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'This is going to be hard to get over'
by Paul Kennedy, March 28th, 2012 12:42AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, olympics

MOST COMMENTED

[USA-EL SALVADOR, SOUND OFF] Goalie Sean Johnson said he needs to turn a negative into a positive. Mix Diskerud said he and teammate Freddy Adu were bitten by Salvadoran players and showed off marks as proof. Coach Caleb Porter said he has never felt worse. The outcome confirmed for Jurgen Klinsmann that soccer is a brutal game. And for Eric Wynalda the blame for the USA's dramatic exit from Olympic qualifying goes to U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati.

The Players

"Gotta turn negatives into positives and channel it into motivation. Proud of all my teammates and all the heart and grit they showed."
-- U.S. keeper Sean Johnson (Twitter)

“I’m real disappointed. This is the lowest I’ve ever felt as a pro athlete. This is going to be hard to get over, but at the end of the day, things like this happen. You know, sometimes they make you stronger. For me, I never want to feel this way, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to never feel this way again.”
-- Captain Freddy Adu. (ussoccer.com)

"Part of the game, I guess."
-- Mix Diskerud after saying both he and Adu were bitten by Salvadoran players and showed reporters marks as proof. (AP)

“I’m proud of my team, and for the first time I really felt what it’s like to fight for your country.”
-- German-born and -bred Terrence Boyd. (ussoccer.com)

The Coaches

“No. I’ve never felt anything like this in my life. That’s honest. I can tell you something different but as attached as I’ve gotten to those guys in four months, to see them not achieve -- it’s not about me, and I’ve said that all along. I’ve told them that all along. It’s about them. I’m here to help them continue to evolve as professionals and help them achieve successful results and get to London. For me it’s painful that they have to suffer like this given what they gave in the second half. It’s unbearable. I’ll move on from this, as well. It’s going to take some time. In some ways I’m still in complete, utter shock. It was seconds away.”
-- U.S. under-23 coach Caleb Porter on whether he has experienced an emotional swing like what he experienced. (ussoccer.com)

"The game can be really brutal sometimes. And really I just feel bad for the guys and for Caleb, who really did a good job. They didn't lose the qualification today. They let it slip out if their grasp in the Canada game when they weren't alert enough. And they paid the price today with a goal in the last second. And of course that hurts."
-- U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. (AP)

The Pundits

"The truth of the matter is that Sunil has to take the responsibility for this. You can blame the players, you can blame the muck, you can blame Caleb Porter if you like, but I would argue that he had no business being in that position in the first place. Ultimately, the blame falls on the people who do the hiring."
-- Former national team player and Fox Soccer analyst Eric Wynalda on who's responsible for the USA's exit from the Olympics. (AP)

"Finished the game with a 4-3-3. Uh, this isn't bloomington buddy. You made your bed, sleep in it. Or not.
-- Wynalda asked for his thoughts on Porter's coaching abilities. (Twitter)

"Is it a disappointment? Yes. Is it a failure? Yes. Is the sky falling? Absolutely not. Having the Olympic experience would certainly be beneficial to these players. In a different way to look at it, this tournament helped weed out some of the quote-unquote talent that maybe isn't what we thought. And for those players who do graduate to the national team, those few select players, it gives them a harsh but maybe vital lesson in terms of not only recognizing moments and opportunities but not wasting them."
-- Two-time U.S. Olympian and ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas. (AP)



33 comments
  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 8:59 a.m.
    fact of the matter is, just got beat by a better team of players on this day...it happens an will again until we in the USA turn around our developement program for youth.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 9 a.m.
    I am glad Wynalda finally have spoken up. I have been saying it for the last couple of years that Gulati has to go. He has no concept of the beautiful game he is a cricket player.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
    I wonder what Wynalda thinks about our national player selection and why exactly we continue to lose so many players to these Hispanic countries like El Salvador who is better than us and has 2 usa born players??

  1. Scott Nelson
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 9:58 a.m.
    For all the effort and focus US Soccer is putting into the top of the pyramid at youth level, I don't see a lot of improvement at the MNT level over the last decade. The current MNT pool seems very wide but incredibly shallow. The best Bradenton performance (in both the U17 WC and who's gone on to earn full caps) still came from the first batch with Donovan, Beasley, et al, over a decade ago. The most succesful Bradenton graduate in recent times is Neven Subotic, and they found him playing in the local park (and we lost him to another country)! COULD IT BE that at this juncture more focus needs to be put at the BOTTOM LEVEL, getting more kids into the game, involving more kids from more demographics and backgrounds, and improving the soccer environment and opportunities for those who can't afford to be in a "pay to play" system" that costs thousands of dollars per year? After all, if the base of the pyramind rises, the top has to follow suit. I believe that the best German, Spanish, Argentinian, and Brazilian players will always be better than our best as long as their bad players are also better than our bad players. I would argue that from top to bottom our system looks more like a tower than a pyramid

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 10:01 a.m.
    Great thoughts Scott.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
    Scott, you are right on.There has been no appreciable improvement in our youth talent in the last 20 years.Do we have a quantity of players playing at a higher level than 20 years ago?Yes, but not the quality.Where are the players coming through the likes of Reyna,Ramos,Donovan or Dempsey.None of these players were developed by Academy programs or super clubs.Is this coincidental?I don't think so.The entire US Staff starting at the top currently in charge must be replaced.Right now I trust Jurgen to get things turned around,but he must be given total control of our soccer development system.We,as fans must look to the far future.After 2014 WC,if we qualify,the cupboard will be pretty empty.We need the likes of Wynalda,Lalas and Paul Gardner with the power of the media to continue to speak truth.We certainly don't need more cheerleaders.

  1. Roy Pfeil
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 10:25 a.m.
    Some points: 1. Where has Wynalda coached? What players has he ever been responsible for? To be in front of a camera has maybe gotten to his head. Eric reminds me of the young adolescent who didn't get his way and started screaming to draw attention to himself. 2. For Wynalda to blame Sunil G. for the poor result is like blaming GIRL SCOUT COOKIES for the obsesity problem in this country. The game is a fragile game. Many professionals have lost big and important games in the closing seconds of injury time. These kids are not pros. This is a good lesson learned the hard way. Lets see what happens, and lets give the new regime of coaches a chance. Don't let the social media run or ruin the game or interfere with player selection and preparation. Finally, when its time for a change the evidence will be compelling and it will probably be at the end of a cycle. And if you want to consider names then people like Vermes, Kinnear, & Kries are a few that come to mind.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
    How many lessons do we have to learn? We lost to 4 countries we should "never" lose to, Guatemala, Canada, El Salavador and Panama, for many reasons. Shouldnt there be a standard? Why are we obsessed with European coaches teaching us the game when we have player development top countries right next door?? Brazil, Argentina, Mexico.

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 10:58 a.m.
    Very little has been made of the appalling sportsmanship displayed by the Salvadorean players, who have been trained to abuse their opponents by their own coaches. I only saw the punch-to-the-face incident, but there was biting as well? How did officials not see any of this? Have complaints been launched? This type of behavior has no place in the game, and Salvador would have played much differently down 1 or 2 players. Shame.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
    R2, as right as you are about the sportdmanship, fact still is that Usa was tecnically outplayed by a smaller and slower team. That should be the red alert and pnly focus.

  1. Francisco Balcarcel
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
    Say what you will about Salvador ..We lost to Canada at home 0-2!! If you were in England or Spain the press (Wynalda) would have a feeding frenzy on how we lost and how we played..Wynalda comments are tamed compare with what you would get in Argentina or Colombia.

  1. Doug Broadie
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 11:43 a.m.
    Until soccer pays enough money to get the top talent in this country to play soccer, we will be second rate power. When we can get the top players that play football and basketball to devote themselves in the same way to soccer, then we will become a world power. The kids that play the game in the poorest sections of Brazil and Argentina are the ones that become the best soccer players. Right now, the top kids in our poorest sections are playing basketball as their way out.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 11:46 a.m.
    Doug, you mean black kids for basketball. Its pk to say it how it is. We have poor Hispanic cpmmunities, as well you know and guess what they play.

  1. miguel abisaab
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.
    Good morning everyone. I could now honestly say that this was coming to the US Olympic team. The USSF does have much to do with this and the governing of the mens and womens soccer team. Yesterday I asked Gak Foodsource on his thoughts about the USSF, his response was marketing. The people who run the USSF are about marketing the sport. player developement and marketing events are two completely differnet aspects. Eric Wynalda, as a former player himself good or bad or whatever opinion people may have of him is right on. It's career suicide for anyone that covers the US soccer scence on ESPN, US Soccer, MLS, etc...to speak about any failures or shortcomings on the USSF. Someone else becomes a scapegoat. There is also the comment on Caleb Porter on coaching the team. Caleb is a great coach at Akron, but was it too soon for him to be in the spot of coaching the team? Was there any considerations on someone with prior expirence coaching in MLS or U17,U20? What about the staff of the USMNT? could they have been more involved? I would like for all who cover's and are behind US Soccer to be able to express their genuine concern of those who govern in the USSF.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 12:57 p.m.
    Folks, all the commentary above is spot on! For the fellow that questioned Wynalda, well, he has been there and done that and his commentary is that from a former professional, and while, yes he does "pout" every now and then, it is incumbent of him to call it as he sees it, and I for one agree with his commentary. The brutal fact is that we are mired up to our axles in the perennial and proverbial administrative muck and there is no two truck in sight, meaning that it starts at the top with US Soccer and filters on down. Of interest is that no one mentioned the role Reyna supposedly played, i.e. was he there to keep an eye on Porter, or to see to it that he got a spot on the bench and assist Porter? Someone said Porter is an excellent NCAA DI coach and I agree that he was thoroughly out coached, and yet, what was Reyna's contribution? As for Klinsmann, it was pointed out above that he more than likely had little say on Porter's surprising "ascencion" to the U23 team, 'cause to me it sure as heck rings that it came from the stratospheric minds of US Soccer honchos - tho' I hope (as hope springs eternal) that I am wrong on this! Lastly, to Miguel, don't hold your breadth to wait fro some utterings from "those who govern in the USSF(!)"

  1. Soccer 2306
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
    Our "team" selection process is part of the problem. "soccer experts" keep raving about the lack of quality INDIVIDUALS. They keep focusing on the individual players and dont focus on the team process. Why did the US Hockey team win in 80? Herb Brooks picked the best team, not always the best players. All the "soccer experts" keep lamenting about the lack of individual players. I suggest we need to focus more on team chemistry as we select the ndividual talent. I see the same choices and mistakes at the youth ODP level as made at the national level. England has great talent, and no team chemistry. Barca and Spain have great teams and talent, but it is the TEAM concept that makes them great. Our youth development program focuses on the individual play, rewards the individual play and advances the individual play and then throws the individuals into the most team oriented of sports and then is surprised when they dont do well. Soccer is the ultimaate team sport and i have repeatedly seen teams with less individual talent beat the "superstar" teams because they have more heart, more grit and more to prove. Until USA Soccer and the so-called "soccer experts" start rewarding and advancing team players and the team concept, we wont be able to advance in this team sport.

  1. Raveen Rama
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
    So much accolades have been placed on Brek Shae and you all know what we got from him. I have always thought that he never deserved a place on the national team. He is a "one way street" type of player who does not know how to shield the ball nor does he have much dribbling skills. These two things have to be grained into the players through practice to have any kind of confidence in themselves, and getting out of tough situations. By the way, who did we lose to? El Salvadore? Made up of Hispanic/Latino players? Well, just hinting!!

  1. Scott Nelson
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 4:35 p.m.
    In regards to my earlier comments I do want to mention that I am in favor of the current growth of the Academy system (and hope it will lead to a fade out of Bradenton... why pull kids away from home if you don't have to?) But stand by the idea that it's the base of the pyramid that determines the ultimate height.

  1. Eric in DC
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.
    I'm the first to point the finger at Porter, but I don't see how anyone can blame Sunil. At the end of the day, he's not coaching or developing players or coaches himself. I can't blame him for the poor U-23 tournament, anymore than I can praise him for how the USWNT play. I hate the 1st sentence or 2 Lalas's quote. But I though he was right on with this bit "players who do graduate to the national team, those few select players, it gives them a harsh but maybe vital lesson in...recognizing moments and opportunities but not wasting them." But despite the loss, here are a few other points: Why hasn't FIFA penalized the E.S. players for punching and biting our players? I thought Corona showed he could play, as can Boyd, Freddy played how I wish he'd play EVERY game he's in. Perry Kitchen was almost out there on his own. I thought Shae was just okay. I blame Porter because I don't think the guys were mentally prepared. In this tournament, the coach should've realized that the 1st game would be a cake walk and the others would be progressively harder.

  1. Jared Bartlam
    commented on: March 28, 2012 at 8:06 p.m.
    I really don't believe El Salvador was that much better. If there weren't so many rookie coaching mistakes the US would still be in the tourney. The biggest mistake was not making the coaching decision of taking out Hamid after he came up lame....you could see him limping around after that play. A fit keeper would have stopped the first two goals. The next mistake was waiting till the 85th min or so to make his subs even though there were clearly dead legs. The third was being a goal up with 10 or less minutes to play and subbing an offensive player for an offensive player twice. Then the mistake for the tourney was not making more changes to the starting lineups...they played three games in four days...every other team were making 4+ changes to starting lineups...Canada made 6 or 7.

  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: March 29, 2012 at 12:40 a.m.
    Losses like this always hit the USSF the hardest. It will be interesting to see if Gulati starts to use these results as opportunities to attack Klinsmann, or if he will defend the coach and the changes he is trying to make. But either way, I'd love to see some increased transparency with Gulati and MLS. I'd like to know how much MLS spent last year, how much they made, how much they allocated to other franchises, why they allowed player X to move to franchise X instead of franchise Y, how much money we need to run a developmental academy, etc. It is abundantly clear that Gulati either faces some challenging problems, or is incompetent to deal with them. (I want to believe the former.) There are a lot of people who care about this game, and I think he might be surprised at some of the solutions they could come up with. Transparency would help fans understand the challenges we face, and it would also provide them an outlet to help. Maybe if we knew how much money we needed to destroy once and for all the pay to play model, we might be able to contribute toward its demise. Maybe if we knew our local MLS team was the lowest revenue generator in the league and its heaviest burden, we might be inclined to watch more games. Maybe someone out there has a great idea for how we can inspire kids around the US to create with the ball. Gulati might not be able to open the doors completely via changes to single-entity or the pay-to-play model, but a little transparency might offer some interesting insights and opportunities.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: March 29, 2012 at 3:24 a.m.
    To Jared: The excuse that there were tired legs, say, didn't the opponents have just as much time in between games? So the argument or "excuse" of tired US legs doesn't hold water. So "excuses" are like you-know-what every has one and they all stink! And to Gak: THANK YOU AMIGO! Your insight is spot on!!!

  1. michael cassady
    commented on: March 29, 2012 at 7 a.m.
    completely agree,Steve Petrovich,you nailed it!

  1. Jared Bartlam
    commented on: March 29, 2012 at 7:40 p.m.
    To Ric- Sorry not an excuse....it's a fact and it is on Porter. Look at any other team, they made multiple changes to the starting lineups including El Salvador who made 3 or 4 changes in the midfield and up top between the games. Porter only made subs across the backline. Then on the last game when they went up 3-2 in the 68th minute, it doesn't make any subs till the 88th and the 90th, and subs in two offensive players instead of defensive players....that is coaching mistakes.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 30, 2012 at 8:58 a.m.
    He tried icing the game with those late subs. Regardless of any other excused you want to up with the fact is Usa could not win vs Canada and El Salvador. 2 teams it shkuld beat with a hand tied aroubd its back. El Salvador is smaller than New York City. Their team had a few 2nd Division players on it from the El Salvador League and the rest are 1st division from that same leafue. No excuse is good enough for these resultd. The only logic behind this is that the best Players were not selected for this team. A true American would see it that way.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 30, 2012 at 9 a.m.
    If Mexico were to lose to any of those teamd the first question in the nedia would be about the players selected. Then the rest. I guess Usa does things different, hub? Get er done!!

  1. Jared Bartlam
    commented on: March 30, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
    A true American...lol...that's funny coming from you..that should never come out of your mouth. Our best players weren't released from their clubs...you know where they play in Europe...so we played with what we got and it came down to coaching mistakes. Didn't the US dominate Mexico a few weeks before the tournament???

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 30, 2012 at 5:06 p.m.
    Mexicos best players werent released either. El Salvador had only Salvadoran league ppayers on it . Some for 2nd division. What I am not Anerican because I think we ahould have more mexican americans on our national teams? No they didnt. Mexico got robbed of 2 penalty calls at the end of that game where Usa had shown it s inability to finish a game strong. They were well rested for that one. It also proves how meaningless friendlies truly are. This is why they are allowed so many subs and is a chance to try players out. But you keep on celebrating those friendlies while Mexico keeps winning the ones that matter. I am American . I m just not a dumb redneck american.

  1. Jared Bartlam
    commented on: March 30, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.
    Oh no, no, no...don't give excuses of why the US dominated that game...They were well rested and won the game 2-0 and dominated possession. Again, it only matters when Mexico wins....winning the ones that matter...what happened in 2002 and 2007???? Yeah, resort to name-calling...nothing close to a redneck....you MIGHT be an American but it's very clear that you are a Mexico soccer fan over US soccer.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: March 31, 2012 at 8:18 a.m.
    Jared, lets nake a deal. I wont gives excuses for Usa wins vs Mexico and you wont do the same for Usa blunders in the last year. I root for both countries. As a Usa fan there is no valid excuse For these results vs much more disadvantaged countries. No matter how you look at it. The hipocracy in this cointry is and has been seen at every level. No one should believe that the talent isnt here to at the very least dominate vs El Salvador and Guatemala. Regardless of my opinion of Hispanics being the best American players , what is very clear and I have personally witnessed is the recruiting system is political and mpney driven. How can you possibly get the best players this way. Odp simply does not get the best players to show up because of cost. In illinois if you did you would see a majority of Hispanics there. Anyone in Illinois can tell you that. Many Top clubs recruit at these Hispani c leagues. When you guys say that the best athletes come out of poor neigborhoods you are talking about black people and the ghetto. Or are you talking of poor white hpods? These black athletes pick other sports. There are just as nany Hispanic poor neigborhpods and I dont see basketball or football players coming out of them. Why? Because they play soccer.

  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: March 31, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.
    I did not see the Canada or El Salvador games. I did not need to. There is an abundance of talent here in the United States. The problem is the hierarchy wants a certain type of player that's played at a certain college, who had a particular club pedigree. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that several of the writers of this blog could put a team together of lesser knowns that could compete and probably beat the current U-23 team. Additionally, you need professional coaches to win at the professional level.

  1. Reuben Valles
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 3:41 a.m.
    A few people above mentioned Reyna and I have to agree. Even if we say that Porter was being outcoached, and i dont really believe he was, then why wasnt one of our countries greatest soccer players (Reyna) not insisting on a formation change, line up changes between games, or subbing defensive players for offensive players? I like seeing diversity on the USMNT's. I think the team should look like the makeup of our country. I am a hispanic American who bleeds red white and blue. I do not believe a team full of hispanics is the answer. That is way too simple. If it was simply that ethnicity, that possession style, and that short height....then Mexico would have won a World Cup. They have never even come close and they have been serious about this sport since forever, its a huge country, with great youth development, they have always been latino, and always played possesion style. Mexico has fared no better than the USA in senior level World Cups. Youth world cups dont count (ask Nigeria) My point is to those of you who always think the answer is latino players and more latino players.....then why hasnt Mexico fared much better at World Cups? They have always been latino? havent they? just an fyi about me.....i am Mexican American, follow both teams, but have a worn a US Jersey in the Azteca. I also cried when Mexico lost to Argentina in 2006. I am just a fan.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 10:13 a.m.
    How can you say youth W.C. dont count?? Do you know how many top euro clubs have their eyes on those very events?? So what you are saying is there is no good reason to hold World Cups at U17, U20 or U23 Olympics for that matter?? Mexico has qualified for the Olympics many more times than Usa even though it has made it very few times to the Quarters. Spain has won the W.C. once ever and is now te model to follow with a posession game. I mentioned Hispanics and not just Mexicans. Usa is performing worse with no real taent coming up in sight. If te U17, U20 or U23s dont atter where are they going to get the future talent from?? Meanwhile Mexico is winning al those international events that dont count while scouting usa mexican talent. Wether you want to admit or not the National Mexico team is superior to Usa at the moment qualifying for Olympics, winning Gold cup and showing more appreciation for Usa Mexican talent than the Usa who is inferior in soccer at the moment. Ponce is a great payer and was never even scouted by Usa, scored one of the best goals in the tourney. El Salvador has 2 usa born players as well. So we should pic more English descendants? What has England done in tge past 10 years? We try to play there game, dont we? Should we pick more black people? Well you just said African teams have done nthing as well. Its not abot that. Its about who are the best in Usa right now. If you go to any national youth tournament like the Dallas Cup you will see who dominatessoccer in Usa. Fact.


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