what the crowd will look like this Saturday for the 1PM matinee show, but given the sales, it may well be that a lot of those in attendance will be children under the age of 8"

-Manager of Verizon Center to Washington Post Entertainment writer when discussing an upcoming performance of Walt Disney on Ice.

How does Judge Judy say it when she hears utter nonsense?: "Don't pee on my leg and tell me that it is raining..."

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

To all of those wondering why Bradley subbed JT, I have only one theory that kind of would make any sense:

That game was for all intensive purposes lost by halftime and he was saving Dude for Saturday.

Nothing else makes any sense unless Dude was injured in some way that we don't know about.

He certainly wasn't the wort guy out there defensively.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

yanki: I think he also played 90 on Sunday.

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

@RK: Excellent point. I was sleeping on that, one. Thanks.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the field was crap - but both sides had to play on it, so I don't buy that excuse. Simply put, the Ticos had more urgency and better / quicker ball control. The latter neutralized many issues with the surface, and the former allowed them to exploit the fast surface as well as the disorganized opponent (namely, us).

Given the experience that we had in many of the players, the "intimidating atmosphere" excuse won't work anymore either.

We simply laid a stinker pretty much all over the field, coach included. Put that one away to analyze another day and reset in preparation for Honduras in Tegucigalpa-go, IL.

Posted by: 22206no1 | June 4, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

If the ratings for the game last night are down, you can blame me - I turned it off after goal #2.

I hoped to wake up and wish I hadn't walked away and would scramble through the TiVo to see the excitement I missed. However, that atmosphere, that turf, and that performance made for an hour and a half I spent on other things.

The USMNT will really need to figure it out this Saturday. With a certain German back in California, as much as I like Bob Bradley, I don't think one would be taking too much of a leap to see Sunil push him off the former Sears Tower early Sunday morning if the result is not good.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | June 4, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Bob Bradley can SUCK IT.

Posted by: DrewROC | June 4, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Predictions on the confed 2/10 !? What is our record in Africa? 1-0?
Euro benchwarmers and mslers that don't seem to travel well. At least we play well at home even if the crowd might be against us.

Posted by: gode | June 4, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Pablo is the Jeff Agoos of 2002, the Claudio Reyna of 2006 ... the veteran player who is past his prime. Get him off the field.

I applauded bringing in Sasha to start the second half ... until I saw they replaced Torres. Poor move. Torres showed better ball control than the rest of the team.

Wynne played poorly but I'm not convinced he doesn't have a spot on this team in the near future ... love his speed and he played well in the Olympics last year.

That said, I would like to see Jay DeMerit get some playing time too. Our defenders' ball possession makes me cringe.

Adu and Davies need more playing time, though I'm not giving up on Jozy and Dempsey.

The commentators said after the game that the USA missed Ching. Please. If our World Cup hopes are pinned on Ching, we're screwed.

Posted by: Cerealman | June 4, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I guess we should be thankful. Gulati could have stuck the Honduras game at RFK again.

Posted by: Hoost | June 4, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Ok, that was not a pretty, fluid performance last night. And yea, there will be a lot of Honduran supporters at the game on Saturday.

But I will be there, in my seat two hours before game-time. If you are concerned about how many Honduran supporters will be in Chicago, or how many Salvadoran supporters will be in Salt Lake City, or how many Costa Rican supporters will be in D.C., let me offer an option to worrying: buy a ticket to the game.

I understand the response--bad economy, work, family. Whatever. I haven't spent a dime on going out to lunch or dinner for the past 3 months. That was more than enough to buy a 100 dollar plane ticket, 100 dollar hotel room, and (gasp!) a 75 dollar ticket at midfield at Soldier Field. I even saved enough money to bring the family (ok, the girlfriend) and lost two inches off of my waist by avoiding Chipotle.

I'll eat lawn clippings while I am there if I have to.

In short, stop whining or complaining that there is not enough support for the USMNT in a specific city. Are you going to be there? Are you bringing friends with you? Last I checked there were 10-15K seats left (probably cheaper seats, and still with awesome views of what will be an incredible experience). If those seats don't get filled or they get filled with Catrachos, does it still make sense to blame Gulati if you aren't sitting there next to the Catrachos, yelling louder and more fervently? It's not like this game is being played in Honolulu, folks.

Gimme a break. As most of the MNT players demonstrated after the game last night, we need to take responsibility for our own actions. The fans are no different.

Oh, and GO USA.

Posted by: TwinCity | June 4, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Beasley is HORRIBLE. He has no touch with the ball whatsoever. He's been coasting on his rep since the Italy game.

Posted by: leafblower | June 4, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I guess we should be thankful. Gulati could have stuck the Honduras game at RFK again.

Posted by: Hoost | June 4, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse


At 10:00 am in the morning!

Posted by: Verrazzano | June 4, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I really like Torres. Lets put him in the middle of the field and see how he does. He has plenty of skill. Maybe its wishful thinking, but I see a new Reyna...maybe. But really, we have so few guys with a lot of skill, lets work hard to build what we have.

My patience for Donovan is waning...and it never really waxed much after he turned 22.

He was trying to be a team leader out there...which is nice, but I'd prefer him to only do that if his leading improves how we play.

Overall, I was not pleased with our performance...especially on the third goal...that was the worst defending I have ever seen, simply abysmal.

Posted by: bigbadbri | June 4, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

From Goff's article: DaMarcus Beasley, a midfielder who had performed so well in the back against Trinidad and Tobago in April, returned to that role, and Oguchi Onyewu and Bocanegra filled the middle. With veterans Steve Cherundolo and Frankie Hedjuk unavailable because of injuries, the big issue was at right back. Bob Bradley chose Marvell Wynne, whose only appearance this year was in a friendly against Sweden in January.

I don't think Beas played well in that game, defensively, and the fact that he was our starting LB on the road in qualifier was just as much a problem as Wynne.

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Really glad I stayed up late last night. It was like watching a bad MLS game in August on the old RSL pitch.

Background music for Sunil's quote: Money, Money, Money...

Don't forget USSF gets 15 percent of the take on all Mexican and other international matches played on US soil, so let's enjoy that income and not get greedy when we really need 3 qualifying points. I really hope their plan doesn't backfire. Hopefully Sam's Army shows up in force.

Oh, and why did Bob take Torres off the field at halftime? He should have got him more involved and either made a straight sub for Beasle or put him in his natural position. DMB was either jet lagged or someone kept him up in Costa Tuesday night. He was a fish out of water at left back last night.

Posted by: getanewnumber10 | June 4, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Altidore started because Ching is injured. NOt pinning WC hopes on Ching, but he is still far more consistent and effective than Jozy. Not to mention he doesn't have the diving theatrics that Altidore seems to be grooming on the bench in Spain. Granted he helped us get a goal with his song and dance, but I really can't stand the throwing up of the hands crap. It's disgraceful.

Again I'll admit that Torres had some defensive troubles but, blame the only guy who looked good on the ball, the only guy that I can remember completing passes is stupid. He was the only cat out there that had any success slowing the game down and holding the ball. Bradley had some major mistakes too, but in the end his contribution was evident. He was much better in the second half.
One more time: Pablo Has Got To Go! What were him and Donovan arguing about anyway? Who was going to win the invisible man of the match? Ugghhh.

All in all that was a terrible performance. I'm blaming it on them not wearing the away jersey. The anthracite is working on the road, why switch it up?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 4, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I remain shocked at how technically poor we are. The number of balls that arrive in the ground but pop up on the first touch is ridiculously high. CR had far less trouble with it -- I can only imagine how much better they would be on good grass.

And how many crosses did we get on the end of? The Costa Ricans were better in the air, too.

Until American players are as technically efficient as all of our southern neighbors, we will continue to struggle against them. And it starts with the youth coaches.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 4, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I can go two ways on this. Either Bradley had already decided he could do no better than a tie and so smartly decided to see what Torres, Beasley and Wynnn can do(Torres passes, Wynn gets another chance, Beasley fails utterly)or Bradley is in fact what he appears to be, a rather pedestrian coach with no ability to inspire creativety and drive in his team.
Its pointless to harp about Ching and our winger/forwards, if he won't put in a midfield that can hold and pass the ball and develop some interplay. Betcha he goes with two holding midfielders against Honduras even though his son can't play and this would be a great time to add some offensive spark. Wonder if they have replacement coach in mind if we "bomb" in the next few games?

Posted by: Ruthie1 | June 4, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

That 3rd goal was MB being exhausted and dispirited. Not an excuse, of course.

I thought this game was lost on the wings. Beas was dreadful, and Wynne was clumsy. Their play compromised the middle -- especially Onyewu, as at least Beas would end up in the right position.

And there's no way a US team is going to win on the road if the defensive 4 is questionable.

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

That's it. We need to get Mia Hamm out of retirement. She has more cajones than most of the MNT that played last night. For good measure, throw in Brandi Chastain. Maybe she'll score again and, um, advertise.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | June 4, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Twin City: You make some valid points about buying the tickets. Now that i have a small child. The travelling days of Sam's Army for NT & WNT days are pretty much on hold unless they are playing in Philly or a four hour ride of the Balto-DC corridor.

For Dudes like you and my brother who can travel to Chicago to support the Nats much props.

All I'm saying is sometimes it is a bit more complicated than just a little sacrifice and that opposing supporters have families and economic considerations, as well...

I hear what you are saying.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

1. The Ticos came hell bent for leather and exploited our weaknesses early and often. They were the better team by miles and deserve credit for that.

2. Soldier field v Toyota Park is a trivial issue. We need to learn to win in front of immigrant crowds and to stop whining about it. If you want a soccer league in the USA, you need to sell tickets to Latinos. The other side of the coins is that they will support their home countries against the US. American soccer cannot have it both ways.

3. TwinCity Send me some Summit Great Northern Porter, would you?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

joedoc1, CR was fantasic on switching the field -- whoever was out wide was usually quite wide open.

MB had a lead foot last night.

Congrats to Mastro. No card!

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The top poster has it right. The Beasley left back experiment is like the Eddie Lewis one. Boca would do fine there, move him over and be done with it. We have far more depth at CB.

Bradley has to get out of 2004. Beasley, Dempsey, and Donovan shouldn't be automatic starters any longer. How many games like this does Landy have to disappear from before people get the message? "Oh, but he scored"...great.

Bob's coaching moves were again stellar. Torres, best player on the field in the 1st half, gets removed for Kljestan, whose biggest contribution was a YC. We only really started to look dangerous when Adu and Davies entered the game.

Lastly, Marvell Wynne looks like an overmatched Jiminy Cricket out there. He has no business playing at this level whatsoever. What was the explanation for Spector being out of the 18?

Posted by: vaindependent | June 4, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm on the other side -- I can't see why anyone would blow hundreds of dollars to go to a soccer game. And I surely don't have any friends or family crazy enough to join me.

World Cup, maybe...

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse


I appreciate your reasoned response. My son, who will be six in a couple of weeks, came with me to the USA-Costa Rica game in Salt Lake City a few years back. Sure, you can question the parenting, but having a young one yourself, you are probably starting to appreciate that every parent has their own way about them!

I should have clarified that my arguments were confined to those who complain about the specific city in which a game is held. I am no spring chicken, and understand that there would be sacrifices to make. But I maintain that it IS that easy. Perhaps I am a USMNT supporter in the mold of an obsessive European football fan, but the basic premise of my argument is this: you should not complain about where a soccer game will be played in the UNITED STATES, solely for the reason that the other team's supporters will show up. It reeks of a lack of accountability. If someone is going to be a die-hard, passionate (if reasonably critical) USMNT fan, do it right. Notably, that is less of a problem with readers on this blog then on, um, other blogs.

By the way, congrats on the family. My son likes to guess who will be playing for the U.S. before each game. Get those kids interested early and often.

Posted by: TwinCity | June 4, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I only complain that the US doesn't play in Atlanta :)

Posted by: Reignking | June 4, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse


I don't think I have tried the Summit Great Northern Porter. I drink the EPA all the time, along with 312 and Bell's Oberon. I'll do what I can, assuming there are no laws prohibiting such efforts :)

Posted by: TwinCity | June 4, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Has any journalist asked Bradley straight up why he subbed Torres at halftime? God, I really wish we lived in a soccer-mad country just so the journalists would be all over the coach for a mystifying decision. I just don't get it.

Posted by: EssEff | June 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Sure no one would have gotten above a 4... But would anyone have gotten less than a 1?

If you ask me, Dempsey and Mastroeni are both candidates for the goose egg (or even less)...

Posted by: dcbird | June 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

1. Part of why we looked so bad last night was the turf--it's a huge edge for CR. No, I don't think FIFA should ban it. It's like Latvia playing Euro qualifiers in sub-zero temperatures, us playing in SLC (altitude, dry air, difficult to get to directly for foreign teams), Guatemala playing at Chichcastenango in the rainy season and so on--their local advantages. Part of it also is the crowd. Our guys started poorly and it snowballed from there.

2. I suggested starting Wynne. He plays on turf and is fast. But you also recognize he's got a lousy first touch and has poor technique. So now we know--at the international level (where there is less space and time) he's a long way off--I can't seem him even being an outside shot for 2010.

3. As for why not starting Spector, my understanding was that part of this was to start Wynne one match and Spector the next and given Spector's injury issues, avoiding turf was a consideration. Let's face it folks--we've got some issues. Even if Spector shines against Honduras, he may not have the wheels to start consecutive games in a Confed Cup or World Cup.

4. Starting Mastroeni was a smart decision on paper but one that I was against. American fans have a few snap shots of him and have really overblown his game. For every fine game he's had as a D-mid, he's had just as many where he shows an inability to cover ground, poor decisions with the ball, poor decisions about tackling/fouling. I think not having Edu (healthy and in-form) for this match hurt. It wouldn't have changed the result (maybe we lose 2-1) but we'd have looked better. Mastroeni at this stage is like Wynne--neither can handle an international match where the play is quick and the time on the ball is limited.

5. The decision to go with Chicago always smacked of cockiness and making money. Bad choice by Bradley. And if we win, that does not mean all is right with the world (and I do think we'll win).

6. I think we got a very good illustration of how critical it is for Donovan to have someone big to play next to (ala McBride or Ching). And when he plays out wide, he disappears for big stretches in great part because very few of his teammates see the field with vision or distribute the ball well.

7. This is also a killing illustration of where we are when so many of our best players (DMB, Adu, Altidore, etc.) aren't getting minutes so they're shells of what they could be.

Posted by: JoeW1 | June 4, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The week for Sunil:

ka-ching - game at Soldier Field is selling like hotcakes.
one of his teams - the Revolution - got a gift call and won.
his other team - the USA - played horribly and got rolled.

hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, right Sunil?

The baffling decisions and conflicts of interest at USSF continue to amaze - in everything from refs to tickets to game locations to the US Open and on and on.

USSF is right to try to make as much money from games - but has to keep the overall situation in mind. Nevertheless, I totally agree with TwinCity that US fans should step up and buy the tickets, and I am guilty as charged. I've made many road trips before to see qualifiers, but I couldn't do it this time. My bad.

And I'd agree with other posters that BB should really consider not giving playing time to players that are riding the bench for their clubs, no matter what the club or player in question.

Posted by: CDRHoek | June 4, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Last night, the (US soccer) Nats were worse than the (DC baseball) Nats. Sure, the baseball guys got rained out. But it still hurt.

I think Alexi Lalas summed it up best at halftime: "The US is making Costa Rica look like Brazil." Can't wait 'til we get the real Brazil in 2 weeks...

I pray on everything holy that someone tells DeMarcus Beasley to stop reporting for National Team camp until he:
1) gets a regular job as a professional soccer player;
2) learns how to pass to players wearing the same color shirt as him;
3) stops his tendancy for perfect passes to the other team and terrible balls blasted at guys' stomachs to his own team;
4) learns a move (besides run in a perfectly straight line)

Seriously, someone please identify to me how DMB is a better soccer player at age 27 than he was at age 21 playing for the Chicago Fire. 'Cause he ain't.

Posted by: DWE4 | June 4, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Twin City - kudos to you for making the sacrifices so you can attend Saturday's game in Chicago!

Certainly eating out less can add up to a few hundred dollars in savings in several weeks.

I'm amazed by how critical the US fans on this blog are. I couldn't watch much of the match due to attending my daughter's graduation, but I'd prefer to look at the total World Cup qualifying run that Bob Bradley's taken this team on. He's gotten maximum points except for away to El Salvador and away to Costa Rica.

I'll give him and the team the benefit of the doubt for a tough night in San Jose, which is just the latest of several we've had there.

Keep the faith!

Posted by: billindmd | June 4, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Although that was a complete waste of 90 minutes and an insult to the US fans who travelled there, it pales in comparison to the non existant side that Bradley mastered for the US England match in Wembeley. WHAT THE HELL IS HE THINKING AND WHERE DO TRAVELLING FANS APPLY TO GET THEIR MONEY BACK?

Posted by: dsheon1 | June 4, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@bill: C'mon Bro. I guess because you had family duties and you weren't able to see the macth you are not able to fully appreciate the debacle that was last night's "match".

It was bad, Bro. No. It was really, really bad. The worst WCQ match that I have seen our boys play in about 12 years I'm not counting the last ime that we got routed in San Jose becaue we had already qualified and sent what was very much a B team so that they could get some more experience).

Sure, Bradley has done a decent job. The US is "supposed" to win its home games.

This is CONCACAF. If the US doesn't perform well then the supporters have every right to be disappointed, annoyed and concerned.

Right now I am all three of the above. It isn't the fact that we lost, it's how we lost.

Pathetic performance. Subpar.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@dsheon1: With all due respect to you, Bro. Bradley's got enough on his place with tactics, analysis and results. I think that adding in the burden of "Do the travelling fans get a good show" aspect is a bit much.

On a fan level, I can feel where you are coming from but from a more pragmatic approach, it would be a bit much for Bradley to weigh that in to his tactical decisions and player selection.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Sunil, I'm still waiting for your call.

-Jay Goppingen

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 4, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Until American players are as technically efficient as all of our southern neighbors, we will continue to struggle against them. And it starts with the youth coaches.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 4, 2009 9:36 AM |

Look (I can fling the lingo with the best Chicagoans -- take that, Obamans) -- the USA is way behind other nations technically, and I suppose that some of it can be laid at the feet of clueless suburban dads who've signed up to coach their kids' teams. From what I've seen, practices aren't really practices -- just disorganized scrums.

But, really, the biggest problem is the kids and their lifestyles. They don't live and breathe the sport. They're not watching gobs of it on TV -- and they don't walk around all afternoon and weekends with balls attached to their feet. Until that changes don't expect to see too many USA players able to pull down a long pass in stride, or with the moves to lose a decent defender.

As for the comment above about getting players to accept smaller bucks and playing in lesser leagues -- there's some truth to that. Look at what Costa Rica did with a combination of local club players and those playing in Switzerland and Belgium.

However, I suspect, the blame must also fall to MLS. Especially with regards to the marquee talents, MLS has placed a high price on them that allowed only a few European leagues to play. Players have to be open to playing in lower leagues for a couple of years, if it gets them in the games. There are only a couple of Bradleys and Dempseys that crack the first team of top-flight football in the big 4 leagues. I hope Gooch doesn't overestimate his reach -- he's made tremendous strides at Standard Liege, and it would be a shame to see him go backwards because he stops playing every week. Similarly, MLS has to be more realistic in its transfer demands.

Posted by: fischy | June 4, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

First of all, anyone who's blaming the turf is burying their head in the sand. You can blame bad turf for some things, but not the atrocious team defense that the US played. The fact that CR dribbled with ease around the entire US team so often on bad turf makes it even more embarrassing, not less.

Second, Coach Bradley has to start taking the blame for his poor line-ups. Playing a completely out of form Altidore, who hasn't stepped on a field in months? Ridiculous. I know Ching was out, but expecting anything our of Jozy was wishful thinking. Beasley at back? Terrible choice against an experienced CR team...and to not sub him out at halftime when it was obvious he was overwhelmed was a poor decision. The same can bee said for Wynne. I know that Specter has had injury problems, but he played almost every minute for the last month in the EPL. Why can't he get into the US line-up?
Obviously, the Sasha for Torres choice was suspect as well, but that's been discussed a lot already. frustrating. The starting 11 was bad enough, but Bradley's inability to make any useful adjustments is getting scary.

Posted by: icehippo | June 4, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@Twin, I admire your dedication and raising your son in such a hardcore, fan type of enviroment. That is really cool. As my daughter gets older, I am looking forward to back to trying to travel to see the Nats. Local MLS/USL/NCAA any Nats appearances, I got that part down, already. I'm working to try and get to the point that you are at. It's been a process.

Much respect.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree Torres was the only guy out there capable of holding onto the ball and getting to somebody upfield. How many backwards passes did Boc and Masstro have last night?
I get why the lineup (injuries, playing surface), but why not Wynne, DeMerit, Onyewu, Boc at the backline where you have people in their comfortable positions and help for Wynne? Beasely can sit on our bench every bit as good as he can for Celtic.
Donovan disappeared like he always does. Will he ever put a shot on goal from a moving ball?
Playing a 4-3-3 should have helped with pressure on thier transition game but Donovan, Altidore and Dempsey did nothing to slow them down. The whole team played 2 steps slower than CR. Just a terrible performance from the coaches down to the players.

Posted by: jsm3 | June 4, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The Nats can't go on with this level of coaching. Fire Manny Acta.

Posted by: fischy | June 4, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

In all fairness to the boys, some of last nights first touched were due to the field.
I didn't say "ALL".

I just said "some". If they are making the same mistakes first touches on Saturday then I will keep my mouth shut after I admit that I overestimated the importance of not playing on a baketball court surface covered by obsolete carpet.

If the game was on grass or better field turf down there, they still would have got lit up last night if they gave that same, sorry performance...

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@yankiboy - so you're saying that it's not worth the effort to watch the entire game on, huh?

I suppose it's good that our expectations as US fans is growing over time.

The Honduras match will be big and a large crowd in the stadium should help to motivate the players. Honduras has sometimes played better on the road than at home over the last couple of WCQ cycles.

Is Wilson Palacios available, given that his brother was kidnapped and killed, forcing Palacios to take leave from Tottenham Hotspur?

Maybe Julio Cesar "Rambo" de Leon could stir the pot a bit and complain again about the lack of quality medical care that the Honduran Federation gives its players?

I understand that David Suazo is injured. Phew!


Posted by: billindmd | June 4, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Call me loco but we could really screw Mexico if we let Honduras beat us on Sat. and El Salvidor beats Mexico...Just sayin'.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | June 4, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse


I know I'm giving away my age, but I was actually at the game the last time the Nats did play in 1977. US vs China. So, theres always a chance. ;)

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | June 4, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@yankiboy - so you're saying that it's not worth the effort to watch the entire game on, huh?
Bill, I'm not saying don't watch the entire game. if you want to, watch it and analyze it for yourself. See if you get a different perspective. Maybe you will have a different take. Maybe it will just reinforce your the position that you already have. Watching it once was enough for me. It hurt enough the first time and I am pretty sure that I, personally will not find anything new and positive to take away from the experience.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Like most, I was shocked, appalled, embarrassed, etc. In particular, I thought Pablo was awful, Beasley was worse and Wynne was just indescribably bad.

To me, it seemed obvious watching the game that the field made a difference, in particular on the attack where getting a well weighted pass was very tough. CR did better with that not just because they have some skilled players who played well, but because they know the bounces on the concrete better than our guys.

This does not excuse the whole team, and is definitely less of an excuse for the defensive performance.

The love for Torres seems a bit excessive. Once he setled in, he did better and I want to see him play more. I would have preferred to see Sacha, who played surprisingly well, come on for Pablo at the half, but Torres also got roasted on defense several times and he is supposed to be a two way player. As usual, I also think the LD haters are way over the top. I sat through the whole painful thing and noticed him still putting in the runs and coming back to help on the other side of the ball late in the game. He did better than most with the surface. I have always thought he is just average on the free kicks but there were several last night where there just wasn't enough movement to take advantage of a decent ball. He would get a 4 from me, along with many others. Unfortunately, the only performances notable enough to get out of the 3.5-5 range were, Wynne 1, Beasley 1.5 and Pablo 2.

Posted by: sportsparenttoo | June 4, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sold on Torres at all. He may have had some good touches (at least more than a lot of other guys on the team), but his lack of defensive presence may have directly contributed to each of CR's first two goals. That nets a low rating. Beasley is good in the left wing spot where he and Donovan can set each other up. I'd like to see Beas and Torres compete for the left wing spot, and see someone else entirely (Spector or Bornstein) at LB.

I've never understood the persistent use of Marvel Wynne. You could find 3 or 4 better right backs just looking in MLS, one of them is playing right here in DC even. Hurry back Frankie!

How about this for Saturday?


I really wish we had another forward who could fill in for Ching though, because I think Altidore is better as a sub right now. Kenny Cooper? Conor Casey? Twellman? (shudder) Can McBride unretire again?

Posted by: DCUMD | June 4, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I posted this last night, but got cut off when Goff posted the new thread:

Quick player ratings:

Howard - 5
Wynne - 3
Gooch - 3
Boca - 3.5
Beasley - 3.5
Bradley - 1
Mastro - 2
Torres - 5
Dempsey - 3.5
Donovan - 5
Altidore - 6


Kljestan - 4
Adu - 6
Davies - 6


Bob Bradley - 3

Absolutely pathetic performance all-around. Nobody played "well" with the exception of maybe Adu and Davies, though neither had the time to make a proper impact.

Bradley was atrocious. Mastro was too. Kljestan was close, but at least gave half an effort defensively. None of them were anywhere near existent offensively. At least Torres settled the game down after the first 15 minutes (though he was also atrocious to start the game) but Bradley and Mastro literally did nothing, offensively or defensively. It was nearly mind-boggling to see the only offensive threat in the midfield pulled at halftime, while the two pylons kept their spots parked in the center of the field.

Wynne and Gooch got beat on an elementary wall pass for the second goal. And both got beat in the exact same way (chasing the ball instead of running with their man). I don't know where these guys are being coached, but these are simple, simple mental errors. It's embarrassing.

Altidore was the only starting attacker worth a damn in this game, except his major contributions (drawing fouls) were immediately effed up by some of the worst set pieces I've seen from professionals. He was the only one with balls to take a man on, he nearly turned his defender in the box for the only legitimate chance of the game, and showed good strength on the ball. He had zero help, though.

In the end, I think this is a game where you simply just throw it away and try not to think about it too much. Not much will be learned from this victory, other than feeling of the pressure to perform in a hostile environment. The vets played just as bad (if not worse) than the "green" youngsters, so it's impossible to attempt to take anyone to task without taking everyone to task. Regroup, get your heads focused, and come back with an attitude against Honduras.

Posted by: psps23

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The US will never be in the top 8 at the World Cup with cheatin bob as coach and with gulati at the Fed. I don't know how we change the Fed so sigh and accept the management from amateurs (relative to the futbol world).

cheatin bob sure does inspire one on the sidelines, does he not?

Go United and skewer some pink beef 2nite!

Posted by: GrillMaster | June 4, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

No offense psps23, but its kinda hard to take you serious when you give MB a rating of 1. At that point, you're just hatin' on him. I think the overwhelming consensus here is that DMB was the worst player on the pitch last night and yet you give him a considerable higher rating than Bradley? And in your little synopsis of the game, you have no problem ripping Bradley and others, but yet Beasley's name is nowhere in sight? Me thinks your agenda is showing rather easily.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | June 4, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I gave Beasley a 3.5. Is that supposed to be a quality rating?

Beasley was terrible last night. But Bradley was god-awful. The worst player on the pitch. By far. There were zero redeeming qualities from his game. Zero. Two goals came (at least partially) as a result of his atrocious defensive lapses. Goal #2, Bradley doesn't enter the defensive 3rd until AFTER the Costa Ricans were celebrating their goal. Piss-poor defensive tracking. Inexcusable from a center-mid. Then on the 3rd goal, I was simply speechless. Zero effort to pressure the ball, allows the attacker to turn inside and run to the box, then gives up 100% as the attacker takes one touch by him. Inexcusable. Pathetic. Embarrassing.

Offensively, completely absent. He did nothing offensively the entire game.

Then on top of that, his moronic penchant for cards popped up yet again, in a losing situation, knowing that he would be suspended if he got another. Mentally, he wasn't there.

And I like Bradley. I'm pissed he has to miss the next match. And I've already stated that he's too talented to leave off the field. But this was the worst performance I've ever seen from Bradley, and I'm having a difficult time thinking of a worst performance I've ever seen from a US player. I know people here love him and cut him slack because of his youth and past performances, but I'm not pulling any punches. He was by far the worst player on the field.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I have clear memories of the last time the US lost a WCQ at home.

The game was vs. Honduras and it was at RFK. It was notable because the crowd was about 90-10 Honduras and the US players were obviously dismayed, not to mention the emotional lift it gave the Honduran players.

That was a lesson learned. Too bad it has once again been forgotten. I get the feeling history will repeat itself on Saturday.

Posted by: gmoneydaddy | June 4, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@soccerparenttoo and DCUMD--Thanks you. Torres had some good moments trying to advance the ball but Dude had some bad defensive moments as well.

What is with the "Torres was the best player on the field last night--by far!" stuff???

Dude looked composed with the ball moving forward. Maybe because everybody else looked so scrubby, Torres good moments are being a bit over-exaagerated.

Let's see what he does on Saturday when he has to deal with the Catrachos. Dude can play but it's the defensive matchups and who he gets grouped with laterally and behind him that will play a big role.

Also depends on with Honduras team comes. The one that plays really well or the one that underachieves. You just never know with the Catrachos... Their performances might be even more inconsistent than ours in some ways.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Goff thanks for asking the hard questions. Gulati's answer is crap like many have posted. Why doesn't he come and say that its all about hte money. Event then bring them to Seattle or to L.A. and pre-sale to the club fans first. Its basic 101. Freaking idiots!

Posted by: silentbat | June 4, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Shake up all the lines. We should have talent out there someplace. Pablo missed all night on anything he tried. DeMarcus is not a left back. Our playmaker must have stayed home. We stunk. Do we have Josie up front for size only? He needs seasoning. Bring in someone who wants to score. Freddie wasn't a ray of light either.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | June 4, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I implore you to watch Bradley's movement on this goal:

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"I implore you to watch Bradley's movement on this goal:"

I saw Bradley working to clog the middle of the field...exactly what he's supposed to be doing. With the middle defended, CR played it outside, where they beat the entire US right side defense with a basic give and go that a high school team would have seen coming a mile away. The I saw a nice feed inside to an open CR player that had easily slipped his marker, who looked like Pablo M. I'd blame about five or six guys for this goal before pointing my finger at Bradley.

Posted by: icehippo | June 4, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

have clear memories of the last time the US lost a WCQ at home.

The game was vs. Honduras and it was at RFK. It was notable because the crowd was about 90-10 Honduras and the US players were obviously dismayed, not to mention the emotional lift it gave the Honduran players.

Posted by: gmoneydaddy


Your memory isn't THAT clear. There was definitely a large and vocal presence of Hondurans at that RFK qualifier in 2001. But the percentage increases every time the story is re-told.

I suspect that many SI posters were at that game, like I was. I'd estimate the crowd to have been about half Honduran (but far more vocal) with the rest mostly US with a few neutral fans thrown in. The US v foreign mix at the US-Mexico game in Columbus in February was not much different.

We can expect a sizable "away" contigent anytime the US plays a game against a country that is doing well in qualifying and has a large number residents in the US. It becomes a combination of national holiday and family reunion for them.

It's the nature of our demographics.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 4, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Jay Heaps and Bryan Namoff would have given us better outside back play last night. Beasley should not see the field ever again, and he can take Mastro with him. Wynne can run. period. Torres looked good with the ball but forgot that defending is part of his contract. Dempsey looked bored and played like it. Altidore didn't have the quickness of Davies, and Adu would have added some ball control and unpredictability. And I lay all this on Bob Bradley's shoulders.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 4, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@Joel_M_Lane: I'm pretty sure that I was the only USA supporter at that match. After Stewart's PK miss, my wife became neutral and my friend's newborn chanted "Soy Catracho."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 4, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"I saw Bradley working to clog the middle of the field..."

What "work" or "clogging" exactly did Bradley do? Stop the video as Pablo and Gooch converge on the left-sided midfielder for Costa Rica, and witness the massive gap between Boca, Gooch, and Wynne. Bradley was positionally oblivious, EXPECIALLY in a 4-3-3, where the center-mids primary defensive responsibility is to plug that gap.

(1) He was behind the play.

(2) His speed never changed from the leisurely jog it started out as.

(3) The only midfielder working to pressure was Pablo, not Bradley.

(4) He was pinched waaay too far to the right side of the field, and left a gaping hole in the center of the field as Pablo went to pressure the ball.

(5) As Wynne and Gooch were beat, he made zero effort to recover and protect the space in the middle of the field.

And that's not to say he was the sole reason for the goal. Gooch, Wynne were primarily responsible, and Torres after them (for losing his man).

But it makes me sick to my stomach to see people giving Bradley a pass on this match. He's a workhorse center mid that gets by on effort, hustle, and heart. He had none of it yesterday. He did nothing. It was disgusting. He exemplified the US's performance (or lack of it) with his zero effort, mentally inept performance on that play.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse


Let's take a closer look at that video.
Go to :25...Bradley is marking one of the CR midfielders. There's no reason at this point for him to be anywhere else...everyone's covered; looks like good defense all around at this point. The Pablo screws up...abandoning his position to pressure the CR player that's being adequately guarded, then abandons him and let's him run by, leaving Gooch, who assumed Pablo would stay with him at that point, out to dry on the give and go. The CR player feeds it across to to an unmarked man that ran right by Torres. If Bradly has been running back at full speed after the give and go, he might have gotten there in time to get a better view of the goal, but he would not have been in a position to stop it. Pablo, Gooch, Wynne, and Torres were all far more responsible for that goal than Bradley. Did Bradley have a good game? one did. But giving him "1" is asinine.

Posted by: icehippo | June 4, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"Bradley is marking one of the CR midfielders. There's no reason at this point for him to be anywhere else...everyone's covered; looks like good defense all around at this point."

In a 4-3-3, the central midfielder's responsibility is NOT the man, it's the space. That's precisely what I'm talking about. It's the simplest thing to beat a 4-3-3 if all you do is suck the central middies out from the center of the field. Defensively, you play tight, you play compact, and you don't sacrifice positional space to mark a man 45 yards from goal when the ball is being advanced towards the 18, especially when one of your partner mids is applying pressure to the ball.

I don't know if that's what BB instructed, or if MB just failed to perform, but make no mistake about it, it was far from good defensive positioning on his part.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Joel_M_Lane: I'm pretty sure that I was the only USA supporter at that match. After Stewart's PK miss, my wife became neutral and my friend's newborn chanted "Soy Catracho."

Posted by: I-270Exit1
Another Interstate Classssic.
That was funny, Bro.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to point out to whomever is doing the moderating that you missed one blatant slur in the game thread. "Gringo" is a fighting word. You might not like it, or even know it, but it is.

Posted by: mason08 | June 4, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@GMoney: While I disagree with Joel's 50-50 (I'd say it was like 40% US, 55% Catracho and %5 that were supposed to be neutral but didn't have any problems jumping on the Honduran bandwagon when it was clear that it was not our day)--

No chance, Lance was it 90-10, Catrachos over Yanks. Not unless you were sitting in some sort of obscure upper bowl section that I missed.

Don't feel badly Bro. None of us can fight Father time, no matter how much Ginko Bilboba propaganda you see on tv.

You are not alone.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"If Bradly has been running back at full speed after the give and go, he might have gotten there in time to get a better view of the goal, but he would not have been in a position to stop it."

If he had been in the proper position, the give and go would never have happened. At least not as a direct angled run towards the goal. That's the point.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if that's what BB instructed, or if MB just failed to perform, but make no mistake about it, it was far from good defensive positioning on his part.


It's responsibility of the far side midfielder to fill space. If the CM (Mastro) and RM (Bradley) are defending on the flank. That long cross to say, an attacking wingback on the weakside (left defensive) is a good pass, but it takes a long time to get there, and is a lower percentage play.

Posted by: mason08 | June 4, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

psps23 and icehippo:

I think you guys are both missing the point on the goal. Bradley did indeed aid and abet that enormous gap between our defense and midfield (a problem that existed all night long), but if ever a goal was caused by a full team defensive lapse, that was it. You can literally implicate half of the field players directly.


I thought the biggest problems last night were lack of effort and poor positional play, specifically between our back four and our midfield. The gaps were ridiculous. San Marino could have put a couple past us given that kind of time and space. It was so bad that I wonder if Mastroeni wasn't carrying some kind of injury. Otherwise, I can't understand how a guy whose intensity problems usually relate to boiling over could be so slow and out of it. He looked like he had taken a couple Ambien and then tried to play soccer.

Did anyone else get really upset at the fact that MLS reject Andy Herron was playing out of position at right midfield, yet was toying with Beasley? Or that Esteban Sirias, a guy who didn't actually offer up anything special, ended up being very influential simply because Wynne was entirely unprepared to play in this game? I guess I can take solace at having been strongly against Wynne playing in this game, but I'd much rather have been wrong.

Certain players escape without too much damage to their reputations. Howard, Onyewu, Kljestan, Adu, and Davies all played at least average. Kljestan might be the worst of the lot, since he seemed to offer only a tiny improvement in the energy department, but his turnovers were more limited than I expected. Obviously the problem with Kljestan wasn't even his fault; it was that he came on for the wrong guy. Torres was defensively soft, sure, but we're losing 2-0. Why take off the one midfielder offering a little extra on the ball, while leaving in Mastroeni at what I'd have to say was his worst performance in any uniform that I can recall? Adu, meanwhile, showed a decent understanding of the situation he was entering and made sure to get the ball off his feet quickly most of the time. He didn't do anything brilliant, but in this game earning a 5 makes you a big winner. Davies, who I really have a hard time liking (diving, now this recent elbowing assault), did well to even get a 5.5. He brought the energy we were sorely lacking, even if his technique was a bit poor. Howard could do little about the goals and made a couple big saves, while Onyewu was the only defender that didn't embarrass himself.

It's going to take until the August qualifiers to get the bad taste out of my mouth from this one. We could beat Honduras 5-0 on the weekend, and I'd still be unhappy.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 4, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd just like to point out to whomever is doing the moderating that you missed one blatant slur in the game thread. "Gringo" is a fighting word. You might not like it, or even know it, but it is.

Posted by: mason08
I disagree.

"Gringo" is not always "a fighting word" or "slur" when there it is said in a perjorative manner.

Often the inI think that it is better to avoid using the word in political and sports situations because the blood is already flowing.

Having said that, I really took issue with the lack of professionalism of the one Tico paper's byline.

Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"If the CM (Mastro) and RM (Bradley) are defending on the flank."

Mason, there is no "RM". They're three central midfielders playing in a rotating triangle. That's why initially in the clip you see Bradley fall back to the left side of the center circle.

The more I watch, the more I want to chalk this up to BB as well. It just seemed like they had no idea how to position themselves to begin with.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"but if ever a goal was caused by a full team defensive lapse, that was it. You can literally implicate half of the field players directly."

I said it multiple times, but I'm not relieving any blame from Wynne, Gooch, Mastro, or Torres on that play.

I'm merely pointing out the understated yet extremely critical mental lapse Bradley showed on that clip. I can't fathom how he's been getting a pass.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

My typing is horrible. it's probably better to not even try to clarify point regarding "intent" with the use of the "G" word.

One day my typing or my proofreading will get better.


Posted by: yankiboy | June 4, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Sunil Gulati is an absolute muppet!

Posted by: arswift24 | June 4, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

No one is giving Bradly a pass. Everyone is saying he was mediocre at best, forgettable on offense and defense. I'd probably give him a "4" if I was grading. He was far from the worst player on the field though, and he certainly didn't make an "extremely critical mental lapse". At the worst, he was poorly positioned (assuming he wasn't being asked to play farther up and mark defensively by the coach), which led to him being the fifth most culpable person on the goal.

Posted by: icehippo | June 4, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"At the worst, he was poorly positioned"

At worse, he knew where he was supposed to be positioned, but opted not to do it out of laziness.

At 2nd worse, he had a mental lapse that caused him to be out of position, which is definitely a bigger problem than getting physically beat on a creative and technically savvy play (which I admit, I didn't think CR was up to performing).

Players can be beat on great plays, that I don't mind (such as the individual effort from CR on the first goal). Players getting beat because they were either (1) too lazy, or (2) mentally inept, even for a moment, is inexcusable. Bradley exhibited both characteristics last night, and two goals resulted because of it. He was well below mediocre.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

What's more likely, that Bradley, one of the hardest working, most technically sound players on the team, a) suddenly became lazy and stupid, or b) was exactly where the coach wanted him to be?
We'll never know, but I have a guess.
Also, how was he lazy and mentally inept on the third goal? He was certainly badly beaten on the play, but Bocanegra was the one that just stood and watched.
And finally, how can you call the second goal a "creative and technically savvy play"? It was a give and go...about as basic as it comes. Watching the US get beat on that was about as embarrassing as the Wizards getting schooled by a pick and roll every time down the court.

Posted by: icehippo | June 4, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

And that's precisely my point. You're giving Bradley points based on his reputation. I'm putting Bradley on the spot based on how he played yesterday. And he played awful.

Bradley completely gave up as soon as he got turned on the 3rd goal. I don't know how you can defend his actions there. Suer, Boca was late to help, but Bradley literally gave no effort as soon as his man turned (which wasn't any sort of brilliant move on any level).

And just because the give-and-go was basic doesn't mean it wasn't technically savvy. They picked apart the US defense with what we gave them. It wasn't their fault the entire US squad on that side of the field suddenly dropped to JV status.

And once again, I'm not trying to relieve the blame from Wynne, Gooch, Mastro, or Torres. They were embarrassed as well. But Bradley was embarrassed just as much. Only he did it by hiding up the field while his teammates were being picked apart. And IMO, that's the much worse thing to be.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course I judge him based on his reputation.
Since we know how he normally plays, it's easy to see when he's being asked to play a different role. Which is why I feel that he was supposed to be pushing forward more and pressuring the ball...not sitting back in a defensive zone.
That's also why I feel he was out gas towards the end of the game from running his butt off as a sole central midfielder, which helps explain why he did so poorly on the third goal.
Calling him lazy is simply lazy analysis.

Posted by: icehippo | June 4, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Which is why I feel that he was supposed to be pushing forward more and pressuring the ball"

Which would make sense if he was actually pushing forward and pressuring the ball. But he wasn't. He let the entry pass come from the defense to the central pressure. He let the central midfielder switch the point of attack without pressure. When a midfielder did apply pressure, it was Pablo, not Bradley, both up the field and in the defensive third. You even pointed out yourself:

"forgettable on offense and defense"

He literally did nothing. Zero. No high pressure. No high intensity recovery. He made nothing difficult for the midfield of CR, who owned the game in transition. And he definitely did nothing for the US attack, which was completely non-existent from the midfield standpoint with the exception of a few flashes of poise from Torres (after the first 15 minutes) and then again when Adu entered the game. And if he WAS asked to play a more forward, attacking role, then he failed miserably at that as well.

Sorry, I don't give points for a player attempting to play as a ghost. I have no idea what game people were watching that they thought Bradley worked hard, or did anything proper. I just provided a clip in the 13th minute of the game (hardly a point where exhaustion would have taken place) where Bradley didn't change pace from his leisurely jog as CR brought the ball EASILY from their 18 to our goal. It wasn't a fast breakout. It wasn't quick transition. Bradley was in front of the ball initially, yet was 35 yards behind the play at its culmination. And it was like that all night.

You can sugarcoat it all you want, give him whatever excuses you want to give him, and provide him with the benefit of the doubt, but I'm going to call it like I see it. He was awful. He's a workhorse midfielder who didn't work yesterday, gave up on more than one occasion, and was lazy from the moment the whistle blew. His positioning the entire game was out of whack, his touch, creativity, and attacking ability were non-existent, and his play helped directly lead to two goals.

There's no other way to put it. Nothing he did helped the team do anything last night. He had no redeeming qualities. He deserved the lowest score possible. At least Torres, Wynne, and even Beasley provided brief moments where they worked the ball up and attacked. Beasley even made a great defensive play during the game, saving a goal from a very dangerous cross (against the same holding midfielder that ran free through the box on goal #2).

Bradley provided nothing.

Posted by: psps23 | June 4, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I knew we should have hired Nowak instead of Bradley...that way we'd get fire on the National team bench and Bradley could have gone to coach some random expansion team.

I don't know if this was mentioned, but the refs were "what the hell"? Three yellow cards made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Did anyone actually see the foul on Altidore that gave us the PK? All I saw was him on the ground when the ball was in the air.

I'd like to see Torres, Adu and Donovan on the field together once. We need players who have creativity and touch. I'm tired of seeing US Soccer resemble an out of control Mack truck skidding off a mountain pass on down one of those sand embankments.

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | June 4, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

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