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Heartbreak for Holden in the USA's lackluster Gold Cup final win
by Paul Gardner, July 30th, 2013 3:42PM

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By Paul Gardner

The sight of Jurgen Klinsmann striding along the touchline, pumping his fist in the air, after the USA had beaten Panama in the Gold Cup final was not one that sits easily.

This had been a quite dreadful game, ugly from start to finish, totally bereft of good soccer. Yes, Panama can be blamed for a lot of that -- obviously their main concern was to make life difficult for the Americans. Which they did, rather too easily.

So it was up to the USA to impose its game. Which it never did. Anyway ... what game? That there is still, after two years of Klinsmann, no recognizable style or coherence to his team’s play is a concern. But that things should be this bad is appalling. I don’t think any allowance should be made for the fact that this was a sort of “B” team. This was a Klinsmann production.

There is no need, no point, in going into details. Anyone who saw the game will be having a hard time to remember anything memorable or noteworthy from it. And the solitary goal, when it was painfully eked out of the mire, was a freak play. How fitting.

Klinsmann, some time ago, told us how satisfying it was to watch his team come together, to treasure the moments when he could say to himself “It’s working.” It would be intriguing to know if Klinsmann, suspended for this game and watching from a glassed-in box, managed to find anything that was working in this game.

That goal, that vaudeville goal, was deserved of course. As was the USA’s victory. The team had relentlessly tried, in its woefully inarticulate way, to break down a rather wobbly Panamanian defense.

The win makes the USA the champions of Concacaf. How big a deal is that? Certainly not as big as it should be. Consider: this tournament, played every two years, is now always played in the USA. Money requires that -- a neat example, should you need yet another one -- of how cash distorts the sport.

Can you imagine the UEFA European Championship being staged every year in Germany? Or the Copa Americana always being played in Argentina? Who would put up with that?

The USA gets the inestimable advantage of always being the home team in the region’s No. 1 tournament. No foreign travel to undergo, no strange cities or hotels, no pesky foreign languages or exotic foods to cope with.

Given that the USA is already either the first or second most powerful team in the region, that is a benefit that should pretty much ensure a USA victory every time. Winning the Gold Cup should not be lauded as a big deal.

I said there was nothing noteworthy to be recalled from this game. Sadly there was something that’s going to linger. The sight of Stuart Holden, limping away from contact with an opponent, his right hand lowered, trying to grasp his right knee.

A horrible, sickening moment for Holden, and for all who have followed his battles with serious injury. Both his previous injuries followed violent contact with an opponent -- a broken leg in 2010, inflicted by Dutchman Nigel de Jong, and in 2011 a 26-stitch gash on his right knee and an ACL injury following a clash with ManU’s Jonny Evans.

This latest episode did not appear to stem from rough play. There was glancing contact with Panama’s Alberto Quintero -- but with Holden’s left leg. Which will be but bitter consolation for Holden. The sight of Holden sitting on the U.S. bench, his hands clutching his head, was agonizing, a moment of brutal truth in a sport that will never be free of these tragedies.

But for Holden ... three times? You like to think that there is, in sports, a fairness that eventually evens things out, that makes it all worthwhile. A hollow thought right now for Holden.

Klinsmann had his say, and he said all that could be said neatly and with feeling: “We are absolutely devastated for Stuart. He is such a great part of our team on the field and the locker room. He worked tremendously hard to recover from previous injuries and had really come back into form ... Now he will have our full support as he goes down this road again, and we will be with him every step of the way.”

An ugly happening in an ugly game. I have had my say on the game. For Holden, my initial feelings of horror and sympathy have given way to a brighter vision, one encouraged by his defiant “We shall rise again!” A vision of Holden coming back, yet again. He deserves that as the victim of inexplicably cruel bad luck.


52 comments
  1. Brian Something
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 3:54 p.m.
    Well, it's been a full 10 days since a "sky is falling" entry from Paul (following a tournament where the US scored 20 goals in 6 games and scored at least 3 goals on 4 separate occasions... oh the tedium). Glad you're back!

  1. Mallard Marsh
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.
    Jeezus, Gardner, please just go away for good.

  1. Pat Sharp
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 4:53 p.m.
    Paul Gardner has been writing miserably for years and years. He probably has an aching back or something pinching him. Always negative articles.

  1. Gary Wien
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 4:57 p.m.
    What a lousy article! From the past year's worth of pieces, we get it. You hate Klinsman as US coach. Get over it. We just dominated the region's competition with only a handful of A team players. Yes, the final was a horrible game. It was also against a team that was focusing on defense 100% of the time. Panama hardly challenged us at all. What's our style? Well, when have you ever seen the US with a 75% possession total in a Final before?

  1. Adam Sherlock
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 4:58 p.m.
    I read the first 50 or so words. I am so tired of the one-dimensional, negative journalism from Paul Gardner, if you can even call it journalism. It's more like professional bitching and moaning. The USA has won 11 straight games and a trophy, mostly with the B team, proving we finally have some serious depth, but to read Paul Gardner, you'd think we would have lost 11 in a row. Done. Not reading his crap anymore.

  1. Eric Schmitt
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.
    Are you kidding me??? Not a peep from Mr. Gardner about the MNT throughout this 11 game win streak, but NOW he pipes up, finding only the negative things to talk about. No mention of how the US dominated the game. No mention of the possession advantage. No mention of how our defense shut down a mainly "A team" Panama attack at every turn. No no no, that wouldn't do for Mr. Gardner. Somehow finds a way to criticize Klinsmann, who brought this decidedly B team quality squad together to dominate their opponents in every game. <shaking head> Just keep to your officiating and MLS criticisms, Paul. We'll do the MNT talking.

  1. F. Kirk Malloy
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:02 p.m.
    At times you can be compelling Mr. Gardner, willing to question any and all authorities regarding the direction of US soccer. But couldn't you find something positive to write about? Like the record breaking win streak or the possession oriented? The attacking style Klinsmann is pursuing? The depth now apparent at the top of USMNT? Jeez, occasionally take a dump before you kick out your article.

  1. Roger Aviles
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:06 p.m.
    "sight of Jurgen Klinsmann striding along the touchline"...what else is he supposed to do...They just won the tournament. What do you suggest he do in that moment? Cry, or perhaps Decry the CONCACAF plot at that exact moment? Such an idiotic article. Please stop writing

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:12 p.m.
    Paul, your latest rambling ideations are off the mark to say the least, all you do is complain. The game was an exciting one, where the US was bringing so much pressure that it forced Panama (who had been on a roll in the tournament, defeating Mexico twice) to maintain a defensive shell for most of the game with the hope perhaps that something could be gained on an opportune counterattack. Part of the reason why the US was able to bring such pressure was the technically elevated short passing and movement game that the US was successfully able to use in a possession-style approach. Amazing to see the US do this after years of Brit boom-ball aka UK Long-ball (can you also say boring and losing approach?) that would require frantic sprinting and routine loss of possession. Too bad for you but we are freeing ourselves from the shackles of the English game, thank god. Ein Volk, Ein USA, Ein Klinsmann! Sehr gut!

  1. Eric Schmitt
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.
    Well said, David Huff!

  1. Bobby Bluntz
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.
    While I disagree with most of this article, I am glad that someone has pointed out the advantage that the US team has of playing every Gold Cup at home. It makes it even more pathetic the whining that we had to endure after the last cup's US colapse in the final. "We had to listen to Spanish and there were more green shirts". Yeah, you're at home the whole tournament, isn't a little fair that some of the other teams get to have some resemblance of a home game every now and then?

  1. Chris Hasbrouck
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:24 p.m.
    Wasn't sure if Paul Gardner was watching the same game or tournament. Glad that all the responses are closer to my feelings about it. I'm so excited to see this team move forward with a possession oriented game. Was great to see some old and new talent working together. Onto World Cup qualifying; hopefully, with the same possession game and players working their tales off to get on the pitch. Does feel like the team is coming together and understanding Klinsmann's approach. Onward and upward!

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.
    GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN, ooooops, read that: GOOD GRIEF PAUL GARDNER!!!" Yes, this is all you're now giving us, but we all understand that this is part of your bread and butter (rancid butter with the bread crust?) and sadly SA is allowing you this much leeway. For a while I thought that you'd finally "seen the tress in the soccer forest," however, you are certainly full of dismay and negativity. Yeah, the US MNT coulda done better, yeah Coach Klinsi shoulda called up the "A" players, and yeah Coach shoulda just ambled down the to the field with his mean culpa look for serving the suspension, yada-yada-yada, but COME ON NOW, Senor Gardner, stop being such an old carmudgeon, get something that will make your little old heart go pitter patter and be happy - at least for a couple of days - about our good soccer fortunes, even though CONCACAF's GOLD CUP is played here in the US (so what??!??) that at least we're making a dent in the soccer world! So in short, GREAT JOB USMNT, AND COACH KLINSI and get well soon Sturart Holden!

  1. Gary Beals
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:40 p.m.
    Surprised that Paul did not suggest once again that there were not enough Latinos on the pitch for the US? Panama had 11+ of them, US 2-4 Latino surnames in the final, which team played better possession, and won? Yeah, I am being facetious, I liked Joe Corona, Bedoya, and Torres, all played great, not to mention Rimando and Gonzalez. And I wish Panama would have broken out of their coaching induced defensive coma so we could see if they can really play. That might have been a game Paul would have liked? Not JK's fault... Playing the Cup in the US has not always been an advantage for the MNT, the strong US fan support was a major milestone over years past, great support in Chicago.

  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 5:58 p.m.
    Thank you for a pointed argument regarding the US's Gold Cup home advantage, Paul.....I'll expect you to be first in line for tickets when it moves to Marquesa de la Ensenada, San Marcos, Guatemala!

  1. Al Gebra
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 6:11 p.m.
    To all you Pollyannas: Lousy third rate tournament, lousy teams including, gulp, the US of FA

  1. Alex G. Sicre
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.
    I'm very glad that we play the Central American teams in the U.S. That way our boys don't get drenched with urine and batteries thrown at them. It allows us to play without fear of injury and do well. Oh yeah Gardner, you suuuuckk.

  1. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 6:34 p.m.
    Even a lack of style can be a style. Winning ugly is still winning, and this USMNT is doing more of it than it ever has.

  1. Millwall America
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 6:36 p.m.
    So to summarize recent PG posts on the national team: USMNT loses a friendly to Belgium and it's a national humiliation that shows Klinsmann has run out of time; USMNT wins the Gold Cup with a B team that plays like an A team and it's "no big deal". No mention of the record winning streak (11 and counting); no mention of the US getting 9 points out of 9 in the June hexagonal qualifying; no mention of the enormous depth chart JK has built; no mention that the team is starting to play in a way that could make it a dark horse in Brazil. And oh yeah, Tab Ramos failed to get the U-20s out of the group stages of the WC but he's the best coach US soccer has ever had because he played a few Latinos. I can only conclude the some time in the past Jurgen Klinsmann ran over Paul's dog and Paul has carried a grudge to this very day.

  1. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 6:41 p.m.
    Canada could host the toutrnament, but I'm not sure the Latin American countries would get as many home team crowds as they do in Houstin, LA, Dallas, DC...

  1. Paul Stierle
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
    I think the tournament was amazing. USA is a melting pot and fans from their culture came out in droves. We do know how to put on tournaments in this country that are safe, fun, and diverse. I think you could put it in Mexico but any of those Central American countries would have a hard time and to make it safe. Oh and Paul Gardner, I almost entirely disagree with you. I have seen a change in our team, it's depth, its commitment to play attacking soccer, and so on. Please Paul read all these diverse answers to an amamzing tournament and road to Brazil games. Noe every game will be beautiful but i see lots of creativity. Who would of thought Beasly would be the attacking left back, Wondo got a chance, Eddie is not playing this way for the Sounders, Evans a right back, Donovan is back, goals are everywhere Corona switches with Bedoya, Torrse is back, and yes I agree it is a shame to see Holden again injured. Go USA!

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.
    Here we go yet again. PG's geriatric view thru his cataractic vision. What game were U watching. Give the Pan. def credit for stopping the steady goal flow that the US enjoyed in GC play. Like mentioned above, the US controlled the game w/ 70 plus percent possession and continued to maintain possession after the less than glamorous goal that the old codger so desired. Yes the US enjoys the home field luxury, but there are the hard core support present to root for their team. I think PG has to purposely stew for awhile and spew this anti US/JK crap so to entice the readers ire, just as mine. Got to give him credit for filling the blogs. Deep down PG is awaiting for the big US downfall for his grand finale berate of the USMNT and JK. May be a nice glass of prune juice will suffice until then PG. Wish the best for the Holden. Great player w/ great work ethic. He will bounce back yet again. PS Al, I bet you sat glued to the set watching Gold Cup tourney that hated sooo much. How about a glass a prune juice for U as well. haha

  1. Edgar Soudek
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 7:24 p.m.
    Gardner must live a totally sad life...he obviously cannot find enjoyment in anything related to US-Soccer(remember the 1-0 win over Costa Rica in Denver, and all the comments castigating grumpy Pauli for his negativism?) His articles reveal quite a bit about his sad little soul, and dessicated brain...

  1. Chris St. Hilaire
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 7:25 p.m.
    Your columns are like a car wreck...I want to look away, but never do. I guess I'm finally awaiting the day when you don't ramble and stick to one message per column instead of the jumbled, mishmashed meandering drivel you try to pass off as meaningful soccer news. Bad game? Unfair to Stuart? Klinsmann does a poor job? What are you trying to say and how does it all tie together?

  1. Alvaro Bettucchi
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 8:47 p.m.
    I have been following soccer since 1948. There is no comparison of how soccer is played today, as the 50s through the 90s. We have come a long, log way. That also includes the National team. No, we are not a Spain, an Italy, a Brazil or an Argentina! But at this point in history, we can cause an upset to those teams, and we are becoming better as each year goes by. I'm sorry, I really enjoy Paul Gardner and his analysis of US Soccer. Look at the response, even though he get my "goat" every now and then. Keep it up Paul, I think you are outstanding, even if I do not always agree with you....and this is one of those times!

  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 8:51 p.m.
    The Gold Cup is held in the US I would bet, because we can sell high priced tickets by the bucket load, and the teams actually make money and get their travel covered. The reality is that Central Americans living in the US can actually afford high-priced tickets, get to root for their teams, and everybody makes a little loot. As for Mr. Grumpy's ridiculous column, he is rarely worth reading any more. Sure it wasn't Beautiful Game sort of stuff, our possibility for that left with Stuart Holden. But it was respectable soccer against a large brutal team that the ref would not even call fouls against, let alone card. We held our own, dominated possession, and won -- against a team that beat Mexico twice in a row. All you can expect in such a match. As for those who like to trash Jermaine Jones, the Panama game is exactly why sometimes you need a big rough cob in mid-field -- to deal with dirty players that are being allow to run riot all over the pitch.

  1. Tom G
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 8:59 p.m.
    ughh Paul you are wearing us out. I stopped reading your column and mistakenly read this one. Never again.

  1. Matthew Miller
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 9:03 p.m.
    Personally, I enjoyed the tournament and I am really excited about the USMNT's chances in WC 2014. However, I have not and do not enjoy Paul Gardner's columns. Everything the US does is crap and everything the rest of the world does is art. I get it. But now, I am unsubscribing to this newsletter. I just can no longer take the negativity.

  1. Paul Estrada
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 9:23 p.m.
    Soccer America. Why do you continue to employ this hack? Mr. Gardner is a severe detriment to your credibility.

  1. stewart hayes
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 9:35 p.m.
    We won but it was an ugly final. What is the harm in saying that? The US did not create many opportunities. I am certain the coaching staff was not satisfied with this part of our game. A number of players could have done more with the chances they had. I was most impressed, the entire tournament, by the defensive pressing employed by the team. If was very effective.

  1. Edgar Soudek
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 9:55 p.m.
    Paul - that's just it....the sheer idiocy of Paul Gardner's griping and whining attracts because it repells, and that is why Soccer America is actually encouraging the lil'ol' grump to write his abrasive garbage...

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 10:15 p.m.
    Sad old man!! First of all, I'm cancelling my subscription to this column. Gardner's irrational hatred has now so affected his outlook that his so-called soccer expertise has become delusional. If you read his diatribe closely you will note absolutely no specifics. It's because any reference to specifics would put a lie to every one of his comments. The US team continued to possess the ball and patiently look for openings without ever resorting to blind long balls. If this had been Barca, PG would have spent the entire article decrying the defensive, anti-soccer of Panama. Instead we get a delusional picture of a US "B" team that has made NO progress in its game!!! Good-by Mr. Gardner, I feel no anger, just pity.

  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 10:18 p.m.
    I quite often enjoy reading PG's opinions, but this article really bit the big one. I saw a team that is using the possession game to its advantage. It isn't Spain, but they had a huge advantage in possession. They also throw in some long ball now and then making them more unpredictable. The tournemt may be in the US, but the game in Baltimore had a huge turn out of El Salvador fans. The final in 2011 was in Los Angeles, which made it a home game for Mexico. Klinnsman is doing a hell of job coaching this team. He is going to have a tough time when the World Cup come around making his cuts in the midfield. Corona, Bedoya, and Torres all looked good to me not to mention Beckerman and Diskerud.

  1. tom brown
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 10:19 p.m.
    Stuart Holden thought he was better than MLS. thought he was EPL quality. That brainstorm did not last long. His first knee injury kept him out a long time. But Stuart still thought he was EPL. Then the 2nd knee injury took place one game after coming back. Stuart Holden needs to go to MLS & be happy he has an MLS to play in. He was a fool & he only fooled himself.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 10:31 p.m.
    I usually find Paul Gardner's comments insightful (or maybe incite full!) and provocative; I don't always agree with him, but I understand where he's coming from. Not this time. PG, you've lost it on this one. A "rather wobbly Panamanian defense"? Are you kidding me? They were as solid as they come. And James, you made a good point about the comparison to Barca. This game reminded me of a lot of Barcelona & Spanish National Team games, where they dominate possession, and eke out a 1-0 win (without creating many chances on goal), yet PG somehow seems to applaud them, but not when the US does it. And as for the US home field advantage, there's a little something there, but not much. The US works as the host for this tournament because of the large CONCACAF immigrant populations that exist in the US; did you watch the US v El Salvador, where the fans from tiny El Salvador seemed to outnumber those from the US? I'm not sure there's much psychological advantage when foreign supporters outnumber your own in your own country. Paul, you've officially lost it. I just hope it's the summer heat that's getting to you, and you get better soon...

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 10:41 p.m.
    PG, Y U troll so much? Did you have a bet w MW you could get 30 people to flame you by writing rubbish? I think including SH to provide cover in your rant was poor form.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.
    It must really be hard getting old and senile with nothing clever or insightful to say in a business that requires original thought. P R E D I C T A B L E !

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: July 30, 2013 at 11:21 p.m.
    To all the readers and fellow soccer fans. I'm out. I want to thank you for a good time and good debates, but this column and the entire tenor of the editorial board has driven me from this site. Long ago, I was a regular subscriber, then a devoted reader of the web site. The truth is, there is much better content on several different new media web sites. The only way forward for me is without supporting the drivel coming out of this publication. I won't know when SA finally closes its doors (or portals), but I will be free of the negativity. I have come on here to have honest debate, but it is no longer honest or debate. This is the end. Cheers!

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 12:07 a.m.
    Amici sportive, don't get bombed out by Paul. Let your euphoria of victory permeate until WC 2014 commences and the global elite take to the pitch. Then and there the USMNT will be tested at the highest level. IMHO, any success will be derived from a team effort and individual player chemistry that won't wilt under pressure and resort to the helter-skelter performances of pre-Gold Cup competition.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 12:20 a.m.
    Tom Brown, what is it that u are trying to tell us about Holden who has had bad luck with injuries. The guy goes down with an ACL and you're mocking his efforts in the EPL. Obviously, there is no empathy in your persona and limited soccer IQ.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 8:06 a.m.
    I guess I'll be the only one here to agree with Paul. I am not at all impressed by this winning streak achieved playing at home against a vastly inferior competition. I don't think people in this country realize how weak CONCACAF is (A good example would be a recent friendly in New York between Honduras and Israel. Israel, which has never threatened to come out of any European group, rather easily defeated our regional powerhouse Honduras 2-0). When someone talks about Panama defense being as solid as they come -- makes me wonder if they have any clue as to where Panama ranks in the world of soccer. And the Gold Cup final game was indeed a dreadful affair -- with the US managing just one shot on goal!

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.
    Mr Gardner, grow up. You need to understand the game to write about it. Prejudice is not a good basis with which to become a journalist. How far from foreigner are you yourself?? Soccer America is remiss in granting you space!!

  1. Joe Linzner
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.
    who is this childish Tom Brown? guy must be a ten year old!

  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 10:23 a.m.
    Congratulations to Soccer America and Paul Gardner on their record-breaking numbers of views and comments.

  1. Nat S. Harty
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 10:41 a.m.
    Wow, I thought that once, just once a series of results by the USMNT might elicit even a bit of praise from Mr. Gardner...but no, just more negative drivel. Only his begrudging acceptance of JKs comments abut SH gave his article any relevance at all. Alas, I wonder if Mr. Gardner would have any positive comments if we won the WC in Brazil next summer?

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
    Tom, U are so far gone w/ your Holden remark that a head exam might be in order after that attack. And David yes GC is not a heralded tourney. Panama is a worthy defense that was seen throughout this affair. The US did play well and shots on goal is not the sole factor to assess a game. Many Euro ... games end a draw, or similar scorelines no matter what the opponent. Friendlies are not always the best assessment for a team or its place b/c line-ups are all over the place w/ new players... along w/ the mindset of not winning or technically playing the same manner a game plan would be put into play in a serious match. Bottom line the US is showing improvement regardless the opponent. If they were losing or playing at the same level then concern would be in order. No parade in order, but give JK credit in his player evals. and accomplishment unlike PG and his loco view.

  1. Millwall America
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 2:34 p.m.
    David Mozeshtam, it's true that CONCACAF is no UEFA and the USA's recent good play doesn't mean we've suddenly become world beaters. However, historically the USMNT have struggled in this "weak" federation so it's great to see Klinsmann is able to get our talented players to deliver on some of their promise. Does this mean we're a favorite to make it out of the group stages in Brazil? No -- but we'll certainly qualify and this team + JK are showing at least the potential to make a good run.

  1. Jim Romanski
    commented on: July 31, 2013 at 4:12 p.m.
    Paul I enjoy reading your column and aplaud your following of MLS and US Soccer. I find myself agreeing with much of what you write. But with the exception of the final game I thought that this was a very good Gold Cup for the US. I was very happy to see Jurgen Klinsmann try out several young new players like Mix and several young latin players who I think really stood out. Yes the final was boring but many finals are. The rest of the cup featured lots of goals and some very nice possesion soccer by the US. Whatever Jurgen Klinsmann has said or done in the past I like the latest style of play and the direction of the team. Bravo!

  1. Jogo Bonito
    commented on: August 1, 2013 at 9:18 a.m.
    well, to be honest the team lacks any recognizable style of play. also, we play crappy teams at home and struggle. it's fair to say that I also found it odd that JK carried on like his team had won the World Cup. so I guess I agree with PG on this one. as for the "popular" opinion (at least it appears to be the popular opinion from reaction of the USA cheerleaders out here that are outraged by PG's lack of praise for the USA) I think the many of you need to go back to school and take a journalism class and learn what a columnist does. It seems that opinions are fine with many as long as you agree with the opinions. that's not how it works my friends. calm down and show some respect. what a bunch of crybabies!

  1. Kent James
    commented on: August 1, 2013 at 12:23 p.m.
    Jogo, while you are correct in your suggestion that columnists are supposed to be critical, we're not crybabies if we think this column is ludicrous. I like Paul Gardner, and while I don't always agree with him, I respect his knowledge of the game, is campaigns to reduce thuggery and focus on skill, and I always enjoy reading his columns. It's just that on this one, he's moved from lovable curmudgeon (I think he defines the word) into the world of alternate universes. I"m sure that no one in the national team program thinks that now that we've won the Gold Cup, we're locks to win the World Cup. Nor does anyone equate Panama with one of the best teams in the world. But given how many people were essentially suggesting that the US had gone backwards towards minnow status in the last year, and that there was no hope for the program to even remain respectable, some of us were quite pleased by the sustained campaign of attractive, attacking soccer, that not only defeated all of the opponents (some of whom were quite respectable), but did it using a broad variety of players, few of whom are on the "A" team. The problem with this column is that if PG can't find anything positive in this performance, he loses credibility because he fuels the charge that his negativity distorts his analysis. And that's unfortunate, because I think he has been an incredible asset to the soccer scene in the US for the last 40 years, and I want him to continue in that role. And for him to be effective, he has to retain an audience, and columns like this one, don't help his cause.

  1. tom brown
    commented on: August 1, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.
    Stuart Holden was MLS calibre. In his mind however he thought he was world class. He could not cut the mustard because most USA players are Not EPL calibre. After Holden got hurt the first time he still deluded himself but after the 2nd injury Holden should have come back to MLS after a good rest & slow reovery of fitness - enter MLS gradually to make sure there was no recurrance. But Holden jumped into Gold Cup which is dangerous because of the cheapjack "grass" they use. He tore an ACL --- its just about the end of Holden, his delusions & his career because he failed to know himself & his limitations. He should quit while he can still walk (if he can still walk).

  1. soccer talk
    commented on: August 3, 2013 at 1 p.m.
    Jogo, PG is very knowledgeable and a very Insightful columnist, but he missed the mark Here. One can see by the overpour of counter option. I guess 95% of us are crybabies That get ticked off at the old man for not Sending some praise to the USMNT. They are Improving whether it be the GC or not. U play Where u play and play the best u can and move Forward. Be happy u just landed Deuse in the Umbrella city. Wish my Dynamo could have afforded to send him home. Don't start crying when PG craps on this move. Great for the MLS. Tom your an idiot w/ Holden poke. U can tear Any ACL anywhere , league doesn't matter. Please show me wear this perverse data comes From. I wish Stu were w/ U so he could kick Your butt even on a hurt leg w/ your ridiculous attack.


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