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Why Did We Fail?
The New York Times, June 23rd, 2006 3PM

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Poor officiating aside, the reasons for team USA's first round exit from the World Cup are obvious enough, says the New York Times. Poor tactics (a 4-5-1 when the team hadn't scored a goal yet), poor preparation (secrecy with respect to the line-up leading to a rift between coach and players), and a lack of world-class caliber players left the Americans ill-equipped to handle the tall task that was Group E. As the Times says, "the blame spreads around evenly among the players, the coach and the federation, though it does seem as if the man most responsible for the missteps in preparation and tactics" is none other than Bruce himself. Is The Times trying to emulate an ages-old European media past-time in heaping the blame the coach and his tactics? How about this one: the U.S. players just aren't talented enough. Until Clint Dempsey came along, nobody out there was willing to take players on one-on-one; you can't win games if you don't have a guy out there willing to make plays win. And it wasn't happening out there. The U.S. will finish this tournament dead last in one very telling statistic: four total shots on goal. It's amazing it converted one of those. Take nothing away from Ghana: they were better in both games against the Americans and the Czechs. The Times also comments about the poor officiating at this tournament, which has been considerable once again. What is it about the World Cup? You hear very little about referees during the marathon European season. It's an all-too-often occurrence here at the game's biggest show that the ref leaves the field having affected it in a crucial, controversial way.

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