The U.S. national team's players just fell off the turnip truck is the impression you might get from Jurgen Klinsmann's post-Brazil game comments and from the media echoing his
sentiment that "Maybe we're still a little bit too naive ..."
Besides Klinsmann’s appalling statement that “maybe we don't want to hurt people, but that's what you've got to do” – exactly how naive a group of players does he think he’s coaching?
Let’s start in goal with Tim Howard, who’s played more than 200 games in that backwater league known as the EPL.
In front of Howard against the Brazilians was creampuff captain Carlos Bocanegra, who’s only played in 103 U.S. games, in more than 100 English Premier League games, in the French Ligue 1, and most recently in the oh so soft Scottish Premier League, where Maurice Edu has played for four years.
Bocanegra’s partner Oguchi Onyewu? Well, he moved to Europe a decade ago at age 20 and has played in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal, not to mention spent time at AC Milan, where he famously tangled with Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Right back Steven Cherundolo has spent 13 years playing in Germany, where he captains a Bundesliga team that has reached the Europa League for the second straight year. Left back Fabian Johnson won the 2009 U-21 European Championship with Germany.
Midfielder Michael Bradley has played in the Netherlands, the Bundesliga, the EPL and is a starter for Chievo in Italy’s Serie A, where I don’t imagine the naive last very long.
Jermaine Jones can be called a lot of things, but not naive. Herculez Gomez and Jose Torres play in the Mexican league, both have Concacaf Champions League experience, and Torres has played in two FIFA Club World Cups. And I understand Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have been around the block.
Eight of the U.S. players who took to field against Brazil play or have played in MLS -- and whatever one thinks about the level of play, its Disciplinary Committee wouldn’t have launched a retroactive punishment procedure were it a pickup league for choirboys.
Rarely, if at all, in U.S. national team history has a coach had such an experienced squad at his disposal. Naivete is a bad excuse when things don’t go well.