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Why Ghana won
by Paul Kennedy, June 26th, 2010 2:24PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


[USA-GHANA] Once again, the USA went out of the World Cup to Ghana, again falling 2-1, this time in overtime Saturday at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace outside Rustenburg. Only expectations this time were higher. A lot higher. The Black Stars dominated the first half by a wide margin, the USA took the second half, but Ghana again had the edge in overtime.

Four reasons why Ghana won ...

-- Asamoah Gyan was too much for the U.S. defense to handle. He shrugged off the challenge of his Rennes teammate Carlos Bocanegra to a long ball and then beat Jay DeMerit before volleying the winning goal past Tim Howard. Gyan is only 24 but competing in his second World Cup.

-- Richard Kingson didn't play a single game for his English club, Wigan, last season but you'd have never known considering the way he played against the United States. He made key stops in each half on Robbie Findley and Jozy Altidore and was outstanding on U.S. set pieces into the penalty area -- a key factor in their earlier success.

-- Ghana's youngsters came up big in the biggest match of their senior international careers. The Black Stars started six players 23 or younger, including three players from their 2009 Under-20 World Cup championship team.

-- Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac's relations with his veteran stars had been stormy, dating back to World Cup qualifying, but the former New York Arrow indoor player's move to bring on Stephen Appiah in the second half was a key. The USA looked like it was set to pull ahead, but Appiah, who had only played 17 minutes in the tournament, helped stabilize the Black Star midfield.

Four reasons why the USA lost ...

-- Midfield turnovers -- a problem throughout qualifying -- came back to haunt the Americans. Kevin-Prince Boateng's goal in the 5th minute was eerily similar to the one Carlo Costly scored for Honduras five minutes into the Catrachos' game against the USA in Chicago a year ago. Then it was Clint Dempsey who coughed the ball up. This time it was Ricardo Clark who turned the ball over in midfield. Then Costly beat Howard to the near post. This time, Boateng also scored to the near post, only from closer range.

-- The U.S. central defense didn't get the job done. DeMerit had a shot at closing down Boateng on the first goal but got turned around. On the second goal, Gyan beat both Bocanegra and DeMerit.

-- The Americans failed to hold possession in response to the pressure from the Ghanaians. Most of their chances came not from concerted attacks but because of sloppy play by the Black Star defense. Only when Benny Feilhaber came on at halftime was there some order to the U.S. game but it was not enough.

-- Just like at the 2006 World Cup, the U.S. forwards failed to score a goal. Jozy Altidore wasn't the force he was in previous games, and the other U.S. forwards -- Robbie Findley and Herculez Gomez -- were ineffective.



0 comments
  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 5:23 p.m.
    120 minutes of soccer and Ghana did not make one defensive mistake. They are a mentally and physically very tough team. It took two star moves by Dempsey to bring about the penalty. The US team had a formidable attack, no matter what your standards are. They could have gone ahead despite some great defense by Ghana. It just didn't happen.

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 5:44 p.m.
    Just to add: we are used to hearing that soccer is the "beautiful game," but you can watch a lot of soccer without seeing any evidence of that. For the US, four games in a row, we saw the beautiful game in a way it is seldom in evidence. It was all in the second half each time, but I truly believe the US fans, as well as fans of other countries, came to appreciate this. US play elevated this World Cup and the game of soccer. Against Ghana, it was too late against a side with such toughness.

  1. Barry Ruderman
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 7:21 p.m.
    No mention of the ineffective personnel decisions? When 2 starters log a collective 75 minutes on the field (Clark 30, Findley 45), it puts the team in a huge hole both mentally and physically and limits the ability to make late tactical subs. We haven't heard any rifts from the US camp on personnel choices, but the Findley choice especially must have been horribly demoralizing to the experienced attacking players (Dempsey and Donovan), who would have understood that they were going to get zero cohesion and tactical sophistication out of a Findley / Altidore pairing (which is mostly a knock on Findley and secondarily an acknowledgment that expecting a 20 year old with 1 mediocre year in the EPL to sort out the attack during an important game is asking too much at the WC level). I'm still mystified as to why BB didn't look to a 5 midfielder system beginning in late 2009, when it was clear that the US would have depth in the midfield at all positions, but nothing of real quality up top (I'm not a Jozy basher, but he was not going to carry the US attack in the WC any more than he was going to carry Hull's attack in the EPL. Four years from now, I'm hopeful it will be a very different story and I do believe he has massive upside, once he figures out how to use his body to create space in front of himself and not just for leverage when he seals and turns a defender on his hip).

  1. Barry Ruderman
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
    But kudos to a team who performed to expectations. With no experienced attacking players over the age of 20, 3 damaged central defenders, 3 of our 4 top central midfielders hurt most of the year, a banged up and exhausted Clint Dempsey and a suspect left back, getting to the round of 16 was an accomplishment. It demonstrates that the US is far more than just a scrappy band of hustling athletes. We can win games and advance in tournaments because we belong in the WC knockout rounds.

  1. Hal Lohn
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 8:30 p.m.
    I think Bob Bradley cost the U.S. the game. He picked Finley and Clark to start and he set the formation. That was three mistakes. Once he fixed his own mistakes the team looked much better, but then we did not have two late subs to pick up the team. I thought it Bradley's worst game as the U.S. coach. Sorry....

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9 p.m.
    Folks, I wholeheartedly agree with Barry Ruderman and Hal Lohn's comments. What is mind boggling, is that throughout the qualifications stages through to the June deadline to submit the final roster, I found it very difficultly incredulous that Bradley was unable to find quality strikers, and that he added Torres, Gomez and Buddle almost at the eleventh hour doesn't tell me much aboutthis coach's ability to identify the players. Both of Mr. Ruderman's comments are spot on; and Mr. Lohn's is also on the money. The US MNT did not lose, rather it was the head coach who lost the US's possibly advancing on to the quarter finals! Just the same, thank you MNT, despite your "leader," were still proud of your efforts.

  1. Andrew Post
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:01 p.m.
    How bout a fifth reason: Bob Bradley messing with the lineup. Why did he bring Clark back into the lineup? Why did he start Findley instead of Gomez? Clark hadn't played since the England game where he cost the US a goal there as well. He is not good enough to play at this level. Bradley is not good enough to coach at this level either. The fact that he subbed Clark out in the 29th minute is proof that even he realized he goofed. But he should have never played him in the first place. Edu had proved himself in the last game to be a strong defensive midfielder with better control of the ball. For me bradley is the reason we are not advanceing and bradley is the reason US soccer has not become stronger. Like his predecessors before him, their lack of international knowledge and in this case favortism towards players, have cost the US a World Cup game. This was a huge game for not only the USMNT but for Americans. A win could have catupulted the sport of soccer to new levels in the the states. Sometimes a game is won or lost before it even begins. In this case one can only wonder what could have been if Bradley had not played with the lineup that had gotten them to the knock out round.

  1. Timothy b Sullivan
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:06 p.m.
    I am also deeply upset, and perplexed, about Bradley's decisions re: Findley, Clark and Altidore. At present, Altidore can function not as a creative goal scorer, but a defensive disrupter with flashes of intuition, occasional spot-on passes, and an intimidating presence - not enough to spearhead that offense. Playing a 4-5-1 (not my favorite formation, generally, as it served England poorly in the last WC) would have allowed overlapping and complexity in the attacking third. As it was Donovan had a pedestrian role stuck out on the wing, playing occasional give-and-go passes and rarely anything else. He was not utilized well, nor was Dempsey, who rarely had space when he received the ball, though when he did he always looked threatening. It's a shame, but I've had a bad feeling about Bradley's coaching choices all along, despite their performance in the Confederations Cup last year. I just hope Donovan and Dempsey will be fit in four years, so they can finally enjoy the success they deserve and have worked for.

  1. Miguel Estremera
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:30 p.m.
    This team had been winning despite Bradley's tactics and player selection.He is typical of American soccer from the youth level on up. He chose speed and size over technical ability and today it really hurt us. If we can give him credit for anything it would be for the selection of his fitness coach and for his psychological profiling. However his building the team around his son has always been a problem. Hi son probably should have filled in for Gooch in the back since there was a real need.We would have been better off with different combination in central midfield. Let's hope that the one bright spot in all of this is that we spend some money on a legitimate coach next go round. Hopefully that coach will realize the difference between track and field and soccer.

  1. Mick Whitewood
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:32 p.m.
    I think we have to bite the bullet and do what all of the African teams have done, we need to get a foreign coach with international experience. Bob Bradley is a joke and he is clueless, he states that again we were not mentally ready at the start of this game which obviously contributed to another early goal conceded, who is responsible for the preparation and mindset before a game Bob? Newsflash "YOU THE COACH" you constantly acknowledge there's a problem, but do nothing to try and correct it. As for your actual coaching, I am amazed you are where you are today, when you play a team that is faster than yours, you slow the game down, maintain possession and move the ball around, it nullifies the speed of the other team, you also do not give them time on the ball and sit back, you close them down quickly and fight for possession, then when you have possession, you dictate the speed of the game. Inexcusable I'm afraid, you cant hide behind anyone this time Bob, the whole world saw your coaching inadequacies. The USA has the players and talent to be up there with the top 8 teams in the world, We just need a foreign coach who knows the international game and knows how to use our extremely talented players. Congrats to the players who gave it their all, they did the best they could under the circumstances of what they had to work with as a coach! BOB BRADLEY YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED OF IMPERSONATING A COACH, WHAT DO YOU PLEAD? UHMM WHAT PERIOD ARE WE IN.

  1. Marco Sandoval
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:37 p.m.
    My five reasons why the USA lost ... 1. Howards punts were to deep. Thus not allowing the USA to hold possesion of th ball. 2. The defense were consistenly getting beat to the Ghana GK punts. Especially when Gyan beat both Bocanegra and DeMerit to ball. 3. We have no striker who can beat anyone one on one. I don't see anyone in the forseeable future either. 4. Every game I posted a missing Landon Dovovan alert on my Facebook Wall. Eventually he would show up. Still we truly never say the Donovan who shined at Everton this past year. 5. In any of the 4 games, I never once say a motivated team for a full 90 minutes. I completely put the blame on the coach. It is obivious that Bradley doesn't have the skillset to motivate. He comes across like a robot. I loved it when just before the start of the game, ABC/ESPN reporter Jeremy Schapp asked about the pre-game speech, and what did he say to the team, Bradley says in his own robotic way, "We already did that." That was it no more, no less. Man I want my coach as fired as I am for a game like today, Bradley just doesn't seem to have that fire.

  1. Julia Moore
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:53 p.m.
    Bob Bradley is lacking the vision needed, he is biased and played many players at the wrong time and position.He has no way of getting team fired up. How can he not see how poor a player his son is. Mike Bradley has no intensity, urgency and merely trots around the midfield having no effect and just trying to make as few mistakes as possible. It is a shame for Dempsey,Donovan, Howard, and the others who give their all to have this happen. Get rid of Bob Bradley please and his son will be cut by any future coach.

  1. jacques-henri driard
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:59 p.m.
    Excuse me, but my english is very bad. So, I write in french.. Je suis admiratif ! Les joueurs américains ont été extraordinaires. Ils ont montré du courage, de la force mentale,et un vrai plaisir de jouer. L'intensité de ce match montre que l'équipe des Etats Unis est une grande équipe ! Elle doit continuer comme ça, et elle ira très loin !

  1. Joseph Krantz
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 9:59 p.m.
    What has Findley ever done to warrant starting three games in the World Cup? Why is Clark starting when he brings very little to the table? This team was poorly coached from player selections, to use of tune up games. It took Bradley two games to realize that Gooch was not fit to play. I could have told him that after the Turkey game. Findley could not score in a brothel with a handful of fifties and we start him in three games and would have started him in a fourth if he was eligible. Who subs for a healthy player(who should never have been in the game to begin with) 22 minutes into the game? DISASTER.

  1. James Madison
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:11 p.m.
    Someone needs to explain to me why the team plays better with Edu than with Clark, yet Bradley starts Clark in a must-win match. Clark sets up a potential Ghana goal which they capitalized on and then gets cautioned and only then is he substituted. Similarly, the team plays better with Feilhaber on and any one of Finley, Gomez, Buddle off, yet Bradley starts Finley. This would be understandable only if it were a track meet instead of a soccer match. Oh well, at least the US carried Ghana to OT this time. Maybe next WCup.

  1. Mike Terich
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:19 p.m.
    Bob Bradley makes great in game adjustments, but like several commenters already noted, his in game brilliance is often a byproduct of his poor pregame tactical decisions. It is time to get a more experienced coach. Bob loves this team and I appreciate his service, but it's time to find a world class manager to guide this team to the next level. Nice work boys & I look forward to Brazil 2014.

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:31 p.m.
    @Mike good comments unlike most of the knee-jerk blame game comments going around. The propensity to give up early goals and put the team in a hole has to be down to pregame preparations. It happened way too often in the past 3 years. What Bradley has done is bring cohesion and spirit to the team locker room which is vital, but tactically, Bob just doesnt have the experience. BB wont be able to take the team any further for the next cycle, which is why his tenure should be up. That, combined with the fact that the 2nd term seems to always spell disaster for the next world cup (see Arena, Lippi, Domenech). The Federation should definitely be on the lookout for a new coach. Klinsmann is an obvious first choice, and I would be happy if he is put in place, but I think he needs a bit more evaluation.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:32 p.m.
    Bradley senior is a stubborn idiot. Notice I didn't call him a coach as he is not he is a moron to soccer tactics. Why start Clark and Findley didn't he watch the previous games and their less than poor performance? Starting those two eliminated some much needed and vital substitutions. Torres was needed to balance the midfield's defensive chores. Why he only subbed Clark? Immediate changes were needed in the midfield and Bradley should have been subbed also. Furthermore the duo on the front were not at their best. More to come.....

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:33 p.m.
    I have mentioned in many of my comments (some of you may remember); 1. Bradley doesn't understand the game, if he wins it is by the seat of his pants and purely by the heroics and excelent performance of some of our key players. 2. Bradley's "non"-system is too rigid a basic college game tactics. 3. The team line up, format and the position that some players are playing are not condusive to winning. 4. Donovan should play right behind the two strikers (in a triangle format) to "distribute" push and lead the attack as it is his specialty. Then you would be needing a competent defensive midfielder (i.e.Torres)front of the back four. This format probably (God forbid)would leave his son out as the coach of Slovakia did (leaving his son out)beating Italy. 5. Young Bradley with a different coach without the pressure of the nepotism would be selected purely on performance probably will play better, he is still young. And hopefully he will mature under a "coach" that understands the game. 6. BTW I have been writing the above comments several times for the last couple of years not just recently. Finally if most of you remember on my comment a week ago or so, where I have said that we will not advance with Bradley. He is subborn does not listen to ones that understand the game (today's line up just reiterates it). He surrounds himself with "mediocre at best, yes man" ie. Sorber and etc. As I have said this is THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO US....LOOKING FORWARD TO A NEW PROFESSIONAL COACH, BECAUSE WE HAVE THE TALENT at the present and future.

  1. Art Robles
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:37 p.m.
    I can't add anymore. The only thing I hope for is that this kind of astute analysis, which is actually pretty obvious stuff to people that have been paying attention, gets out to the mainstream sports media that has suddenly taken notice and FORCES Sunil Gulati to fire this guy and bring on a coach with the understanding of the game that our players need. It doesn't have to be a big name coach, but the comfy little world that the USSF lives in needs to be disrupted, or we'll end up with Sigi Schmid or some other dude that'll be in over his head.

  1. John h Borja
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:39 p.m.
    I'm sorry, but your assessments are well off the mark. Josie Altidore was spent by the 30th minute of regular time. He was a step to a step and a half off pace to receive crosses and to respond effectively and with speed in the box. He should have been subbed out, at least, by the half. Bocanegra failed at the most crutial instant. He raised his arms in a gesture of resignation when, in fact, just as he was gesturing, he should have been giving a second effort to thwart the 2nd Ghana shot in over time. Shame! But, then the U.S. achilles heel was our horrible defense.

  1. Art Robles
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:43 p.m.
    NO, Antonio. The best thing would've been if the US had lost to Egypt at the Confederations Cup. Remember that qualifying results were mixed. We looked so bad in the first two games. These world class teams exposed him for what he was. Then the Egyptians got drunk and hired whores after beating Italy and were totally shamed. The US beat a beaten team. Against Spain, the players played above their heads and the Spanish coach and players were not astute enough to make adjustments. Getting to that final was both a miracle and a disaster. If we had not advanced, I think the growing pressure to axe Bob then would've resulted in his firing. Poor US.

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 10:54 p.m.
    Art, Bob was already on the chopping block after the first two Confed Cup games, but who says bringing in another coach at the time would be the solution? Who was available as a replacement then? Whats to say that 5 qualifiers and 3 prep games would have given the new coach enough time to change around the "hit and hope" mentality instilled in the team? Most of the African nations failed partly because they replaced their coach with 3 months to go to the tournament. It wouldnt have changed anything. Bob did his job by meeting expectations and getting the US out of the group, although in a tactically poor fashion. His lack of experience showed in not getting the US past a beatable Ghana team. Its time to thank him for what he's done and press the US federation to move on to another coach, one that can take this team to the next level. US Soccer wont evolve any further under Bob's current methods of playing.

  1. William Mostellar
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 11:02 p.m.
    Newcomer and enjoying the comments. Here are my random thoughts... As a former Daddy-Coach, it's very difficult not to attempt to utilize your son in the manner which you see best. Michael Bradley is a typical coach's son - he plays very sound soccer: reserved and lacking the creative spark needed to change a game (his last goal was a function of work-rate and positioning rather than flair). He will either flourish or fail under a new coach. Speaking of new coaches - it's time. Bob Bradley comes across as too stoic in his pregame approach and lineup. He sees the technical side but doesn't deal as well with the inter-player dynamics. He adjusted well to his "Clarkbackle" but that limited his ability to get Jozy Altidore off when he showed signs of fatigue and/or make tactical changes late in the game. This game is a water-shed moment for US Soccer. We are progressing from a national that watches soccer and says "Ooh nice pass" to one that understands changing the point of attack, possession, and opportunity. Now, who do I cheer for the rest of the tournament?

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 26, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.
    @William, interesting comments about the father-son relationship in the team. However, dont forget that M. Bradley flourished at Heerenveen and is currently flourishing at Borussia M'gladbach. While its true that he probably wont reach his full potential under the watch of his dad, theres really no reason to suggest that he will fail under a different coach, given his past successes and current ones with the National Team.

  1. Joseph Blough
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.
    All who have posted negative comments in any capacity are idiots! What an accomplishment by our side. What a shame for today's loss. Who had more quality scoring opportunities by a considerable margin? That was not by chance. BB made some questionable decisions..no doubt... but the players are responsible for the loss. Golden boy Howard was not challenged at all but let two soft goals in....where's the finger pointing there? Idiots comdemn without participation....winners put themselves in the hot seat and are the only ones that can truly understand what victory and defeat is....those of you that have it all figured out are complete IDIOTS!

  1. Mick Whitewood
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.
    Interesting! Coaches do not develop Players at the International level, Players are developed by the club coaches who train them throughout the course of a season. Players are utilized at the international level, players buy into a system and carry out a plan for the world cup, a system built around the cream of the crop of developed players from that country. The World Cup is the pinnacle of any football player's career, it is a distant dream for most professional players, this is not a time to develop players because the time the coach spends with these players is nowhere near the amount of time needed, it is a time to devise a plan with the players you have, build a style and a formation that fits the players you have, and then let the best players that your country has to offer go and win the World Cup! All of this nonsense about being happy to be out of the group stage is part of the problem, you go there to win the world cup not have a mentality that you are content to have made it out of your group. Accountability guy's, The Federation is in charge of putting the coach in that position. They must be held accountable for their next choice of coach, because there will be no hiding, this beautiful game is about to explode in the USA and soon there will be no excuse to not win the world cup. Good Luck Tomorrow England.

  1. Joseph Blough
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:19 a.m.
    Case in point an idiot still reading posts 3hrs after making his. Nobody cares about your negative views. Get a life... outside of soccer and let the qualified and committed ones handle the big boys. And while you're at it...check out the history of play and success rates of those who have been "in this beautiful game" and who live an breath the sport on a daily basis and perhaps you will appreciate how far the game has come in this country in a short period of time and against formidable obstacles. Oh...and get over the loss and move on with your...life?

  1. Mick Whitewood
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:20 a.m.
    @Blough, Why do you say this is a tremendous accomplishment, when we should have won that game against a mediocre team! once again that attitude is part of the problem, Do you think Tiger Woods feels it is a great accomplishment when he misses a cut. No he is furious! Attitude is everything and if you go into the World Cup hoping to get out of your group, then if your lucky, that's what exactly will happen. It all starts at the top, we need an experienced coach who knows the International game and they need to instill a winning mentality. I for one am not happy about the accomplishments because they should have done better! But as I said before the players were limited because their coach held them back with his lack of knowledge, and poor coaching decisions

  1. William Mostellar
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:31 a.m.
    @Terence - I too think Michael will flourish as well under other leadership. I put the two possibilities to point out that it's up to him, and him alone. Thanks for the encouragement.

  1. Barry Ruderman
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:56 a.m.
    Joseph Blough: Harsh comments. I suspect that you'll see exactly the same critique of BB as USMNT coach going back 2-3 years. It broke a lot of hearts when Juergen Klinsmann was not chosen (not to suggest he was the answer to all prayers). There is a huge difference between managing college kids at Princeton and undermanned MLS teams versus managing top professionals playing for a top flight European or International side. Understanding player selection and on-field chemistry, learning how to break down tactically sophisticated opponents and making opponent to opponent tactical adjustments are no different than any other profession. If you do it regularly at a high level, you get good at it and you learn from others who have done it before you on a regular basis. Just as our players will never achieve at the highest level until they consistently populate top of the table teams in England, Spain, Italy and Germany and consistently face the top competition on a weekly basis (Mexico looks to be at the dawn of a golden generation for just this reason), expecting a coach with zero experience at the highest professional level to put together and prepare a team to beat the top European, South American and other teams is unrealistic. Any 1st year surgical resident can talk you through open heart surgery, but when it comes time to cut, you choose someone with years of experience between your ribs once you are inside. Hopefully the Federation will translate what must certainly be much greater revenue opportunities to attract a good replacement. I also think it should be someone with a multi-cultural football background, like Roberto Martinez at Wigan, who can parlay an understanding of different league styles and professional contacts in Europe to act as an Uber-mentor for our best up and coming European players. The National Team coach's thoughts on choice of teams and leagues will carry a lot of weight and help players balance glamor against field time and professional development. Now, back to watching the Michael Hoyos' of the world and waiting patiently for the US to develop its first dynamic middle of the park attacker, who can turn our decent cast of role players into a consistent threat. Isn't it amazing to see how even Spain, Italy and England look relatively listless without a dynamic 10, while a team like Germany can parlay a young creative player like Ozil into consistent positive football?

  1. Barry Ruderman
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:02 a.m.
    Blough II: Get a life? Since when does it make adults lifeless to sit around and endlessly debate the decisions of our our national team coach at a World Cup. I remember one of the most entertaining evenings of my life being a dinner at La Villeta in Rome (Toti's boyhood restaurant), listening to 3 friends debate decisions made by the Italian Coach during the 1994 Brazil-Italy final, and that was last May, 15 years after the fact. Life is about passion brother, get it where you can!

  1. Soloman Mohamed
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:06 a.m.
    US Soccer should first consider removing the ultimate Boss - Mr. Sunil Gulati "the economist". He was Bruce Arena and now Bob Bradley's Boss. Talent to match those of The Black Stars is absent from the present US Soccer Squad. However, the inner-city neighborhoods where raw talent abound have always been totally ignored from development by US Soccer. This sport is a strictly a suburbanite sport in the USA. US Soccer should pay attention to the Ghettos of America.

  1. Allison Mclean
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 2:59 a.m.
    I'm going to translate jacques-henri driard's comments from the French, since I haven't seen similar remarks on this thread: "I'm impressed! The American players were extraordinary. They showed courage, mental fortitude and a real enjoyment in playing. The intensity of this match shows that the U.S. team is a great team! It should continue like this, and it will go far!" Just what it means that a Frenchman thinks highly of the U.S. is another topic altogether. ;)

  1. Guillermo p Delapena
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 5:45 a.m.
    Blough is somewhat right, you all need to chill about Bob Bradley, players do need to be held accountable for their mistakes, they are clearly not ready against teams like Ghana, they were faster and smarter, US: you are out! Did good,but need to prepare better, see you in another 4 years. Oh, and another thing too, michael bradley has no business at all on this US team, he is no pro.

  1. Corey Zimmerman
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 8:27 a.m.
    Paul, the fact that 90%+ of the comments to your article suggest there is something wrong with Bradley's managerial ability means one thing, these readers of Soccer America are probably right. Or at the very least, the issue needs to be raised and addressed. The fact that you make no mention of Bradley whatsoever as one of the reasons that Ghana defeated the US, calls into question you and your magazine's credibility as objective, critical analysts of soccer, and in particular US Soccer. Mr. Ruderman asks why "we haven't heard any rifts from the US camp on personnel choices?" That will come in time as you cant expect the USSF to immediately and openly criticise the head coach so quickly after the USA's exit from the WC. But what we should expect, if not demand, from the media -- especially at SA which holds itself out as the journalistic authority on American soccer-- is to address so obvious an issue as the quality of its coaching. For SA to fail to do so, when it is so readily apparent to nearly all of its readers is as disgraceful and egregious as Bradley's baseless tactical decisions of starting Clark and Findley in the first game of the knockout phase.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:28 a.m.
    Corey you are right on. And Blough what right do you have to call who disagree with you Idiots? You who are the 10% and the minority in mind and soccer intelligence.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 9:42 a.m.
    I feel Bob Bradley made some bad choices in player selection. First you have 23 players that all have the capablility to play at this level, If not then lack of proper preperation by Bradley and his coaches to get each and every player at this level. There were players that had shown the ability to play at this level because of there goal scoring ability, not the No.# of cap's playing for the US. Sometimes you have to take a gamble with these new players regaurdless of time at International play. Time for many new faces to appear in the next US National Team.

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.
    More stupidity from the critics. Ghana was a terrific opponent and the US had no right to win the game. They needed to earn it, and they didn't. But it was not because BB was a poor coach. I'm not saying he is perfect (hardly), but he put together a team that we can all be proud of.

  1. Robert Rizzuto
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 12:14 p.m.
    I totally agree that BB's choice to start Clark and Findley was a terrible decision. And we do need a more astute coach, and I think we'll definitely see a change before the summers out. However, you can't let the players off the hook. Frankly, Howard had a pretty poor World Cup and let in some soft goals, and we missed so many scoring chances that we deserved to go out. Until we have that final quality to convert the chances we get, we'll keep dropping out at the earlier stages. Look at the chances Germany had against England, and how many they converted.

  1. Keith Wiseman
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:25 p.m.
    Of course the players are accountable but the coach is the easiest and most important thing to "fix" and Bob Bradley should go for a number of reasons but there are two huge ones... 1) poor system of play / tactics 2) poor player selection. For me, the system of play / tactics is the big problem I have with the team and that needs to change... and that has to come from the coach.

  1. Howard Wright
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:33 p.m.
    True assessment Paul. As only you so I've seen given Ghana their due respect & credit the overconfident needs to also stop going into these games against certain teams especially the African teams thinking that playing against them is a given as if it will be an automatic win. This in itself is total disrespect to these teams which does cause them to come out more intent on winning. Ghana can now be considered the "Dream Killer"and rightfully so,they were in every sense, a better team. I have to give our national team great credit though for their "never say die" attitude which I know many other teams need to possess for better improvement. There is nothing to be ashamed of because they had a good showing but respect goes a long way. One should show and give due respect to any team they face because as I personally know, that on any given day the worst team can beat the best and cause them embarrassment. Look at Italy who could not even win game even with all the diving and other sneaky pranks they pull at each World Cup. Good luck Ghana and great game, you've earned it.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 1:54 p.m.
    If we had a striker who could actually score goals, we'd be in the next round. While I don't agree with everything Bob Bradley does, he took a side with few legitimate stars (Howard being the most likely, and as Robert Rizzuto pointed out, he did not have a great WC), molded them as a team, played attacking, exciting soccer, and came close getting past the round of 16 against a very talented (though admittedly less talented than most in the round of 16) opponent. For this, he deserves credit. On the other hand, why Findlay ever started is beyond me; I thought BB had said he'd be bringing Findlay on late in games to challenge tired legs w/his speed, which makes sense, but he has never shown me anything that demonstrates his ability at this level. Although had he scored the good chance he had against Ghana, BB would've looked like a genius. Certainly Edu should have started over Clark, but at least Bradley had the guts to admit his mistake and make the change early. I would have liked to have seen more of Buddle, since he seemed to be "in form". Monday morning quarterbacking (is there an equivalent phrase in soccer?) is easy (and can be fun), but at this level, results can turn on the littlest thing. DeMerit's shot in the last minute goes in instead of over the bar, and we've got a chance. But let's not lose perspective. Give credit to the players and coaches for getting this far. Should we expect to get to the final 16? Yes, I think that's a legitimate expectation. But that doesn't make it easy (ask France and Italy). And beyond that, it's a crapshoot. Ghana was a solid team, that didn't buckle under the aspirations of a continent. And their second goal was truly world class, with a powerful striker shrugging of a hard challenge at top speed with a powerful, accurate finish. That was not a team letdown, that was a moment of brilliance for Ghana. Bob Bradley is not an idiot that doesn't understand the game. He has a very difficult job, that I think he did quite well. I think he has the respect of his players, and he was able to get most of them to play above the levels they play at their club teams. That being said, I don't think that necessarily means Bob Bradley should continue to coach the US. He's done well, but I'm not sure he will be able to bring the team to the next level, and I'm not sure spells longer than four years are productive for any national team coaches (though it does work well for the best club coaches). But I think he should only be replaced if his replacement is top quality, and it is never easy to know in advance how a national team coach will work out. In the meantime, what the US really needs to do is to develop a striker who can score goals!

  1. Art Robles
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 4:34 p.m.
    Terrence, good thoughts. However, I think having seen a pattern developing, with that much time to go, I think we would've been better off finding someone for the project. Bora was available, for example. Someone that would be able to come in and work with what was there but in a more intelligent and sensible manner. Oh, well. Its over. Let's see what happens.

  1. Aldo Baietti
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 4:35 p.m.
    They lost because they changed tactics to a long ball after Ghana scored their second goal. The hail mary approach is just not USA's strength. They should have continued to bring the play forward and dominate the midfield.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 7:05 p.m.
    Banal Bob (aka 'MLS Bob') needs to be held accountable for his starting lineup decisions with regard to Clark and Findley in the most important match of WC2010 for Team USA. Clark was a known quantity in terms of his inability to maintain possession and make bone-headed mental mistakes and Findley is a north-south sort of speedster who simply cannot finish. Edu and either Buddle or Gomez should have started. The USSF that brought us Bradley should also be held accountable for their failures, Sunil Gulati and Dan Flynn need to be gone. Recall it was they who were unwilling to give Klinsmann suffient control of the program so that he run things to bring it to the next level. They also refused to look at bringing on board other similar coaches of quality such as Argentines Pekerman and La Volpe who conducted themselves well for Argentina and Mexico during WC 2006. Why doesn't the men's program deserve a foreign coach who can raise things to a new level? The women's program has benefited greatly since bringing in Sweden's Pia Sundhage to replace the awful Greg 'Long-Ball to Abby' Ryan back in 2007 after the Hope Solo fiasco. Coach Pia has that team playing attractive soccer that uses the full range of technical skills. A seriousa house-cleaning needs to be done at USSF if we are ever to get past having a mediocre men's program. I want to see the US win a WC during my lifetime, do the rest of you feel the same?

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 27, 2010 at 7:25 p.m.
    Really, anyone still floating Buddle or Gomez as a likely solution to USA goal-scoring woes has not paid much attention. Edu played very well against Ghana, but hardly could be considered a sure thing at defensive mid before the game. Those suggestions don't add up to much and would not have stopped the OT goal.

  1. Joseph Breault
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 12:57 a.m.
    What more can be added.....Good opportunity gone a begging and the future doesn't look so rosey for 2014. We will need two outside backs another center back or two, midfielders with experience, and a striker who really can take players on and finish...thats all. New coach goes without saying. The question is who? Please not another Lacrosse player. Capello is available.....ha, ha. So is Klinsman.

  1. predrag borna
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 6:33 a.m.
    Question from Croatia.When actually US team kicked anybodies ass?You know ...like Germans humiliate England or Aussies .Can t recall? Me neither...

  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 11:14 a.m.
    Overall, Bob was decent this Cup and deserves another 4 years. I don't have a huge problem with Findley because our forward pool is so poor, it's a guess no matter who you choose. I believe it was a pre-match tactical move to remove the forward and move up Dempsey. However, the Clark move has me baffled. Edu has been very stabilizing every time he comes in. He has far better ball control, he's more physical, he's a bigger scoring threat and he looks faster than Clark. We honestly could have won this game 1-0 if not for the Clark mistake. He is not up to US Nats standard anymore.

  1. Steven&linda Pedlow
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.
    My top 3 reasons Ghana beat us (in no particular order): 1. Tim Howard had his worst game ever for the U.S. Both goals were savable, though it's hard to fault him on the second. 2. Landon Donovan and Jozy Altidore had no energy in this game from minute 1. Donovan's touches were awful all game. Altidore could not hustle at all, meaning we played with 0 effective forwards until Dempsey was moved up. 3. Ricardo Clark had an absolute nightmare. I am a big fan of his, though. The U.S. ran out of comebacks. Why did we give away a goal in the first five minutes in every first half (Algeria hit the crossbar)? Note that the OT goal was in the first five minutes of the first half of extra time.

  1. Corey Zimmerman
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 8:51 p.m.
    Can we please stop the ridiculous bashing of Tim Howard? It is true, he was out of position on the 1st Ghana goal, but he should have saved the 2nd goal as well, as the Pedlow's claim? Are you serious? That was an absolute rocket from 10 yards out at most with an overly lively ball. No gk in the world stops that goal....give me a break. If you review the tapes, TH had a very solid WC by making excellent reaction saves, handling crosses solidly, and doing his vey best to provide order to an extremely chaotic and confused backline. How many teams in the WC changed the central defenders in their back 4 during group play? Two, USA and England! Its almost unheard of, as those are supposed to be your steadiest players on the squad. Onyewu was rusty and out-of-form, Bornstein was often lost and out of position, Bocanegra has skills but has slowed, and DeMerit has a ton of heart and grit, but just isnt world class. Cherundolo was really the only back who excelled. Even a great gk like TH cant always overcome a lack of quality in front of him.


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