From the U.S. locker room ...

[REACTION] The road to the Rose Bowl got a little bumpier as the USA lost in the group stage of the Gold Cup the first time in 27 games. Coach Bob Bradley and his players try to explain what went wrong, especially in the first half ...

U.S. head coach BOB BRADLEY
“On the night we weren’t good enough. In the game we had the ball early and a chance to gain control. Panama did a good job defending, and as we’re trying to open them and find spaces, we allow them the first goal. At that point their game plan becomes stronger. We still have the same approach, but the second goal makes it hard. In the second half we put a lot into it. We had some good chances, but nonetheless we weren’t sharp enough in the areas that mattered.”

On whether the heat was a factor and if there will be changes for the next game:
“I don’t think the heat was a factor. On the night we’re not sharp enough. With the fast turnaround, we’re clearly going to consider some changes and be ready to go Tuesday night in Kansas City.”

On whether the performance of the referee affected the result:
“At this time we just look at ourselves and see the areas where we think to improve in order to continue to move forward in this tournament.”

On the adjustments he made at halftime:
“We have to push the game harder, and that accounts for a lot of us pushing them back. They are ahead, so they are dropping deeper. In the first half as the game is developing, we have the ball a lot but we weren’t able to take advantage of some situations. What you don’t want to do in that situation is go down a goal. You want to keep controlling the game and controlling the ball with the idea that opportunities will come. When you put yourself behind, you make it much harder to do that.”

On what he said to the team after the game:
“We spoke quickly about some of things I said here. On the night, I don’t think it’s our best. We talk about the kind of game we were just in, and now the ability to push forward understanding that the road to move through this tournament is now a little different.”

U.S. midfielder LANDON DONOVAN
On the match:
“First of all, give Panama a lot of credit. They started the game well, took the initiative to be aggressive and made some early plays. It took us a while to get into the game and our second half was very good, but when you dig yourself a hole that deep sometimes you can’t get out of it.”

On why the team started slow:
“It’s hard to know. Sometimes you just come out flat for whatever reason. At this level and against a good team, you can’t do that. Some nights you come out flat and you don’t get punished and other nights you do. We learned a valuable lesson tonight. We have got to make sure we take that with us.”

On the team getting beaten for the first time in Gold Cup group play:
“It’s bound to happen at some point. CONCACAF teams are getting better and better. That’s a pretty good team that we played against. It’s disappointing but the reality is that it is over now and we‘ve got to learn something from it but that doesn’t help us for Tuesday. We have got to turn around and make sure that we are ready to play. We’ve got to win Tuesday, see what else happens and see where we end up. We’re still fine. We just have to make sure we learn some lessons.”

On the lessons the team learned:
“You can’t start that way. I think for some reason we were just a little lackadaisical, a little complacent early. We had some of the ball and we felt OK about ourselves, but they put us on our heels a few times and they made a play that changed the game. The penalty is a little fluky and now we’re chasing the game. We can’t start that way; that’s the overwhelming, obvious point.”

On the game:
“I think a 2-0 hole was just too big for us to get ourselves out of tonight. Nonetheless, I think the effort in the second half was very good and is something we wouldn’t like to build on, but we’re going to have to build on.”

On what the U.S. needs to do in the next game:
“To go out and play the soccer that we want to play, that we can play, and obviously to win. Nothing less than a win works for us, so we have to win the last game and go from there. It’s going to be the hard route to the final now but we’re ready for it, and we have to get this loss behind us and focus on the next game.”

What the team does from here:
“Spend as little time is possible analyzing this game, and start preparing for the next game. That starts with a good recovery tonight."

U.S. defender TIM REAM
On the start:
“We just came out slow, with not enough energy from the get go and it kind of put us on our heels. That’s what happens: if you come out slow, you are going to get punished for it.”

Comparing the first two Gold Cup matches:
“It was completely different than the way we came out against Canada in Detroit. It’s not like we were looking past this game. For whatever reason we didn’t move the ball quick enough and put enough pressure on and come out with enough energy.”

On if Panama’s style caught the U.S. off guard:
“Absolutely not. We’re used to that. It wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before and we were prepared for that coming in. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We gave them three or four early chances and they put one of them away and we were behind all game. That’s going to cost you.”

8 comments about "From the U.S. locker room ...".
  1. Ernest Irelan, June 12, 2011 at 9:05 a.m.

    I think that Donovan said it well..Panama was sharp on tech skills an very in sinc with each other on passing an ball control. They were obviously a bit lighter on their feet, an seemed to be quicker to me. They appeared to be very agile, took advantage of each opportunity they had to get into the box. I saw a couple of things I particularly do not care for, the dive in the box to attempt to draw a pk, also, the body block by our player obviously, not playing the ball, knocking the Panamanian to the turf...we were attempting to make up for our lack of skil in ways that are similar to american football...we have gone to larger players that are not showing the tech skills, agility, an all out explosive speed off the first touch needed in today's world style.The USA seems to be taking the path of bigger is better rather than skill an looking at the international players type an style of play. This is just the way it appeared to me on the TV...I can say, Landon is NOT the tallest player on the pitch, but, may be the biggest at many times. I like Dempsey's aggression, but, lacks some quickness compared to shorter, compact players..but, a great header, quck to take advantage of opportunities...the idea of just coming out flat is something that can be corrected thru training an discipline....they just need to get over that attitude, that is what I think it is, habit an attitude...when one does it an gets away with it several times, it tends to be a mindset that one can do it an get away with it...NOT TRUE...I think that coach Bradley can see this, will either make adjustments within or we will lose several players with replacements.

  2. Walt Pericciuoli, June 12, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

    In the Bradly era, comming out flat against suppposedly lesser teams, has been the normal pattern. If not for the fighting spirit of the players, the results over the past few years would have been very very embarassing. Wouldn't you say that whatever BB is doing to prepare the team for these kind of matches, is wrong? At what point does US Soccer say they have seen enough?

  3. Bill Anderson, June 12, 2011 at 9:51 a.m.

    Walt, US Soccer doesn't see a problem. But they may see the empty stadiums...

  4. Walt Pericciuoli, June 12, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.

    Bill, you're right. I forgot. US Soccer only understands the dollar. Why else would they have scheduled the Spain match 3 days before the opening of the Gold Cup. Played Canada in Detroit on such a poor surface and then fly the team to Fla. for the 2nd match 4 days later. Perhaps its' not Bradley???

  5. cony konstin, June 12, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.

    It is hard to swallow when someone comes into your house and hammers you in front of your fans but it is even worst when they do it to our red, white and blue. And it should matter even if you hate soccer or love soccer. No body should come into our house and hammer us. But the US team will be fine. They will go back and lick their wounds and go at it once again. Meanwhile the question we must ask ourselves is what do we need to do to become a soccer nation and win a world cup? We don't need an international coach. Why? Because coaching is overrated. Players win championships not coaches. But I will tell you what we need and actually one part of what we need to do is what Spain implemented after they flamed out in 1982 WC. They established futsal in every grade school. I have a little different twist to that. We need to create a NEW SPARTA but first we must do this first. Soccer in the US is considered a hobby. Soccer outside of the US is considered a way of life. Until we have 5 year olds playing futsal everyday in the inner cities of America we will never have magical players that can help the US to be the best in world soccer. Coaching is totally overrated. Players win championships not coaches. We need players and they are not going to come from $250 soccer shoes, beautiful soccer complexes, gimmicks, suburbia soccer environment, or the soccer system that exist in the US. There is GOLD in them mountains. But them mountains are located in the HOODS of America and not the suburbs. Suburbia soccer has it's place. For some it is a form of day care and for others it is country club. If US wants special players they will only come from the Barrios and Ghettos of America. US Soccer is wasting their money and time with Suburbia Soccer. The US needs a soccer revolution and that revolution must begin in our inner cities. Until then we will continue to hang in there. I have been preaching this for 36 years. I have been almost all over the world. I know exactly what we need to do and that is to create a NEW SPARTA. Everything else is smoke n mirrors.

  6. Ron R, June 13, 2011 at 12:46 a.m.

    Great concept but what works in Spain will not work in the USA... Spain is really good at soccer and what is that other big sport? Bull fighting? Our best athletes play football, basketball , baseball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey...etc. Soccer will never dominate in the US but it can be competitive. Soccer has no real commitment to finding the best athletes, they are committed to finding the right place for a player to make a favored coach or program happy. You are right on though, the great equalizer is soccer, you need a ball and nothing else so it works in the inner city and suburbia and between those two populations, you'll find the passionalte player if you look... US Soccer is not looking anywhere except their favorite clubs. For that reason, we need to CLEAN HOUSE...

  7. Daniel Clifton, June 13, 2011 at 11:58 a.m.

    As Jurgen Klinsman has said the pyramid in the US is upside down. I agree with CLEAN HOUSE. The people who lead(?) our national soccer programs appear to be clueless. Our youth sports are too adult oriented. Kids need to be playing with the ball in their backyard or school yards, that is how I learned to play sports. I wish soccer had been played in my neighborhood in those days. Where do Brazilians learn to play the game?

  8. James Madison, June 13, 2011 at 10:37 p.m.

    The locker room comments were astonishing. Sort of "just another day at the office," as in, "whatever, there will be bad ones along with the good ones." Doesn't Donovan have any soul? The reality is that the loss to Panama was a DEBACLE and should have been acknowledged as such. If the US men cannot beat everyone in CONCACAF except Mexico regularly at home on bad days as well as good ones, we don't belong in the top 30 worldwide, let alone the top 20. Without a far better effort, look for the score against Mexico if ever we get that far in this Cup to be 0-4, just as against Spain.

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