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US SOCCER WC qualifier tomorrow night


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I think Concacaf has a lot more parity than some of you think...

and it doesnt have to do with the bottom dwellers getting better

this US team is not that good

Mexico...i'll blame sven for now as I think they have pretty good players So i'm not counting them out at all and actually would place a bet that if one of the two top dogs were to miss it, it would be the US.

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The experiment of having Beasley as a left back was laughable. I can understand having an attack minded wing back on the left side who can start the offensive attack (Patrice Evra is a perfect LB for this) . . . but not a career midfielder who is just lost on the defensive side.

I have been saying this consistently - without gifted midfielders, this team may not even qualify. I did not see any quality one-twos or triangles in the midfield last night. Nor did I see any spark of an offensive threat BUILT through the midfield.

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One loss and we're gloom and doom. Chill, we should be fine.

It's not the loss. It's the developing pattern of crapiness coming from the Bob Bradley coached team.

We should be fine if we beat Honduras on Saturday. We're in deep **** if we lose.

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Very poor performance last night. Donovan and Beasley are so overrated. They both play too soft. They only play well at home against bad teams. On the road and/or against top teams they are non-factors. The first goal last night began with a Beasley turnover. He is aweful and gets way to much playing time....plays like he is scared of contact. This team has no chance in South Africa. Maybe they can get through an easy group, but I can't see them beating any good teams.:mad:

4-3-3 was a tactical mistake on the road in a hostile environment, with a team that does not play long ball, and weak outside backs. 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 would have helped to handle the initial pressure. Should have played for a draw in the first 60 minutes then open it up if we found spaces to exploit. We better play better saturday of suddenly we'll be fighting to make the WC.

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Wake me in 2050 when the US has a real soccer team.

Good news is we're ranked 14th in the world in soccer.

Even if we drop a few, that's higher than we're ranked when it comes to things like education and healthcare.

So, you know, we got that going for us.

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Dismal display in Costa Rica opens door for criticismby Jamie Trecker

The man from the Windy City pulls no punches when it comes to soccer in the USA.

Updated: June 4, 2009, 1:26 PM EDT 58 comments Welcome back to 1998.

The 2009 USA men's national team gave an eerie impression of that ill-fated World Cup squad last night in Costa Rica, losing 3-1. The Americans were not only outplayed, they were disassembled and then kicked into touch to boot. Looking sloppy at every position, the USA looked like a team divided, and possibly uncaring.

The flaws of this team were well known going into the match, and they were not only on display, but ably exploited by a Tico side that made this win look easy. Costa Rica's three goals were textbook examples of how to take advantage of poor defending, each one coming either on a horrid mistake, or, in the final case, simple laziness. The Americans gave the Ticos ample space all night long, failing to close them down in the final third and inexplicably failing to bring bodies to bear.

This may have been predictable — the Americans have never won a qualifier in Costa Rica, after all — but it should be troubling. The Americans have designs on being not only one of the greats in our region (which is easy) but one of the greats on the world stage. After tonight, those dreams look fanciful, at best.

History is a great teacher, and to paraphrase Herodotus, circumstances rule men as opposed to the other way around. So, while it's easy to blame coach Bob Bradley for the current mess, it would be unfair not to admit that some circumstances are out of his control.

Yes, his lineup choices are often inexplicable — why Marvell Wynne when you flew guys in from Europe, for example? — and his team's trudge through matches, sometimes looking as if they wished they were somewhere else.

It's also very clear his team hasn't a clue what it's supposed to be doing. They are unable to adjust, and that canard about "playing our game" is meaningless if your team has no game to play. Bradley's grim, dogged style, aimed at revealing as little as possible to the press, seems to have rubbed off on his team, resulting in a grim, dogged and expressionless style of play.

Remember, this was the second straight sub-par road performance in a CONCACAF hexagonal that is hardly rich in world-class opposition. The Americans escaped in El Salvador on a night they should have lost. Looking ahead there was nothing on display last night to suggest that the USA can win in Mexico in August.

Bradley at least admitted the Americans are not good enough. Postgame, he told reporters: "I don't think there was any area at all where we were good enough to win a game against a good team. We were under pressure from the start. We fell short. We recognize that."

Yet, there is a big difference between admitting that and doing something about it. And therein lies the rub.

Frankly, there is little Bradley can do. He seems to be this year's Casey Stengel — a Mets manager loved by his bosses and the media, but given few players to work with, and apparently ignored by some of them.

Too many of the U.S. regulars look all too comfortable. The truth is, as in 1998, as many as nine men already know they have their slots lined up. As long as they don't get hit by a bus, they'll be on the plane to South Africa in 2010.

We have been repeatedly told that the talent pool seems to be deeper now than in years past. But that ignores the yawning gap between our European-based talent and the guys in MLS.

There's also a huge cultural gap. Players who go abroad realize quickly what full-time professional practices and veteran European coaches look like. They may be stunned to come back to our national team camp and run around cones. Privately, players have griped about this for years, but nothing has been done about because U.S. Soccer seems unwilling — or unable — to bring in a coach with real, top-level club and country management skills.

This divide has existed as far back as 1998. Then, although there was just a smattering of guys who had experienced life at the top level in Europe, the gap between the U.S. veterans and the newcomers coach Steve Sampson introduced in the months before France led to a fractured team.

Bruce Arena got the balance right in 2002, mainly because he had guys like Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley and Pablo Mastroeni knocking on the door. Veterans like Claudio Reyna and supposed savior Clint Mathis weren't even sure of starting and you saw the results on the field. The guys who got the call produced, virtually without exception.

But since then the flow of talent hasn't been as rich. At the same time, it often seems that too many people have bought into the notion that MLS must be producing talent simply because it was created to do that job. Now Bradley and his staff seem uncertain how good their overseas guys are and remain reluctant to cut to the chase by putting them on the field and giving them game after game.

Changing a set roster is very hard and timing is everything. Sampson knew he had to change in 1998 but remained loyal to the guys who qualified for him. When it came, the shift was disruptive, not profitable.

Was last night in Costa Rica a warning shot across that same bow?

If I'm Jonathan Spector this morning, I'm wondering why I took a ten-hour flight to San Jose to sit in street clothes. If I'm Mr. Wynne, I might be wondering why I was thrown into the lion's maw cold. If I'm a certain class of guy playing in Europe, I would probably be feeling that my job is safe no matter what. On the other hand, if I'm a guy who's busted my hump in Europe but came up "outside" the clannish world of American soccer, I'm wondering who I have to bribe just to get noticed. And so on.

Thus, we may be too darn close to where we were eleven years ago in sweaty Paris, with a team at war with itself and impotent on the field.

If U.S. Soccer really wants to change things, it is going to have to do something risky — blow up the squad, and seek a new coach.

I'm not convinced this team is playing for Bradley right now in any case, so the latter isn't as painful as it sounds. But the former will require an effort that the organization has only been willing to make once. After finishing dead last in '98, they handed the team over to Arena, who integrated the squad, tossed people out of their comfort zones, and made clear that this was a national team, not a club side (Arena had his own problems, of course, but that's another story).

The problem is control, and U.S. Soccer, bluntly, has too many control freaks. The idea that their innate genius just might not be getting the job done, or that their tremendous development system isn't up to snuff doesn't seem to be on the table.

The ego issues, which have long been a part of U.S. Soccer's strange makeup, would have wowed Freud. So, nothing changes. Instead of hiring a big-time coach (as promised, mind you) they hired third-choice Bradley. Instead of pushing to shake the squad up, they spend a lot of time trying to tell the people watching the team that they don't really know what they're looking at. The scoreboard? Ignore that!

Sadly — for the fans, the coach and the players — this has created an atmosphere reminiscent of the old Soviet state ... unchanging and trapped in amber. This team might not be great, but it could indeed be better.

But right now is the time for change. There is time to get it right, but that time is short. A win over Honduras, while required Saturday night, is not the answer.

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It's not the loss. It's the developing pattern of crapiness coming from the Bob Bradley coached team.

We should be fine if we beat Honduras on Saturday. We're in deep **** if we lose.

I sense more complacency than crappiness in this team. I think this may be the kick in the pants we needed to start playing sharply. I hope I'm right (note: this is not a prediction) and we do use this as motivation and just run honduras out of the stadium and post a straight up win in Mexico.

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Thats a pretty good article. Highlights everything that is wrong with this team, and our politics behind it all. Unfortunately, i do not expect anything to change other than the team tries harder. It really is norvitis all over again. ie. The team plays bad, coach shows his true skills, then when we need him to suck the next game to get canned, the team plays its tail off and norv is saved.

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The only thing is every major country that plays soccer has similar politics. At the end of the day... the suits don't play the game. The problems on the field against Costa Rica weren't tactical. MAYBE personnel decisions, but we can't even have that conversation until the players show some fight. Nothing derails a potent opponent like a few hard tackles.

Again, I maintain that we've just settled into complacency, because CONCACAF has been too easy for us this year and in previous qualifying periods.

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The bus was eerily silent. No one spoke. No one laughed. No one even mumbled. A half hour later, at the U.S. men's national team's postgame meal, the scene was the same. Silence reigned.

But as the fajitas and pizza started to go down and as the phone calls back home started to go through, spirits began to rise. By the time the team hopped back on the bus and headed to Juan Santamaria International Airport for a red-eye to Chicago, there were a few smiles and even an occasional bit of laughter.

There really was no other choice. Less than 72 hours after Wednesday night's humbling 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, the Americans will take the pitch Saturday in another crucial World Cup qualifier. Only this time, the opponent will be Honduras and the venue will be the much-more-friendly Soldier Field.

Everyone knows what's at stake for the U.S. team. Win, and the Costa Rica nightmare will be forgotten quickly, and the Americans will be back on track to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Lose, and the path to South Africa could suddenly get bumpy.

"It won't be difficult because we let ourselves down tonight," U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said after Wednesday night's loss. "The only thing we can do is pick ourselves up and put in a good performance, because tonight was just not good enough."

Now comes the challenge of flushing such an ugly performance and preparing to play Honduras, the last team to beat the Americans on home soil in World Cup qualifying. Honduras has been training in south Florida all week, and the team undoubtedly watched the U.S.-Costa Rica match on television before turning in.

While the Honduras players were sleeping, the Americans were flying to Chicago on a chartered flight overnight and arrived Thursday just before 7:30 a.m. CT.

To get a result against Honduras, the Americans will have to overcome not only the physical challenges -- several players, including Donovan, are preparing to play their third match in eight days -- but also the mental hurdles. The team will be without midfielder Michael Bradley, who picked up his second yellow card of the final round. Hejduk and Ching might be unavailable again because of injuries.

"We need to learn from tonight," Donovan said. "The most important thing is getting over it as quickly as possible and taking what we can from it. We have three days physically and mentally to turn it around against a very good team that has been resting and preparing for us all week."

Most U.S. players slept on the flight to Chicago; some huddled under tentlike canopies they had built for themselves out of airline blankets. But Bradley and his staff stayed awake for much of the flight, critiquing game film from the loss while also watching tape of Honduras.

Early Thursday, as the team's chartered 737 began to descend for its landing at O'Hare, players and coaches lifted their window shades and were greeted to a blindingly bright, cloud-free Chicago day.

Perhaps it was the sign of a new beginning.

"It's very important that the players, as a group, stick together," Bradley said. "It's a test of so many things. But we've worked hard in the past to be able to deal with tough moments, and that's what this is all about."

GL USA, usually don't heed these pre-WC rounds but in this case I might as well open my mind lol, plus not much going on tonight but baseball, we better win or else

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You all need to chill the F out. we ALWAYS play this bad at Saprissa. Its a very hostile environment that we just always underperform at. No reason to get your panties in a bunch for something that seems to always happen... regardless of how good or bad we are.

While I understand why everyone is pissed at the 4-3-3, I can understand why BB did it. Knowing our past experience on the road against the ticos, he probably want to try and get an offensive spark to start the game, and try and take the crowd out of it. Problem is, we just had too many injuries on the back line to try and start that type of game.

The Beasley decision WASNT THAT BAD. Just look at his performance against T&T. While it was obviously against a far inferior opponent, his performance warranted another start at the position.

Also, while Spector would have appeared to be the correct choice at RB, I can also understand why he started Wynne over him. With Beasley and Wynne at the backs, he BB must have felt the need for speedy corners to counteract the speed that the costa rican's brought. However, you can't expect someone with 2 international qualifying games before that Wednesday night to go into a place like Saprissa and expect to perform. That wasn't the right situation for Wynne. With spector at West Ham, and playing in the WPL, he is more used to those type of environments, and might have handeled the pressure better.

But oh well. The expected happened, and the U.S. played yet another horrible game in Costa Rica. They need to shake off the loss, and turn to another important game on Saturday night.

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So we're no better with Bob that we were before Bob.

So why keep him?

We should be improving. The status quo isnt good enough. There are other teams now (Honduras) that are light years better than they were before.

The last Hex had Guatemala and Panama in it. El Sal and Honduras replaced them this time and both teams are far better.

Further, the last Hex, we had qualified for the WC with THREE games left. After that, we tied Guat on the road and lost to CR on the road. Both games were meaningless scrimmages for the US.

We finished the last Hex with 2 losses and 1 tie. We ALREADY have 1 loss and 1 tie and still have to travel to Mexico AND to Honduras.

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