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It Gets Tougher from Here for the USA

The consensus on the U.S. national team's 2-1 quarterfinal win against Panama is that an uncomfortably frantic final six minutes marred what should have been an easy win. Coach Bob Bradley suggested that the lapse in concentration that led to Panama's goal showed an immaturity that has to be stamped out if the U.S. hopes to repeat as Gold Cup champion. And Canada will be no slouch, having cruised to a 3-0 win against Guatemala -- a team the U.S. only managed to put a single goal past in the first round. Canada may not have won on U.S. soil for 50 years, but as Landon Donovan will tell you, those records mean nothing. "It's not as easy as the U.S. and Mexico are going to play in the final," he said. "These games are difficult, as we saw with Canada running away against Guatemala."
 
There won't be any gimmes for the rest of the summer, either. First Canada, then, possibly, Mexico or Guadeloupe, and then six days later, the Copa America opener -- against Argentina. About that Copa America: for many American supporters, this will be the true test of the national team's international street cred. It will be the Americans' first appearance in the South American championship for 12 years in a group that includes Colombia and Paraguay in addition to Argentina. "That's the reason why we're going to Copa America," said Bradley. "These opportunities to keep putting our younger players in tough situations is really important." And it will most likely be young players that go, as MLS clubs will want their big guns back. European clubs, too, will start training camp soon.

Read the whole story at Boston Globe »

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