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USA-Brazil Rewind

Luis Fabiano ties the score with a header in the second half. (Laurence Griffiths -- Getty Images)

Here's the analogy I'll use to explain to casual sports fans why the USA relinquished a two-goal lead and lost to Brazil, 3-2, in the Confederations Cup final: Think of the NCAA basketball tournament and a low seed jumping to an 16-point lead at halftime against a team from the ACC or Big East. It's a stunning advantage, the fans are ecstatic, CBS is freaking out, but there's that underlying sense that the favored team will find a way to win.

That's what happened in Johannesburg today. The Americans didn't choke -- favored teams that cough up leads and lose choke. This was a case of the Americans doing everything right for 45 minutes but by yielding that crushing goal just after the break, they allowed the game to turn. (It was like the favored basketball team opening the half with a three-pointer.) The USA was fortunate Kaka's bid that clearly crossed the line before Tim Howard pushed it off the crossbar was not ruled a goal. From there, it was a matter of time before Brazil collected the equalizer. I honestly thought it would go to overtime, but even on set pieces, the Brazilians were superior and secured the trophy in the closing minutes.

"We continue to try to move ourselves forward," Coach Bob Bradley said when asked about the perception of American soccer after beating Spain and battling Brazil until the end. However, "It still feels lousy to let this one slip away."

Said Landon Donovan: "We're at the point where we don't want respect; we want to win."

Some final notes:
*Howard was named the tournament's best goalkeeper.
*Clint Dempsey was awarded the Bronze Ball (third-best player behind Kaka and Fabiano).
*I've gotten use to the vuvuzelas. Bring 'em on in 2010! (Of course, I might reconsider after I am subjected to them in person).
*After untold references, Alexi Lalas must be banned from using the word "Banshee."

Howard 8; Spector 6, Onyewu 7, DeMerit 6, Bocanegra 7; Dempsey 7, Clark 5, Feilhaber 6, Donovan 8; Davies 5, Altidore 5. Subs: Bornstein 5, Kljestan 5, Casey 5.

By Steve Goff  |  June 28, 2009; 5:15 PM ET
Categories:  Brazil , Confederations Cup , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Monday Kickaround


Dempsey seemed to completely disappear in the second half.

Overall a disappointing result when the game started with so much promise.

Posted by: fedssocr | June 28, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Good job at breaking it down, Goff. That showing was nothing to hang their heads over. I liked seeing the pain in their faces when they were accepting awards. They know what it's like to be on that stage and will want to erase that feeling. That should push and motivate them more than any CONCACAF games can.

Posted by: sitruc | June 28, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Kljestan and Casey... if those are our best subs, then so much for our vaunted depth. Dempsey might just have been flat worn out. Donovan did so much, until I suspect his energy level, too, was fading. I am encouraged by Spector and DeMerit, as those additions solidify a deepening back line. Midfield is iffy, and we just flat out need some additional possibilities up top.

Posted by: freeholdsouth | June 28, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Subs giving 5 is way too generous. They only played a few minutes and badly by some. How can they be equal to players who played 90 mins? Onyewu was exhausted.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | June 28, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"does anyone still think that they considered this a glorified series of friendlies?"

Mason08, nope, but it's still not the World Cup. Teams won't come out flat in the Cup and, if they do, shame.

"We need to find a way to integrate players like Torres and Adu, who can help you pass and keep possession"

Yup. Sad to see them not get one minute of play in this tournament, really. But Bradley is Bradley, what are you going to do . . maybe he'll let them have fun in the Gold Cup.

Posted by: delantero | June 28, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else excited for the qualifier against Mexico at Azteca?

Posted by: addick | June 28, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if there's a debrief process at USSF where after a game they go over decisions as a staff? I know we're not at practice or privy to what happens in the locker room, but it's more than surprising that neither Torres or Beas came in instead of Bornstein, Casey and Kljestan. Or does a federation hire a coach and just let them do their thing?

This will be less of an issue when M. Bradley isn't suspended, Edu isn't hurt and Jones is capped.

Nice came, and nice to keep it close. Good for press at home, good for our rep elsewhere. Bring on the transfer window, let's get some guys in the bigger leagues and quick.

Posted by: eadc | June 28, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"and we just flat out need some additional possibilities up top.

Posted by: freeholdsouth"

We have one, sitting in our laps, just waiting to be used. The most dynamic player in transition we have on this team, the only guy with the pace, vision, and technical ability to run at defenders, provide the threat of beating them 1 v 1, AND be able to play the killer penetrating pass.

Only he's hiding behind the "no depth" excuse, eeeeerily similar to how our "new" striker (Charlie Davies) had been hiding under the same assumption for the last year and a half.

Maybe if we had someone competent on the sideline, these ideas wouldn't be so prevalently spread. Because if you were an outsider, you'd think Casey, Bornstein, and Kljestan were the only possible options today. What a sad in-game coaching display. It depresses me knowing that the US is going to have to succeed in spite of its coach. Unless, of course, he's allowed enough time to stumble upon realizing that Adu is a better option than either of those players, at any of the positions they subbed in during this game (just as he stumbled upon realizing that Davies, too, was better than Casey).

Posted by: psps23 | June 28, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

New meaning to irrelevant Goff....Clark a 5. You have no idea what you are talking about. Davies a 5? Are you kidding me? Altidore a 5? maybe a six.

Posted by: davezerk | June 28, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

As much as it hurts to lose, this tournament probably couldn't have gone any better in terms of preparing us for the World Cup. We got a sense of what it takes to win and confirmed that we're capable of winning any time we step on the field. But we also had some mistakes and disappointments from which we will hopefully learn. I hope the bitter taste of this defeat lingers for a while; it'll make us hungrier in 2010.

There were also some encouraging individual performances: Demerit, Spector, Onyewu, Davies, and Clark all played better than I thought they would. Donovan finally took on the leadership role that we've all been wanting him to take; he was outstanding. Onyewu, Davies, and Demerit all surely increased their transfer value. Spector, Bradley, and Feilhaber certainly did nothing to hurt their standing at their club teams.

I'm looking forward to Edu, Cherundolo, Hejduk, and Ching getting back into the mix. Jones should also be a valuable addition. We could still have Adu, Torres, Cooper, or Kljestan force their way onto the field. The stalwarts - Dempsey, Howard, Donovan, Bocanegra, Onyewu - look solid and seem to be in their prime. I like where this team is headed.

Posted by: jsm91 | June 28, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"'he's allowed enough time to stumble upon realizing that Adu is a better option than either of those players,""

I thought the same thing when Casey was brough on against Egypt. Come on, Bradley. Adu may not be perfected, but he's got skills and quickness to match . . . I'm sure he could be more useful than Casey . .

Posted by: delantero | June 28, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

And Sacha a FIVE????? OH MY GOSH!! The guy didn't complete one pass and didn't even clog up space on defense. Get with it man.

Posted by: davezerk | June 28, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but even with this game, Seattle still drew 32,356

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 28, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Davies' work rate was much better than Altidore's--not to mention his superb first-touch ball on Landon's goal. I'm a bit disappointed in Jozy today, it just doesn't seem he brings the energy 100 percent of the time. I'd give Davies a 7, Jozy 5.

Kljestan 3.

Posted by: JayW4 | June 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

sorry, but how does Kljestan get a 5 today? Is that one point per turnover in his few minutes of action? I give him a 3.
And I just noticed that a poster above me gave him the same. The people have spoken!

Posted by: jake77 | June 28, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I continue to never understand the player ratings...are they picked out of a hat? Spector only a 6 after a sweet pass to set up the 1st goal...and great defending...and Bocanegra a 7? Because? Dempsey not an 8? Kljestan? I could go on and on. If you're going to do them, have them make sense.

Posted by: seangw83 | June 28, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm frustrated. My wife keeps trying to convince me that it's OK, that we did well, that we've gained some respect. But, like Donovan, I wanted a win. Brazil was dissecting our back line going into halftime, and Bradley should have responded. I'm sick of seeing Altidore walking when he loses the ball (and I like him, in general). I hated seeing Kljestan come into the game and do nothing with the ball. I hated seeing Clark make so many bad decisions with the ball. I hated yelling at the TV at least two times only to see the result that I knew was coming. And, I hate Bradley for being so predictable as to lose this for us. His coaching has reached the pinnacle of his ability, but we need for him to get better over the next year, not for him to be replaced.

But, I'm very pleased about other things. Tim Howard is one of the best GKs in the world. Charlie Davies should be starting every game (and he NEVER gave up on a ball like Altidore). Gooch is our savior on the back line. And, no matter how much I hate the LAG, Donovan has shown me the most respect as a fan as I can hope for. He fights for every ball, looks for all of the open spaces, passes and crosses consistently well, plays every minute, and scores when we need him. Now, if we can only see him get consistent, then I'll accept him as one of the best MNT players in the past two decades.

We should've won. But, I can only hope that means the team will be driven to prove it next year. Let's hope that Bradley sees some more depth during the Gold Cup to allow some of our younger players to show themselves in the World Cup.

I'm frustrated...but I'll stand behind Bradley and the team. They proved something to me today, and convinced me that we can hope for better. We are better.

Posted by: figgy_va | June 28, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but even with this game, Seattle still drew 32,356

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish

I believe that Seattle opened the gates early, showed the firsthalf on the jumbotron pre-Sounders match, and then showed the second half afterwards - so people were able to watch the USMNT and the Sounders match

Posted by: emanon13 | June 28, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

My starting 11 for the groups stage next year.

Spector - Gooch - DeMerit - Boca
- Bradley - Clark -
Dempsey - Donovan
Altidore - Davies

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 28, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm interested to see if Holden and maybe Quaranta are ready to step up to this level. They both are tough, and have skill.

Davies a 5? SERIOUSLY? He had a fantastic assist, he nearly dribbled to the promised land. He made us dangerous when we should have been dangerous.

Also, Altidore showed a much improved touch and passing in this game. I thought he was never given a single real opportunity. Not a Great performance, but no Casey sub, Please.

We need to learn how to pass, for the love of it, for the control, for the promise, for the fact that any second Brazil doesn't have it, we win. But Bob don't want it. We kept our shape, Brazil stretched it.

Anyway, case you didn't read the last entry.

I think our Anthemn should be WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT by Twisted Sister. The music video's disturbing, but the lyrics are spot on. We're not going to lay down for anybody, and we didn't today.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 28, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

In the end we suffered from lack of depth and had to bring on Klejstan and Bornstein to shore up the defense. Only it was five minutes too late. Beasley woudl have been an option in the midfield late, but he has pretty much played himself way down the bench (so the left foot option was Bornstein). Torres doesn't bother marking anybody and Adu doesn't track back so they become liabilities on defense. We will be better with Edu, Cherundholo, Hejduk and Ching back. Johnson might be good but we have yet to see how he fits in.

Dempsey did great up front and even tracking back, but he often lost his man in the box - and it cost us for the third goal.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | June 28, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

ANd I know life isn't fair, but some of our defenders deserve 6-7 figure transfer fees.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 28, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I give all the backline players solid marks for defending against wave after wave. Demerit got beat on a great turn and quick release, not sure anyone else would have done better. The two midfield players Clark and Feilhaber were mediocre today, very weak passes forward that were usuall intercepted. Altidore is either not in shape or has some problem in that he can't go 90 minutes as a striker. I would have rated Davies at least a 7 for the pass to Donovan on the goal.

From this tournament, Bradley (yes he will be coaching the team next WC) has 9 positions filled: keeper, backline, the two wing players (the killer D's) and probably Davies, Bradley junior in midfield. It's still not clear who the other central midfielder will be; I like Feilhaber as he has more offensive ability than Clark. Whether Altidore is the answer to the other striker will depend on his club season (or default better than any alternative).

For you Adu fans (and I know there are many of you), he is simply not the answer. He gets dispossesed too easily and quite frankly is not fast enough at this level. His sole ability is on free kicks but I think based on this tournament Donovan beats him out. He needs to find a club where he can play 90 minutes (and it appears Benfica is not it at this point). He probably should do what Michael Bradley did and move to the Netherlands where they play attacking football. He would very quickly learn to sink or swim.

Posted by: agoldhammer | June 28, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I believe a player's rating starts at 5, meaning if I step on the pitch for three seconds and then the referee blows the final whistle, I will get a 5 rating. Performance during the game will dictate whether a player's rating goes up or down.

In the case of the subs, I'm guessing that the rating is based on their limited playing time and the fact that none of the subs did anything to distinguished themselves, either positive or negative.

I applaud the Americans' effort and hope to see more of the energy and scoring prowess that they displayed against Egypt, Spain and Brazil.

DeMerit and Spector were my favorite players during the Confed Cup ... while Onyewu and Howard were solid defensively also, I was glad to see DeMerit and Spector step up their game.

Posted by: Cerealman | June 28, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Biggest disappointments:

* Sasha Kljestan -- too many turnovers
* Connor Casey -- limited time, but he showed little and didn't exert much energy
* That Adu didn't see the pitch -- granted, Adu's role is not as a starting striker, but I'd like to see Freddy serve some time as a second half sub. Hopefully, we'll see some Jozy-Davies-Adu teamwork during the Gold Cup.

Posted by: Cerealman | June 28, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

JayW4, agreed on Davies and Altidore. Jozy was clearly gassed early in the 2nd half, ball watching and walking up and down the pitch. Why wait until the 74th minute to sub him out? I don't understand Bradley's tactical choices, including the fact that he left most of his bench on the bench throughout the entire tournament. I'd have felt a lot more comfortable bringing on Adu or Torres if they'd gotten off the pine against Italy, Brazil 1, Egypt or Spain.

Davies pass to Donovan for the 2nd goal was worth at least a 6 for his player rating.

Posted by: truth2 | June 28, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

As a Brazilian living in DC, I just wanted to offer a heartfelt and honest congratulations to the US on a well-played match. As a Brazilian who suffered from being on the receiving end of Maradona and Zidane (and even Platini before then), all I can say is that with luck, these kinds of defeats can make teams (and their supporters) better. I said to my (American) wife right before the equalizer that I smelled extra time and PK's. Howard turned in a heroic performance, though, and Donovan's goal was pure class.

I know you guys are ready to win now, and I just wanted to say that I think you're almost there. A little bit more creativity up front (ahem, Adu) will make this team a pretty legitimate threat. The "raça" (heart) is definitely there. Best of luck in 2010.

Posted by: ednoons | June 28, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The US will be more motivated by this loss than they would be had they won. We played a much poorer game today than we did against Spain, and Brazil deserved the victory.

This game, and tournament as a whole, has helped this team greatly. They bonded and became confident and comfortable with one another. I'm very pleased with how we played in the last three games and I think that it's a very good sign going forward to 2010.

Posted by: GoUnited | June 28, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

A side note: Coach Bradley got desperately unlucky with his subs in this game. I'm sure that if it were a tie game he wouldn't have made those subs. Could he have possibly changed his subs after the Brazil goal, or was he not allowed to do that?

Posted by: GoUnited | June 28, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: delantero
"We need to find a way to integrate players like Torres and Adu, who can help you pass and keep possession"

"Yup. Sad to see them not get one minute of play in this tournament, really. But Bradley is Bradley, what are you going to do . . maybe he'll let them have fun in the Gold Cup."

One problem, Torres is not on the Gold Cup roster, I hope it is due to club/country issues.

Posted by: Jeffreymsoltz | June 28, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could count the number of times I saw Altidore loafing. In the first half. Guy needs to run a lot more if he's going to stay in the First XI. Right now, if Ching's healthy, Altidore's not starting, in my mind. His work rate (rather, lack thereof) might be the reason he hasn't seen much of the field at Villareal or at Xeres.

Until Adu starts seeing the field for his club, BB is right to leave him on the bench. He hasn't earned the credit to start despite not playing regularly. (Beasley had the credit, and played his way right out of it. Altidore has managed due to size and finishing ability alone.)

We're in kind of an odd middling position as far as our level/rank in the world. We can take a game to the minnows and dominate possession, but our best game against the big boys is to absorb pressure, relieve it when we can, and counter, counter, counter with our burners like Donovan and Davies. That, and capitalize on set pieces. Hopefully in the next few years we'll develop the skill players with the defensive ability and work rate to hold possession in the attack and track back on D. We're not quite there yet.

Anyway, If everyone's healthy, right now, I'd hope this is BB's XI heading into the fall:

Dolo - Onyewu - DeMerit - Boca
Bradley - Edu
Dempsey - Donovan
Ching - Davies

(Feilhaber first off the bench)

Hopefully Adu, Tino, and others will give some reason to change this up at Gold Cup. (Off-topic, but hopefully United can find a proper left back before the end of July, too.)

Posted by: TheAMT | June 28, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe some of the posts I'm reading in this blog.

Adu is the answer? Please. He hasn't played for Benfica or Monaco, so why should he play for the USMNT? He's done well at the U-20 and U-23 levels and needs to earn consistent club playing time to succeed at the senior level.

Bob Bradley is the problem? He is getting the maximum he can out of this group of players. We have Conor Casey as an option off the bench, and Dunga has Dani Alves as a sub, who starts for Barcelona, which just won three championships, including the Champions League.

Correct me if if I'm wrong, but outside of the 'keeper position, we don't have one player who was on the roster for a Champions League or UEFA Cup team this past year. Brazil has Pato, one of the best strikers in Serie A, on the bench as an unused sub!

Just look at the Brazilians' ability to cross the ball; look at Kaka's ability to penetrate cutting from outside into the penalty area. We don't have players with those capabilities.

My hats are off to Bob Bradley and the team. They made me proud the last three matches! I'll gladly give him the benefit of the doubt for not playing Adu or Torres; he sees the players in practice and knows what they can offer his team.

I'm really looking forward to the qualifier in Mexico City in August and over the next few months seeing who shines in the Gold Cup and if we can cap Jermaine Jones.

Posted by: billindmd | June 28, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, a weakness which still exists for the US MNT is the lack of high quality subs, but it isn't nearly as bad as in the past or as some think in this comment chain.

Think about it -- in this tourney we have added Jay DeMerit, Charlie Davies, Jonathan Spector, and Benny Feilhaber as dependable quality players -- players who until know were seen as marginal or whose skills were not well enough known. But they can play against Spain, Egypt, and Brazil, can't they?

Missing of course was Michael Bradley. Feilhaber certainly proved an adequate sub, didn't he?

Brian Ching (preferred by Coach Bradley until now to Davies up front, but he was injured at the beginning of the cup so didn't come) was also missing. If he had been healthy, Davies wouldn't have started, and frankly, we might not have gone as far as we did go. Thus, counting Ching, we have three decent forwards, none yet approaching the level of Brian McBride.

Missing also was Maurice Edu, given a nasty knee injury requiring surgery and at least three months recovery by a vicious late tackle in his final match for Glasgow Rangers in late Spring. I think he would have shone in this tourney if he could have played, he is very skilled and composed.

Frankie Hedjuk doesn't have the ball control needed at this level, yet he is such a bulldog that he's been quite valuable to the MNT in the past -- perhaps when his injuries heal, that can continue for a year or two more.

Jermaine Jones (do I have the name right?) plays in the Bundesliga but wants to play for the MNT -- I have no opinion yet other than he plays in a top league, but he might contribute, given his soccer heritage.

Bornstein and Kljestan are still green, but it wouldn't surprise me if they became good players at the international level -- they have the raw athletic ability. They need at a minimum to go to someplace like Sweden or Norway, where Davies is acquiring his skill.

So, even with regard to subs, I'm pretty happy.....

And now a word about Freddy Adu: why hasn't he developed, why can't he even make it to the substitute's bench in French soccer? Maybe this is an unjustified slam, but if he was really 14 when he first started playing with DC United, shouldn't we have expected significant physical development? I understand that US soccer officials combed records in his native Ghana and could find no formal record of his birth -- is it possible he may not know himself how old he is?

If he is really 2 or 3 years older than what we think, then he will never really be that good, because we would be looking at a 22 or 23 year old small midfielder who isn't likely to develop much more, and who doesn't appear to have the gifts of at least 5 or 6 MNT midfielders. I would like to be wrong....

Posted by: tgrahame1 | June 28, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (IK Start), Luis Robles (FC Kaiserslautern)

DEFENDERS (7): Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Jay Heaps (New England Revolution), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Colin Clark (Colorado Rapids), Sam Cronin (Toronto FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (AS Monaco), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United)

Guzan: nope
Jones: nope
Torres: nope

Posted by: Jeffreymsoltz | June 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Ednoons.
Terrible subs, poorly timed. No Adu or Torres.

Great team performance and there is no shame in losing to Brazil, though we should have found a way to win with the score 2-0 at the half. On to the Gold Cup. Maybe Goeff can dig into what's the deal with Adu and Torres with the MNT.

Posted by: mason16 | June 28, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

If I had just turned on Sportscenter and saw the result (and not watched the game) I would be a very happy man. Alas, I watched the 2nd half drubbing and couldn't help but feel for our guys as exhaustion set in. What an opportunity lost! Yet so much promise for our future.

Kljestan and Casey should never step on the pitch again. Really a shame that Torres or Adu did not see action today. I cant help but quastion as to if we would have seen a similar result if Bradley is not serving suspension? Man his height would have been key today.

I loved Donovan's comment on respect vs. winning. I think every USMNT fan feels the same way. It is time we start believing that we are a nation of 300 million + people with a winning spirit and (some might argue) superior athletic talent regardless of sport. We can put 11 on the field that can compete with anybody, any day. I hope the world takes notice and most importantly WE as a nation take notice and back this talented squad! One year to work out the kinks and deliver.

Posted by: USAMNTfan | June 28, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Bradley wants a big guy on the front line. So, with no Ching available, he plays Altidore. When Altidore is gassed, he subs in another big guy, Casey. that's just the way he thinks. What surprises me is his disdain for Cooper, who is a REALLY big guy.

BTW, I really liked Davies throughout this tournament, and I though Feilhaber showed well today. A pairing of Feilhaber and Bradley in the middle might work against some teams. Michael is attack minded, but he knows how to play D.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 28, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

In the end the US had a successful tournament. They beat Spain, comprehensively and took Brazil to the limits. Will they be able to keep this level of play to and throughout next years World Cup? I don't know. The biggest problem is the depth, which they lack. One or two injuries and they are a different team.

Posted by: jabreal00 | June 28, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

"My hats are off to Bob Bradley and the team."

Posted by: billindmd

Here, here. Let's keep in mind something that we haven't yet discussed. Bradley mostly has a roster of sub-millionaires, and both Brazil and Spain have rosters of millionaires. We're fortunate to be able to field the team that we can with quality players in very important defensive positions that keep us in games. For a team that should have exited the tournament a week ago, they've done well.

But, I would hesitate to start thinking of them as over-achievers. Perhaps they are indicative of our ability to make our own mark on the game. Maybe, just maybe, we don't have to play the game like they do in Europe with players who make insane amounts of money. Can we dare to think that the US can develop its own style of play, one that will actually compete on the world stage? The US players will rarely been driven by poverty and opportunity, but by pure desire based on a love of the game. Perhaps what started in the early 90s is being demonstrated now in terms of a steadily improving posture, one that celebrates team over individual.

Posted by: figgy_va | June 28, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I am not as willing to give Bob Bradley the benefit of the doubt on his player evaluations. He did not use DeMerit for the last 3 years despite him playing well for Watford in both the Premier League and the Championship. Only the injury to Boca forced him to give DeMerit a chance. And guess what? He is a better central defender than Boca, because that's what he plays with his club team.

Altidore is playing beaucoup minutes despite not playing more than 4 games last season for his club. You don't find out what your players can do if you don't play them.

Oguchi Onyewu's Standard Liege played in the UEFA Cup. And Donovan would have played in one of those tournaments if he was playing in Europe as he should be.

Posted by: truth2 | June 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Teams won't come out flat in the Cup and, if they do, shame.

Portugal '02? Columbia '94? Czech Republic 06?

A team comes out flat and crashes out prematurely almost every single tournament. It's a shame, for them, but it's hardly a rare event.

Posted by: mason08 | June 28, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Dear God,

Please stop this Ching talk. If are relying on Ching to take us forward, it is not possible to understate the trouble we're in. The same goes for Hejduk, who someone mentioned up top.

I hate to say it, but Dempsey is responsible for giving up three absolutely free headers in the 2nd half, one of which was the 3rd goal, and the other the "non-goal" which really was a goal. He gets a +1 because he scored, but if he's going to get back on defense, he can't lose his man.

Clark is awful. Until Jermaine Jones gets here, a Bradley-Feilhaber CM combo is in order. Would have been interesting if MB was there to see how that would have gone. Either great play, or a red card.

Davies had an argument for a PK at the end.

Altidore has talent, but occasionally looks like Eddie Johnson in terms of apparent lack of effort.

I liked Spector's play. I look forward to Cherundolo returning, and Simek getting healthy and getting a chance, to give us some depth at RB and allowing Spector to shift left. That lets Boca back into the center. Demerit was good in this tournament and has shown that he can add depth to the squad.

Lalas said the result exposed our lack of depth. We did have some injury issues, but Bradley's substitutions didn't make the best use of the depth we did have.


Posted by: duck95 | June 28, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm just glad we played in this tournament. Can you imagine what we would be like if we hadn't? I honestly think this tournament gave us a much-needed attitude adjustment going into next summer. Hopefully some of our old regulars permanently played themselves off the team. And, Jozy, get in shape dude!

Posted by: Lucius2 | June 28, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I have watched every confederations cup and must say, ever team brought there A lineup, so call it glorified frieldy if you want, this tournament was not supposed to replace the world cup. But was better practice than any Gold Cup or Copa America combined. The euro cup is still pretty big and the only teams that were here from Europe, we played. Great Tournament, my son and I were almost tearing up after the loss, but we know we did well and this will only help us for the future. Brazil is a great team and they showed it, we tried our best and today it was not good enough. Its time to for us appreciate the effort that our team put out for this tournament. The New US fans need to appreciate that they can witness these types of games (with our team in it). It was not long ago that we were trying to beat Mexico for a glorified US CUP

Posted by: Norteno4life | June 28, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Guys. Altidore is lazy. Lazy like a shark.

This guy is the only one who scores that goal in the Spain game. He is a freak of nature. We need freaks of nature just as much as the Demerits of this world.

Brazil had ALL the possession in the second half, no wonder a man can't get any chances. If Ching was in there, When Casey was in there, they would have had the same number of chances. The difference? Ching "Oh, but he does the little things." Casey, "Well, we don't have any other target strikers, and I like target strikers!" SPAIN AND EGYPT happened because we DIDN"T have target strikers.

I won't say anything negative, y'all take care of that nicely. I look forward to the day when we have a dangerous enough striker to bench a "lazy" Jozy and get something out of him. But until then, realize that he has the finishing ability, the strength, the skill, to compliment anybody. He hasn't even been playing lately.

And while I'm saying egregious things, How about this one? PATO isn't better than either Adu or Altidore, he just got minutes for Milan no matter what that first season. Do you honestly think that Altidore or Adu would be bench warmers with the tournament they had if they were Brazilian? Please. Sal Zizzo too. How about Szetela.

Having watched our last two performances, do you really think it's our work rate that's our problem oversease?

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 28, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

What a banshee of a game. I was watching with my mother and she said during postgame, did he just use the word banshee? Then we turned on the history channel and what is the first word we heard? Banshee.

By the way, I am in love banshees.

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | June 28, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

More importantly and more tremendously disappointing than the US-Brazil game, I just found out that columnist Steven Wells died last week. I don't know if it has been mentioned on this blog yet, so I'd just pass along the bad news. He was a fantastic writer whose opinions on soccer (and health care, and music, etc) in the States will be dearly missed.

Posted by: HWLongfellow | June 28, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Any chance FIFA reviews goal line technology now that Mr. Blatter saw in person a botched call on the line? Especially since it could have been the moment that cost Brazil a trophy.



Posted by: jayrockers | June 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 28, 2009 7:35 PM
And while I'm saying egregious things, How about this one? PATO isn't better than either Adu or Altidore, he just got minutes for Milan no matter what that first season.
Egregious is the wrong word here - astonishing is perhaps better. There is a reason Milan paid the money for Pato, he has lots of talent Adu does not; Altidore is still a work in progress (though one we hope that will progress).

Posted by: agoldhammer | June 28, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 28, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

spector was better than a 6.

and casesy are horrible

klejstan was 0/6 on passes

casey might as well be a cow grazing out there.

it should have been 4-2

the first time we played them they could have won 5 or 6 -0

we won two games in this tournament.

we scored goals most importantly.

we still have a lot of work to do.

good teams can win games

great teams can come back from 2-0 down.

did they have 30 or 40 shots on goal??

Posted by: castroviejo | June 28, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

"Guys. Altidore is lazy. Lazy like a shark. This guy is the only one who scores that goal in the Spain game."

Huh? We had two goals in the Spain game.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Camping trip was sweet. Unfortunately(or fortunately?) the only news WTOP blurted out when we hit a dead wall of traffic after turning off 81 onto 66 was that the US had given up three goals in the second half and lost.

I almost made it back without a single spoiler, even with the US jersey on! Granted we were in the car most of the time listening to Jack Johnson's Curious George CD and If you give a mouse a cookie on CD, but...:-)

Should I stay up late, late and watch the replay, are just hit the sack and forget about it?

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

I'm kind of burnt out (my dad's team finished the Race Across America last night at like 3am, and I had to be up at 7 to help them pack some things), so I'll spare everyone the novel I usually go with. Instead, a quick anecdote:

The RAAm banquet was right after the game. I sped over, still in my US jersey, to Navy-Marine Corps Stadium (which apparently has a banquet hall), walk into the banquet, and find my parents. Dad and I got a beer and hopped into the buffet line. Who's in front of us in line? A team of Brazilians, fresh from watching the game. They were equal parts confused at finding American soccer fans and almost apologetic for coming back to win. One pulled me aside and said "To lose for you is good. Now the USA will go to the World Cup angry."

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

"Guys. Altidore is lazy. Lazy like a shark. This guy is the only one who scores that goal in the Spain game."

Huh? We had two goals in the Spain game.

Posted by: ChristopherMc
Um, what's confusing? Of course there were two goals. I'm talking about the turn the defender inside out, and have enough power and direction on the shot that Casillas loses it. The ability, the physical attributes, the killer instinct. Clarified?

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 28, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

DadRyan: It's worth staying up for.

I watched in real time & I'm going to watch the replay!

Whatever my criticisms of the ingame coaching decisions, kudos to the USMNT on the best showing in a major international tournament ever. A win over #1 in the world ranked Spain and a sweet 38 minutes of being ahead 2-0 over Brazil made my soccer-watching year.

Posted by: truth2 | June 28, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I'd give Davies a 7 (performed his duties in a counter attacking set up well, even tackled)

Altidore - 6, thought he was OK in the first. Could have used 90 from him

Spector is fine at 6. Sure he crossed the ball well. But he was beaten time after time on the right. He'd a decent player, but we need an upgrade at right back.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 28, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

We lost to Brazil 3-0 and came back in the final to lose to them 3-2. In between we beat Egypt 3-0 and the top ranked team in the World 2-0.

Hats off to Bradley for an incredible showing in this tournament and for taking the US to the next level.

We have a team of players the rest of the world has never heard of playing a great and competitive game against probably the most expensive starting lineup in the history of the game, not once but twice over the span of a couple of weeks.

Posted by: Southeasterner | June 28, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the truth2. I'll stay up and somehow find myself more exhausted than one would find themselves on their first two night camping trip with a 2 year old...whhhhheeeeehhwwww....

@Chest:Congrats on your pops and his team. How'd they do?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 28, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

My starting 11 for the groups stage next year.

Spector - Gooch - DeMerit - Boca
- Bradley - Clark -
Dempsey - Donovan
Altidore - Davies

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 28, 2009 6:18 PM

I would say it is way to early for that. Even assuming they are all healthy a year from now, we have to consider Jones, Edu in the midfield; and maybe also Cherundolo, Goodson, Parkhurst in defense, and we will keep watching to see if Adu develops. I also think Feilhaber has to be a serious candidate for a starting job, even though he was caught ball watching on the 2nd Brazil goal. If he gets regular playing time this year, he may become a stronger player all-around. I was not thrilled with the play of Altidore tonight. I wonder if we would not be stronger with Dempsey and Davies up top, right now.

Posted by: fischy | June 28, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I was most impressed with Davies and Demerit. Davies made that beautiful pass to Donovan and worked hard all 90 minutes. Demerit got burned by a worldclass striker, but otherwise defended well and fought for every tackle.
Altidore on the other hand . . . All I can say is that he played like he was 3 feet tall. Stop diving, stop whining and MOVE from time to time. You can see why he doesn't get off the pine for a 2nd Division Spanish club -- no work rate. And no, I don't buy that lazy like a shark BS at all. If Altidore put himself in game shape and hustled about the field, played like a man instead of a whining little child, he could be a terror. Right now he is the proverbial "work in progress" which translates, we'll play him until someone with more heart comes along.

Posted by: griffin1108 | June 28, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

@Southeasterner - well said.

I've now found out from reading this blog that Altidore and Adu are better than Pato.

I guess those hacks at AC Milan don't know much about evaluating and developing talent, what with their seven Champions League trophies.

Adu can't make the substitute's bench in either Portugal or France. Was he really 14 years old when he made his MLS debut, as one previous poster has asked? I don't remember his last season at Real Salt Lake as being a barn-burner, although he played great at the U-20 championships in Canada.

I am an Altidore fan and loved his goal last week against Spain, but he hasn't exactly taken the Primara (or Segunda) by storm either.

Posted by: billindmd | June 28, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Just saw my TiVo recording. One sour grapes comment I would make is that the US could have, maybe should have, been up a man at about the 59 minute mark after Felipe Melo's professional foul on Altidore when the US was trying to break out after a corner.

As for Freddy, I agree with the comments that he doesn't have the speed to play up front in this set up, but he still is much more skilled than just about all the US forwards. I don't know how many times Davies got passes on his feet in dangerous situations which he popped up or just gave away.

Posted by: Cossackathon | June 28, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, I am in love banshees."

I am in love with Banshee Boardwalk. (Mario Kart 64)

Posted by: redskinsux | June 28, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I would actually like to see Ching play up with Davies. Altidore disappears from the game after 50 minutes. Spector deserves a 7. He played much better than Boca today. Leave the back four alone. Start Jermaine Jones (if he's as good as people say) along with Bradley, Donovan and Dempsey. Jones and Bradley can hold down the fort while Donovan and Dempsey push up. Hopefully Bradley will keep the two-striker formation.

Posted by: Lucius2 | June 28, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"Um, what's confusing? Of course there were two goals. I'm talking about the turn the defender inside out, and have enough power and direction on the shot that Casillas loses it. The ability, the physical attributes, the killer instinct. Clarified?"

I think I figured out the problem... Your initial comment was using that weird sportscaster-speak, where you were talking in the present tense about something that already happened. ('If Jordan misses that shot, the Bulls don't win that third title,' etc. etc.)

It can be really confusing in writing.

Posted by: ChristopherMc | June 28, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Man, the Seattle attack today looked like a bunch of banshees out there today. Just bansheeing all over the place, behind the back line, out on the wings, they looked especially bansheeish on the counter.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 28, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I think some people are misconstruing the whole Adu thing. Those of us who like him (like me) don't think he should be out there as a starter at this point, but we are baffled as to why he's not brought on every now and then at 60 minute mark when the US is down, to try and change the game dynamic. He is one of the very few US players who can take people on the dribble, and his passing is much more instinctive and visionary than most on the team. OK, so maybe he doesn't track back on D the way you might like, but guess what, Dempsey's not so hot at that either. And the whole excuse about him not getting club time is ridiculous, if that were actually some legit criteria for getting playing time (which it isn't, see Altidore, Jozy), you wouldn't even bother naming him to the roster.

Anyway, I don't think he's "the solution" to all our woes, but I do think he brings some skills to the field that we have in very short supply. Hopefully he'll get some decent minutes in the Gold Cup and make the most of them.

Posted by: edgeonyou | June 28, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

For I-270Exit1. You said for me in another page that: "OK. I give up. You're right. Brazil and played beautifully in defeating the United States. Brazil also played beautifully in giving up 3 goals to Egypt. We sucked by holding them to none. And Brazil played beautifully by deceiving the South Africans into thinking they could go to overtime, only to rout them by one goal in the 86th minute. You really do play the beautiful game. My apologies for not recognizing that."

And I must answer you here, because you probably will not see my answer there:
Really, I'm tired of you getting me wrong. Maybe is my English, maybe. Brazil doesn't play "beautiful" since a long time ago, but, as I said, playing beautifully is very different than playing well. When you play beautifully, you necessary play well, but a team doesn't have to play beautifully to play well. They can play simple and do a very good job too. Brazil is playing simple a long time ago, that's probably Dunga's philosophy and I agree with that, soccer has changed, now there isn't much more space for "Joga Bonita" like in the past. Defenses are getting a lot better, teams are using better tactics. Soccer has changed and Brazil is adaptig to the new times.

Against EUA in the group state and against Italy, Brazil played well, at least for me. They executed their game plan very well. But against Egypt and South Africa, they could have done a lot better job. We didn't play well these two games, but our individual skills made the difference in these two games. I NEVER said Brazil played "beautiful" against USA. Neither against Italy, althougt they played well. So I don't know why you're saying this to me. Maybe it's my English? I thought that I made my point very clear. Actually, the team abondoned the "Joga Bonito" recently. Do you want an example? Robinho used to be a very good example of a player who played beautifully, today he's playing simplier, for the team. He's adapting. So your whole argument is not consistent. What I not admit is people using irony to discuss with me, while I am here with all respect trying to have good discussions and to practice my English a little bit. And you're using irony to insinuate that I said some things that actually I never said. I don't lake to make judgments of what is wrong of what is right, but here you're completely wrong and I took offense of your last comment.

Anyway, to the other americans, congratulations. The USA team ended being a fine adversary against Brazil, putting more valour for Brazil's victory. Soccer in USA really improved a lot and I can say that because I lived in Maryland for two years and I saw a lot of people interested in playing soccer. Congratulations.

Posted by: guz_fernandes | June 28, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

As good as Howard was, the meaningless long balls up the field harken back to Kasey Keller's weakness. Either he's not accurate, we don't have people who can play them, or both.

We need to learn how to build from the back. And that is why Bocanegra can't survive as an LB.

Posted by: duck95 | June 28, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Just want to give Landon his due props. Heavy work rate, sticking it in during tackles, working like a (No, I won't say it--ok) banshee.

And the goal? What a beaut. Off to the races immediately, Davies gives him a great return ball, but then Donovan settles it back to his left, against the flow of the play, making the defender stumble out of the way. And then, as the keeper moves with the ball, LD reverses it AGAIN, putting the ball back the opposite way, wrong footing the keeper. All at speed, very calm, with great skill. Wow.

Posted by: macheath | June 28, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

To begin, Bradley should be fired for waiting until the 75th minute until making a sub. I realize he brought us to the first FIFA final, which they said about a million times, but we needed to sub someone in to help us maintain possession. Losing aftedr being up 2-0 is a coaching problem. I don't think Bradley is bad, but I don't think he'll help us advance the team. To keep things in perspective if this was a World Cup we would have gotten to the quarter finals, with an extermeley rough draw. We can't make the the semis in the WC on work rate. The second half against Brazil showed that they were exhausted from the Spain game. We need to play more technically and less physically, which is not an AMerican strategy. We need a foreign coach who bases his tactics on technique and attack, our two weaknesses. I favor Klinsman, not saying he is the best, just that he has what we need. I am willing to take back the foreign coach thing if anyone can put up the name of a domestic coach who offers the qualities the team needs.

Anyway, Donovan and Dempsey need to be on the wings. The problem is that makes our center weak, especially without Bradley. Altidore is good, but he is only as good as his service (kind of like Emilio). Davies works hard, but isn't there yet, but maybe a year of experience can get him there. I wish we had someone to complement Altidore better. Our back line needs to look the way it did today. Demeritt is a better center back than Bornstein is a left back and Boca is better than both of them. Spector did well on the right. Clark is OK in the center, but he should be a sub at best, I think our best Defensive Midfielder is Bradley, and he isn't really a Defensive Midfielder. That is a problem we need to address, Mastreoni is probably our best pure DM, but as other have stated before he doesn't cut it.

Anyway, either Clark or Altidore should have been subbed at the 60 min mark. We hadn't had solid possession since the first half at that point. It was clear they were going to score eventually. Howard and Onyewu could only hang-on so long. Donovan showed in this tournament that he isn't a whiny-girl anymore. He was the only one working in the first two games and continued throughout. I thought overall he was better than Dempsey, I though Onyweu and Howard were as well. We need to stop putting our backs to the wall. We got lucky to get out of the group stage, anything after that easily could never have happened. We aren't there yet and I don't know if we are any closer than we were in 2002.

Posted by: bighungry | June 28, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

For those of us that bemoan a lack of a DCU stadium this NYT article sheds some interesting light of the complexities of sports stadium financing and revenue in the US. The article doesn't even get into outdoor arenas like the soon-to-be-completed Red Bull Park

Posted by: diego_r | June 28, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, Howard is a pretty good keeper. I was kind of surprised of he being elected as the best keeper in the cup, that's because I consider Julio Cesar along with Buffon the best keepers in the world. But then I figured out that Howard worked a lot more than Julio Cesar. He deserved and now I will respect him as one of the greatest keppers in the world. Being the best in a Confederate Cup, it's just for the best. But I still think Julio Cesar is the best in the world.

Posted by: guz_fernandes | June 28, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sold on Altidore as an automatic starter. If he had Davies' hustle I might change my mind. Also, for all his size, he won very few head balls today, which is why Bradley likes a big man up front. But who else do we have? Ching? Meh. Quaranta would be interesting, but he plays smaller than his size. I love Chris Rolfe, but I don't think he made the Gold Cup roster. It makes me wish McBride would reconsider his retirement from international play.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 28, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

No Sunday MLS thread? LA Just ShOCkED!!! Houston....

@JoeDoc1 where'd ya eat?

Posted by: DadRyan | June 29, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

LA will be wearing blue for the rest of the season....

I missed the Mexico match. Did they get away with one?

Posted by: sitruc | June 29, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Although I may not agree with Goff's ratings, he calls as he sees it and the previous antagonistic comments about them by seangw83 and davezerk were unacceptable. Goff please ignore those silly poop miners.
I keep seeing things posted about Adu not playing at Monaco so he shouldn't be playing for the us. Monaco is at a much higher level than any North American or Scandinavian team,so we are not using the player because he's trying to play at a higher level??? A player's ability to play for this team should be based on what he has shown in games for the us. Adu was brilliant last summer against Spain and scored a brilliant goal for the us in his last performance in November. Adu and Cooper are the only players I can remember that had scored in a game and then were left off the next game roster. I thought Bradley appeared to have learned a good lesson this tournament, that is we must go out to play our game no matter the opponent. Next lesson up, finish a game against a big team with out trying to shell for a half like they did against Italy,Spain and Brazil. Congrats to the boys, good luck in the transfer window.

Posted by: Dipssince78 | June 29, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Just some nice stats for people to think about:

MATCH: USA 0 x 3 Brazil

9 Shots 23
2 Shots on goal 11
41% Possession (%) 59%

MATCH: Spain 0 x 2 USA

29 Shots 9
8 Shots on goal 2
56% Possession (%) 44%

MATCH: Brazil 1 x 0 South Africa

17 Shots 14
6 Shots on goal 3
54% Possession (%) 46%

MATCH: Spain 3 x 2 South Africa

18 Shots 12
8 Shots on goal 7
60% Possession (%) 40%

MATCH: USA 2 x 3 Brazil

9 Shots 31
4 Shots on goal 13
41% Possession (%) 59%

I know that numbers don't necessary tell the real story of the game, but they are worthy to analize. Have fun and make your own conclusions. These numbers were taken directly from FIFA website.

Posted by: guz_fernandes | June 29, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Is this the Billy Mays thread?


Posted by: sitruc | June 29, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Month-long (since before the US visited San Jose and I was here to see the carnage) reader and first-time poster.

Will keep my soccer opinion out of this thread and try to get involved going forward as I continue to feel my way around the Goff Zone..... was here for only one reason tonight:

For I-270 and Gus - the 10:52pm thread, I believe your word for 'irony' is 'sarcasm'...

The translation gets lost down here often as well. I'm pretty sure that 'sarcastic', and not 'ironic', is what Gus was trying to say in the previous post.


Posted by: CRgringo3 | June 29, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

I disagree -- the US choked. They're a good enough team that with their energy and ability to defend, they should have been able to put away the game after halftime. Brazil didn't play great in the second half, the US was off their game from the first second -- they clearly weren't closing people down and had no fire.

Posted by: RB1982 | June 29, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Franke Hejduk and Justin Mapp are good and need to play!

And hate to say it, but after watching Altidore this tourney, I see why he doesn't play with Villareal. He has tremendous potential, but he loses confidence/composure often.

Overall good game. My suggestions = more team speed--a la Hejduk and Justin Mapp--and the team needs to work on their fitness so they can maintain a scrappyness that Charlie Davies exemplifies.

Posted by: Vicc | June 29, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

One can be taught to play the beautiful game;
talent and creativity are of other spheres which can not be taught. Mr Freddy Adu seems to possess those qualities and any coach who fails to arise to such appreciation has no business coaching. He would fit well in the Brazilian team.

Posted by: JGaret | June 29, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

goff- I'd add to your NCAA analogy the bench situation. When the game isn't working, coach K turns to his bench and sees five high school all-Americans, the small school coach sees a serious drop-off. That's one of the reasons Bradley can't turn to his bench all that much, there just aren't all that many weapons there.

And Jozy, for all his skill, shouldn't have been on the pitch, he doesn't have the speed or open field ability to help on the counters, but then, who does? When we're in a slugfest, I am happy to have him upfront, but he wasn't made for this type of game.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | June 29, 2009 4:28 AM | Report abuse

I understand that US soccer officials combed records in his native Ghana and could find no formal record of his birth -- is it possible he may not know himself how old he is?
That's just nonsense. Adu immigrated at age 7. There was no reason to lie about his age at that point. Indeed, doing so would have jeopardized his family's immigrant visa. Having served in Ghana myself, I know that immigration cases there are thoroughly documented and investigated. Charges that Adu is older than he claims are ignorant and, frankly, a bit disturbing in that they appear -- to me, anyway -- to be coded disparagement of African individuals and cultures. Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Guz and Ednoons: Obrigado pelos comentarios. Voces sao bem vindos aqui. Ed: podes ser o marido de Wendy?

Posted by: troy6 | June 29, 2009 5:21 AM | Report abuse

The NCAA analogy is spot on. Except I'll add that in this case, the underdog is also missing some key players (Bradley) due to suspension.

Overall, a great half for the US. But Brazil pulled through in the end. I have a feeling the US beating Spain probably made Brazil take us more seriously. The Spaniards didn't know what they were getting into, while the brazilians had days to game plan.

Posted by: tundey | June 29, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I meant emigrated. Oh, and he played often and well in Portugal.

On to happier topics, 270's challenge for our 2010 team. I like (today anyway):

Spector Gooch DeMerit Boca
Dempsey Donovan
Altidore Adu

with Edu, Feilhaber, and Davies as subs for Johnson, Dempsey, and Adu, respectively (yeah, I think of the Adu against Spain and Argentina last summer). Rounding out the bench would be Guzan, Parkhurst, Dolo, and Clark.

That's my 18, but would not put Casey or Beasley even in my 23. Sorry fellas.

Posted by: troy6 | June 29, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

nah. Torres instead of Clark and Orozco pushing someone (Dolo?) out. Geez, if I can't even agree with myself, I suppose I can't hope anyone else will agree with me.

Posted by: troy6 | June 29, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Alexi Lalas must be banned, period.

Posted by: JimDtoo | June 29, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Lalas is annoying, but he is the biggest name in US soccer. Get over it. He isn't going anywhere.

Posted by: bighungry | June 29, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

One thing I really liked:

Charlie Davies early on after the 1st goal was sprung down the right side. He was clearly fouled by the last defender, but amazingly kept his feet, regained possession, but by that point was too deep. It was ALMOST an unbelievable play -- speed, balance, tenacity. The feed showed him turn to Donovan and, with a motion, indicate that he should have taken a dive. If he had, US would have had a free kick in "position A" rather than losing possession.

But he didn't, because that would be un-American. And I hope that the US MNT never plays like that, and that the world game bends our way to where divers get carded, and players like Davies get rewarded somehow.

There was discussion last week about football v. soccer -- one thing Americans don't like is getting rewarded for diving and/or quitting on a play. In our world, when you get fouled, you get the field goal and a free throw. "And one". That's the way to play a game.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 29, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Adu hasn't played since 2007 -- why in the world would Bradley put him in the biggest game the US MNT has had in years?

You Adu lovers are out-and-out crazy.

"Fire Bradley." "Bench Dempsey." Right. Please lay off the crack pipe.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 29, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Troy, I think you meant Jones instead of Johnson. Anyway, I like your list. I'd probably start Feilhaber instead of Bradley (if Jones is the real deal). If Jones isn't, then I'd start Bradley over Jones. Either way, Feilhaber, when fit, is the best two-way CM this squad has, and I don't even think it's close right now. Technically, nobody compares.

Adu for Davies would be a tough choice, but certainly I'd have those 2 in my top 3 choices.

Then, on the bench, it would be Guzan, Bradley, Edu, Adu, Dolo, Hejduk, and Ching. Torres, Holden, Parkhurst, Robles (or whoever the next best keeper is), and Clark would round out the 23.

Posted by: psps23 | June 29, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

In my mind, Lalas has actually toned down his act. I found him to be much more annoying 5-10 years ago.

Posted by: CBT2 | June 29, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The Cup is a long, long ways away. Injuries will surely play a part in the team selection, as they always do . .

I.E. If Edu/Ching/Dolo aren't injured, then it would have been unthinkable by Bradley's standards to start Clark/Davies/Spector.

And those three revealed that they could play on this level, particularly Spector. He not only held his own against the swarm of quality attackers he faced, but is able to serve up a great cross from deep right.

Posted by: delantero | June 29, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"I.E. If Edu/Ching/Dolo aren't injured, then it would have been unthinkable by Bradley's standards to start Clark/Davies/Spector."

Ah yes, the key words. Sad to say, I feel this may be the case. Although there's no way in hades I'd give Ching or Dolo their starting spots back without them coming back better than they were before (which is hard to see happening, given their ages and talent levels). Those two got unlucky with injuries, but their bad luck turned into our good luck, because their spots should be taken. Clark played admirable, but there's nothing he does that Edu couldn't do as well or better, IMO. Still, he showed that he can be a solid option.

Posted by: psps23 | June 29, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

My starting 11 for the groups stage next year.

Spector - Gooch - DeMerit - Boca
- Bradley - Clark -
Dempsey - Donovan
Altidore - Davies

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 28, 2009 6:18 PM

Comment: Clark and Bradley are consistent red card liabilities, especially outside of Concacaf. Midfield needs to be seriously re-evaluated, especially with the addition of Jermaine Jones to the roster. Let's not get too carried away, there are several players injured and Jones needs a look at defensive center mid.

Posted by: FrancoNiell | June 29, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be surprised if the vuvuzela starts to make appearances in stadiums in other parts of the world, possibly even including the U.S. In the worst-case scenario, some enterprising soul succeeds in turning it lnto the latter-day equivalent of the yo-yo or the hula hoop. That thought must fill some people with dread.

Posted by: universityandpark | June 29, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I think that some of the South African customs, like the vuvuzela and the President having three wives, will not be adopted in the US.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 29, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

They've been around for years in the US, universityandpark. The fad got really old years ago and I always hated them back then. They are still sparingly used by kids until their parents are beaten by angry mobs.

Posted by: sitruc | June 29, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Anyone that is whining about Bob Bradley's job needs to think again. Look how far the USMNT has come since he took over. Let's not forget the mess Bruce Arena left after the last World Cup.

As of today, even though yesterday's match still hurts, I'm proud of the national team. All you whiners should feel the same way.

Bradley is building a strong team, some of us just don't know it yet.

Posted by: hardcoco | June 29, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I think Jay DeMerit deserves a higher score. He did a wonderful job along with Gooch. They should be at least equal.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | June 29, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Spector deserves to be higher also.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | June 29, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

What I don't get is how analysts kept saying that Brazil "really, really doesn't like to play against teams that pack the box" and prefer teams to engage them up and down the field. So if you're up 2-0 and 45 minutes from the biggest win in US soccer history, WHY DON'T YOU PACK THE BOX? Pride? Wanting to "win pretty?" Forget it. I'm all for aggressive counter-attacking, but let's put everybody back around the box and see what happens. Would it be ugly? Sure. Would it be criticized? Sure. Would we potentially have won? Maybe, maybe not. But playing any of our guys up at all just let them carve us up along the flanks and completely dictate play - I don't know if our lack of challenging them was fear of getting beat badly or what. But we just seemed to play a very conciliatory defensive setup and their talent shone brightly. I'm just saying that ultra-conservative defensive-only substitutions and take our chances with our great keeper might have brought a different result...

Posted by: Turbs1 | June 29, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Greece win Euro2004 by playing a 10-0-0? They got a lot of criticism for it and a trophy.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 29, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I think that some of the South African customs, like the vuvuzela and the President having three wives, will not be adopted in the US.
Posted by: OWNTF

Bill Clinton tried.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 29, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

They've been around for years in the US, universityandpark. The fad got really old years ago and I always hated them back then. They are still sparingly used by kids until their parents are beaten by angry mobs.

Posted by: sitruc | June 29, 2009 10:36 AM

Where in the U.S. were you living, and when? I'd never heard of the vuvuzela until two weeks ago. Perhaps you can edit the Wiki article, which makes no mention of the vuvuzela outside Africa:

Posted by: universityandpark | June 29, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

William Jefferson Clinton was oppressed by a rigid puritanical society that simply did not understand and could not appreciate a different husbanding style and the richness and diversity it brought to our American tapestry. Like so many before, he was ground down by the stale traditions and institutions handed down by dead white European males when he bumped up against their "taboos"

Posted by: OWNTF | June 29, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

On second thought, a vuvuzela might be a handy place to stick those bang sticks.

Posted by: OWNTF | June 29, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

This loss lies completely with Bob Bradley. Subbing in the 75th minute after Brazil ties the game is a joke. Subbing Sasha Kleitsjain and Bornstein is a joke. He needs to go.

Posted by: Conservativemindsareinshackles | June 29, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The vuvuzela has been around the US for years. I don't know if anybody called it a vuvuzela in the US before, but make no mistake, those annoying @ss horns have been around for a while.

Posted by: psps23 | June 29, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Guys. Altidore is lazy. Lazy like a shark.

This guy is the only one who scores that goal in the Spain game. He is a freak of nature.
Posted by: UnitedDemon
I agree that Jozy's goal in the Spain game was outstanding, but he is by no means the only one that could have pulled that off. I've seen both Ching and Cooper outmuscle their defenders and score similar goals. For such a strong guy, he tends to get knocked down an awful lot. Were the Brazilians hacking at his ankles all day, or does he just have poor balance?

I agree with the other posters about his loafing. I would be willing to let that slide if he could consistently control, or get his head on Howard's goal kicks. We haven't been able to find anyone that can do that since McBride retired.

Am I the only one that can't wait for Marcus Tracy from Wake Forest to get called up to the MNT? I know he's only in his rookie year at Aab Aalborg, but I'm predicting great things from him. He's basically the same size as Jozy, but not quite as muscular. He has good speed, great head and foot skills, and can jump out of the stadium. The guy has springs for legs and will jump for every ball. I'm looking forward to a front line where he's either paired with Davies or Altidore.

Posted by: calvester | June 29, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim Howard is the best goalie in the Tourney? Well, I'd expect every game to be 5-4 or 8-9, in the future, then.

WHY!!!!! is he always INSIDE the goal. Even in the photo atop this article, what are you going to do when YOU are a YARD DEEP IN THE GOAL????

And, don't be mistaken, that photo is not the goal the refs missed. You would think that not stopping shots AFTER they've crossed the goal is something professional goalies would have worked out... oh, I don't know, maybe when they're still amateurs? That woulda been nice.

I mean, Howard has a lot of potential, good reflexes, great range, etc...

but, COME ON!!! Get your @ss out from inside the goal, man! Repeatedly, DEEEEEP IN YOUR OWN GOAL!!!!

Posted by: LeftwithNochoice | June 29, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@troy6 - de nada! E aliás, não, me desculpe! Não conheço a Wendy mas aposto que ela deve ser uma pessoa fantástica, se é casada com um brasileiro!

Posted by: ednoons | June 29, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

They sell those horns at the hot dog stand near the metro stop @ RFK. I also hear them in lots of Mexican football. They sell rave green telescopic ones in Seattle....

I used mine to no avail at that pathetic DCU/Kickers friendly before the start of last season down in Richmond. Surprised no one kicked me in the face for doing it. :-)

Posted by: DadRyan | June 29, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

How Dempsey merits a bronze ball or whatever is laughable. The guy is a solid player but pulls the Houdini act every game. A guy who plays 25-35 minutes dores not give his team the full support needed in order to win. I'm not impressed with his contributions. He's in and out like a yoyo.

Posted by: juke2 | June 30, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

What a lot of comment for the Confereration Cup. Imagine the hype and excitement in the World Cup.
South africa did themselves proud hosting this and the teams played well above their norm.
congrats Brasil seee you next time USA and I will blow my horn for every great move .

Posted by: RichardGaetner | July 3, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

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