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Italy 3, USA 1

The red card to Ricardo Clark in the first half was excessive and changed the complexion of the match, and despite taking the lead on Landon Donovan's penalty kick, the Americans crumbled under Italy's pressure and were beaten by two players with two very different connections to the U.S. program.

New Jersey-born Giuseppe Rossi, 22, entered in the 58th minute, scored on a sensational strike in the 59th and capped the 3-1 Confederations Cup victory with an added-time one-timer set up cleverly by Andrea Pirlo. Italy's other goal, a tiebreaking strike in the 72nd minute, was scored from distance by Daniele De Rossi, who in the 2006 World Cup meeting between the teams, was red-carded for elbowing Brian McBride in the face.

Rossi, who has dual citizenship, lived in the States with his parents until about age 13 before joining the Parma youth academy in Italy. He was then bought by Manchester United, loaned to Newcastle and Parma before going to Spanish club Villarreal, where he has spent the past two seasons. He has represented Italy at various levels for six years.

On Thursday, the Americans will face Brazil, which defeated New ZealandEgypt, 4-3, as Kaka scored twice, including the go-ahead penalty kick in added time.

Howard 6; Spector 6, Onyewu 4, DeMerit 5, Bornstein 5; Dempsey 5, Bradley 5, Clark 4, Feilhaber 5; Donovan 7, Altidore 6. Subs: Davies 5, Beasley 5, Kljestan 6.

Rossi.jpg Giuseppe Rossi reacts after scoring Italy's third goal against the Americans. (Antonio Calanni -- Associated Press)

By Steve Goff  |  June 15, 2009; 4:31 PM ET
Categories:  Confederations Cup , Italy , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Tuesday Kickaround


Didn't Brazil beat Egypt? NZ got picked apart by Spain.

Posted by: amwehl | June 15, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

If we can pull Rossi back to the US side, and get Kyle Martino out of retirement, then the US midfield could be made up of....

Martino and Rossi.

I'll drink to that!

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 15, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that Rossi plays for Italy, but there's no reason for U.S. fans to hate him. From what I recall, he was always looking to play for the Azzurri, and he never gave the U.S. soccer community false hopes about joining our side. He took a huge gamble and so far, it has paid off very well. Good for him.

As for the USA - we need to do a better job recruiting and developing players with good ball control and passing skills. The Frankie Hejduk / Cobi Jones model of one-dimensional, super-fit athletes only takes us so far.

Posted by: SSMD1 | June 15, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I thought Gooch was pretty good but, like the US defense, I probably got tired and lost some focus toward the end of the game. Italy lobbed balls into the area for the first 60 minutes and Gooch and his shorthanded teammates mostly did a good job taking care of the danger. Game changed with the subs that brought Rossi on.

I thought Dempsey was pretty poor although he did finally have a good shot on goal in the late going. He again had some turnovers that led to opposing counters and he held onto the ball killing off that attack where Donovan (I think) was wide open and overlapping down the left.

Beasley was also lousy.

I could change my mind if I watch again but those were my first impressions.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 15, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I only saw the 2nd half, but I thought the Italians were crap. We gave them plenty of space to shoot, particularly Rossi's 1st. We had a couple of opportunities to knot it up late before they got that crap goal in extra time. I would have loved to have played Italy in game 2 instead of Brazil. We're going to be spent heading into that match, and the spells trouble.

Posted by: Hoost | June 15, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The red card to Clark was harsh, but predictable. The refs FIFA considers top flight, like many NCAA basketball refs, consistently favor the big name teams. If you think the US and Mexico get the short end when they play European teams, just watch Nigeria vs Germany or some other match up between an African team and a big European team. Once the ref let the Italians hammer American players after they had passed the ball, you knew it was only a matter of time before the ref gave the Italians an real advantage. Everyone in the stadium, except the ref it seems, knew that the Italians would come out trying to physically intimidate the Americans. If FIFA really wants fair play, it has to school the refs to understand the dynamics of these big international matches between teams from different continents. I, for one, am not holding my breath until FIFA does so.
Having said all that, the USA played well, but they still are not equal of teams like Italy. If the game had been 11 v11 for 90 minutes, the Italians are good enough, when they choose to play soccer, that the USA would have been lucky to win a draw.

Posted by: Jphubba | June 15, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Despite my general ill-feelings towards Donovan, he played very well today (especially after the red card to Ricardo Clark). I thought Bradley played better than a 5. I think we also know why Gooch has been playing in Belgium for the past four years and why he failed to impress at Newcastle (!) - he is an imposing person - but he played a pretty lousy game of soccer out there today. His right-footed flail at De Rossi's goal will be my lasting impression from the game today. Being big and intimidating works great in CONCACAF but doesn't look like it translates to the highest levels of play.

Posted by: diego_r | June 15, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Rossi's up there with the Mexican National Team. Here's a "We Hate Giuseppe Rossi" group on facebook

the kid does have some skill. can we trade adu for him?

Posted by: Konoha7 | June 15, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Here's a game to play, if the United States were an English Premier League team who would we be? I'm thinking mid-table, safe from relegation but not challenging for Europe. It hurts, but maybe we're Bolton

Posted by: diego_r | June 15, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Refs have the discretion to give a red for ANY tackle that could seriously hurt another player. Clark needs to think about that before he goes flying in.

Posted by: Pedalada | June 15, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the classy thing would be to ease up on celebration when scoring a goal on your home country. But on a team with Gatusso, I guess classy is not really in the offering.

Posted by: M__N | June 15, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Too much harshness towards Gooch. I believe if you see the replays, you will see that Gooch's momentum was taking him away from the shot. He had to plant his left foot to try and stop, leaving him only his right foot to flail at the ball.

I think DeMerit was the weak link in the defense, particularly because we were outnumbered. As I wrote in the last thread, DeMerit struggled badly in the second half. I saw too many instances where he was more concerned about telling everyone else whom to pick up, without stepping up himself. Howard rescued him with one huge save, but he wasn't challenging Rossi. On the other hand, when he did challenge Pirlo, he got, maybe he knows his limits.

It was interesting to see what Rossi brought to the game -- it was as if he had far less respect for the USA players than his teammates did. He knew if he challenged them, he could dispossess them -- or beat them, when he had the ball. If the Brazilians follow his in your face play, it will be a long game....

Clark had been playing well, before the card. The only other US player to really distinguish himself was Donovan. It would be nice to see if Kljestan can build on what he did, since he's likely to be pressed into the starting lineup.

On those horrific misplays in front of Buffon -- I feel as if the team must have decided that Buffon overcommits against attackers and can be set-up for tap-ins. That's the only explanation I have for what the US attackers were doing, when they should have been shooting instead. If Altidore shoots on that one play, he has a decent chance of scoring. Bradley probably should have tried to take it past Buffon.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Can't bring myself to hate Rossi since he was brainwashed from childhood to think Azzurri. Still it REALLY sucked to see him score two against us. The Clark Red was harsh -- if it was Gattuso hacking Clark I'll bet the ref would have shown Yellow -- but Rico has to be smarter. All in all a good effort for the U.S., but advancing out of this group seems extremely unlikely.

Posted by: popoki08 | June 15, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Here's a game to play, if the United States were an English Premier League team who would we be? I'm thinking mid-table, safe from relegation but not challenging for Europe. It hurts, but maybe we're Bolton

Posted by: diego_r | June 15, 2009 5:31 PM

Struggling to stay in the "Coca-Cola Championship", avoiding relegation to League One. You need to be able to score to win games. If the USA were magically placed in the EPL, the team would sink like a stone -- drop out of the EPL in one season...or, sooner, if that's possible..

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

It DOES hurt to see Rossi score, because I think he and Donovan could really play well off of each other. With Rossi, the USA would be a serious side.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Can we just give it a rest please...
Rossi is an Italian kid who happened to live part of his life in the US.
The same people that call him brainwashed will be excited when Jermaine Jones defects Germany to play for the US. I'm not saying I don't want Jones. I'll take him, but I try not to be hypocritical about these types of things.

Posted by: jake77 | June 15, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow - US gave up too much space to Italy. They were tee'ing it up too easily. Howard probably should have stopped one but did make some nice saves later. Gooch was completely out of match in 2nd half. Looks like Donovan is the only one who can advance the ball by dribbling. Lastly, guys, "Take a shot when you get into the penalty area!"

Posted by: tfshea | June 15, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Here's a game to play, if the United States were an English Premier League team who would we be? I'm thinking mid-table, safe from relegation but not challenging for Europe. It hurts, but maybe we're Bolton"

Wow, really? Let's face it, we only have a small handful of players good enough to play on mediocre EPL teams. As for a full team? Medium to low Championship I'd guess...

Posted by: icehippo | June 15, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Ricardo Clark dead to me - this not the first time he cost his team because he is a hothead

Posted by: GeneWells | June 15, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Ricardo Clark dead to me -

Shun him. Or even worse, Soehn him. And dis him. Dis-Soehn him.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 15, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

The red card was harsh. The bummer was, just before, he was fouled but fought through it, where a dive would have gotten him a free kick.

Posted by: EssEff | June 15, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@jake Rossi is a db, if he couldn't play soccer he'd still be here. He'd be like any other Italian-American. He grew up here it's not like he was born here and went back to Italy.

@fischy you are being overly harsh on the US MNT. Either that or you over-rate the EPL. Yes the big four would destroy us, but we would do good against the bottom tier. We do have scoring issues, but our midfield would make up for it. The Championship isn't much different than the MLS. We would eat up Championship teams. Half our team plays in Europe in teams better than Championship, lets not get carried away.

Remember we played well in the first half a man down against the world champions. Yes we did suck against Costa Rica not long ago, but we play to the level of our competition. We play better against good teams and worse against bad ones. Which means we don't get destroyed, but will never accomplish anything of importance. GO USA!!!

Posted by: bighungry | June 15, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Not a lot of class by Benedict Rossi with his celebrations but I'll let this go. The other Jacka$$ for the game was Rico, who is so talented but becoming a liability. Sure the red was harsh but he should never pull such a foolish stunt so far from goal. I think the Bradley and Gooch ratings are way off. Gooch earns a solid 6 and mini-Bradley (along with Donovan) actually looked liked they wanted to play.

Can someone sit Dempsey and give him a rest. He added very little.

Benny should be forced to what looped highlights of getting stripped and scored on by Benedict Rossi. He was not very responsible with the ball today despite some great passed.

Posted by: mason16 | June 15, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Just watch the it just me, or does Howard play much farther off the line than most keepers? Certainly seemed to hurt him on the second goal at least...

Posted by: icehippo | June 15, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I think after watching this game there are a few positives. One, when it was 11 v 11, we did not look overly outmatched. Also, this game could, and should, have been very different if either Bradley or Altidore could finish. Altidore's was mush worse as he had no one around him. A good team punishes mistakes, we didn't.

Also, it is clear this game was lost in the central midfield. Bradley, deserves about an 8 for his performance. He started both of the chance I mentioned above with great tackling. He also is our best passer of the ball.

The reason the game was lost in the center midfield is because both Clark and Feilhaber are no where near good enough for this level. Clark lunged at the tackle because he had a terrible first touch, and his passing was poor during his short time on the pitch. Also, while the red card was slightly harsh it was knee high, which is a red card.

Feilhaber was at fault for the first goal, which changed all the momentum. To be caught in possession like that is a crime. Also, he looked well off the pace all game. He simply cannot play at this level. For those blaming DeMerit on the first goal you are way off. After Feilhaber lost the ball our back line was out numbeedr and in a position where an attacker was running at pace with 20 yards of open space. DeMerit also has an attacker unmarked off his right shoulder. He had to drop because that attacker was in a greater position than Rossi. I thought DeMerit was correct in that decision. You are always coached that if a striker beats your from 30yards you shake his hand and say good shot. If he steps, the back lines shape would fall apart and it would have been the simplest of passes through. That goal was started because of Fielhaber's inability to move the ball.

Overall, I would be a huge fan of seeing DeMerit and Onyewu remain as the two center backs and Bocanegra moving to left back. Both did well today and look comfortable. Pirlo's play at the end was more of a brilliant play (they happen) and fatigue.

I would suggest:

Those who showed they cannot play at this level are: Feilhaber, Clark, Bornstien.

If we can find adequate replacements for those players we will greatly improve our squad. The main problem is our centermids, with the exception or Bradley, are no where near top international level, and it showed today. This of coarse is the most important position too. A centermid controls the hole game. Playing guys who can just run hard and tackle is not good enough.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 15, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Players who play at top level leagues in Europe: Howard, Dempsey, Bocanegra, Spector, Bradley and Donovan if you count the loan spell.

Players who play at mid level leagues in Europe: Onyewu, Pearce, Beasley, Davies, Califf, Feilhaber, and Adu and Altidore if you want to count them.

Right there is a team that would stay in the EPL. You all are hating way too much.

Posted by: bighungry | June 15, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

@grubbsbl I agree, though I didn't see all of the second half, so I can't comment on Feilhaber. Beasley also sucks it up at any given oppurtunity.

Bradley was amazing in the first half, he was easily the best player on the field. He owned central midfield. I lost count of how many balls he won. Yes he wiffed the one shot, but he made up for it.

Posted by: bighungry | June 15, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I really felt bad for Clark after his red. That was a bad call, and it derails an otherwise nice little bit of steam he had been picking up with the team. I fear that Jermaine Jones, who's just as likely to get sent off as Clark or Mastroeni or Bradley or anyone else, will continue to give us this problem

Posted by: ZidVicious | June 15, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Go Italy !

Go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | June 15, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

bighungry -- I admire your patriotism, but...

Beasley can't even hold down a spot in Scotland. Spector may finally be on the verge of playing regularly in England, but he hasn't yet. Boca got run out of England. Onyewu washed out of his first English trial. We'll see how he does with a second. Pearce lost his starting spot. Adu and Altidore rarely sniff the playing field for their club teams. Donovan probably could play for a top-flight team, but it hasn't happened yet. So, really you're talking about Howard, Bradley and Dempsey as the 3 Americans playing top-flight football. With the possible exception of Donovan (and, maybe now Onyewu), there aren't Americans even getting long looks by top-flight European clubs. There's a reason for that. USA players are getting batter, but we're not at that level yet. Doesn't mean we can't hang close with the big boys in a game, but there are few stand-outs who belong on the same team.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

getting better...

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't disagree I just think you were being overly harsh saying we would be in league 1.

Beasley sucks, agreed. No arguement there.

Posted by: bighungry | June 15, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Adu and Altidore rarely sniff the playing field for their club teams.
Adu has had a hard time sniffing the bench, let alone the field. Which is not an attractive metaphor, is it.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 15, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I said fighting to avoid relegation to League One. Looking at the USA team, in toto -- we're a second-division side. It's an old story -- we have a pretty good midfield, a decent defense (and we're getting ever better in both areas), and top-notch goalkeeping -- but, we can't score. When we have a striker -- McBride -- we can't get him in position to score against the best teams. With our other strengths, we dominate CONCACAF, but it's a different story against the best teams of Europe, South America, and even Africa. We can't afford to make any mistakes, because those teams can score, and will punish mistakes. If we avoid the glaring mistakes, or get really lucky, we can hang with them -- but we're always a mistake away from losing.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

clark's red card makes the iranian elections seem legitimate

Posted by: nefariousjahs | June 15, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Too much whining about Clark's red here. The ref got it right -- flying knee-high tackles nowhere near the ball are exactly the type of acts FIFA wants eliminated -- and rightly so.
It was a good effort by the U.S. but if you're looking for a culprit, blame Clark, not the ref.

Posted by: Gwither | June 15, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Goff, are those your ratings? Come one already. Others have already said Oneywu not at fault as much as a "4" would suggest. Certainly doesn't deserve same rating as Clark, with that bonehead foul (yes, yellow not red, but lifting up the top leg AND being so late is asking for it).

But giving Feilharber the same rating as Bradley? Feilharber gave it up more than a streetwalker--couldn't hold the ball for s**t (Rossi stripped him to start the first goal) and tons of errant passes, when he wasn't otherwise invisible. Didn't belong out there at all. Bornstein and Dempsey similarly invisible, not so Bradley, strong game except for the muffed shot. Jermaine Jones has a nice open spot next to Bradley with his name on it (in English or German, don't care which).

Posted by: macheath | June 15, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

@machearth -- if memory serves, it was Feilhaber's long ball that set up the penalty kick. Yeah, he got abused by Rossi -- twice -- when he had the ball -- but a 5 seems fair. And his name is Feilhaber....

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

About the player ratings: Gooch 4, Bradley 5, Sascha 6??? For what? Granted, he came in very late (and probably did not deserve a rating at all), but Gooch and Bradley were big out there from start to finish and deserve much better ratings.

Sascha, on the other hand, was a passenger for the 10-12 minutes he was on the pitch.

And Benny proved to all that he is soft, slow and undeserving of the kit. That giveaway changed the game as much or more than the call on Ricardo.

Posted by: jhgodfrey | June 15, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Can we just give it a rest please...
Rossi is an Italian kid who happened to live part of his life in the US.
The same people that call him brainwashed will be excited when Jermaine Jones defects Germany to play for the US. I'm not saying I don't want Jones. I'll take him, but I try not to be hypocritical about these types of things.

Posted by: jake77 | June 15, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

This is just not true. Rossi was born and raised in Jersey. He is an American, like every other Jersey-born child of Italian immigants. He left only to play soccer in Italy. And he chose an Italian shirt, so screw him.

Meanwhile Jermaine Jones was only playing in Germany because his dad was with the US military. He is an American, period.

Posted by: JoeS3 | June 15, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Gwither -- it was a foul. Even a yellow card foul. But, not worth a straight red. That's the argument. It wasn't all that vicious, even if it was late and high. The tackle wasn't all that different from one that brought down Bornstein in the 2nd half, without any card being shown. Or, compare it to the foul that earned a South African defender a yellow in the opening moments of their game -- a foul that I would say was similar to but worse than Clark's tackle.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Clear penalty late in the game when the Italian went over Donovan in the box. No call.

Posted by: Hoost | June 15, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

My issue isn't so much with the ref giving Clark a red-card, but his failure to be consistent throughout the game. The PK foul on Altidore was at least worthy of a yellow and borderline being a red as he was turning in on the Italian's goal. There was no card for the elbow to Donovan's face and there were several instances of US players getting cleaned out after the ball was gone that, given the early red, should have been carded as well.

Posted by: asocrlovr | June 15, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@jhgodfrey -- that giveaway by Feilhaber was rather similar to Dempsey's giveaway in Costa Rica, with a similar impact. Will you declare that Dempsey, therefore, isn't worthy of wearing the kit? At least, Feilhaber has an excuse. He's even said he's really back to 100% fitness yet, after missing a year.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"not back" -- and, he's probably a little rusty, too.

Posted by: fischy | June 15, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse


Can't agree with your rating for Gooch - he was one of our best tonight. He rarely put a foot wrong, 'cept for the free header he allowed Toni.

DeMerit on the other hand had a chance to close down on two of the goals, and got smoked one-on-one by the guy who set up Rossi's second.

Posted by: nyfooty | June 15, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the highlights, the Red card for Clark is deserved. That was nasty and stupid. What was he thinking??

On a different note, I still don't understand what Altidore was trying to do on his one vs one with Buffon. I wonder if he even knew himself. That was a great pass by LD though! What a wasted opportunity!

Posted by: charlie015 | June 15, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

GO ITALY! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the sorry USA soccer team lose! Americans have no business playing soccer with the world elite and they continue to demonstrate it...stick to basketball and your pathetic "American" football!

Posted by: zamu65 | June 15, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

zamu65 - I hope and pray that you're young. Once soccer develops into a true 5th tier sport in this country with the salaries and infrastructure to match, we'll compete every 4 very seriously for the cup.

Rossi isn't American. A true american (in the continental sense of the word) would look at the estabilished, and shun it for the developing. Sure, it is a true and well praiseworthy feat to be called up let alone play and score for a team as good as italy, but, I wouldn't want him from that mindset alone (at this phase in our standing).

I'm hoping to see the replay I've heard is on at 10 pm. Good night.

Posted by: ch3k | June 15, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

How do you celebrate when you cheat? The Italians were a joke and so is that particular official. We got the short end of the stick as usual versus Italy. If I am the Men's national team coach I put the women's side out there just to so the world that the Italians are a bunch of cheating bi$ches!!!!!!

Posted by: no_recess | June 15, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

zamu65-thanks for providing us with such insight.

Posted by: jerrinna | June 15, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

IF Clark's foul was a Red

then whats with the..

Elbow on Donovan?
Non red card for last man when we get the PK?
that italian kneeing Donovan in the back in the box?

why did the Ref look the other way for the above fouls?

Clarks red changed the game,

Posted by: Norteno4life | June 15, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse


That's funny, because the Italians needed an American and bad officiating to win. Well done to the World Champions.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | June 15, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse


Enjoy while you can, now watch when the BRazilians send you back to New Guinea...

Posted by: Norteno4life | June 15, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Rico was just doing for Mastro impersonation...

Posted by: Reignking | June 15, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@fischy: Dempsey's contributons are legion (although he looks pedestrian lately) while Benny has one golazzo on his resume. So no, I don't think Clint should turn in his jersey.

I thought Benny was dreadful today -- slow, pushed off the ball easily and seemingly disinterested. It was a national career-ending performance, if you ask me.

I wish it were otherwise. We need skilled players. But Benny takes too long on the ball and doesn't seem to have the urgency and bite we need. Send Bradley forward and bring on Jermaine Jones in October.!

Posted by: jhgodfrey | June 15, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

GO ITALY! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the sorry USA soccer team lose! Americans have no business playing soccer with the world elite and they continue to demonstrate it...stick to basketball and your pathetic "American" football!

Posted by: zamu65 | June 15, 2009 7:54 PM |

LOOK!! Everyone i found a troll. I heard their greatest weakness is to be ignored. Lets try it!

Posted by: pino149 | June 15, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

What are you people whining about? Rossi scored a GOLLLLLAZZZO a minute into entering the game, tying the match.

I'd flip out and go nuts, too.

Posted by: Reignking | June 15, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Feilhaber was cruisin' for a card, too...

I cannot believe DMB saw the field.

The ratings look solid to me, but Jozy missed an absolute sitter -- and made up for it with the PK.

And Egypt is leagues above us -- they play like we wish we did, offensively and creatively.

Posted by: Reignking | June 15, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Some observations:

Maybe its just me, but I wish Wynalda had been providing the color analysis instead of Harkes. I don't need him to be a 'homer' but show some emotion please! He needs a redbull or something because he might as well have been describing a traffic jam with his lack of energy. Anyone know why Wynalda got removed from the telecasts?

Clark fouled him but it was not worthy of a straight red. That is too harsh of a penalty for a foul committed in that area of the field. The Italians weren't even calling for it. Ridiculous that we can't play a game against Italy with 11 men.

Dempsey sucks on the national team stage. He may be productive for Fulham but he does nothing for the national team. If he's out of position, then its on Bradley.

Yes, Howard plays too far off his line. See the first goal from Costa Rica for further evidence. But I'll take him over anyone else except for Friedel.

Rossi is a traitor. And I hope Bradley or someone was calling him out on it. Mostly that's envy talking, but who cares. He's still a traitor.

I'm out. Rack me.

Posted by: roconnor1 | June 15, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Don't be hating on Rossi because he chose Italy. He owes most of his footballing career to Italy's youth system so in my opinion Italy deserves him more than we do.

With Subotic, on the other hand, it's exactly the opposite.

The red card on Clark was a joke.

Coach Bradley made a big mistake by subbing in Davies for Altidore.

Onyewu and Feilhaber were simply awful.

Donovan, Altidore and Bradley had very strong games.

Posted by: GoUnited | June 15, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't agree with some of the ratings giving by Goff

Gooch was a beast and kicked the crap out of the Guidos throughout the game. Misses a clear and he get a 4, WHAT!

Bradley breaks stuff up all game, cleaning up for everyone else and gets a 5, SURE!

Donovan ran at the defense 1 or 2 times scores a penalty and gets a 7! After the 34th minute hes was a midfielder and did nothing to play any serious D, he's CRAP! and fast walks all over the place why does he do that.

Did Sasha get a 6 for taking a shot?

Terrible ratings by the Goff man.

Posted by: francisco_11 | June 15, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Please give the whole Rossi thing a rest. Some of you sound like 4-year-olds.

I have a little more perspective on the matter than many of you do.
My parents are both American but I was born in France and lived there until I was 17. I went through the French public school system and benefited from all that France has to offer. Despite all this, I have always considered myself American.
So, which national team would I have chosen had I been good enough to play for either of the U.S. or France?
The U.S. of course.

Any player who is eligible to play for a team and has the desire to play for that team has every right to choose that team. We, as Americans, should respect free will and the right to self-determination.
Enough with the juvenile Rossi hatred and this notion that he somehow owes it to the U.S. to play for Bob. This isn't North Korea.

Posted by: Figgy | June 15, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

France? We shun you! Worse than Italy!


Posted by: Reignking | June 15, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Donovan and Bradley are my high scorers for the match, and Spector is right up there. I wasn't as impressed with Altidore, although he had a thankless task of playing the Ching role of back to the goal and getting abused. Yes, the red on Clark was harsh but: he was late and he was high (knee high, to be exact), and that is always risky - and stupid. If he had brought his trailing leg down to the ground as he went through it's clearly only a yellow.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 15, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I think we have to take the second half and toss it. Down a man for 60 plus minutes against the World Champs? Shrug it off, we have the 4 time World Champs up next.

Having said that, the first half was well played. We had two great chances. Bradley muffed the first, Altidore the second. Italy had essentially one chance off a set piece that was a blown header.

All in all those minutes played until the Clark red were a nod in our favor. We looked like a solid squad. We could easily have been up 2-0 or 2-1.

Nothing to be ashamed of and it bodes well for next year.

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

""The PK foul on Altidore was at least worthy of a yellow and borderline being a red as he was turning in on the Italian's goal.""

Yeah, a wild kick plus a grab = yellow, at least.

Re: B. Feilhaber "It was a national career-ending performance" The guy is super talented, but hardly been playing for his club. Show me another U.S. midfielder with as much skill on the ball and I'll retire Ben. (Not Benny, there's only one Benny).

"Terrible ratings by the Goff man."
Ratings? The only rating that counts is 3-1. Goff puts up ratings for discussion, it's not because he has an agenda. I do agree with most of your points, but geez . .

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

There is NO way Onyewo deserves a 4 from the match. Did you watch the first hour? He was the second best American on the field. You can read an in-depth look of all 14 U.S. players here:

Posted by: creaven1 | June 15, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Rossi never wanted anything to do with the stars and stripes, get over it.

Clark's foul was indeed a red card. The replay is about to come on. Give it a look. Late and right at knee level. Stupid, inexperienced foul. That garbage may go unpunished in MLS, but it never will on the world stage.

Kljestan was one of the only US players able to create some space and give a decent look at the goal. Quit hating on kid before he blows up! You'll see!

Posted by: DadRyan | June 15, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Hard to criticize too much for this match. It's a tall order to go against Italy to begin with, but to play close to 60 minutes a man down is asking for too much trouble. Player ratings:

Howard - 5
Spector - 6
Demerit - 6
Gooch - 5
Bornstein - 5.5
Feilhaber - 5.5
Bradley - 7
Clark - 4
Dempsey - 5
Donovan - 7.5
Altidore - 6.5

Davies - 5
Beasley - 5
Kljestan - 5.5

Standout Notes:

- Benny Feilhaber is much, much more effective in the middle of the park than out wide. He still seems a little rusty, but his penchant for knocking the "home-run" penetrating ball is irreplaceable for the US. Nobody else has that ability, vision, nor the guts to attempt passes like that. I sincerely hope he continues to shake that rust off, because he's just too dangerous for the US to leave off the field. His performance is marred by his giveaway for the first Italy goal.

- The understated critical play of the game was Dempsey's pass to Feilhaber which led to Rossi's goal. Square passes across the midfield kill teams, and it was this pass that set up Italy's clean break up the field. Feilhaber obviously could have done better, but that's precisely the situation you want to avoid when you ask your middies not to play square balls across the field. If they pick it off, which happened, your entire midfield is out of position defensively, which happened. It was difficult being a man down, but Dempsey has got to find someone else with that ball, whether it's laying it off to a defender or attempting to find his attacker up front (even if he gives it away on either of these, it's much more difficult to turn it into a clean break). As it is, Feilhaber receives the ball square with his back to goal in a "what do you want me to do with it" sort of manner. It was just a wasted ball on all levels. And that gets my understated critical play of the game award.

- As much as people love to hate Rossi (and I haaaate Rossi), it's so depressing to see him put in 2 world class finishes in the manner he did. There isn't a US player that comes even remotely close to being able to provide those types of attempts on a consistent basis. And IMO, that's the major difference between the US and the top tier nations. We get excited to see Kljestan put a decent long range effort that sails over the bar. They get upset to see their players take a long range effort that sails over the bar. It's an expectation for them to strike their attempts on goal cleanly, for us it's a bonus. The US almost always needs perfect ball movement, a set piece, or a major defensive mistake to put away goals. We're still a ways away from having that guy that makes you say "Can't really do much about that" (I guess that's why the Feilhaber Gold Cup goal is so vivid in our memory).

Posted by: psps23 | June 15, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

We lost this game because for serious stretches we stopped pressuring the man with the ball. Whenever we did, Italy turned the ball over. Whenever we didn't, they scored on us. Watch the tape.

Now, would it have been easier to pressure the ball with 11 on the field? Probably. But again watch the tape. We had defenders in place but they just didn't give 100 percent on those plays and gave Italy time to set up.

Even on the own goal that wasn't, we let that happen because on the preceding play we didn't pressure them. It's actually that simple.

Posted by: dsheon1 | June 15, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Remember when people said that the US would be good enough simply because we have the world's greatest athletes and training?


Posted by: Reignking | June 15, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm noticing some very clear biases in the comments up above. It's painfully obvious to see who hates who as far as players, because Beasley was far from having a 'crap' performance today (paraphrasing).

Posted by: psps23 | June 15, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you there psps23. Beaz played fine while he was in.
I do see what you mean though. Everyone has a bias. The crap on Donovan but pine for Rossi.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 15, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I should have elaborated more, I meant to say if the World Cup is to the EPL then the US National Team would be to ......... (SAT style).

I think we might be the Bolton of the World Cup

ps... lay off the Goffer. his ratings were almost perfectly spot on

Posted by: diego_r | June 15, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I think we have to take the second half and toss it. Down a man for 60 plus minutes against the World Champs? Shrug it off, we have the 4 time World Champs up next.

Having said that, the first half was well played. We had two great chances. Bradley muffed the first, Altidore the second. Italy had essentially one chance off a set piece that was a blown header.

All in all those minutes played until the Clark red were a nod in our favor. We looked like a solid squad. We could easily have been up 2-0 or 2-1.

Nothing to be ashamed of and it bodes well for next year.

Posted by: delantero


Almost word for word what I was thinking.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 15, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Re: B. Feilhaber "It was a national career-ending performance" The guy is super talented, but hardly been playing for his club. Show me another U.S. midfielder with as much skill on the ball and I'll retire Ben. (Not Benny, there's only one Benny).

Posted by: delantero

Francisco Torres has more skill on the ball, more composure, better vision and a more sophisticated soccer brain. He should have been on the field.

The most disappointing position-to-position match-up, for me, was Lippi v. Bradley. Lippi analyzed his team's execution (uninspired by the end of the first half), picked two players off the bench who he believed would have the right mindset to change the game, and instituted a tactical shift to exploit holes in our 10-man set-up. Bradley didn't notice, or didn't care, that Feilhaber was walking, shrugging, not paying attention and failing to tackle (can anyone point out a tackle he had?) and didn't replace him. In fact, it seems as if Bradley's been coaching our guys *not* to go into tackles -- the only players who are tackling consistently are Spector, DeMerit and, strangely, his son. But Bornstein, Feilhaber, and DMB in particular shy away from challenges.

We were beaten, but we weren't embarrassed. I'm not happy with the result, but we weren't played off the park. Feilhaber got burned more than once, DeMerit ended up getting tired, Donovan was only intermittently explosive, and Dempsey was less effective than we needed him to be, but it wasn't a terrible performance. Just wish it'd been better.

Posted by: sec133row5 | June 15, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe this "is Giuseppe Rossi the most hated man ever in American soccer?" trend propelled forward by Ives and even reiterated by Jeff Carlisle who I think is an overall great soccer writer.

For those of you that "hate" Giueseppe Rossi for leaving the United States at 13 to play for Italy I hope you also "hate" just as much Jermaine Jones who just announced to play for the US. How about Freddy Adu? He must surely be hated. Pablo Mastroeni is a complete traitor for being born in Argentina. Perhaps Thomas Dooley. Maybe Preki? How about David Regis? Okay, he sucked.

Anyways, all of this talk is absolute nonsense and should be quashed immediately. People need to grow up.

Posted by: diego_r | June 15, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: delantero

Francisco Torres has more skill on the ball, more composure, better vision
Posted by: sec133row5

Indeed. But I haven't seen Torres produce that spot on 30 yard ball to a striker in stride. He might be capable of it, but I just haven't seen it. I hope he gets a look sooner rather than later, but we know Bob plays favorites, like his predecessor.

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

""Benny Feilhaber is much, much more effective in the middle of the park than out wide.""

True. And Donovan has proven his effectiveness as a wide mid but plays up top. Some players are typecast, and our fearless leadership doesn't like change.

I'd like to see this midfield . Dempsey, Feilhaber/Torres, Bradley, Donovan.

Up top? Altidore and . . . neither Casey nor Davies excites me much, but Ching would be nice, but can't . . . Party Boy!!

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

This bs about players getting tired really ticks me off. You rest when the ref blows the whistle. 90 minutes in the first game of a tournament should be NOTHING to these players. It's not tiddlyfrigginwinks!!

DeMerit might have been tired at 90 minutes, then he was burnt by a great player, but don't stop and look for help, run the player DOWN!!

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

"Bob Bradley didn't notice, or didn't

Look, it's a nothing lost tournament. I would imagine that if we were in the same situation next summer, Davies would not have been the first sub. We would have bunkered and put in Klestjan. Lippi didn't beat Bob, the flow of the game and Clark's red forced the game in Lippi's favor.

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"Bob plays favorites, like his predecessor." Bob needs to go. Like yesterday. The key to the match was the brilliant tactical substitutions by the Italian manager. Bradley counters with two out of his three subs who haven't played well (or at all!) in months. Maybe he'll bring EJ back for the Gold Cup...

Posted by: dcarmy | June 15, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

"Francisco Torres has more skill on the ball, more composure, better vision and a more sophisticated soccer brain."

Torres has more skill and more composure, but he's a far cry from the vision and soccer brain that Feilhaber has. Nobody on the US roster comes close to seeing the way plays and runs develop the way Feilhaber does. He could definitely clean up his touches and passes to be more precise, but he has an elite sense of spacing and movement on the pitch.

Regardless, they're different players. Torres is more of a composing holding midfielder that settles the game, Feilhaber is more of a creative, penetrating midfielder that stretches the field. Ideally, you'd want them to work together, but neither is complete enough to cover for the other's defensive deficiencies. Ultimately, that's going to fall on Bradley. And if the choice is between Torres and Feilhaber, I'll take Feilhaber (provided he's healthy and fit).

Posted by: psps23 | June 15, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

"And Donovan has proven his effectiveness as a wide mid but plays up top. Some players are typecast, and our fearless leadership doesn't like change."

In general, I agree with this, but for some reason whenever Donovan plays against Italy, he becomes the player we all envisioned him becoming following the 2002 WC. His penetrating runs at the defense in the first half were brilliant, and he set up Bradley and Altidore beautifully with golden opportunities. If he can play like that every time he's put up top, you'd never see complaints from me.

Only, he can't seem to be able to do that on a consistent basis. Which is why, in general, I agree that his best position is out wide with the USMNT. But man, it's such a tease to see him play the way he did today, especially in the 1st half.

Posted by: psps23 | June 15, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Rossi is not a traitor. he is not an american. To be a traitor you have to be welcome here in the first place.

feilhaber and bornstein shouldnt be any where near the field.

this team is much worse than the team we had against italy 3 years ago.

they cant combine six pases together and cant control the ball at all.

i was happy with spector, onyewu and demerit, donovan and altidore at times.

the rest were weak.

bradley horrible game plan again.

bradley needs to go.

bradley needs to go.

down a man down a man. we sucked with are full team.

we couldnt do crap. i dont know how many errant passed i saw in the first 33.


Posted by: castroviejo | June 15, 2009 11:35 PM | Report abuse

"The key to the match was the brilliant tactical substitutions by the Italian manager."

The key to the match was the man being sent off in the 33rd minute. It's not hard to look like a tactical genius when you clearly have superior talent and are playing a team that's a man down for 60 minutes. There's nothing tactically brilliant about a world-class strike, a long-range flub, and a 92nd minute dead-tired, pressing counterattack goal. The Italian talent and American physical mistakes won them that game.

Posted by: psps23 | June 15, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree that you can make an argument that the Italian defender could have received a red card for his foul on Altidore on the penalty. He was last man and made no attempt to play the ball.
But that doesn't change the fact that the red for Clark was completely deserved. If you allow a wild, knee-high hack for him, you've got to allow everyone on the pitch one of those. Then someone's career is ended and there are complaints the ref allows too much.
Only way to get rid of that kind of play is to punish it with red. If you think those kinds of whacks have a place in the game, then allow them. If you want to do away with them, send the culprits off. Face it, the ref got that one right.

Posted by: Gwither | June 15, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

So the scorers for Italy, my most hated team (see diving, melodrama, ugly fouls, slow ugly play) were:

Bastard (2)
De Bastard (1)

I thought we played better than the scoreline suggests. I honestly haven't read anything posted above, but (excluding the offside own goal) Borstein did way better than expected vs Camoranesi.

I think Italy should learn from this, that the only players who scored are UNDER 30.

Rossi's strikes were hurtful and way too ironic.

Other than those three finishes, (and one play by Pirlo) I saw nothing from Italy to suggest that they are a world beater. Until Rossi came on, they were sluggish and (I never use this term) indifferent.

Unfortunate for the US, but I think we saw some things that will help us in the future. Jozy had some good moments. Beasley actually looked like a soccer player.

If Boca's good, slide him into leftback.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 16, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Man, it's funny how so many people watched so many different games. I don't see any of the hating on Bornstein. He was pretty good. You might notice, if you watch the game again, that Italy doesn't do anything from his side. Coincidence? I think not. Also, notice how ineffective Beasley was in that position, after Bornstein got subbed out. The Italians swarmed him, and he looked overwhelmed.

Which bring me to psps23's comments. I don't know what he saw in Beasley's play today that I didn't. However, I agree with his comments on Feilhaber. He creates in ways that others on the US team don't -- sees the plays developing, and delivers key passes. Someone I've seen recently who reminds me of Feilhaber: Chris Pontius. I also agree with psps23's observation that Dempsey's pass kinda left Feilhaber hung out to dry. Rossi has incredible acceleration. No one on our side could match him.

I also agree with this comment: "There isn't a US player that comes even remotely close to being able to provide those types of attempts on a consistent basis." On a consistent basis? I don't know how many American players could do that in a game other than one or two miracle career shots. Consistent basis? In fact, I wonder how many Americans could make that running shot consistently in practice, with no defense in front of them....

And, yet, I agree with one thing castroviejo said -- in some ways, this team isn't as good as the '06 side. without Pope, the defense is a bit suspect, and without McBride, we don't have a target up front who can control the ball. Still, I think this team will get better. They might even surprise a couple of teams in South year.

Posted by: fischy | June 16, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

feilhaber poor first touch, gives ball away easily while bradley stares at him. both watch rossi go right to goal and score.

first goal was feilhabers fault. dempsey should know better to pass it to someone who cant control the ball and is so easily stripped of the ball.

feilhaber is awful. bring on torres. its a disgrace that torres isnt playing.

jermaine jones should start hands down when he comes to play too.

beyond that, you cant win games if you cant string together a few passes.

Posted by: castroviejo | June 16, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't saying Beasley played great, but he certainly wasn't poor by any stretch. He didn't give the ball away, got forward well, and forced the only corner the US had. He also had a poor service, and wasn't dynamic on the field. He was serviceable today, the type of guy you bring on for energy when you're attempting to kill a game. Unfortunately, he was subbed in on the direct moment Italy took the lead.

Also, the three most dangerous chances came from the US' right side once Bornstein left. One was the goal from Pirlo to Rossi, another was a great service where Luca Toni was camping out on the back post (Beasley was marking the nearer attacker), and the third was a combo play inside the box that freed up Rossi to go one-on-one vs Howard (Howard closed it down great).

Beasley solid today. Not great, but certainly not bad.

Posted by: psps23 | June 16, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

"dempsey should know better to pass it to someone who cant control the ball and is so easily stripped of the ball."

Dempsey should know better than to pass it to anyone in that manner (square ball) in that portion of the field (our own half). I don't care if Zidane is standing there. That's a poor pass by any evaluation.

Posted by: psps23 | June 16, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

i apologize to fischy, i didnt read his comments before i bashed on feilhaber.

now it is true feilhaber has some vision and had some nice feeds but i counted 5 times where he just passed the ball to no where.

your passes shouldnt be 100 feet from your intended target no matter what type of miscommunication exists.

that said i also think bornstein was way over matched. his only weapon was grabbing the italians jersey or kicking them.

the offsides own goal another bone head play by bornstein.

maybe i harp too much on those two individuals b/c it was an embarassing performance from start to finish.

no control. kick the ball to italy and defend with or without 11 men.

i agree with fischy we dont have a world class finisher and that accounts for alot.

my final thoughts on the red card. im sick of hearing all these people referring to the book about going to the knee.

a. was it an attempt to hurt another player? no
b. was it spikes up? no
c. was it a slide tackle from behind? no
d. was it a scoring oppurtunity for italy? no

it was a late hit high that barely scratched a hair follicle and had neither intent to injure nor was a scoring oppurtunity.

sure you can call a red card. there is so much subjectivity out there that if you hire the best defense attorney you can get away with murder as well but that doesnt mean its right?

if you call a red card on that then there are way too many red cards and games just arent fair or exciting any more.

egypt's player should get a red card for hand ball that stopped goal and they are complaining about some dude looking at a tv.

the sad thing is ive seen that same tackle get no card, yellow card and now finally a red card.

Posted by: castroviejo | June 16, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

it was a poor pass by dempsey.

but feilhaber should at least know where his team mates are on the field. he could have dummied that and let it go through behind him another one of our players was standing behind him or immediately one touch to bradley or someone else just not cradle/ ricochet off his leg to the sole italian defender in the vicinity then lose a 50/50 ball.

Posted by: castroviejo | June 16, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Feilhaber certainly could have done better. I'm not excusing his muffed touch. But just as critical was the decision of Dempsey to put his own center-mid under pressure with his back to goal and no support behind him. That's just asking for trouble, and in a match like that, you can't afford to put your teammates in that situation. Feilhaber's getting the blame for that one, but that play goes beyond just him simply being stripped of the ball.

Posted by: psps23 | June 16, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Uh, fellas, that poor Dempsey pass/Feilhaber giveaway was in or near the center circle. Hardly a game changing play. DeMerit should have stepped up a little . .

Posted by: delantero | June 16, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

delantero, the pass gets picked off at the top of the center circle. But it immediately leads to a 4-on-4 break for Italy, and Demerit is matching the run of Gilardino. He can't step up or he offers a gift breakaway. Likewise with Gooch, who's matching Iaquinta. That turnover is absolutely a game-changing play. Just because it doesn't happen in front of goal doesn't make it a routine turnover.

Posted by: psps23 | June 16, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

The Ref was a bit all over the place, at least on the big decisions. Clark made a bad tackle but should have got a yellow. Altidore flopped better than a salmon at spawning time, and drew a completely meritless penalty. The two even out the appalling decisions.

Posted by: hertsred | June 16, 2009 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Here is the reality folks: Feilhaber is our best midfielder and the closest thing we'll ever have to Johnny O'Brien who was easily the best american soccer player I've ever seen. Every team needs a player who can split the defense with a pass, a visionary, or they get stagnant and watching the US with and without Benny, it is plain as day to see the US are remarkable different. He deserved much more than a 5! The game had slowed down at that point and Rossi came in with a ton of energy. It also was partly Altidore's fault for not being able to control a pass by Donavon which led to that play. Altidore's first touch is really very bad but he is young and once he fixes that, he will become great.

Ricardo Clark was horrendous before the red card he did not deserve. His passing was atrocious beyond words. He has no control. THE US NEEDS MIDFIELDERS WHO HAVE CONTROL AND CAN PASS THE BALL. Clark should never ever play again. Who cares if he can break up plays but cannot pass a ball or keep posession? That does not help. Plus he only had ONE good tackle before the card. He's not even good enough defensively to make up for his terrible soccer ability.

Posted by: forithaca | June 16, 2009 2:40 AM | Report abuse

4 for Gooch?
5 for Bradley?

You blew those two ratings.

Down by a goal with 10 minutes left and Bradley has lightning-in-a-bottle on the bench...but puts in a two-way midfielder.

Posted by: teo_68 | June 16, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

There's too much about talk about what could have been with G. Rossi on the USMNT roster. It's over, he made a decision long time ago to play with the Azzuri and his dream is beubg fulfilled. I certainly doubt that a talent like Rossi could have elevated our play since the team tactics and lack of quality personnel is evident.

Posted by: juke2 | June 16, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Basically from what I gather from playing opponents like Italy, France, or any quality European side is that you cannot commit any silly errors if you are not in the same league as that Euro powerhouse. Clark's red card foul and the criticism he is taking is extremely harsh. If the USA was considered a good Euro side like Italy they would have received two PKs and had 11 men the entire game. I just cannot stand the double standard. Italy should have been down to eleven men because of Donovan's elbow to the face. Even Lalas said that you are not going to get the calls in FIFA sactioned events like this if you are the USA. To me that is not fair play and FIFA is a joke. There is no excuse for poor officiating at this level and yesterday's event was a monstrosity. I have emailed FIFA before concerning the lack of "fair" officiating and they have responded with the typical BS standard politically correct respone that the officiating is held at the highest standards. They will never address the issue. If you are considered highly talented rich in tradition football club you will get the benefit of the doubt from the officiating and last night was a classic example.

Posted by: no_recess | June 16, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh by the way if I worked in the State Department I would petition to revoke Rossi's dual citizenship (just kidding)!

Posted by: no_recess | June 16, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The point of this whole Rossie saga is that at age 13 he joined a professional club's youth academy. While I think this is probably a bad move for most kids (b/c most won't make it to the big time), it is the best way to train future professionals.

The US system doesn't quite cut it, especially college ball. The teen years are key. Too bad a 9 year old Adu never went to Inter Milan's academy.

Posted by: gode | June 16, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the game proved that the USA has developed some talented players that could make a big splash on the World, hmmm...too bad one of them scored two goals on us yesterday. But hey, the USA produced his skills!

Bradley is probably going to think twice about using Clark in the future, he does the same boneheaded tackles in MLS too. Composure is a huge part of soccer, go ask the French about the last World Cup Final.

Posted by: jro1 | June 16, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

If Adu had gone to Italy as a 9 year old, his mother would have gone with him and he wouldn't be a US citizen.

And, I really don't think the US youth system had the impact on Rossi that his time with Parma and Man Utd as a teenager may have had.

Carry on...

Posted by: JkR- | June 16, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@ psps23 I was thinking the same thing about Rossi's strikes, especially the 2nd one. There isn't a player on the US roster who could strike that 3rd goal as precisely and calmly as he did. and that is the difference between the US and the elite teams of the world.

also, Rico Clark should not be allowed to play in a meaningful international again. his act is played, much as Mastroeni's. when you watch the replay, you can see him look to strike Gattusso's shin after missing the ball. At least Bradley's reckless challenges are often balanced by scoring, Clark brings nothing.

Posted by: VTUnited | June 16, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

For some reason Rossi brought this to mind:

Posted by: universityandpark | June 16, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

We missed our best chances early with Bradley and Altidore both basically whiffing on very solid opportunities to score. Both of those chances were set up nicely - but the game was over the second Clarke got the red card, even though we went up 1-0 shortly thereafter. Still, I thought this was going to be close to an embarrassing loss prior to the game and the US I thought played tough - they just gave up too many balls in the midfield and conceded too many shots from long range - which may have been the result of being down a man most of the game. Horrible horrible red card but you come to expect it anymore, and we'll get screwed again in the same way against Brazil. If it remained even sided though I think Italy would have worn us down anyway but it sure would have been nice to at least have had a chance.

Posted by: AsstGM | June 16, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I think we have to take the second half and toss it. Down a man for 60 plus minutes against the World Champs? Shrug it off, we have the 4 time World Champs up next.

Posted by: delantero | June 15, 2009 9:22 PM

Perhaps someone has commented on this already, but I believe Brasil has reached the top five times, not four.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 16, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

How stupid is Clark to go in on a tackle like that after the Mastroeni debacle last time MNT played Italy?

The main deficiencies were:

Inadequate marking on headers (should've bitten MNT in the ass, but they were lucky)

Oft slow/bad decision-making (Altidore for one), holding the ball too long at key moments (Dempsey for one) and poor positioning (Davies).

US needs to play smarter when facing long odds -- one asinine moment can cost the match. This is not a team that can overcome dumbass moves (Clark).

Posted by: live1 | June 16, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm bummed about the loss too, and certainly the stoppage time goal leaves a sour taste, but we played a very good game.

Leading the reigning world champions 1-0 at halftime with a man down is something to be proud of. Holding them to two goals for the next 45 minutes is good too. Furthermore, this is excellent experience for our team ahead of the real thing next year. We may not get a point in this tournament, but we should come away happy having played solid games against the world's best.

Posted by: WorldCup | June 16, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Here's ne more commentator who disagrees with Goff's giving Gooch a "4" rating...

"They were well organised and made it quite difficult for us, especially their number five player (Oguchi Onyewu) and 17 (Jozy Altidore), who caused us lots of problem. Yes, we won, but it was not easy."

Who's that rater? Marcello Lippi.

Posted by: macheath | June 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Goff's rating of Gooch is far too harsh, I thought he was maybe the best US player along with Spector and Donovan before the US was overwhelmed late as the extra made the difference and the team tired and more space became available.

I'm sorry but Dempsey needs to sit to recover from a long season and he needs a benching because he hasn't produced a good performance for the US is a long time. Losing a Clark for Brazil makes that difficult but I would still do it and use Dempsey as a sub.

Clark has a lot of qualities I like, and he's often been a key to changing the complexion of games he's been inserted in (i.e., v. Mexico in the Gold Cup final and starting against Honduras after the Costa Rica debacle), but he also clearly has self-control issues and has taken the mantle from Mastro of "red card waiting to happen."

On the back and forth about Beasley, I agree with psp that he was solid, particularly in light of the game situation and how he's played in the past few games, but he wasn't great. Not worth a starting look yet though.

I think what I've realized about Donovan is that he plays his best in games where there is a personal/emotional challenge, particularly involving a degree of animosity involving the other team. Unfortunately that sort of limits those games to Mexico (no need to explain the animosity and physical chippiness in those games, most of which he has played well in) and now two games with Italy (the WC06 game had the obvious animosity and chippiness with the elbow and red cards, and those feelings carried over for Donovan I think into this game and increased with the bad red card, putting him in a similar frame of mind to perform well). It's unfortunate that he can't play to that level every game, because let's face it he's still the best US player (other than Tim Howard) and the US cannot advance far in its current makeup without him performing well.

Posted by: gmAndAguinness. | June 16, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm officially tired of reading other blogs, whining about Rossi and Bob Bradley and referees.

We just don't have the players. It's that simple.

Posted by: Reignking | June 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Steve, nice to see someone agree with me that Gooch was poor.

BTW, pleasure meeting you at the stadium in CR....

Posted by: LloydHeilbrunn | June 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't seen Howard play before Costa Rica, and I have not been impressed. The little history I picked up from the commentary makes him sound top notch, but he only saves the stuff you would expect any solid keeper at this level to save. Where are the unbelievable miracle saves that all great keepers make? It's almost as if the opposing team can fire at will -- anything on goal that's not right to him is going in. Rossi's shot was awesome, but it was from 40 yards out ... get there! Same for De Rossi's. I'm not saying Howard stinks, but I'm surprised he doesn't get more criticism. Does anyone know why?

Posted by: ustreet1 | June 16, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

>Does anyone know why?

Why you don't know more about soccer?

Sorry, but the keeper is not the only one to blame on goals. No one was stopping the Rossi shot. De Rossi's goal was to the far post corner, and Howard was screened. And if you didn't see the fantastic saves that Howard made late in the game, then you weren't watching.

Posted by: Reignking | June 16, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the chuckle.

I remember him coming out on a couple of low things ... nice saves, definitely, but nothing spectacular. And I also remember him punching a shot back to Italy for another try.

I want to love him, but I need to see why. Haven't yet. Tell me an old game to watch, and I'll go find it.

Posted by: ustreet1 | June 16, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It might be easier to show you bad keeper examples...such as DCU last year.

I think it is difficult to discern the great keepers from the good ones. It isn't just about making that dive, but all about positioning, anticipation, and split-second decision making.

Case in point: IMO on that first CR goal, one may think that Howard was out of position, but I think he anticipated an oncoming shot, and move off his line to cut down the angle. The Costa Rican hit a fantastic, intelligent, curling shot that Howard couldn't get to. Had he tried a "normal" straight-on-goal shot, Howard would probably have had it covered.

Posted by: Reignking | June 16, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Some might think that Clark's red card was excessive, but that is the nature of the international referees' calls against the United States. Since the very first appearance in many years back in 1990, the refs look for the Americans to step out of line. One false move and you get called for something that is a tad adventurous. The way MSL referees call games, allowing players to dispute every all (and in many respects totally missing serious foul play), it's no wonder an international "rookie" like Clark goes in with his boot high and wacks the shins of the opposing player.

Classify it all you want in terms of the seriousness of the foul, it is enough to send most any international referee over the edge when they referee the Americans. Clark's "tackle" was questionable at best, but mostly thoughtless.

You have to play with utmost professionalism in international play and all this youthful "caution to the wind" stuff does not win games at the international level. In fact, it actually helps lose games and, in this instance, probably lost any chance the U.S. had for at least a draw in this match.

Posted by: golstriker | June 16, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the criticism of Clark. His dumb foul playing at that level showed he's not ready for primetime with the national team. It's like having a younger, faster but equally reckless Moestreni. But when Edu comes back and if this Schalke player Jermaine Jones lives up to his billing then the U.S. should be solid in central midfield.

But what's up with Dempsey? A guy who should be one of the best U.S. players is looking more like a liability in these qualifying matches. Either he's worn down from the EPL season or he's not focused--either way, benching him for a game at least might not be a bad idea.

And when Bocanegra comes back, why not play DeMeritt at left back? If Bocanegra switches from playing left back to center back with the U.S., why can't DeMerit do the reverse?

Posted by: hudson22 | June 16, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

All u bloggers that are touting the USMNT's performance against the Azzuri are missing a salient point. The Azzuri players are more skilled, play as a team on both sides of the ball, are compact when they need to be and give up space with purpose. That my dear friends is what most players on the USMNT roster lack.

Posted by: juke2 | June 17, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

We are seeing the fruit of our "EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY" soccer culture. It provide some kids and some parents short term pleasure but it yields a team of losers!

Posted by: cdepp1 | June 18, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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