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Poll: Which Way for USA?

In the first game of the Confederations Cup, despite playing shorthanded, the Americans actually led reigning world champion Italy before fading in the second half. In Game 2, they were outclassed by five-time world champion Brazil, drew another red card, showed glimmers of life after the break and still fell by three goals. While injuries to Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu, Brian Ching, Frankie Hejduk and Steve Cherundolo have had an impact, several veterans have given poor performances and Coach Bob Bradley has been unimaginative with his player selections, leaving Jose Francisco Torres and Freddy Adu on the bench in a tournament that offers opportunity to test emerging players against strong competition ahead of next year's World Cup.

All things considered.....

By Steve Goff  |  June 19, 2009; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Confederations Cup , Poll , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Saturday Kickaround


106 votes and no comments? My computer must not be refreshing properly. I voted 7, because I haven't understood BB's decisions since he took over. I rarely understood Arena's decisions either, but gave him the benefit of the doubt since he got results in 2002. (why is Reyna off on the right? oh, a 2-0 victory over Mexico.)

So do Adu and Torres now need to go to Gold Cup to get minutes? If that was the case, why not let them have some time off during Confederations?

Posted by: troy6 | June 19, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The thing about Torres and Adu -- they are the rare breed among USA players. They can dribble past people without turning it over. Seems like that might have been helpful against teams that can be so deadly with their possession.

Posted by: fischy | June 19, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I think we're too busy worrying to post.

Posted by: BelovedCartoonMouse | June 19, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

On the other hand, they're not known as defenders -- so, I can also see Bradley's side of the question.

Posted by: fischy | June 19, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

We are just not a good team. Our players are not as good as from other countries around the world and thats ok. These losses in the Confederation Cup are expected and probably good to motivate the players. We need to step it up in CONCACAF though.

Posted by: poparoni | June 19, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I think no one is commenting because they are at a loss for words. Also why hasn't anyone mentioned Davies not starting. I think Altidore and Davies have good chemistry.

Posted by: no_recess | June 19, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Freddy has been basically sitting on his butt for the past couple of years so any opportunity to get him in the USMNT camp seems good to me.

Torres is new to the program.

No doubt they will see some time Sunday and during Gold Cup.

Posted by: Tweaked | June 19, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

For the love of Pele, play Torres this weekend.

no_recess: I would love to see those two paired up.

8: because we will still qualify for the WC, but we won't get far.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Nothing a new manager can't help with

Posted by: teo_68 | June 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I voted 8. Maybe that was too high. We will qualify for the World Cup only because we're n CONCACAF. But we're staring into the depths of 1998, sans McBride.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

BB needs to go.

He does not have the ability to properly select, guide, lead and motivate players for the USMNT.

He would be a fine coach in college or even MLS but not for a national team who wants to challenge at the world stage.

Just ask England what Capello has done for them!

Posted by: JP-10 | June 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I put 10 for the dramma factor but I am worried. Bob Bradley done nothing to improve the team.

We still only have one way of playing: kick it long up to our big strong forward who will hold it and hope for a set piece.

I would just through caution to the wind and play Adu, Torres, Davies and Altidore.

It wont happen cause in the back of BB's mind he is thinking we could have beat Italy if we didn't get a red card.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 19, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The USMNT needs change. Just like when the USWNT got Pia Sundhage after the disaster that was the Women's World Cup (thanks Greg Ryan!). The WNT didn't have any star players like Marta or even Mia Hamm, and even lost key players before the Olympics (including go-to goal scorer Abby Wambach) but they still won gold. And they were 33-1-2 for 2008. Also #1 in the FIFA world rankings.

Pia knows how to organize her players. The WNT's goals have come from several different players because they got no star players. Their last match they defeated Canada 4-0, 4 goals from 4 different players (2 coming from subs).

Posted by: KG118 | June 19, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

We are just not a good team. Our players are not as good as from other countries around the world and thats ok. These losses in the Confederation Cup are expected and probably good to motivate the players. We need to step it up in CONCACAF though.

Posted by: poparoni | June 19, 2009 11:21 AM

I agree with this post, generally speaking. But, I do expect progress. Since the veteran players that Bradley has been playing in the Confederations Cup didn't come close to getting the job done in our games with Italy and Brazil, it's time to give the next generation some significant experience in our remaining group game against Egypt.

Posted by: Stevenho | June 19, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Did someone say "red"?!

"I strip away the old debris that hides a shining car
A brilliant red Barchetta from a better vanished time
I fire up the willing engine responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime..."

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 19, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

We're not good enough and BB is not the man to make us better. I think he can and will qualify us for WC2010, but we won't do well there when we face top quality competition.

We can beat teams that we are not expected to beat from time to time, but that's not good enough for a program that has already been to a WC Quaterfinal.

We need creativity and boldness in the top spot! Who is there that can provide this?

Posted by: DCUnited4vr | June 19, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

World Cup in Canada in 2112

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Where to start?

Bradley says Adu must get minutes at the club level to get on the field, but he starts beazley and beazley is just awful. Hopefully he doesn't make any more rosters.

The players on the field who play in MLS where a step or two slow the entire match. Donovan was mobile, which was nice, but his one-v-one was terrible. Moves the work in MLS don't work against good opponents.

Has anyone reviewed how many of the Red Cards we've received in the last 6 or so years have gone to MLS players? Do they panick in real matches? Do they get away with crapola in MLS because the refs are awful?

Dempsey looked terrible. Why can't we give someone else a look when a starter is just doing lousy? At least Bradley subbed Beazley... why not Dempsey?

Can we loose the ball in the midfield any more often? Why isn't Bradley getting the team psyched up before the match so we don't keep giving up goals in the first ten minutes?

This team will probably qualify for the world cup and we will be another complete embarrasment, like Germany. We need a coach that isn't invested in the history of the players, but instead someone who will assess them harshly and try different options when someone is sucking out. I think it's time for Bradley to get cut loose.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Project 2010!

joedoc1: with the news of his DUI arrest today, I expected Warrant.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

i voted an 8. simply put, we are devolving.

we are completely bereft of attacking abilities, our better players (like clint dempsey) are playing far worse than they play for their club teams, we play in an undisciplined fashion, and our coach is unable to inspire, manage a game, or pick a lineup.

to say that we are just not good enough is lame. we will never get better unless things change radically.

i want a new coach immediately and think any of these 3 options would be an excellent choice: dick advocaat, johan neeskens, bruno metsu.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

hacksaw, you mention panicking -- I was so impressed by Brazil's control of the ball yesterday. They weren't as good with the passing as usual, but their ability to switch directions and hold the ball was just fantastic. Meanwhile, when an American player had someone close in on him, he kept playing the same way or tried a pass (or a direct ball).

That, I think, is something taught early on, because every Brazilian was doing it instinctively.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

We may be stuck with BB for this 4 yearcycle, but if they do hire Klinsman before 2010 give him a full 4yrs to undo what BB has done. Please just give Klinsman the control that Arena had. If US soccer would have done that the US team might look a lot different right now and we could be talking about 2 great wins against World Soccer powers

Posted by: BmoreFan | June 19, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Where is the Spinal Tap option? I choose 11.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | June 19, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

BB should go.

He is a solid coach. But his top is CONCACAF

He is quite over his head if we want to compete with Europeans, Egypt, Japan, South Americans and such

His selection of out of form Beasley and Sacha; inability to motivate or sit gassed Dempsey; not letting Torres in (Torres has no handicap of not playing for the first team like Adu) - all indicators that he should not manage the team.

I can credit him with giving experience and exposure and trust to his son Michael. We are all better for it. But all other stubbornness remains unrewarded. Spector was healthy for quite a while before he finally!! got the place.

I am not saying that we should have won facing Italy and Brazil. It was well understood as a long shot, but a good test. Even loss of 1:3 to Italy did not leave me disappointed (much). But the decisions going into the Brazil match were sooo wrong.

We do need a longterm strategy of getting a coach that can elevate our play. Such as Lippy and Hiddink. Even Klinsy. To be more influential in the whole our process of development. I understand that nothing will or can happen overnight, but we hit the wall and not progressing. A re-evaluation and new direction are needed.

Posted by: Tolik | June 19, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"On the other hand, they're not known as defenders -- so, I can also see Bradley's side of the question."

Yeah, 'cause we need to play the better defenders to avoid giving up 3 goals a game! Oh wait.....

Posted by: LloydHeilbrunn | June 19, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@reignking: a good Burn Notice last night. Not sure who that bad guy is, but he's good at it! I hope he becomes a semi-regular.

Michael: "Sam, does Fi have any C4?"

Sam: "Well, Mike, I'm not sure, but it's Fi, so what do you think?"

I love it...

Did someone say "Warrant"?!

"Got a picture of your house
And you're standing by the door
It's black and white and faded
And it's looking pretty worn..."

I used to have hair like this:

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 19, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I choose 11 then...

No team wants to go through a coaching change with a year left until start of the World Cup....

Only three players are set for the next coach. (1) All time USA goal scorer- Landon Donovan (2) The Gooch at centerback and (3) Tim Howard, because we simply do not have anyone close enough to challenge him unless Keller or Friedel come out of retirement. The rest of the entire lineup is up for grabs! That sucks bigtime!

Posted by: alan19 | June 19, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I270: You seem quite Geddy this morning. You need to get a Life Son. I do agree though, Canada would be a great place for the Cup, even if their national team usually gets picked aPeart.

Uhhhhhhhhhvvvvv, Salesmen!

Posted by: EssEff | June 19, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I upped my vote to an 8 from a 7 because of one glaring statistic. In the past 4 games we have allowed 10 goals, 3 in the first 10 minutes and received 2 red cards. That is not a good direction to be headed.

I wouldn't mind the losses if they were close, or at the very least if we had a good showing. But outside of the El Salvador game, we haven't even shown up to play. I dont know how to fix it, I do know you can't scratch the whole team but you can scratch the coach. It will be interesting to see how this downward spiral is managed.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | June 19, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

His decision to start Beas and Kljestan against Brasil was remarkable for it's stupidity---and any U.S. soccer fan who had seen these two play recently could see that.

But Gulati won't make changes before the WC. We'll qualify and then get embarrassed again against higher caliber COACHES and teams at S. Africa.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

We need some players who can score goals in the game. I know Torres doesn't really do that, but he's the most comfortable dude I've seen on the pitch for the US in the last year. Donovan is doing much better as of late, but I think we could get a lot more out of our free kicks if Adu was taking some of them.
Emo, Dempsey(guess i should have listened to ya 270), and Beasley have sucked. Altidore hasn't done much either, other than dive, throw his hand up, and earn us one stinking PK. Woo Hoo!

Posted by: DadRyan | June 19, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The US team has regressed so far back since '94 under Bora that you wouldn't believe we used to be able to string together 5-6 passes at a time. Currently at most you never see more than 3 passes and the next pass is force because player's low soccer IQ. Even under Bora, they did not suffer gaps and defensive lapses like what we seeing now; his team always were organized, discliplined and kept their shape.

I'd fired both Sunil and BB.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 19, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

why oh why do people keep talking about klinsmann? his results at bayern revealed him to be a poor coach. just look at his tactical decision-making and bad man management. go back and see how donovan was utilized and see he is just like bob bradley: he doesn't have a clue. joachim low was the brains behind germany in 2006, klinsmann was just the face. low is still there, and germany are continuing to play well. while klinsmann cannot even get an interview with any clubs. have you heard ANY rumors about him (other than star-eyed usa fans)??? no, because everyone who knows world soccer can see he is not a good coach.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse it just me or is the lack of a true holding midfielder a big problem? Where are the Claudio Reynas and Tab Ramoses? Bradley and Clark show potential, but they are boys amongst men out there.

The D is troublesome, but injuries are a big issue. Beasley has no business being out there any longer. Confidence is gone. And Gooch has been abysmal compared to what his potential was just a few years ago. Most disappointing lately has been Dempsey. Is he just too fatigued after the EPL punishment? He has directly cost the U.S. three goals by making center field weak-a$$ passes that result in odd-man rushes the other way.

We saw Italy, Honduras, and Costa Rica punish the U.S. for each error. One more, and I say bench him for Adu.

Posted by: wxdancer | June 19, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The 90 team sucked too because of their naivety (both coach and players) so Gansler doesn't get a free get out of jail card. But between today's team and the team from that era; we have better players individually now but play almost as bad collectively as the 90 team. That was 20 yrs ago!!!

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 19, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Burn Notice taped b/c I was out last night...and came back and watched the US-Brazil game. Wrong choice.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem, from the available players, is that we have NO midfield.

We're getting used and have no control at all. We give the ball away recklessly.We have no touch. We have no creativity. We have a bunch of d-mids who want to slide tackle all over the field, and wide players who have contributed nothing to the attack.

If faced with a similar group next year, we'd better learn to play bunker ball. A 4-5-1 will be a good start, because our midfield is terrible.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

BB needs to go.

He does not have the ability to properly select, guide, lead and motivate players for the USMNT.

He would be a fine coach in college or even MLS but not for a national team who wants to challenge at the world stage.

What he said.

Posted by: grabowcp | June 19, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It's the lack of passion and effort that has me so worried. bradley's baffling substitution bumbling, jerking around of torres and adu, and um.. jerking in a diff way of bornstein, beasley and kljestan are all bad. but it's the loss of any sort of mental edge that has us worried like it's 1998.

will the egypt game be bob bradley's austria or his iran?

Posted by: PindarPushkin | June 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Given the comments on your various threads over the past few days about the USMNT performances vs. Italy and Brazil you would think that the sky is falling. For those of us that remember the good old days of the 1990's qualification and the efforts to improve to be competitive with the major powers, this current spate of poor play should not be so surprising. Do we have issues related to personnel selections, tactical strategy and lack of team chemistry? Yes. Are the expectation of US soccer high? Yes, probably too much so.

I look at Australia as a rough equivalent. They have continued to steadily improve (went undefeated in Asia qualifying) and have a player pool similar to or weaker than ours. They brought in the dutch master Gus Hiddink during the last WC cycle and under continued Dutch coaching look very good overall.

My guess is that at the end of the Confed Cup, there will be some changes in the USMNT (including bringing in better assistants) to figure out what needs to be done. Those that follow the USMNT closely are well aware of the weaknesses of this side before they were exposed vs. Costa Rica, Italy and Brazil. Egypt will be a difficult game, as they will smell blood. I am hoping for a good performance against Egypt but don't be surprised if we lose again.

The confed cup results need to be seen in the longer term perspective. We have a year before the WC (assuming we qualify) so there is time to right the ship. Last summer we lost to England, Spain and then Brazil at home. Its been frustrating to struggle lately but so it goes. The boys deserve our support. I for one will be at RFK for the Gold Cup Honduras game.

Posted by: sbg1 | June 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

We are just not a good team. Our players are not as good as from other countries around the world and thats ok. These losses in the Confederation Cup are expected and probably good to motivate the players. We need to step it up in CONCACAF though.

Posted by: poparoni | June 19, 2009 11:21 AM


Unfortunately, this post was more correct than incorrect. At the end of the day this just isn't a very talented group of players that BB has to pick from. The player pool is not at the level that many (clueless) USA fans think that it is.

Posted by: kebzach | June 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

why oh why do people keep talking about klinsmann? his results at bayern revealed him to be a poor coach.

Posted by: dfunkt

2 points from first and dumped out of the CL by Barca.

Awful, just awful.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

2002 was the high-water mark for the USMNT. Since then, at best, the team haas plateaued. A big-time coach such as Gus Hiddink, Klinsmann, or even Bora II would probably get more out of this team than we are getting now, but that would simply bring us from about #30 in the world to about #25.

Let's face it. Our best athletes play football, baseball, basketball, hockey, track and field, etc. Soccer is pretty far down the list. Even if we did get our best athletes playing socccer, our soccer culture is 10,000 miles wide but only a millimeter deep in terms of its ability to develop highly technically skilled, creative and clever players. Hate to use a cliche but the USMNT "is what it is". It is unlikely to radically improve in the foreseeable future no matter who coaches the team.

Posted by: Ron16 | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I know he was canned in April...

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@Charisma_Man: i'd definitely be down with getting rid of bob AND sunil. "superfan" is not "super-knowledgeable fan" unfortunately.

@wxdancer: i agree that we need a good holding midfielder. couldn't torres be that guy? he has great composure on the ball and makes smart passes. i am not sure clint needs to be benched, he is probably demotivated because he sees the yawning gulf between fulham and usa (sad!). i do agree that adu needs to play. put him on the left wing where sad-a55ed beasley used to play. that way he will have plenty of space and can run at people with the ball.

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@wxdancer: i agree that we need a good holding midfielder. couldn't torres be that guy? he has great composure on the ball and makes smart passes.

Posted by: dfunkt

From what I've seen -- his MNT time -- 1000 times yes.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm as disappointed (and panicky) as any US fan these days, but to say we have regressed back to Boraball is just crazy talk. Maybe I mis-read what you were saying Charisma. WC94 Brz v US was not even funny how naive we were.

Posted by: EssEff | June 19, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

""The player pool is not at the level that many (clueless) USA fans think that it is.""

It's much deeper than ever before. We fielded a team full of college players against Italy at the '90 Cup. Compare that to now when we could field players who start in leagues from all over Europe, Mexico and the U.S. The problem is the coach.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

*Does Pia Sundhage have a brother?

*How 'bout this poll -- who would you rather see in Bradley's place -- Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) or Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino)?

Posted by: OWNTF | June 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Let's just kidnapp Guus Hiddink and force him to coach the US. Guaranteed WC semifinal birth with Hiddink at the helm. Doesn't even matter which players he chooses.

Posted by: psps23 | June 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I gave this a '1' or not concerned for the simple reason that we don't have enough quality players to make a difference. Jose Morinho or Sir Alex Ferguson couldn't do much better than Bradley with this group. Goalkeeper aside, we have exactly four players who see 1st team time on decent Euro teams: Bradley, Dempsey, Gooch, and Bocanegra. Torres starts in Mexico. Everyone else is MLS or third tier Euro. Until this changes, we're pretty much maxed out in terms of where we stand. We have no quality striker now that McBride has retired and it's difficult to say how this team can score against quality teams.

Posted by: agoldhammer | June 19, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking: yes, kind of awful, actually. bayern lost 5 times in the second half of the season under klinsmann, in the midst of a title fight. their trajectory was downwards and finishing 2 points out of the title was thanks to heynckes. also, they were not just dumped by barca, they were *smashed*. lyon(!) did better against barca in CL. in fact, bayern was barca's easiest matchup in the knockout rounds. even more troubling, he had completely lost the confidence of all the players and staff before he left. he is as bad as bradley with substitutions. he would put donovan in in the last 10 minutes of games and put him in positions where he could not utilize his main talent: speed. again, how come no other team in the world is interested in klinsmann? if he was such a great, big-time coach, then there would be people after him. before i saw him with bayern i also wanted him to coach usa, now i am absolutely convinced it would be a huge mistake...

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

this quote from Goff sums up a lot of my problems:

"While injuries to Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu, Brian Ching, Frankie Hejduk and Steve Cherundolo have had an impact"

why are Brian Ching and Frankie Hejduk still so indispensable to the USMNT in 2009 that their absence has an impact?

No offense to Ching or Frankie (in particular, who I think is awesome) but there has been barely any development in new players since 2006. Altidore, Adu, Davies, Holden, Rogers, etc etc should have received serious minutes in the 2008 phase of qualifying. That's why we have not progressed, and in my opinion regressed. Well, that and a several other similar reasons, but the common denominator in all is Bob Bradley.

Posted by: joe_hill | June 19, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I vote Pacino --

"You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us."

Posted by: OWNTF | June 19, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Brazil displayed ball control and speed that US players simply do not have. Speed is mostly born, but can be developed or enhanced. Ball control is only learned from hours of play (for Brazilians, though, it might also begin in the womb).

The US squad has the ability to play with passion, assertiveness, imagination and quality, but they simply looked intimidated from the opening whistle yesterday.

I suspect they will come out on Sunday with more intensity against Egypt, but will lose again. That Egyptian side is impressive...and superior. Unfortunately, the USA's delayed-reaction to getting spanked and then realizing "hey, we CAN play" has been seen before (e.g., a few weeks ago against Costa Rica and then Honduras).

I agree with several posters here who appear to realize (if not accept) that the US is a middling side which is only starting to develop talent and still has a long way to go to be able to truly compete with top-10 national teams.

Posted by: BaltoFan | June 19, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Bradley needs to go. I have never been a huge fan, but for awhile he was looking ok, but that was against CONCACAF competition. He will never bring the team to the next level. The only evidence I need to be convinced that he can't do anything for the team Beasley. What more proof does he need that Beasley has no place on the NT? Grant the left side of the field is our weakest, but he could at least try to change things up. He is a tactical fossil. I'm not saying we need a foreign coach, but I am saying I can't think of any domestic coaches that can do anything better than Bradley has done.

Posted by: bighungry | June 19, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

It's gotta be Norman Dale. He took a bunch of country bumpkins and made them compete at the highest level.

A similar situation, me thinks.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 19, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse


How about a little Great White!!

Lady Red Light, rock me tonight
Baby's got a way to make it alright
Lady Red Light, rock me tonight
She really knows how to move me
my Lady Red Light

Or the Neal Schon led Hardline with Rhythm From a Red Car
(just add a "d" after "Car"

Well you're drivin' me crazy on this road to paradise
Pray, pretty, won't you tell me what's on your mind
She's got a rhythm from a red car, she's got a rhythm from a red car
(In your eyes I see, you're telling me that you want it too)
She's got a rhythm from a red car, she's got a rhythm from a red car.

Posted by: torrey151 | June 19, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Or this one!

"I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I've never seen you shine so bright
I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance
They're looking for a little romance, given half a chance
I have never seen that dress you're wearing
Or the highlights in your head that catch your eyes I have been blind
The lady in red is dancing with me cheek to cheek
There's nobody here, it's just you and me, It's where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never for get, the way you look tonight..."

Go ahead, try and get THAT out of your head this weekend!

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 19, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Simply put this team has not played well in a long time, and that includes wins in CONCACAF. We cannot even score from the run of play unless we are playing the likes of T&T or El Salvador. We give up goals within the first 10 minutes of games regularly.

I see alot of people blaming Altidore, but the man has been left on an island up top with a bunch of defensive midfielders playing behind him. Kind of hard to create scoring opportunities in that kind of situation.

The worst part of the US team's situation is you don't really see any upcoming prospects to get excited about. Stuart Holden?? Chris Pontius?? Jeff Cameron?? sure they are fine young MLS players..but I really don't see them being much of an improvement over what we already have.

Posted by: DCU_VW | June 19, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@EssEff: Bora did the best he could with the players he had at his disposal. That's why i said they were well organized, discliplined and connecting 5-6 passes at a time. Sure they didn't play inspired football but he had to make the best of the situation. With today's players, BB can't even coach them or whatever to play collectively well, or keep shape as a unit.

@Delantero: I agree US has a very deep pool of players to choose from. I grew up playing in the system and saw first-hand the type of quality available in official and pickup games. These were your average players, and I can only imagine how good the elite level players were. It's beacause the administrators identify the wrong type of players (fast, atletic, strong) to progress rather than highly advanced tactical/clever players that may be deficient in the other areas (strength, pace, athleticism). Even MLS is proof of this, you see good soccer players who can't play MLS because they are not fast or strong enough but thrive elsewhere because it's more about the soccer skill than just physical attributes.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 19, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

There's the concepts of "fire in the belly" and "lighting a fire under under someone's rear." When the player lacks the former, the Coach is supposed to provide the latter. Yesterday had neither.

At the end of the last World Cup, I thought BA was burned out. It reflected in the way the players played. Since BB is a BA protege of sorts, I was concern when he took the team. I'm more so now. Yesterday's game showed the same lack of heart that I saw in the World Cup.

The sky isn't falling. It already has. We need to forget "experience" (where has it gotten us?) and go with "heart." I would trade Wallace, Pontius, Hall and other recent rookies for most of the current squad and see what they would be willing to do for pride.

Jus' sayin'

Posted by: carnack | June 19, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

We come out with a line up that screams fear. We put 1 up top and try to play long balls to him, which leaves him on an island vs 4 defenders. Its ugly soccer. Here is what I would do: Get rid of Beasley. He has only gotten worse over time. Put Freddie Adu in the Midfield with Bradley. Throw Donnovan on the right and Feilhaber on the left with Altidore and Davies up top.

Posted by: iKickBallz | June 19, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe all these references to songs about something red and no one went for "Little Red Corvette".

Onto the question at hand:

I have been relatively unhappy with Bradley throughout his time as the head coach. The system we play doesn't seem to serve us that well beyond CONCACAF. I had held out hope that Bradley was just using a more direct style in CONCACAF because he knew it would work, but against top opponents we're trying the same thing with the same players.

What concerns me just as much is the lack of killer instinct. Look at the Italy game: the Azzurri come out somewhat flat and leave gaps that we expose. Bradley and Altidore both waste great chances (each looked nervous; Bradley's was also partially due to being off balance, while Altidore's was either a horrible decision or a lack of courage). Clark is sent off, and we still have an Italy team that is somewhat disinterested...enough to concede a penalty to us and generally look like they're in first gear. Rossi comes on, we make one collective mistake (big gap is left open, no one closes it down) and he kills us with what was a wonderful goal, as much as I hate to say it.

See the difference? We get a chance to put Italy's proverbial neck under our boot, and we let them off the hook. Italy, meanwhile, was able to wait for us to get tired and then let their clear advantage in ability win the game for them. If anyone's a boxing fan, you've surely seen the fighter that staggers his opponent early, doesn't move in for the kill, and then in the late rounds starts to get tired and ends up knocked out. Those guys might make it to the big fight, but they almost never take the belt.

That's the difference between this team and the 2002 team. In 2002, we went out treating the first goal like it was absolutely crucial. Portugal, South Korea, and Mexico...what did our games against them have in common? We scored first, and in the first half. We scored on Portugal in the 3rd minute! Literally the first chance of the game, and O'Brien buried it.

The only hope I have right now is that big teams still don't take us that seriously. We'll hustle, we'll defend moderately well, and if you give us a bunch of set pieces, we might actually score. This lack of focus from our opponents might be our saving grace, if Bradley can get the players to understand that we aren't good enough to waste chances. Right now, though, all I see is a team good enough to win possibly the weakest CONCACAF hexagonal in some time, and take, at most, 2 points in a WC group.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 19, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I have given Bradley the benefit of the doubt for some time now but I have firmly decided that he has to go. We will not win in South Africa with him as our coach.

Posted by: Conservativemindsareinshackles | June 19, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

why are Brian Ching and Frankie Hejduk still so indispensable to the USMNT in 2009 that their absence has an impact?

Posted by: joe_hill | June 19, 2009 12:45 PM
Neither Ching nor Hejduk are indispensable, but both are useful. Ching possesses the ability to hold the ball up top, so on those occasions when the back line release the ball over the midfield, he can win the ball, then lay off. None of the other forwards we've played can consistently give us that.

Hejduk still has the wheels to keep up with most forwards, and serves as a good backup to Cherundolo. Plus, he gets forward enough to keep the opposing left midfielder busy. Absent both of Hejduk and Cherundolo, we're playing the third-best right back in the player pool, or possibly lower depending on your view.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | June 19, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Based on what I've read thus far, we don't need to go to Europe or SA to get an expert coach -- we have hundreds of experts right here!

Who knew that Bob was such an amateur that he could be out-coached by dozens of WAPO readers?

I say replace Bob with a "soccer meritocracy" where we reader/experts vote on formations, tactics, players, training regimens etc.

We'll be kicking Brazil & Italy to the curb in no time. It'll be just like 1776 all over again! We band of renegade coaches & players will once again out-smart and out-fight Old Europe (and New South America too!)

Posted by: sw7104 | June 19, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Norman Dale gets the vote on many levels.
#1- He practiced the basics first.
#2- He won his team over so much that they threatened not to play if he wasn't coach.
#3- He had a history of striking players (seriously, who doesn't think Landy Cakes doesn't need a good boot in the rump now and then??).

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | June 19, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

If you think Bob needs to go email Gulati!

Posted by: arswift24 | June 19, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

also are we really surprised when players like Rossi and Subotic choose against the US when we play in this style? High School soccer is boring for a reason.

Posted by: Conservativemindsareinshackles | June 19, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse


i wasn't ragging on ching or hedjuk, i was just saying that their time is past, and the fact that we haven't developed anyone to replace them is a major problem.

why has it taken until now (aside from injuries) to know that Spector actually is able to step up and make an impact. The fact that he was in street clothes against Costa Rica while Wynne got the start is ridiculous.

Posted by: joe_hill | June 19, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe all these references to songs about something red and no one went for "Little Red Corvette".
Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 19, 2009 1:45 PM

Chest, that's because Prince (or whatever his name is) is stupid. Chris De Burgh is cool

My lineup vs Egypt:

----------------- Howard -----------------

Spector ----- Gooch --- Boca --- DeMerit --

---------- Bradley ----- Benny F ----------

--- Donovan ---------------------- Adu ----

----------- Davies ------ Altidore --------

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse


I am glad that there is a collection of Burn Notice fans amongst this fun little (okay big) soccer blog.

I enjoy the bad guy too and I hope he stays.

In relations to a soccer post, Chest Rockwell I think your analysis is correct.

I think what we have seen in Bob Bradley's tactics is his peak and he lacks any new ideas. Will he get fired? No not until the end on an 0-2-1 world cup run in 2010.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 19, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm among the pessimists when it comes to predicting the current USMNT's future in the 2010 World Cup. I expect them to finish 3rd in CONCACAF qualifying, but not advance past the group stage in South Africa.

There's no depth to the squad -- too many untested players in the pool, not enough time to build a strong side capable of competing against the world's best. I think it might be time for Coach Bradley to recruit retired national team players like Brian McBride and Eddie Lewis to improve his options.

Posted by: Brokenbil | June 19, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I think things kind of went gradually downhill after the Gold Cup win.

But this exchange from Major League 2 sums it up:

Tanaka ... "You no... you have no... you have no... MARBLES!"
Cerrano ... "Marbles?"

The UMNT has no marbles. They don't play fearlessly like they used to. It looks like its just another job for them, punch in/punch out.

Posted by: addick | June 19, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Bob Bradley go, his formations just don't make any sense, they are miserable against any team with strong talent, and they hardly play to anyone's strength (i.e. putting Beasley at left back...err just putting Beasley on the field). Also, its time to sit Donovan and Dempsey. Send a message to the two of them that unless they perform (meaning get something in the net, or set-up a goal, PK's don't count), they shouldn't be considered automatic starters. I agree with a couple of commentors, I like Hejduk and Ching, they both give everything they have when they are on the field, but they aren't the amazing stars of international soccer that can change the whole complexity of a team. I never liked Bruce Arena, but he was on the right track when he would put in players that not only played, but made a contribution to their team. We need to give more call-ups to players who aren't rusty (where's Kenny Cooper?)even if they are MLS players, Beasley's "ole" on that corner kick is a good example of why rusty players just don't work-out. Eddie Lewis and Steve Ralston were constantly in the mix for Bruce Arena. I wouldn't see either player was amazing or flashy, but they were consistent and always got the job done. I've ranted enough...

Posted by: jro1 | June 19, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Got to say that Demeritt did well; he seemed to be the only one out there that showed some serious fight and bite.

What's up with Dempsey yelling at his own players?

Im still sickened. We just look awful.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 19, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

By the way, what's up with Michael Orazsco, I thought he was doing really well at San Luis? Might be time for him to get some game time. Can't say that Spector, Bornstein, or Pearce have nailed down one of the defensive spots.

Posted by: jro1 | June 19, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Red Rider with the appropriate theme song for us.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

i thought spector has looked pretty good this whole tournament. would like to see him start in a backline with boca on the left (like he plays at his club team)

Posted by: joe_hill | June 19, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I know alot of people will disagree with this, but Ching would have been a huge difference against both Honduras, Costa Rica, and in the Confederation Cup. He holds the ball well. He takes alot of punishment and compliments Altidore. However I really wish the US would not have to rely on someone like that. Look at Brazil. Do they have a "target forward?"

Posted by: no_recess | June 19, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

After 273 votes, 82% of people surveyed want Bob Bradley to be fired or resign at the end of the Confederations Cup. Only 10% thought he should keep his job, with the other 7% on the fence.

If you haven't voted yet, go have your say!

Posted by: eubh223 | June 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

So the last time we went to a major tournie under Bradley, the whatever in South America.....what happened?
We got trampled. By everyone. Poor tactics, poor player choices, defense first, scared to attack, poor subs and sub patterns....overall incompetence.
But hey, not an important tourney - the Gold Cup is "our" tournament and we must do well there.
So we scrape thru a home tournament with the same clueless approach and get lucky.
Now, we go to another major international tournie with some high quality competition. What does Bradley do? I could copy and paste, but we know what he did. Same crap, different day.
Why would a guy like Rossi want to play for this train-wreck? I would look for any way to play for Iceland, Ireland or Greece or Costa Rica that I could manufacture. Poor Torres.....what a mistake.
Bradley stunk in MLS and he stinks at Nat team level. We knew it going in. I hoped he was just a stop-gap for a year.
His year is up. He has this program regressing.
Time for him to regress back to Ball State or whoever will take him.

Posted by: googlio | June 19, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse


Damn, thank you!! How did I forget that.

One of the best songs from the Vision Quest soundtrack.

An appropriate quote here.

I was in the room here one day... watchin' the Mexican channel on TV. I don't know nothin' about Pele. I'm watchin' what this guy can do with a ball and his feet. Next thing I know, he jumps in the air and flips into a somersault and kicks the ball in - upside down and backwards... the goddamn goalie never knew what the f*ck hit him. Pele gets excited and he rips off his jersey and starts running around the stadium waving it around his head. Everybody's screaming in Spanish. I'm here, sitting alone in my room, and I start crying.
That's right, I start crying. Because another human being, a species that I happen to belong to, could kick a ball, and lift himself, and the rest of us sad-assed human beings, up to a better place to be, if only for a minute... let me tell ya, kid - it was pretty goddamned glorious. It ain't the six minutes... it's what happens in that six minutes.

Posted by: torrey151 | June 19, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Eh… As embarassed as we are after seeing our teams getting destroyed by Brazil and Italy, I don't think we can say the sky is falling unless we start dropping out of World Cup contention in CONCACAF. But really… Did anyone think that we would actually miss Bruce Arena?

None of us really expected to win against Brazil and Italy, but I'm more curious to see how we stack up against Egypt. Clearly we're not a top 5 team in the world, but Egypt will be a good gauge to see how we stack up against the mid-level European and South American teams.

A sign of how much we've regressed is to come on here and see people mention the names of Eddie Lewis and Taylor Twellman of all people. Everyone is saying that we need some new blood and our player pool is very deep. The Gold Cup might be a good chance to give some hungry MLSers a chance. Stuart Holden, Brad Davis, Santino Quaranta, Chris Pontius… Who else?

Posted by: DCUMD | June 19, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

We stink now. We stunk it up in WC-2006. Prior to that the progress of the USMNT was measurably positive. What went wrong? -- Coaching, player selection, the players themselves or strategic direction of the national team? It's time to start over. Drop Bob B. Drop at least six of the current selection. Go in a new direction, it can't be any worse than we what currently have which is an embarrassment. A. Lalas anyone?

Posted by: tfshea | June 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Bradley on his decision to start Beas . . this begs the question, why put Clint at center ? WHY? Cuz, Bob is clueless.

"We tried to not have Clint all the way in the center, but have him tilted a little bit to the left," Bradley said, "give him freedom to find the spaces and use DaMarcus to help because we know that the ability of whether it's Daniel Alves or Maicon to come forward is going to be a major part of the threat. We felt DaMarcus' qualities in terms of giving us the width and ability to help out there would give Clint a little more freedom to find the game and give us a little bit deeper presence in midfield. But when the game starts and you're tentative, now it turns out DaMarcus was deeper than we would have hoped."

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It is just me or did the US side look less conditioned than any other side?

Posted by: tfshea | June 19, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The fact that the bell curve is over 7 on that poll is hilarious. The hope was that we would take a point off of this tournament. The fact that we haven't yet and probably won't shouldn't alarm anybody. Remember Ghana in '06 beat us? Egypt are the African champs, not Ghana. Italy are the world champs, and Brazil is pretty darn good.


It just isn't. And they are going to make us look bad, no matter what 11 guys we put on the pitch, no matter what formation we play them in.

Which is not to say that Bob is being the perfect coach--he isn't. Which is not to say that we aren't showing our inexperience in international tournaments--we are. We just shouldn't get all wound up about it. Call back in 10 years--the next generation will be better than this one, and the generation after that will be even better.

Of course, I didn't think we did all that bad in the '06 World Cup (yeah, we dropped a stink bomb in the Czech game, but other than that we did pretty good), so perhaps my view of the team is just out of sync w/ the rest of the nation's.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 19, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Well in, I-270.

Those Red Rider guys show more passion than our MNT did against Brazil.

Posted by: joedoc1 | June 19, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It is just me or did the US side look less conditioned than any other side?

Posted by: tfshea

Being a man down will do that to you, but the long-held belief that the US had the best athletes in the world, and that was enough to at least set us apart from the also-rans, is crap.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It's not that we have no points in the Confederations Cup, the point is how poorly we've looked in the Tournament. No form, no confidence, no heart.

Posted by: carnack | June 19, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@glfrazier: that is a lazy, laissez-faire perspective if ever i have heard one. yes, the next generation will be better than this one, but so will brazil's. according to this plan, our next generation we will be, say, 10% better than our current generation, and brazil's next generation will be 15% better than their current generation...awesome! at least will be able to say we are improving, right???

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@no_recess | June 19, 2009 2:59 PM: I agree, Ching would have mad a difference in the qualifiers. But not the Confed Cup because he'd never get the ball. Brazil does not need a target forward when they have 10 target players.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 19, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

jen chang and the u.s. soccer pdcast has some interesting comments on the state of the usa national team:

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

sorry, incorrect link...i actually verified this one:

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@ schmuckatelli "Absent both of Hejduk and Cherundolo, we're playing the third-best right back in the player pool, or possibly lower depending on your view."

Nobody (unfortunately) has a big heart as The Dude. He does bring that something special. But, if we compare the footballer's skill alone - Spector is better than either of them.

IMHO of course

Posted by: Tolik | June 19, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the Red ladies, corvettes, and Riders.

It's Friday, it's almost quitting time, and the way MNT has been playing lately has driven me to

Have a great one guys and gals.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | June 19, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: players are still mediocre. There are still no US players doing much of note in any of the major leagues. That was Brazil's B or C team out there yesterday and is there one position where you thought the US had any advantage?

Posted by: Cossackathon | June 19, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@ sw7104

We are not talking about us able to beat up Brazil or Italy. Actually we could do more damage to Italy, but it's not the point.

The point is that BB made some bad decisions. It's not an opinion, but a fact - observable and confirmed partially by Beasley removal by BB himself.

Nobody offers himself as a coach, but we are asking for a better coach for our team to progress in quality.

Posted by: Tolik | June 19, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

FIRE BRADLEY. He has been outmatched by every coach he has faced other than the mexican coaches.

If we ever want to be a world class team we need a world class coach, and there are no coaches who are American that fit that description.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | June 19, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

first of all, there are so many good comments on this site, I hope the USSF braintrust is listening, actually reading.

My point is, that of all of the incredible soccer talent this country has in the youth ranks,this is the best group of guys that have been cultivated and trained to play at this level?

Whoever is assessing the talent is doing a bad job. We need more chicken salad and less chicken ----.

For my money, there were 3 players that played with quality, urgency, and effectiveness this past week: Donovan, Spectre, and Altidore.

Feddy Adu should be playing. He is a game changer when put in the right situation.

Beasley continues to disappoint, as does most of the midfield.

I miss Frankie Hedjuk and Bocanegra. 2 of the best.

Keep in mind that the Italy players have been off for 3-4 weeks from their club games, and as a result were not at peak form.Yet we still were outhustled and outclassed. But not by much. The US team showed heart and effectiveness.

Having said all that, I thought the USA team looked more than respectable. Optimistically, if given the right list of teams next year, they may make it to the round of 8. What else did you expect?

Posted by: QUASICRITIC | June 19, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Tired thread, await news from the Dick.

Will Olsen play?

"The last time D.C. United won a road match in this series was on May 6, 2000."

Posted by: OWNTF | June 19, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

um, poorly phrased, we await news from our man AT the Dick . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | June 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF: i bet if this thread was about the women's team you wouldn't think it was tired...

Posted by: dfunkt | June 19, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Spectre? He is SCARY good.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse


At first I thought saying Spector, who has been playing well and arguably plays at the best club amongst our possible right backs, was our 3rd best option at best was harsh. However, you might be right. Cherundolo might be disconcertingly small, but he thrives in a league full of tall players and is clearly the best of our right backs with the ball. Hejduk, meanwhile, plays with his heart on his sleeve a bit more. As he's aged, he's lost less of his speed and endurance than one would expect, while gaining quite a bit in positioning and timing his tackles.

However, the biggest difference from my perspective is that Cherundolo and Hejduk are both ultra-competitive. Cherundolo has captained his team, and I doubt many of us will forget Hejduk fighting off everyone, including Altidore, to head in the equalizer against El Salvador. It's not that Spector is some kind of wilting lily, but look at his marking on set pieces. The opener for Brazil was one we paid for, but by my count it's the third time his man was open for a free header on a set piece in this tournament. I don't think it's lack of focus, or lack of physical gifts; it's that the opposing player simply wants it more. I don't think we'd be seeing that with Cherundolo or Hejduk (obviously they wouldn't be drawing the same assignments on set pieces, but that's beside the point).


For the record, I think your comment on Prince is revenge for that "take the power from the states and give it to the federal gov." bit.


Colorado has definitely not been kind to us over the years. Hopefully the fact that they're without Casey will help us out. They don't even have a reasonable replacement, so the Rapids will have to change their approach as an attack for this one. The good news for us is that Ballouchy isn't as smart off the ball as Ljungberg, and Cummings is not as elusive as Montero. The way Seattle drew Jakovic and Burch out of position repeatedly is something the Rapids can't really duplicate.

With the altitude and the recent volume of games, this game will be won or lost by us in the 1st half. While our comebacks have become an almost weekly occurrence, it's hard to see an exhausted team, at altitude and without 2 of it's most creative players, will be able to do it again. We need a cushion going into the last half hour.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 19, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

50% at 8 or above on the poll?

Seriously...come in off the fricking ledge. It was Italy and Brazil.

Posted by: very_clever_username | June 19, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so, I wrote something very long and passionate, and it said it was going to have to be approved by the author, so, Mr, Goff, please approve it. I understand I censored myself once, and if you need to change that, I'm fine with that, I would just like my (long) thoughts to be heard, please and thank you.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The US national team will never be successful until fundamental changes are made at USSF. The AYSO, ODP and amateur ranks still wield far too much power withing the organization.

They also stifle any critical assessment by journalists because of the real or implied threat that critical sportswriters will have their media credentials revoked.

Sunil Gulati is a fan, not a federation president. He doesn't have a clue about what he's doing.

And USSF has never implemented a real development program that identifies and nurtures the best youth players. Project 40 / Generation Adidas simply play lip service to the recommendations that were contained in the Queiroz report.

The Bradenton Academy was a good idea, but there aren't enough of them. There should be elite academies all over the country used to develop young players that is aligned with Major League Soccer youth programs. Every MLS team should have its own youth academy paid for by USSF and run by the teams.

In the long run, American soccer will never succeed as long as the "orange slices at halftime and let's give all the kids participation trophies" crowd runs USSF.

Posted by: lastort1 | June 19, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The downfall of US Soccer / USSF started with the hiring of BB. After Arena, the barometer had been already set for any coaches hired from the domestic game. As we have reached the point of diminishing returns, there is no way up until he is replaced with someone to take us to the next level. What does the next level mean? Next level means someone who can teach the players what it takes to beat Italy, Brasil, Argentina, England, Spain, Netherlands. This may mean former world cup winners in form of ex-players or coaches. If we are not going after this level of coaches, what is the point of getting another BB type? It's not like the USSF is lacking in $$$. More like lacking in ambition. 2010 was created to serve this ambition, but Gulati got on board, hired BB and steered the ship way off course.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 19, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

50% at 8 or above on the poll?

Seriously...come in off the fricking ledge. It was Italy and Brazil.

Posted by: very_clever_username

Wait until Egypt whips us.

Posted by: Reignking | June 19, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't give a monkeys about this tournament - but am mildly concerned about the team's stagnation in the past few years. As said in various ways above - we just need better players (duh). Guys (especially defenders) that's can play in elite leagues. Not really happening with the current talent pool and amateur set up.

And please stop trying to convert forwards to defenders in their twenties.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 19, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

It's not that they lost to Italy and Brasil. It's that they looked awful against Brazil.

Anyway; re: the DC/Rapids game. Colorado just signed Pat Noonan from Columbus. Must be planning to use him up front in place of Casey.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 19, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Also, Saturday's promotion is of great interest.. as a single man...

COMMERCE CITY, COLO. (April 13, 2009) — The Colorado Rapids will host the "2009 Festival of Women" at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in conjunction with their home match on Saturday, June 20, it was announced today.

The Festival of Women will feature a pregame festival promoting Colorado companies, non-profits, women business owners, authors, speakers, designers, artisans and local bands.

There will also be a pole dancing competition....

Posted by: hacksaw | June 19, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse


The two goals conceded in the USA-Ghana match were a bad penalty and Reyna's giveaway/foul/injury. Our play was both attractive and attacking (because it had to be).

Posted by: mason08 | June 19, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

There was (surprisingly) a good article on about the state of US soccer, and it was written before this tournament even started. The central idea was that there's a tendency in the US to always believe -- about everything, not just sports -- that things are constantly getting better, and that this applies to the US national team as well. But the reality is that, position by position, the US is the same or weaker (in some cases much weaker) than before the 2006 Cup, and even before the 2002 Cup.

I didn't like the selection of Bradley as coach because it seemed like a low-risk, low-reward proposition. He wouldn't destroy the program the way Sampson almost did, but he wouldn't excel either -- he just has no good sense of what it takes to win in international competition, like his players. That's not a terrible thing if we're content to be a second or third-tier soccer power, but then we can't be surprised when we beat regional competition and keep getting embarrassed against elite competition.

To me, Hedjuk symbolizes the entire US situation. He tries hard and is willing to work, but has limited natural ability and is prone to making terrible mistakes (including costly yellow and red cards). He also always plays with his head down and has little feel for where he is on the field and where his teammates are. And yet he keeps getting playing time and accolades because he tries, as if we're fielding a team of schoolkids.

Better scouting can improve the talent level to some extent, but better coaching is needed to make sure we're fielding disciplined players and developing the best tactics. We're not Brazil and we shouldn't play as if we are, but we can make the most of our player pool. Australia isn't an elite power, but they played tough and disciplined in the last world cup -- that should be our model.

Posted by: thoward1223 | June 19, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Saying Brazil and Italy are better than us is a lame excuse. We looked like crap yesterday. Inexcusable performance.

Posted by: lastort1 | June 19, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Cheers to U and Your's BlackandRedRedDevil.
Hope everyone can find something to smile about this weekend.
Can we get on with a Greetings from The Rockies thread already, or what?
I'm getting ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 19, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

""To me, Hedjuk symbolizes the entire US situation. ""

Yes, but Hedjuk produces. That's more than can be said about our display at the Confed Cup.

"We're not Brazil and we shouldn't play as if we are, but we can make the most of our player pool." And that means the coach has to instill "discipline", pick the right players, and put them in spots where the can succeed.

Beasley at left back doesn't fit that. Dempsey at center mid doesn't fit that. Kljestan starting at center mid doesn't fit thatdoesn't come close to that. Mastroeni anywhere on the pitch doesn't come close to that.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Goff's out enjoying the fantastic weather on the Front Range, hopefully. Taking in Chataqua Park in Boulder? Dinner at Flagstaff on the expense account? Or a stroll on Pearl, maybe?

Lord knows, Commerce City offers nothing but acres of industrial wasteland. Great spot for a stadium . . ugh.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse


Looks like someone else has hit the character limit! Welcome to the club!


Noonan should be a great pickup for Colorado. I can see him overtaking Cummings as Casey's partner, if he stays fit (despite the obviously good rapport Casey and Cummings have built). I imagine in either case that Smith is over the moon about having either one of them as his ace in the hole when Colorado needs goals.

However, he's still a much different player from Casey, so even if Smith throws him straight in we're still talking about the Rapids having to change their attack tomorrow. Given our relative frailty against direct play, and Casey being a better fit to that style than Noonan, I think this plays into our hands a bit. It will still be tough, since we always do poorly in this fixture and the Rapids are a better team than they have been in years.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 19, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

"since we always do poorly in this fixture and the Rapids"

FYI, it's Crapids as in CRAPids.

Crapids are rested after inexplicably not having a fixture last week. We're limping, but have some depth. I don't expect a fluid game on our part, and our bench is limited d/t injuries.

Gomez has to start, clearly. Olsen may get the start, but hasn't played, is coming off injury and therefore can't be expected to go 90 minutes at a mile high. Olsen starting would be nice to see, but silly. Really, that'd be a dumb start.

Barklage or McTavish will be in uniform b/c of Fred's injury but which? I haven't seen enough of Barklage to know, but McTavish I'm comfortable with for defense/mid.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

And for the record, I'm still wondering why Jacobson keeps getting chances. It's like Bradley starting Beasley over and over again.

Posted by: delantero | June 19, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Be afraid that Egypt may put a bigger whipping on the USMNT than Italy or Brazil!

Posted by: tfshea | June 19, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Chest, I'm afraid I may have started my own club for tripling it.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 19, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The team is not stagnating, it is regressing. There's not one single aspect of the team that has improved under BB tenure. The disciplinary record of the team is horrendous. Scouting is none existent... we need to do some thing drastic.

We don't need to wait until the game against Egypt to realize that we are baddddddd.

A Dutch coach, a revamp of the scouting department, and a reorientation of the USA soccer player.

Posted by: samiismoni14 | June 20, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Keep in mind when John Harkes is asked about playing Brazil, and about the US fouls against Italy and Brazil, that he missed the biggest game of his national career, against Brazil, because of DISSENT only. He was yapping to the ref about not giving ten yards on an innocuous free kick and so got an second accumulated yellow card and missed the elimination round game against Brazil. So he was a verbal hothead in his time.

Posted by: GeneWells | June 20, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Where is the Spinal Tap option? I choose 11.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | June 19, 2009 11:46 AM

I got around to seeing the Canadian documentary The Story of Anvil, about a real-life Spinal Tap, the other night. There was a scene inside a recording studio in which there was a brief glimpse of a dial that went to 11.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 20, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the title of the film is Anvil! The Story of Anvil. The redundancy is deliberate.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 20, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Immediately fire Bob Bradley and hire somebody who has a clue. Losing 2-0 to Brazil, on verge of tourney exit, and Bob opts to sit Beasley and Altidore. How did he sharpen the attack? Adu's wicked speed? Torres' skill and quickness? Davies' pace? Nope. Bob brings on clunky Casey and average Feilhaber. How 'bout getting Peter Nowak back from MLS Philly?

Posted by: Barca2-0ManUtd | June 20, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@glfrazier: "...Egypt are the African champs, not Ghana. Italy are the world champs, and Brazil is pretty darn good.

It doesn't matter if we are as good as those teams. Player personnel is only part of the winning equation. It is really
about tactics and desire to win also. Hiring the coach that takes us to the next level will result in beating teams like Brasil, Argentina, etc... Do you remember WC'98 when Norway beat Brasil 2-1 in group play? I remember Norway won, standing out there in Hotel De Ville, but not the score so I looked up the game-day roster:


Norway = Ronny JOHNSEN, Henning BERG, Stig BJORNEBYE, Oyvind LEONHARDSEN, Tore Andre FLO , ...

That was like the Brasilian dream team out there that day, and they GOT BEAT.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 20, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

It's raining again so let me waste some time and vent.

--To those who say "Get a grip the US is not that good". My response is that yes, I expected the US to lose, but like Iraq did not like New Zealand.

--The US player pool is better and deeper than 4 or 8 yeras ago, but the results are not showing up. First we need to stop giving up goals. I say go to a 3 man back line with 5 midfielders of which two are defensive minded. I would definitely sit Dempsey, he is not productive on offense or defense. I would even be willing to sit Donovan, who has not been playing badly, but given that he has only 1 goal in 24 games during the run of play, I think he has not played to his ability and that should have consequences. My lineup:
-----Spector--Gooch--Boca (Bornstein)

When Edu is healthy I would move him into the Bradley slot and move Donovan up to forward. Bradely should not be a defensive midfielder because he gives up the ball too much and has too many fouls, but he is the coach's son and MUST play every minute available.

Posted by: rana3 | June 20, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Stop blaming Bob Bradley. He's not the reason the USMNT sucks right now. Look at the 2009 player pool and answer these questions: How many of these guys are first team starters in top European leagues? How many of these guys played UEFA Cup this past season? How many of these guys played UEFA Champions League this past season? That's the level the USMNT needs to be in order to succeed in the World Cup. If the talent isn't there, no amount of coaching is going to change that. The best we can hope for is the kind of draw we got in 2002. Otherwise, it's going to be just like the Confederations Cup - three games and out.

Posted by: Brokenbil | June 20, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Either bring back Bruce Arenas or go global for the next USA coach. Bradley should be let go before next years WC. I don't see an all out effort from his players each and every time out
on the pitch, and given our level of talent compared to the worlds elite, they need to bring high energy and passion every time out. Their style of play is boring, their passing and spacing just horrible. The basic fundamentals of the game seem to be lacking. I could go on, but I think the best thing for the future of this squad is to find a new leader.

Posted by: jdwilliams | June 20, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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