No excusing lackluster Americans

[MY VIEW] The players were mostly the same but the U.S, team that lost to Brazil Tuesday at the packed New Meadowlands Stadium hardly resembled the one that endeared itself to the nation during the World Cup. Gone was the fighting spirit and in came the excuses.

The Americans may not have played polished soccer during the World Cup and they conceded early goals in three of their four games. But they never gave up. They battled until the end and scored late goals. They shook off controversial referee decisions. They got non-soccer fans excited about the sport.

When they reunited for their first game since South Africa to play Brazil in front of 77,223 fans, one would have hoped for a little bit of an encore.

It started with promise. The Americans came out fast. In the third minute, Maurice Edu found Edson Buddle, who precisely passed to Landon Donovan as he stormed into the penalty area. Thiago Silva bumped Donovan off balance and Andres Santos poked the ball to safety.

Exciting stuff so early in the game.

Perhaps Coach Bob Bradley, whose contract runs out in December, had motivated his players well and they’d prove he should stay on.

But Brazil found its rhythm, gained momentum, and the Americans seemed resigned to letting the visitors control the game.

“I felt we had a good first 20-25 minutes,” said Bradley. “Early on, the ball was moving quickly and we had good energy. The fact that we were not able to sustain that certainly is more of an indication of where the players are at this point in the year in terms of preseasons and things like that.”

In explaining their 2-0 loss, the Americans cited the field (a thin layer of sod on top of the artifical turf), the heat and the travel.

Of course, Brazil was coping with the same field and same temperature. It too had players flying in from their preseason training in Europe.

The USA fielded a familiar team – nine starters were 2010 World Cup players and two starters from the South Africa squad came off the bench. The Brazilians, on the other hand, started four World Cup veterans and gave debuts to six players.

The Brazilians may still have been favorites -- with players such as AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato and Robinho. But to lose with such a lackluster performance is a bitter defeat only made worse by excuses. And it did not help make the case for Bob Bradley.

19 comments about "No excusing lackluster Americans".
  1. William Slattery, August 11, 2010 at 9:17 a.m.

    Agreed. Attacking with 5 or 6 players scores more goals than attacking with 2 or 3. Staying 5 yards off every offensive player is not playing defense.

    In addition to the poor surface, the corners of the field were not visible from many of the seats on the 2nd concourse (@ $105). It may be okay for American football, but not for a wider soccer field. I would give up the plush padded seats for a bench if I could see all of the action.

  2. Bill Anderson, August 11, 2010 at 9:22 a.m.

    The problems are so deep and so pervasive, that I don't know where to start. US Soccer is a Corporation that has a primary intent of making money. The game against Brazil is the perfect example. A clever marketing ploy with no intent to examine players or develop players for the next cycle. Bob and Sunil trotted out all the old boys. The lack of long range soccer planning is ALWAYS present. The long term is ALWAYS sacrificed for the quick buck. Why do you think no progress is made? The US Soccer fans and talent have outgrown our present US Soccer staff. It is a pitty!

  3. Luis P. KIFUTSAL, August 11, 2010 at 10:24 a.m.

    No matter what day of the year, which tournament they are in, you waste your time trying to find excuse why USA can't beat the Brazilians. Soccer is growing. Soccer is another money making machine in America. Soccer is the #1 sport played in America from 5 to 18 years of age. Above all the differences on how the Brazilians grow up playing streetsoccer, futsal, soccer, beach soccer, footvolley and society (small versions of soccer without walls) and how the Americans grow up playing AYSO and what you call 'club soccer' and extremely misguided training by unprepared coaches and misleading ranks and huge and far beyond any reasonuable cultural explanation. Just spending quite some time in Brazil to understand the process in place for years you might have an idea how wrong soccer is done in America. How can you even expect the MLS Americans beat the giants of Brazil and Europe? There isn't an American player who can be successful playing in Brazil's top clubs nor any division 1 top club in Europe. How can you expect the Americans perform well against the Five Time World Champions and the number one exporting soccer players by far? That single win by 1 x 0 many years ago, they were playing as horrible as they play today. The US goalie took home the MVP trophy...

  4. Tom Kondas, August 11, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.

    Hey Luis, we don't care about Brazilian Soccer,we're concerned about U.S. Soccer. Either Bradley has to go or we better start looking at removing the leadership at U.S.S.F.
    By the way Luis, if Brazil is so good why did they get knocked out at the world cup?

  5. Brian Herbert, August 11, 2010 at 10:54 a.m.

    Bill is right on - trotting out the same players like it is some kind of victory parade instead of using this fantastic opportunity to test/develop new talent against a World Soccer Power is not how to build on success (cash in on success, maybe). Is Bradley one of those guys who is so book smart that he is dumb, and so egotistical that he will not listen to suggestions on other approaches? The game of soccer is the ultimate democracy, we run it like feudal dictatorships.

  6. Paul Lorinczi, August 11, 2010 at 10:59 a.m.

    Come on Tom - Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times and have won more FIFA tournaments than we can dream of doing.

    I got my Brazilian license recently. I like their coaching philosophy. They do make the game simple to learn and simple to teach.

    We should deport all the English coaches and send our American coaches to the Brazilian school of coaching. It is a very comprehensive approach to player development from technical, physical and tactical.

  7. Rodney Thurow, August 11, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.

    Tom have another cup of coffee and think about what you said, paraphrased "Brasil's way of doing it is aweful, the USA needs to make a change" Wouldn't the USA making a chage to doing things more the Brasilian way be a good thing. I would love to say, "Man we had a horrible world cup going 4-1 only losing to the runner-up 2:1 in the final 8"

  8. Felix Moyano, August 11, 2010 at 12:13 p.m.

    Wow...terrific comments so far gentlemen!

    First things first however, and we have to address last night's game. Mike Woitalla is dead right here. We can talk all we want about coaches, training methods, lineups, money, etc., but until the U.S. players learn to play with true passion, we will never be able to compete at Brazil's level.

    Also, someone please explain to me how last night's game was Bob Bradley's fault? I'm not defending him at all but please watch the players. I've seen more movement off the ball from U11 teams I've coached. At an international level that lack of hussle and desire is inexcusable. Every time Altidore gets stripped of the ball or bumped he flails his arms in disgust and arguing with the ref. Tell me Mr. Altidore, what have you done lately to warrant temper tantrums?

    Players play the game. They defend, they hold onto possession and they score goals.

  9. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis, August 11, 2010 at 12:27 p.m.

    Bill Anderson's comments about the flaws in the corporate nature of US Soccer are correct, but understandable. Soccer is still a niche sport in the US, and while great progress has been made in the last 20 years, resulting in the US being able (increasingly often) to field a world-class team of professionals, instead of the students, amateurs and foreigners we had to settle for before 1990, the US federation is still focussed on mere survival from one World Cup cycle to the next. It may be -- I'd say it already is -- an attitude that needs to be discarded, but entrenched corporate attitudes are notoriously hard to displace. Until US Soccer accepts innately that it has passed that infant stage, its steps toward a powerful top-five national team will be limited, tentative and half-hearted.

  10. Edgar Soudek, August 11, 2010 at 12:45 p.m.

    I too, plus my daughter and a friend, were sitting in the $ 105 section, and except for about 10 square meters of the area next to the cornerflag visiopn was excellent - what a beautiful stadium!
    All the "arm-chair quarterbacks" comments on yesterday's game miss an important fact: It seemed to us that EVERYBODY had a great deal of fun, there were good vibes between the US and the Brazilian fans, and the result really didn't matter that much anyway.
    Concerning "apathy": the conditions of 90+ heat combined with extreme humidity clearly did favor Brazil - they can cope with these conditions far better than most American and/or European players.
    Why should the US follow in the footsteps of those nations who run through five coaches in three years(see Mexico, or those whose coaches are big on weird antics and short on sportsmanship? Give me Bob Bradley ANYTIME - one of the few true sportsmen in soccer!!!

  11. Tyler Dennis, August 11, 2010 at 12:45 p.m.

    Paul Lorinczi is correct. U.S. soccer needs to be simple soccer. I'm tired of seeing the set, kick and run mentality of the English. Every ball goes over the top and it is not an enjoyable game to watch. If watching Brasil, Spain, Barcelona doesn't sell you on playing simple, nothing will.

    How many times in that game did you see defenders or midfielders try to send the ball 20-30 yards into impossible situations? Frustrating and stupid.

  12. I w Nowozeniuk, August 11, 2010 at 1:10 p.m.

    Same stuff by USMNT...mediocre ball distribution, a few half chances and by JP Dellacamera's view, so many 'great ideas' which proved to be ineffective...ideas don't win games, execution does...USMNT is missing a quality playmaker, personnel who move to the right places at the right time, big problem!!! Too many times players with the ball stop, look, can't decide and the ooportunity vanishes...where Brazil worked the ball 75% of the time, the USMNT work it 25%...a mediocre performance.

  13. Terence Chu, August 11, 2010 at 2:20 p.m.

    Great comments by most, an again overreaction to a result that that means nothing. We were beat by a team that is more talented than we are and who always will be. Of course there are problems with the American youth development system, but many fans don't seem to realize that improvement doesn't happen overnight and they expect way too much out of a US team, that in the big picture, really isn't that good. If BB put out a young team with a view to the next cycle, he would get slaughtered for showing a lack of competitiveness. He's in a no-win situation because a lot of US fans simply expect way too much.

    As for Toms comment, nothing personal and not generalizing your knowledge, but I found that it illustrates what is wrong with US soccer -- an insular attitude with an unwillingness to learn from other countries whose games are much more developed than ours.

  14. Andy Wagner, August 11, 2010 at 2:52 p.m.

    Every single one of you so-called soccer experts were spewing forth compliments after the big US victory over the Spaniards in the Confed. Cup. It is time for all of you to go sit in the corner and eat crow. The lasting memory of that game is when the cameras panned on Bradleys face with that smile after the big win. I was quite alarmed at the game statistics and knew the alarm bells should have been ringing.

    All of you were on that band wagon stating look out for the Americans! This US product did not but deteriorate since 2002. All the reports coming out of Africa praised the tremendous job the US team did. "BULL!!!" Hopefully, all of you will report the facts after last nights game. We will see those Brazilians in the next three or four WC's, I scratch my head at what we will put on the field against them in those cups. I can guess who we will see at the next WC. By the way, all of you that reap praise on Donovan, I can only remember him showing up for a slight few moments in any of the WC games. I guess you score a goal and the rest of the game doesn't matter. Bloody crap it is.

  15. Bill Anderson, August 11, 2010 at 4:39 p.m.

    Sunil and Bob must go.
    Until then be prepared for more of the same.

  16. I w Nowozeniuk, August 11, 2010 at 7:28 p.m.

    Hire Donadoni as an assistant coach, the guy played great defense for AC Milan and the Azzuri, and always marked close with pressure

  17. David Huff, August 11, 2010 at 8:11 p.m.

    I'm glad i didn't watch a minute of it, until MLS Bob is gone I'm on strike.
    Bill Anderson: please add Dan Flynn to the list of USSF staff that need to go, he was a big obstacle to getting Klinsmann on board in 2007 and look what we ended up Sunil's boy from the Kraft family/MLS tradition - Banal/MLS Bob. I beseech the USSF to give the USMNT a chance with a foreign coach hire (ala Klinsmann, La Volpe, Pekerman, etc.)

  18. Bret Newman, August 12, 2010 at 3:39 p.m.

    Forget about Brazil, we need to play Spain style futbol (soccer). Pass, Pass, Pass. We need to work on percise passing, and moving the ball from one side to the other with ease. We need players to support the player with the ball effectively. Against top teams we only look good on counterattacks. It's time we get better at possessing the ball.

  19. Tom Dugan, August 14, 2010 at 12:11 p.m.

    Come December, let's all hope there is a new coaching staff and a new roster. It would be nice to see the US put together 4 teams (ranked A, B, C, and D respectively) that would compete in a competitive circuit against each other as well as against MLS teams and internationals, that allows players to be moved up or down in rank based on their abilities and performance. If we did this over the next 4 years we would not only develop a top ranked "A" team out of a pool of appx 100 of the top US players, but we could develop a style of play, cohesiveness, and the ability to win at a World Cup level. We could also evaluate 4 coaches abilities and move them up or down based upon their effectiveness. We need a new system as the current system isn't working. We have the players to win at the top level, we just need a new way to put it all together. Throwing a rag tag team together every once in a while is just ridiculous - if we want to win, its time to get serious about doing so.

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