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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of U.S. Summer

  • SI.com, Friday, August 14, 2009 4:30 PM
While the Summer of Soccer was a huge victory for the sport in America, unfortunately for the U.S. men's national team and all its highs in South Africa, it ends with a pretty low low and "the bitter taste of yet another loss to Mexico at Estadio Azteca." SI.com's Jonah Freeman looks at what has been learned through it all, a span of three months in which "they've shown they can beat anybody," but "when they're rattled emotionally, they have a tendency to hang their heads."

Freedman goes on to dissect all the good and bad that was born out on the field (sometimes in the same match), from the positives of the U.S. proving that "they can explode for an early first goal against any team" (see Jozy Altidore vs. Spain and Charlie Davies vs. Mexico), to the negatives that Landon Donovan and Co. "still can't play the possession game," noting that "the best teams in the world are fantastic at holding the ball. The U.S. isn't there yet."

While other criticisms are that "they can't win on the road in uninviting places" and "they can't hold a lead against big opponents," ("What good is an early goal when you can't sit back and either absorb pressure or wait for an opening for another strike?," asks Freedman), there are bright spots from the summer session, including "a better grasp of how to work the counterattack" and still being "nearly unbeatable at home," where "between World Cup qualifying, the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup (but not the '09 edition, featuring a B team) and international friendlies, the U.S. has lost only once in 24 home games since the '06 World Cup."



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