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Gulati: USA fell short of expectations
by Paul Kennedy, June 28th, 2010 2PM

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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup


[USA] Speaking to reporters on Monday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said expectations for the U.S. national team have risen sharply and it didn't achieve them with their 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana. Gulati said Coach Bob Bradley did a very good job, but he planned on meeting with him to assess the U.S. performance and discuss Bradley's future. Here's what Gulati had to say ...

GHANA LOSS.
“I think the team is capable of more. I think the players know it. I think Bob knows it. And so at that level we’re disappointed we didn’t get to play another 90 minutes at least.”

MISSED OPPORTUNITY.
“The missed opportunity is partly a chance to get to the quarters and the matchup with Uruguay, but it’s also a missed opportunity to stay in the American public’s eyes for another four, five, six days, maybe 10 days, when interest is at an all-time high. I have no doubt there will still be people at bars watching games at strange times, that the TV ratings will still be good. But what the ratings might have been for a quarterfinal game or dreaming beyond that, it’s certainly a missed opportunity.”

BOB BRADLEY.
"I have known Bob for a very long time, I have a lot of faith in him and I think the world of him at a personal level. We will make the right decision for the sport; it won't be about the personal level. It's not going to be a snap decision. I want to hear his thoughts about how things went. I have some questions and why we did some things collectively -- decisions that he made along the way. I'm sure he is going to want to hear about some of my reactions."

OTHER COACHING CANDIDATES.
"It's not my plan to talk to people until I have had a chance to sit down with Bob. Bob is our coach. He is the coach through the end of the year. This isn't a question about making a change. We have a four-year contract, the end of the contract is the end of the year. The same was true in Bruce [Arena]'s case except Bruce had an opportunity [in MLS], so we needed to make a decision very quickly. I am not saying we are going to wait six months to make a decision." [Bradley was hired after extensive negotiations with Juergen Klinsmann stalled in 2006.]

AMERICAN VS. FOREIGN COACH.
“Having someone who understands the mentality of Americans and American players is a plus. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. On the other side of that, it’s also a plus to have played in a World Cup final and coached in a World Cup final, and we don’t have anyone that fits that in the United States.”

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT.
“We’ve gone two World Cups without a forward scoring a goal. That’s not a good thing. And that’s not blaming the guys who have been playing forward for us. It’s just a statement of fact. However we evaluate a coach in a short-term situation like the World Cup, the broader issue is we’ve got to get better development, better players at the other end of it. And that is not something you do in a year or two. And that’s everything else we’re doing in our system or trying to do, whether it’s the development academy, whether it’s MLS having youth teams, whether it’s reaching out further to the Hispanic and African-American communities. I don’t think it takes a lot of watching to know that [Carlos] Tevez and [Lionel] Messi have a different control of the ball than most of our players or most of the players in the world, for that matter. So we’ve got to be better. Players have to be better, sure. And I take responsibility for that that, on where the sport is.”



33 comments
  1. Marco Sandoval
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 2:50 p.m.
    Wow! He actually understands what is needed, a striker who can take on someone, beat them, and put in the back of the net. Finally drop Bradley, and go after Klinsmann. Pay the man Sunil.

  1. Christopher Wimmer
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3 p.m.
    Bradley is a quality leader, given some more talented players he will have the U.S. national team competing at a continually higher level. Don't forget Charlie Davies was injured forcing Bradley to go with unproven strikers to match up with Jozy. BTW, Jozy is still very young but needs to learn to use his size, power, and quickness more effectively to become a quality striker. http://www.vasoccernews.blogspot.com

  1. Olivier Lurz
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.
    This interview suggests that Klinsmann will be the next MNT Coach and will have all the things he wanted in 2006 and more. Only now he will be even more expensive then 4 years ago (being the ruthless negotiator that he is). In my opinion, Klinsmann would be the best choice for US Soccer. Just look at the current German team, which is basically Klinsmann's brainchild, and you can see what the man can do.

  1. Stuart d. Warner
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:07 p.m.
    Bradley's decision to play Findley and Clark against Ghana exhibits a failure to understand what is necessary to win at the highest level. Findley had one good touch and one good pass in the exhibition games and the World Cup combined. He has only one goal this year in MLS. Clark has no touch at all and got burned by Gerrard in the England match. Yet in the biggest match of the year, they are 20% of our field players. It makes no sense whatsoever. Also, bringing in Gomez instead of Buddle was bizarre. John Harkes rightly pointed out that Ghana is weak against crosses. Gomez is small, and as Buddle demonstrated against both Australia and Algeria, he can win balls in the air. Also, how did it take Bradley until the Algeria game to realize Gooch didn't have it?

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:16 p.m.
    I actually corresponded with Sunil regarding a non soccer issue last year, but it was very clear that he was aware of stinging critiques the coach was receiving back then. (Remember pre-confederations cup and the near flame out in the CC? Recall that Ching's injury is the only reason Charlie Davies got time to shine. Same with DeMerit and Boca's injury. They would have been riding pine otherwise.) Yet it was clear the coach had the gig through this WC, and it's clear that we got this far despite the coach. Sunil is a smart dude. He knows this is not a situation that calls for contact renewal. The issue is whether the Federation will pony up cash for an international calibur coach--one who has enough sway to actually influence and cajole other european coaches to give yanks abroad a fair shot. That has not been the case so far and should be considered an essential component of the job. A coach who can do that probably is good enough to make better personnel selections and tailor the team to its strengths and not force the team into a "system" that was, umm, fear based for lack of a better term. It's really not rocket science to understand why the USA was down early in 11 of the last 18 matches. (There are only a handful of teams in the world the USA cannot take the game to). The player selection and the system made self destruction inevitable despite the grit and heart of the players.

  1. Jake Lammi
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:24 p.m.
    Bob Bradley did a decent job. But he is not the man who can take the team to the next level. Not even close. He proved in this world cup he was not prepared, not prepared tactically nor personnel wise as he made too many line up changes and second guessed himself it seemed too much. Most of all, he didn't have the team prepared to play from kick off every single match. It almost seems the players themselves didn't have a belief in him, or his methods were just that bad in getting them fired up and ready to begin each match. Need to bring in a high profile guy who can install a mentality and discipline to give it all for the entire 90 minutes. Bring a genuine belief to the table that the team can win against the top teams and not be surprised when they do. Also, every striker on the roster had great opportunities, but didn't finish. Extremely disappointing as there were some sitters, excellent chances that should have been capitalized and must be in a World Cup. They made it through the group stage which is great and a big relief, but having the opportunity to play Ghana is a golden one, and they laid an egg. That is a match the U.S. should win, plain and simple. We all want more and should have gotten more. Bob Bradley should be commended for his time and success, but in no way should be be leading the United States going forward.

  1. Jeffrey Organ
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
    I don't care what injured players we have that could have been available. We are not good enough to advance to the next level. Two straight losses to, two essentially different, Ghana teams demonstrates this conclusively. Arena, Bradley, Rongen, etc. have done a great job of getting us to where we are today. Their contributions should be recognized and applauded. They will not get us to the next level however-I hope this is clear. It is time for a systemic shift in US Soccer. The whole old-boy system is based on not stepping on the toes of the colleges, supporting our money-making focused club system and rehiring the same retreads (or their friends) for all positions. The time for half-steps to change the system is over. A British podcast described our team as "fiery, fit and willing to get stuck in". I think we can do better than this, but not by perpetuating the system as it is structured now. We need substantial staff changes throughout U.S. Soccer to change this mentality and bring in the next generation of leadership. The time has come to also incorporate thinking from Latin America to get us to the next level. Look at their results in the WC-they are doing something right and our demographics support strong connections. Please no more English coaches and so-called experts. Go USA in Brazil 2014. The round of 16 is not sufficient.

  1. Richard Busic
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.
    Maybe we need to fire Sunil Gulati and start the WHOLE thing over. This is just a wild guess, I am just saying

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:37 p.m.
    I am almost hyperventilating at the prospect of Klinsmann taking over the head coaching position. His comments in the post game show following the Ghana match gave an exciting prospect of what he would try to do -- emphasis on skill, touches, etc. (He actually said out loud that as a team our "touches" were awful) He also talked about getting US Soccer into the black and ethnic communities. He pointed out that in most countries it is the working class kids who were the ones who had the fire to become great players. In the US, its the middle classes whose kids are primarily looking for college scholarships. I have never heard a potential or actual US team coach talk so openly about the issues that many soccer fans have been complaining about for years. I realize that there are probably elements in the US Soccer organization who are shaking in their boots for fear that Klinsmann might actually get the job. I would anticipate a massive opposition from the college coaches and soccer moms to bringing him on --- I hope Gulati is up to the task.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:39 p.m.
    Jeffrey Organ -- if you organize a support group count me in --- your comments were perfect.

  1. Gene Jay
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:46 p.m.
    Our players are not good enough collectively (keepers aside) to expect more than final 16 finish. Ghana is stacked--we could play them 10 times and win only 3 or 4. their calmness in the back, and fantastic finishing at the top, showed it all. We have never had 'final 8' or 'final 4' players in those positions ever. Unless you get an unbelievable break, Determination, grit, never say die will get you to final 16 that is it.

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:49 p.m.
    The strikers comment is striking! He's absolutely right. Problem is, what does the USMNT coach have to do with developing kids that are now 10,11,12 years old into a Tevez (heck I'll take another Brian McBride at this point!!)? Jozy Altidore has totally STALLED in his development. The only thing he learned in the EPL this year was how to (try to) flop and get cheap fouls. He's always flopping in the box rather than using his strength (like a Klose or Higuain does) and just power through challenges and finish the darn thing off. He was much better at that prior to playing in the "real" leagues. I firmly believe his great goal against Spain last year would not have happened with the current Altidore. He would've flopped trying to draw a penalty or foul rather than overpower the defender and put it in the ol' onion sack. We need our future Kobes and LeBrons to want to play soccer. We have the best athletes in the world but they don't end up playing soccer like they do in most countries. When/if that happens here, we will become a world soccer power too.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.
    Does anybody know how to set up a web site to promote Klinsmann's candidacy??

  1. David Hardt
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 4:03 p.m.
    We need a new direction in youth Klinsmann wanted control and they would not give it so here we go again, same story 4 years later.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 4:07 p.m.
    This WC2010 result was a predictable outcome from back in 2006 when Gulati, Flynn and other cohorts at USSF chose MLS's candidate of Bradley over the eminently more qualified Klinsmann and not really bothering to look at other qualified candidates such as Argentines Pekerman or LaVolpe who performed admirably in WC2006 with Argentina and Mexico. We need a quality foreign coach such as those I listed. Also, we need to change the USSF's English-oriented approach to youth player development (Academies, Centres of Excellence, etc.) and instead use Brasilian and Argentine training methods. Its too late at U16 and U18 with the USSF Academy when youth players from other countries are becoming signed professionals at 16, we need to be looking at kids 8-12 years of age and expose them to Latin American methods such as using the small futsal ball (which bounces very little) on a hard court surface to promote many ball touches to develop technique and comfort on the ball. It should be more about training sessions and less about playing in an endless amount of games in the Academy and in tournaments.

  1. Kevin Sims
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
    The issue here has very little to do with coaching at the national team level, but rather with soccer culture in the USA. Our coaches have done brilliantly as of late. The national teams operate as All-Star teams and the key ingredient is managing personalities and evaluating talent ... not so much developing the talent. My preferred starting 11 v Ghana actually started the second half. Does that mean all of us who felt this way know better? That Bradley erred at the outset? Please ... let's not flatter ourselves. The coach and the players and the staff know aspects of these players the rest of us will never know. The USA took the field in South Africa as a TEAM, so the coach did well. Remember the '98 melt down with egos gone wild? France was not a TEAM. England was not a TEAM. Itlay was not a TEAM. I'm quite proud the USA was a TEAM in 2010. Listen to us ... conceding that we have no world-class strikers yet upset with coaches over not progressing in the World Cup far enough. How many world-class midfielders do we have? World-class defenders? Yes, we have world-class GKs, but even Howard could have been much better this cup as well (get & stay on your ball line & DiCiccio's proverbial arc angle so as to protect the near post ... stay on your feet so as to parry a shot at you). I also do not point fingers at the players. These guys have given the blood, sweat and tears that demand our respect and admiration. When athletes like Kobe Bryant and Barry Sanders and Ken Griffey, Jr choose soccer within a framework of passionate soccer ... where they eat, sleep and breath the game over a lifetime of mastery pursuit ... then the USA will dare to compete with the likes of Tevez & Messi & Robinho. It takes money to make money. It takes success to achieve success. It takes great players to win a World Cup. This team has contributed by growing the game in the American sporting consciousness a bit. All of us who love soccer must work tirelessly to contribute our little bit as well. Given that Bradley produced a TEAM ... I favor having him continue for Brazil 2014. As for creating great players ... everyone involved in the game has a role to play ... get after it!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 5:27 p.m.
    I am confident that once Sunil has a sit down not only with Bradley, but WITH the players ALSO, he will see the light, smell the coffee, see the trees for the forest, and all that stuff. I am in complete agreement with the comments that US Soccer needs to do a real re-strucring and get away from the good old boy network that has become now cancerous. I know this for a fact, because like in many other jobs, one becomes too complacent and then becomes resistant to change. And as I've said before, change is inevitable - it is part of the human condition - and change arrived a couple of days ago!I too favor Klinsman be the man to take over the MNTs (notice I said teams - plural) and though his price will be higher than four years ago, he is worth every penny as I am confident that he knows and understands the American player's psyche. Now, I hope that Sunil you do the right thing and get us a new coach.

  1. Kirsten Allen
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 5:36 p.m.
    The difference between a forward and a defender is the forward can finish. The physical requirements are similar. Jozy Altidore would make a wonderful middle-back. He makes a below average forward. You are not going to get the minority American kids excited about soccer until they can see the money in it. You think Barry Sanders would have played football if he could only made $200,000 when he could have played soccer to make $5MM? The way the MLS is set up, no kids will choose soccer over other sports where the money is so much better.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.
    Sunil's comments are an accurate assessment of where we are. But Kevin Sims is right; it's the culture, not the coach. US forwards have not scored a goal in 2 WC finals. That ain't Bradley's fault. Until we see kids playing pick-up soccer every day after school, we won't be seeing Messi's or Tevez's on American soccer fields. And unfortunately, we're moving in the wrong direction. Kids rarely play any sports that aren't organized by adults these days, and it's not just soccer. And all sports are moving to the year round training model that soccer initiated. Paid coaches are getting kids younger and younger (around here, it's U9 or so). Most of the clubs are focusing on technique, which is good (though everyone involved still has the unstated desire to win), but I fear the kids will burn out (and if not them, the parents) between the practice time, travel, expense, etc. before they're of the age where that sort of commitment is required. The problem is that instead of a massive number of kids working on their own, with a few of them rising to the top under the tutelage of professional clubs, we have a much smaller percentage of kids being selected and trained at such an early age that it is much too early to know how they'll develop. And the costs and time commitment (not to mention required family support) of the training makes it unavailable to many, who will never have the chance to develop under such a model. Soccer needs to remain affordable and accessible to as many kids as possible, for as long as possible (ideally, most will continue to play as adults). For the US to become the international power we all want us to be, a true soccer culture must develop. The way the country has embraced this world cup will certainly help. That being said, it is probably time for Bob Bradley to move on. He's done an excellent job, but too much stability leads to stagnation. Klingsman would be a great replacement, but it's not going to be the coach that gets us to the later rounds, it's going to be the players. And to keep improving the quality of players we have, we need to develop a stronger soccer culture. Maybe then we'll get a striker who can finish with deadly accuracy and break other nation's hearts!

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 5:51 p.m.
    I'm sorry Mr. Sims but I must vigorously disagree with both you and Mr. Wimmer above. Bob Bradley is the primary example of the US coaching establishment and it is exactly that establishment which establishes the "soccer culture" that you wish to change. For example, for nearly two years Benney Feilhaber and Jose Torres were on the national team radar and yet they received minimal chances to shine. I watched Torres play brilliantly in the T&T game and he was pulled at halftime, a mystery to all reports of the game. Feilhaber was a similar case -- little chance to play consistently. Why? good question which BB has never answered. Here were two recognized skillful players that he chose to almost ignore. Unfortunately for BB, Feilhaber's brilliant play in the Ghana game proved the ultimate embarassment when both Harkes and Tyler wondered several times why we had not seen him starting regularly. The answer is very simple -- Feilhaber and Torres don't fit the mold of a US player -- big, fast and athletic. It's that mold, our "soccer culture" that has to change. For way too long the US soccer coaching establishment has stifled the development of any player who doesn't fit that mold. We don't emphasize skill and creativity; we demand athleticism and then teach them tactics !! If you want an eye-opener, listen to the comments of Jurgen Klinsmann on the US - Ghana postgame show. It is a short but insightful demolition of US Soccer culture. All of you holders of coaching licenses beware, YOUR "soccer culture" is hopefully about to change.

  1. Manuel Trejo-von Angst
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 6:44 p.m.
    I love Klinsi, but I'm not going ape thinking about him. I mean, he took a team that ALWAYS ends up at least in the semis of every major tournament and took them...to the semis. I mean on one level good for him for at least living up to expectation but he didn't go well above and beyond the call. (see his disastrous stint at Bayern) <br> re: USMNT coach. Bradley does need to go. There were a few too many first half subs that just showed he had little/no concept what team should be out there. He would have been a good assistant coach to a real manager. <br> re: finding the next Messi in the US. Kobe Bryant said it best. There needs to be a promise of making money for starters. Secondly, MLS NEEDS to get rid of this policy of only allowing teams to sign two academy prospects before exposing them. I'm sure many of these parents are only indulging their son's desires because they are hoping he'll make $100k a year stay near home and go on to do bigger and better things once the 'soccer thing' is over. It's the only way that makes sense since I think we all know that MLS isn't going to start having a minimum salary of $150K for all players anytime soon. Like it or not, the phrase "money talks, BS walks" is probably the most true thing anyone will every say to you ever.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 7 p.m.
    Mr. Froelich, you've again hit the nail on the head. In '71 and '72 I was one of the fortunate few to attend one of the first US National Soccer Coaching Schools, that the then US Soccer Federation (USSF) put together. Our instructor then was Detmar Cramer, a German who emphatically told everyone present that the US needed to begin yoth development then and there, let the kids have as many touches on the ball as possible. It was not then Hans Stierle, founder of the recreational organization AYSO and their mentality to introduce soccer as a recreational sport not too far removed from school kickball. In '78,79, and 80 I was site coordinator for the USSF coaching schools at Cal St Long Beach, UCLA and CSUN. By then the good old boy syndrome and the regimented way of taining and coaching players was deeply imbedded in the US National Coaching schools. And it was then also that fphysical size and not skill were the ideal traits that members of the "elite and select" (my emphasis) coaching cadre adopted, and I am sure that the Bradleys, Arenas, Sampson, and Schmids, Rongen and Perez, et. al. came from. Little attention was paid to the more "naturally" talented barrio or ghetto players, simply and because (and I'm being nice here) lack of understanding various latino or African American backgrounds. Instead, as ayso continued on its recreational-every-one plays and parents must volunteer or your kid doesn't play syndrome, that club soccer developed in the late 70's to what it is today, a get rich quick scheme. Tied to this was the regimented styles of so called "player development," etc. We talk incessantly of the Reynas and Ramoses, but we continuously turn our backs on the Torreses and Gomezes or Fielhabers and then we lose US born Latino or European players to their parents native land, we bemoan the fact that they weren't identified. Bottom line is that for whatever reason, the US Soccer Coaching cadre - with VERY FEW exceptions - continue to ignore skillful youth players, something that I have been talking and writing about. And unless this closed mentality changes and opens up, we'll continue to wallow in our deficiencies as an international soccer force to be beckoned with. So in 1971, Coach Dettmar Cramer would pound the desk and used to exhort us to let the kids play, and develop their own technique and skills, like the millions of other kids in the world. Sadly, we still havent learned our lessons... maybe the time has come.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 7:05 p.m.
    Gulati pointed out the obvious, no goals from strikers, but I think missed the obvious as well... Jozy Altidore scored 1 goal for Villareal in 2008/2009 (and Xerez on loan), and then he equalled that 1 goal total in extensive play for Hull in 2009/2010. Bob Bradley decided that this was the primary striker for our team, starting and playing Altidore the entire tournament. At the same time, he left Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez on the bench. Ironically, both Buddle and Gomez were leading two different leagues in scoring. Don't get me wrong, I think Altidore (only 20) may yet prove to be a great scoring threat, but I promise Ghana was not worried about him scoring, only him laying balls off to the mids. Bradley used Altidore in Brian Ching's role, which was also underwhelming. The player and the system were both failures at this World Cup, and the blame lays at Bob Bradley's feet.

  1. Patrick Bell
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 7:19 p.m.
    James, I am going to agree with James. The style of play that is needed from the Americans to move from this level is touch along with speed. We have had this conversation for the pass 10 years. Read this NY Times article and you will understand why it may take us another 10 years to get to the top 5 level in this country. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/magazine/06Soccer-t.html

  1. N J F
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 7:53 p.m.
    While it is correct that Bradley can not be accountable for development of the US player from Zone 1 (8-12 years) to full MNT, he is responsible for the players that he picked and the system (and frailties) we exhibited. We do have a good group of professional players: Donovan, Dempsey, Cherundolo, Howard, M Bradley, Altidore, Edu, Torres, Gomez, Boca etc. They play significant minutes in major professional leagues. (Shoot Gomez just won the scoring title in Mexico). B Bradley had the most talented and professional group we have EVER fielded. We needed to do better and could have without going behind in three of four games. Bradley said himself we were only ahead for two minutes of the 390 that we played.... How is that good enough? If Burnley can be disciplined and beat a side like Man U why can't we? BB did as well as anyone with his experience (collegiate and MLS coaching) could have done and better than I expected, but I do not think he can bring us farther at this time. BTW: I am tired of hearing about how poor Altidore did. Think about this: His cross to Dempsey that helped us get past Algeria; how many knock-downs from long balls did he redirect (like on Bradley's goal) as our main center forward; how many advanced free kicks did we get because of his strength and ability to draw fouls (i.e. Edu's called back free kick)? He played pretty well with his back to goal AS THE SYSTEM BRADLEY CHOSE called him to do! Shoot, Robinho just scored his first goal today (and who says he is rubbish?). How many did Rooney score? Green's reaction save was all that kept Alti off the scoreboard in game 1. For me he played well (better than Heskey for sure), and our offensive design ran best when he played in the Heskey (i.e. supplemental CF) as he was called to do. Alti can use more polish, but he is only 20. And he DEFINITELY did not let us down. How many cynical fouls did he shrug off against Algeria alone? What I would like to understand is how someone that is integral to our employed offensive scheme can be found at fault (look at Bradley's recent interview about Jozy specifically not scoring goals) when he is called to play most of the game with his back to goal, with some big thug hanging off him, and feeding the rest of our team's offense through hold-up play, lay-offs, FK acquisition, or turning the d? I think it was classless for Bob to fire on him in the recent post-match interviews, and I wish you all could have seen some of the things I saw him do for us- I think he bloomed tremendously at Hull (and provided a lot more offense for them than the two goals he registered).

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 9:05 p.m.
    Does any one really believe no forwards scored for the US? Look at the start of the second half against Slovenia - Donovan is completely pushed up and plays as a forward. In fact, he scored from a long ball and it wasn't a run-on, he was the most advanced forward on the team. Forget about nametages: players in soccer actually can change field position during a game. Also, the goal against Ghana was totally Dempsey's. A beautiful pass by Donovan and two great touches by Dempsey worthy of the greatest forwards in the game. Anyway, France won a World Cup with Stephane Guivarch and Djorkaeff as forwards. Remember who scored their goals: Zidane twice and Petit once in the final. Thuram twice in the semi-final. Laurent Blanc against Paraguay. It doesn't matter who scores the goals. I can play Brazil with a youth team and guarantee a shut out of the forwards.... the mids might score fifty, though.

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 9:26 p.m.
    Also to add: the USA was not shut out in any of its matches. 6 of the 8 quarterfinalists will have already been shut out in at least one group match. Fun facts to know or tell.

  1. Pat Chavez
    commented on: June 28, 2010 at 10:25 p.m.
    The poor performances of our teams and the sport not growing in the US rest on the shoulders the US soccer fed.How can you choose a American to coach a european game?Our arrogance has hindered our own growth of this sport in the states.Americans love winners and will only support winners.We lose alot on the world stage.Bora was not the right choice years ago.Why did we stray away from the right plan after one failure.Klinnsman was the answer before and is the answer now.Don't f@%k it up Sunni.Swallow your ridiculous pride and do the right thing.We US futbal fans deserve to have our boys learn how to the play the game right.For god sake hire the man,he is practically american now anyway.His knowledge of the game is far beyond what anybody in this country knows.

  1. George Hudson
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 12:56 a.m.
    Our "wide mids" jog back, hanging our backs out to dry. We either were playing a 4-2-4, or a 2-4-4 most of the tournament. Certainly not a 4-3-3, or a 4-4-2. Cherundolo could not totally commit to the attack because he knew no one would cover for him so he stopped every one of his offensive runs right at the edge of the final third, and played the same ball into the box every time. Who knows what might have happened if he had taken space, and made a charge into the box, drawing defenders, and opening up the far post for attack? He absolutely wore Milner out vs. England, and gets my vote for "man o' the tournament" for USA. On the overall, not a bad showing for the boys in blue. We fielded 16 of the top 320 or so players in the world, and won our group over England. There certainly is work to be done in our youth development program, and at the national team level with emphasis on receiving under pressure while at full sprint; and turning away from pressure, but all-in-all, not a bad culmination of four years of really hard work.

  1. Luis P. KIFUTSAL
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 1:15 a.m.
    Where does American players are starting at? AYSO? City leagues? A 17 year old American never really heard about Futsal, and if he or her did, they never really spent time training and excelling the tricks only experience Futsal ex-players or coaches can put on the table and expose the non-futsaller. If Dempsey and Donovan are your best strikers, imagine the worst strikers how they look like and where they play? Where those two players play professionally? People talk about USA best game ever...against Algeria of all teams? Beat Spain, put two goals on Brasil, people starting to expect and say USA at the top five this 2010 WC. You can't measure development/progress by a game you win or lose, guys! Going back to how Brazilians do their youth, people now talking about Brazilians do streetsoccer, footvolley, beach soccer, society (6v6, 7v7, 8v8 on grass without walls), but people in Southern California especially are making money throwing more tournaments using these names. There is no specific training, kids look lost playing the tournament like they were on the soccer field. Don't understand the variation and why those games are crucial to their developmental progress nor the tools each game requires to excel the tricks each game provides...Another problem, land of the freedom, and American soccer players have a lot of can't dos during the soccer season year around...can't play here, can't play there and they don't play pick up games at all on their own...From 5 to 18 years old, soccer is the number one sport played in America. You keep doing it wrong, 200 years from now, we still are going to make the same comments you do today or did yesterday! Qualified coaches here are winnest coaches. Winnest coaches don't develop anyone into anything. Winnest coaches put the best together and win games, consequently coach of the year of this, coach of the year of that...go watch his practice! Twice a week, you will not develop anyone into anything. On the other hand, even the women side, which already have accomplished many worldwide titles, your winnest woman player don't even get close, skillwise to the women greatest Marta in personal skills...another long story!

  1. Luis P. KIFUTSAL
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 1:16 a.m.
    Dear American Soccer Fans, Let me start of saying, "Coaches don't win games, players do." Put Bradley to coach the Brazilians and Dunga, Parreira, Zagallo, Felipao, Muricy, Luxemburgo among others to coach the USA Soccer team. Klismann? Who is Klismann? Great German player, that's about it, retired, playing OC Sunday leagues to keep the body moving still. He will not do any better than Bradleys, Arenas, Simpsons...until he has the right tools in place. Since players win games, Americans need to spend less money with 'nonsense' money making machine tournaments and focus on how a powerhouse like Brazil develops their players throughout the years of youth soccer. Wrong, narrow-minded, or simply ignorant is the person who thinks we are born soccer players and we grow on Amazon trees. There is a process! We start on the street, no coaching at all. Then, we jump to Futsal. Every element of soccer and tools needed are developed at the Futsal courts from five to thirteen. Scouts find players at the Futsal courts at the age of 13. Players then jump to the soccer field. There is no parent coaching the team. The coach is a PE graduated from college with emphasis in soccer or a successful ex professional soccer player. Players excel all elements the game requires, physically, tactically, technically and mentally...The family is starving and the mother needs a better house, better kitchen...the player wants and must make soccer or he will not go far and never takes mom and himself out of poverty. He is constantly exposed to the U14, U17, U19 and U21 along with the pro team within the club he belongs. He has an id, which allows him to watch any soccer game in the stadium free. Practices are Monday to Friday and plays are Saturday or Sunday. Club players in Brazil never plays two games per day, four five during the weekend! Each phase there is a process and goals to be achieved. Competition is demanding and players are living Brazil younger than never to play at top European teams. A 16 year old American player at his or her best is playing high school soccer or academy. You go watch academy games, you still see playing lacking all major concepts the game requires.

  1. Stan Nixon
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 10:05 a.m.
    Hello. This is my first post, so please be gentle and excuse some naivete. With hind sight being what it is, I think BB deserves some gratitude for bring the team together to play with they heart they did. That said, I am in agreement with most of everyone here that by mixing in a little more skill with the heart and we could be serious contenders. I look at a young man like Kenny Cooper who has very good ball skills and a good finishing instinct and wonder why he was picked to be on the USMNT. With the right bit of coaching to develop his chemistry he could be quite a force. I watched him for two years at FC Dallas and he was lights out. He is great at running at defenders keeps the ball close to his feet. His stint in Europe has been somewhat lack luster but I think Kenny needs to feel the team chemistry in order for him to succeed. I bring this up to make the point that with the Feilhaber and Cooper and Donovan, the US has some good, skilled players. It will be the coach that has to identify that skill and come up with a game plan that best utilizes that skill. The US has some of the fittest players in the world - the focus on size, strength, and speed created that. People here are right that we need to find and encourage the skill portion to make this a WC power. As far as Sunil's comment about wanting a coach that understands American players, please remember that the Germans did not want him to coach their National Team in 2006 because he was too American.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: June 29, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.
    Luis Oliveira's comments are 'spot-on' with regard to the type of youth training involved in Brasil and sorely needed in the US. I speak from the experience that my 12-year old son has been currently undergoing for the past 4 months where his team is exclusively using Brasilian training methods with the small size 2 futsal (aka futbol de salao) ball on a tennis court. The ball is weighted, so it doesn't bounce very much on the hard surfaces involved and promotes many touches by a player to increase their ball comfort level and technical skills. The sad thing is that we may be the only club/team in Southern California utilizing such Latin American training and we are considered a premium area for players selected for the US men's and women's programs. Futsal really needs to be introduced to our youth system (using the size 2 not the professional size 4 ball) to bring up technically gifted players in the US. Muchas gracias to Luis for sharing.


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