If this is Bradley's best, it's time for him to go

By Paul Gardner

A 2-1 loss to Panama is hardly the end of the world, not even the soccer world. It does not mean the USA’s elimination from the Gold Cup, a tournament it is thought capable of winning.

Panama, let it be said straight away, is a good team, with some excellent players. The same can be said of the USA. But, of course, what makes this defeat appear so unthinkable is that Panama is a comparatively poor country with only 3.4 million inhabitants. The USA is a rich country with 311.5 million.

Mathematically and financially speaking, the USA should have a lot more good players than Panama. But, of course, you don’t need a lot to make up a national team squad. Around 30 will do it nicely.

So we’ve just seen, yet again, that being big and rich and -- to use the coaching expression, “well-organized” -- are not enough. In fact, in this game, the USA was not particularly well-organized. It is, in fact, going through a shaky period. Even overlooking the 4-0 drubbing from Spain, the USA had not looked anything special in beating a feeble Canadian team 2-0, largely thanks to a massive error by the Canadian goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld.

Next up comes Guadeloupe -- not to be belittled, it’s coming off a 1-0 loss to Canada in which, playing virtually the whole game with 10 men, it looked a better team than Canada.

But one expects the USA to win this one and to pass on to the knockout stage. Losing a game or two here and there is to be expected, even if a loss to Panama is not quite what ought to be happening.

What ought to be happening right now, is that we should be expecting to see the USA pull itself together and return to winning ways with a sparkling performance. At which point, I confess to grave doubts.

I’m not criticizing Bob Bradley for losing a game, or because his team is in a slump. But what is not at all acceptable is the way his team plays -- both before and during the loss to Panama.

When Bradley was re-appointed by Sunil Gulati after the 2010 World Cup, the question of a possible “staleness” was debated -- and both Gulati and Bradley said it was something they were aware of, and that they could deal with it.

I went along with that thinking. I did believe that there would be a different approach from Bradley, a greater willingness to look at more creative players, an urge to play a more attractive style of soccer.

Well, I was wrong. The “staleness” issue has not been dealt with. There has been nothing new from Bradley. Either he cannot change his thinking, or he doesn’t want to -- it makes no difference, we’ve now had a year in which to see if a “new” Bradley would emerge to give us something different, and he has totally failed to come through.

We’re still seeing a team that does not excite and that plays well only when its back is against the wall -- in other words, in games where the players have to take over, and carefully worked-out game plans have to be abandoned. I doubt it’s a bad as Jozy Altidore painted it after the Spain game -- “I mean, you go into every game with a tactical plan and as soon as the game starts, it tends to get thrown out the window ...” but the impression is unmistakable that these guys play better when they can escape the dead hand of Bradley’s tactics.

A dull team, then. But something much worse was added to the team’s profile right at the end of the game against Panama. It came from the captain, Carlos Bocanegra.

With only seconds remaining, Bocanegra had joined in the USA’s all-out attack as it desperately sought the tying goal. But Panama won the ball; Alberto Quintero played it neatly past Bocanegra and started to race after it.

Bocanegra was having none of that, and resorted -- as, no doubt, many another player would have done -- to a tactical foul by obstructing Quintero. If that were all, I suppose one would merely nod in mute acceptance of one of the unpleasant realities of the modern game.

But that was not all. Because Bocanegra did not simply stand in Quintero’s way -- he moved aggressively toward Quintero and then threw a crunching body block, shoulder first, into him.

Having brutally flattened Quintero (at 5-foot-5-1/2 one of the smaller Panamanian players), the 6-foot Bocanegra trotted unconcernedly away, grinning smugly at a job well done. Of course, he got a yellow card, he was no doubt expecting that -- “one for the team” as the saying goes.

Except that it wasn’t. At the very moment when the USA was running out of time, when it needed, more than anything, to gain possession of the ball, Bocanegra found it useful to present Panama with a free kick with a display of pseudo-machismo.

He was not the only one showing off his testosterone credentials. TV commentator Kyle Martino found the whole incident hilarious, chuckled a delighted “Oh boy!” as Quintero was smashed to the ground, and let us know “I’ve taken some of those hits from Bocanegra -- he’s a strong dude!”

That, I guess, is what passes for “expert analysis” over at Fox. Heaven forbid that Martino might have pondered whether what Bocanegra did came under the heading of “using excessive force” (when a player “far exceeds the necessary use of force and is in danger of injuring his opponent”) -- in which case he should have been red-carded, strong dude or not.

No, the USA loss, the first ever in the group stage of a Gold Cup, is not the end of the world. But the grim nature of the USA’s soccer, as unenjoyable to watch as it evidently is to play, is a catastrophe. To see it capped by an tawdry example of gratuitous foul play so cynically performed by its captain, strongly suggests that the national team is suffering from a malaise rather deeper than a fleeting slump, or mere staleness. It needs a new approach. It needs a new spirit. It needs new players. It needs a new coach.

40 comments about "If this is Bradley's best, it's time for him to go".
  1. Paolo Jacobs, June 13, 2011 at 4:04 a.m.

    No doubt I agree with Paul's assessment...The US is just milling around not really attacking with vigor until their behind in the game...Too many slow starts. It seems the players love to 'pass the ball backwards alot,not being creative and looking to take players on.....Look at Mexico,, they're attacking with creative players and they put the pedal down and keep on it.. I seriously doubt we're gonna win this Gold Cup.

  2. Brian Something, June 13, 2011 at 8:09 a.m.

    Well of course your tactical plan goes out the window when you're CONSISTENTLY going a goal or two down early in the game.

    Bradley's whole rep was based on organization and discipline. When you constantly look DISorganized and clueless early in matches, that's the antithesis.

  3. Paul Lorinczi, June 13, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.

    The staleness is not just the Gold Cup. The level of play since the World Cup has been leading up to this point. I think some of the players have surpassed the coach in their knowledge and experience in the game. You can see it on some of their faces. I still don't understand how BB can not integrate Paco Torres into the US lineup. One of the few American players who is comfortable with the ball on his feet. Or Freddy Adu, a kid who is comfortable with the ball on his feet. US Soccer is stale. Gulati is part of the staleness. (Rumor is, he was ver instrumental in helping the "US" not get WC2022 - Henry Kissenger - Rothenberg made recommendations he ignored)

  4. John Munnell, June 13, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.

    Paul, I agree completely. The Bocanegra foul --- a straight red for me --- is not how I want our national team represented. And while the commentators on the various channels are unimportant in the larger scheme of performance by our national teams, they are universally awful, wrong in fact and spirit much of the time...again, representing the sport poorly. (In fairness, the guys on Saturday did give the referee credit for spotting Bedoya's dive --- one bright spot in their work.)

  5. michael finizio, June 13, 2011 at 8:38 a.m.

    Indeed, a welcome change should start by giving the boot to commentators (??!?) who don't know the game. A good technical/tactical analysis helps to understand and appreciate the game and sets the right environment for coaches and players.

    michael finizio

  6. James Hardern, June 13, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.

    As for Bocanegra, I feel he is also to blame for the first goal. He seems to be calling out his mark on the left side to Altidore - only Jozy is concerned with getting up field because he initially thinks the ball is getting cleared. Apparently, Bocanegra forgot HE was the left back and that was his mark. Along with the foul at the end, and his inability to link up well with Dempsey and push any real threat up the left side, this was the worst game I've seen from him in a long while. I kept thinking that even an out-of-position Lichaj at LD would have been more effective. And generally speaking, if you are going to play Dempsey and Donovan outside with the understanding that they will curl their runs into the middle, then it is crucial to have outside fullbacks that can push up and cross, and forwards tha fan out and occupy those flanks. Aside from Cherundolo, it simply wasn't happening and that my friends is what is known as tactical breakdown - not Coach Bradley's best momemt either.

  7. Soccer Bloke, June 13, 2011 at 9 a.m.

    Most youth coaches, even some Academy coaches, are now at least paying lip service to a possession oriented game and creativity.

    Sad that coaches are now saying to young players "Whatever you do don't play like the US National team!"

  8. cony konstin, June 13, 2011 at 9:11 a.m.

    It all starts with believing in your "VISION". It is easier to destroy then create. It is easier to play anti football then to play beautiful football. In the end a coach must have conviction towards his vision. The US must establish a new vision that captivates every level of US soccer. From the age of 12 every team must stop playing hail mary soccer and focus on creative football. Forget the result. Below 12 players should be free playing 7 days a week. Soccer in the US is to organized that it why our players are boring, stale, not comfortable with the ball, overly physical, and just play ugly. Changing the national team coach is a beginning but you also need players and you need a mandate from the federation that this is going to be are new vision in how we are going to play the game. Otherwise without this revolution of thinking the US game will continue to be hard on the eyes. In regards to the Latino conspiracy in the US. I suggest that US Soccer put 4 teams together,an all white team, all african-american team, all latino team, and an all other multicultural team and have them play each other to see not who wins the game but what game is more creative, more intellegent, more risk taking, and nice to the eye. Each team must be coached by the same vision. This vision is simple. Offensively play on the ground, play to the feet and be creative. Defensively don't trench in, and it must be high pressure. I bet you that once you do this you will have a very nice team to select. This is a no brainer. We have plenty of places in the country to create this experiment and plenty of skilled players to chose from. And I also believe that there are 4 coaches out there who believe in playing this way. It is time to create a DREAM TEAM!!!!! But that must come with leadership and a new vision in how we want the game to be played.

  9. David Sirias, June 13, 2011 at 9:23 a.m.

    Wow. Unanimity Bob should have left last summer. The team is not responding. His player selection is like schoolyard. Player integration is merely tangential The USA is not going up the world cup if bob is the coach! Will the Fed act? The gold cup outcome is irrelevant

  10. . Lev, June 13, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.

    Bob is not the main problem.
    The person who hired him is!!!!

  11. Tom Kondas, June 13, 2011 at 9:51 a.m.

    It's not about "vision",
    and it's not about "needing new players", it's about developing what we have to work with.
    All the verbage in the world will not affect our present problem which is the lack of "world class" coaching. The contributor who mentions putting Torres or Adu in the game is right on. However, sadly, the coach knows they would replace his son and therefore he will not put in players who most assuredly could contribut more to the game than his son. You need the "horses' to win the race, in this case I think we, for the most part, have the horses, but the Jockey isn't qualified to ride (coach).

  12. Joseph Stewart, June 13, 2011 at 10:25 a.m.

    Soccer Bloke's comment, "Sad that coaches are now saying to young players 'Whatever you do don't play like the US National team!'" is right on. All of my U14 players watched Spain v USA game and they got it - don't play like the US, play like Spain!

    And, in many ways, the possession game is much more fun for them! Everyone touches the ball, everyone makes decisions on where to send, everyone plays off the ball; all around, it's more fun!

  13. David Sirias, June 13, 2011 at 10:41 a.m.

    "Sad that coaches are now saying to young players 'Whatever you do don't play like the US National team!'"

    Oh my! I retired from coaching a few years ago, so I guess I'm out of the loop. So to hear this comment, is amazing. I knew the professional soccer players on the NATS had surpassed the coach a few years ago. But to hear that the the average youth coach has surpassed Bob in awareness and soccer IQ is shocking. This really is torch and pitchfork time at the Federation headquarters for anyone who loves the game and the USA. Like I said, the outocme of the GC is irrelevant.

  14. Walt Pericciuoli, June 13, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.

    What more can be added to what has already been said. Is there anyone out there that would like to see BB continue or for that matter, keep Sunil in charge. They both most go, and they must go now. Bradley should resign. That alone would shake up the team. Forget the Gold Cup, promote an assistant for now then begin to prepare for 2014. (does anyone believe we have the team right now to take down Mexico?)

  15. Doug Baker, June 13, 2011 at 10:51 a.m.

    My problem with US soccer, (little letters) began in 1994. I bought into the World Cup outline for 2010… but the response and experience from coaching, MLS, college, ODP, etc have ALL been very underwhelming and predictable.

    Player development in the US is all about SIZE. Vision, control, understanding play or are not any part of this so-called American system. Watch other countries’ players… they have much better first touches, passes that lead to the correct foot rather than a general area, use of a correctly weighted pass that takes advantage of the recipient’s first touch, speed of thought… either with or without the ball, and an understanding how both attacking AND passing are needed to maximize any sort of creative push to goal.

    Size works in specific set play situations… (and boy, how the US announcers like to talk about this so called superiority.) But we get to see all too often, that element of size attacked at the other end of the field by smaller, more creative players stretching and swarming this large and ponderous group of backs. Speed of play over the whole field IS a consistent negative for the US. See how many 50/50 balls are played. Or how many touches it takes to get the ball under control. Under pressure, mistakes are made and repeated, playing pass only, pass over the top, or pass backwards and team play becomes way too predictable.

    Start taking some chances! Start using players recognized for creativity rather than size. Find coaches / players who have and understand control and vision, and want to elevate the standard of play in the US rather than get results. The play in College, MLS, and the National Teams are very hard to watch… the creative edge is disappearing from our players, as well as the US Women’s Team.

  16. ckg beautiful game, June 13, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.

    Boca is just another example of the typical ball watching us defender who has no awareness of the players or space around him, i mean come on, as the outside back on the weakside not to cover the back post? this is fundamental, we need players! We lack the subtleties of the game, watch Holland or any of the top 25 teams in the world they can all work the ball out of tight places and retain possession. we pound it out of bounds, give it away or launch 60 yards to nobody in particular. you play the way you prepare, our training is the way of england and Scotland and the like all in their descendancy

  17. Kent James, June 13, 2011 at 11:06 a.m.

    The US played a possession game against Panama; unfortunately it consisted of square passes amongst the defenders, without any creativity going forward). We needed an Iniesta or Xavi checking back to the ball in the central midfield and splitting open the defenses with their precise passes. Or we need the option of bringing the ball down the flank (Cherondolo did this some, Bocanegra, as James Hardern accurately pointed out, can't really take this role when he's playing well, and he certainly played poorly against Panama). Panama deserves credit for a good game plan; half-field defending and counter-attacking en masse (which is kind of how we beat Spain at the Confederations Cup). Their centerback was the man of the match. Yes, the US is in some serious trouble right now. Guadalupe, which would seem to be a walkover for the US obviously has some bite since they only lost to Canada and Panama by a goal each. But if you have a poor game, the time to do so is in the first round. Maybe this loss will inspire some needed changes in the line-up (I've seen enough of Jones, and while Altidore is improving, playing against Panama's big, physical defense should have given him a chance to shine, and he clearly did not). Gardner's comments are generally accurate, but Bradley has a few games to change the direction of the team in my book.

  18. Walt Pericciuoli, June 13, 2011 at 11:22 a.m.

    I agree with Clark, but not about Bocanegro. He had a poor game but he has proven himself at the highest levels. The US players play as they have been taught. There is an overwhelming UK influnce in our youth game today. All the supposedly super youth clubs have a majority of highly overpaid UK trainers. Our National body and training staff all seem to have adopted these methods and tactics and select those kind of players. We are perpetuating failure. What is required is a complete overhaul in our national approach to the game and to agree upon what kind of soccer playing nation we want to be. I hope we chose the future. Our country is becoming more and more Hispanic. That is the style I feel, win or lose, is at least more enjoyabl to watch.

  19. Walt Pericciuoli, June 13, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.

    There are no Iniesta's or Xavi's in our current programs. Since the begining of the "Super Youth Clubs" and now Academy teams (past 15-18 years) we have not produced any such players. Where are the new Tab Ramos's,Cludio Reyna's, Landon Donovan's and Clint Dempsey'. These players were developed before the age of the "Super Clubs" They came from small clubs with passionate volunteer coaches. They were given the freedom to play their game. The new generation have the Michael Bradley types. Coachable,organized,high work rate,good family background,and most times affluent.

  20. Daniel Clifton, June 13, 2011 at 11:35 a.m.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Gardner. Bradley should not have been re-hired. I also agree with the comment that the problem is not Bob, but the guy who hired him. He definitely needs to be fired, but good luck on that one. We need a complete overhaul of our men's and women's national team leadership. We need to start from the grass roots. Otherwise we are perpetuating failure. The change needs to be made now, not three years from now when we flame out of the World Cup (assuming we qualify).

  21. Leonardo Perez, June 13, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.

    I totally agree with Mr.Gardner. It's time for a new coach. I am aware of fans of BB saying he is organized and loyal to "his" players, but I would rather characterize him as "stubborn and "closed-minded". He brings in Borstein and Micheal Bradley even though they did not play much for their club teams. But, BB says "in the past these two players have shown they can play for the national team"--yet, I've yet to see Borstein play but SON has played both games. I also believe that BB was in some ways "urged" to take latino players to the last WC, and now he is being stubborn and will not let Gulati make him use the latino players since the beginning of the year. Example, Bedoya, he was brought in only after Fielhaber got hurt, and Bedoya has not yet been used in the Gold Cup. Thats why I believe that BB did not want to use latino players, it's his bias and he has a right to play who he deems ready. But, alot of his choices (Onweyeu, Boernstein, Rodgers) really defines BB----stubborn not loyal.

  22. David Huff, June 13, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.

    MLS Bob should have been let go 5 years ago but the powers that be at USSF/MLS/SUM have had a stranglehold over promoting their own narrow parochial interests first over those od the USMNT program. Bradley, gulati and Flynn need to be gone and fresh blood brought in to revamp our training and coaching systems. One good approach would be to model based on Barca's La Masia academy system. Team Bradley is the same song, umpteenth verse, will get worse. Let's issue a red card to this mediocrity approach.

  23. Rick Figueiredo, June 13, 2011 at 3:04 p.m.

    I am not prone to defending U.S. Soccer, but I will a little here. Just a little. First of all I tend to like Bradley. He has been better than the other coaches. Second, he does not have the tools, the players to compete on a regular basis against teams that play very well or teams like Panama who have those occassional great games. This game was an abberation for Panama. There are no Higuain's or David Villa's pumping in goals for the USA. Only, Jozy Altidore. An occasional player who sometimes runs for his life and other times just watches the game pass by. Charlie Davis in his prime was the USA's best bet. Cherundulo did play a nice lateral position. He went up quite often, actually. I srated imagining that he was Dany Alves or Cafu! As to Bocanegra being at left lateral that alone stumps me. He is at best a central defender; not at his age a lateral. The position requires young stamina speed and crossing abilities. Michael Bradley, unfortunately has peeked. Too bad. Donovan also has reached the limits of his talent. The rest are role players at best. Ream in defense was a reach. Now as for Panama. They played damn good!!! I am impressed with their speed of play. The announcers, incorrectly termed it physicality. What Panama had were well designed vertical patterns. They started in the back and made their way into the attacking third very quickly. Their players were on this day performing better than the US players. Baloy was exceptional. That alone triggered other factor in Panama's favor. They were on this day pretty much unstoppable against the cast of characters available to the USA. Mexico could deal with it. USA no. The USA's main problem was once the ball fell into the attacking third they had no plan. They did not set up crosses or through balls. Landon was almost non-existent. Dempsey did well when the attack came form the left. He had to drift into midfield to get more ball but that was good. The US will make the quarters probably against Jamaica who they always seem to beat and then the semi's and lose there if they unfortunately meet Mexico. After the USA Spain roster fiasco, I must say that someone some where miscalculated the consequences of getting an ass beating by the current world champs, SPAIN. These defeats linger for a while . . .

  24. Mike Gaire, June 13, 2011 at 3:22 p.m.

    Well, for once I find myself actually agreeing with the Brit hater. Bradley did a good job for a while but his time has come and its time to say "Come back Bruce Arena, all is forgiven" !! Because look what he has done for the LA Galaxy!!! And maybe we could then have a national team coach who would not hesitate to pull Michael Bradley off when he is having a bad game!

  25. Rick Figueiredo, June 13, 2011 at 4:07 p.m.

    Wow Konstin!! That was way out there. Especially for America to handle. Also especially for you. You have at times said some very useful and meaningful things about this game. But you have said them a little less shockingly. America will of course think it is a "racist" idea though I have the feeling you did not intend that. What perhaps is better as an experiment is to divide teams by cultural inclination, if you think a division of sorts might be interesting to analyze creativity. (But I think creativity is also an individual development.) After all it is the "culture" of the nation that ultimately defines their style and characteristic of play rather than their race though race in Brasil does have a factor. So does poverty.

  26. Kent James, June 13, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.

    Rick Figueiredo's assessment is reasonable and accurate. Bocanegra is a good central defender (though he is aging and he doesn't have great speed) but he's always struggled to play wide. We clearly need some creativity and a bit more speed. My recommendation; Cherundolo and Bornstein wide (the latter can sometimes be suspect defensively but has good speed to make up if he gets beaten and is very good going forward; if he's unavailable Lijcha or Chandler for some speed), with Bocanegra & Ream in the middle. MB as defensive center mid, Feilhaber (or maybe Torres) as offensive center mid, Holden (maybe Adu if Holden is unavailable?) and Donavon out wide. Up top go with Dempsey and someone else (probably Agudelo if he's got some speed, maybe Bedoya, though I haven't seen enough of him to judge). What I don't like to see (especially against weaker teams) is TWO defensive center mids (Bradley & Jones or Edu); we simply don't generate enough offense from that formation. As a point of fact, Bedoya has come on as a sub in both Gold Cup games, so he's gotten some action (he was carded against Panama for diving in the box; tough call; I first thought it had to be a penalty, and on the replay, it still looked to me like the keeper clipped his right foot just enough to knock it off line and trip him; clearly the referee thought he did that to himself, and if there was no contact, then the ref was right).

  27. cony konstin, June 13, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.

    Hi Ric and Rick,

    every weekend throughout the US there is pirate leagues that cater to all Jamaican, all El Salvardorian, all Mexican and many other multi cultural teams. I don't see a problem in doing the same thing for our national teams. I don't consider this experiment profiling. I consider this concept as something positive. Have you ever been to a training session of the US. It is very one dimisional. A little salsa wouldn't hurt.

  28. Kevin Leahy, June 13, 2011 at 8:45 p.m.

    Cruyff should have been hired to revamp the entire system. He could coach the MNT or pick his own. We have a serious lack of leadership and vision!

  29. David Huff, June 13, 2011 at 8:57 p.m.

    This debate is a real struggle over two conflicting approaches with the Brit game and the Latin game. To me, the Latin approach is more attractive flowing style with possession and higher technical skill set required. The Brit approach has yielded very little for our US interests in the last 40 years (and they themselves have been hurting on the world stage, but for a fortuitous call in the final against West Germany they would be winless in the WC) and so I say now "Brit's out!" Stop letting their failed approach from sabotaging our own national interests. Incidentally, the Latin game is not limited to just hispanic kids, i see a growing number of white, african-american and kids from other backgrounds starting to play the Latin game. The dinosaurs need to stand aside in favor of something that is far more attractive and which actually works, look at the Champions League and WC 2010 results.

  30. James Froehlich, June 13, 2011 at 10:36 p.m.

    OK everyone's in agreement that BB should go. However the BB supporters (like Ridge) are just hunkering down waiting for the US to pound that perennial world power, Guadalupe, and then they will reassert themselves saying that it was just a one-off! So, I would couch the arguments for BB's departure much more broadly than just the last few games. Several people have already done that referencing (1)his failure to develop any new players (Donovan, Dempsey, Howard are of course from previous regimes);(2) his inability to motivate; and (3) his inability to select and develop more skillful players. However, when calling for his head, and Gulati's and Flynn's, it is good to think about who exactly put these people in these positions and therefore must really be blamed for the USSF mess -- it's the Booard. I'm talking about the people who actually voted to keep Bradley. The culprits are: EVP - Mike Edwards; ATHLETIC REPS - Jeff Agoos, Daniele Fotopoulos, Jon McCulloch; PRO COUNCIL REPS - Don Garber, Tonya Antonucci; ADULT COUNCIL REPS - Richard Groff, Bill Bosgraaf; YOUTH COUINCIL REPS - Bob Palmiero, John Sutter; AT LARGE REP - Burton Haimes; INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS - Carlos Cordiero, Fabian Nunez, Donna Shalala. These were the actual people who voted up or down on Klinsmann and Bradley, so save a little of the animosity for them and remember them. They are the representatives of the "Soccer Establishment" that has ultimately gotten us where we are. BTW, please note the presence of Jeff Agoos on this illustrious list-- On March 28, 2011, Agoos was hired by the MLS as their Technical Director of Competition. He will work on planning and competition strategies. Try some conspiracy thinking on that and see what you come up with .

  31. Oz LatinAmerican, June 14, 2011 at 12:07 a.m.

    David you got a point, is all about the style of playing. And is not all about the Latin game is about the beautiful game, it just happen to be that the Latinos are playing more of that style: creative and improvising on the go, and trying to keep the ball on the ground. So there are teams that try to play that style whether they are white, Africans, or Latinos. France did it with Michel Platini, Arsenal tries to play that way, Ajax uses same style and of course most countries in SA try to play good futbol. The culture has a lot to do whit it also, For example in the area where I live; there is no pick up games-drop in soccer, unless you pay and is indoor. Because of this, I just started a drop in soccer for free in the park twice a week. In the first session last Sunday 20 kids showed up! and guess what! there is a mix of white, Latinos, African descendants and in between and all of them are aware of playing beautiful soccer, they all know about the Barca Style! and you will be surprise the most talented kids I have seen some of them are white American kids! you just have to develop the culture and it will happen!

  32. ckg beautiful game, June 14, 2011 at 9:55 a.m.

    it is very hard to create a recipe for success, though those of us who have had some would agree that passion and enthusiasm are key ingredience. of course you must have technical ability and tactics but all these things must flow. How to capture this in an era of microwave results and little patience is difficult. I think what all are saying is we have an ugly bus going the wrong way with a boring driver. If he would tell a joke or sing a song along the way we could at least enjoy the ride.

  33. Walt Pericciuoli, June 14, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.

    Clark, that was great. I think thats what we are all trying to say. Winning would be fantasic, but enjoying the ride is what its all about.

  34. Thomas Cerva, June 14, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.

    Bocanegra is "past it". Get him out of there for the good of the team and for the good of soccer. His barge tackle of the small opponent should have been a straight red. His attitude and the commentator's comments are despicable.

  35. Gole goal, June 14, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.

    Typical UMNT play and typical coaching from Bradley. This is old news to me when it comes to "style of play and thought ". Lets face it, we know what the USMNT side lacks and above all what it needs. The problem is, it seems that Bradley and some of the players lack the ability to have imagination, creativity, and lack any idea of thinking outside the "American Box". So its time we start answer the following questions. So what does the USMNT need to do? Its time the UMNT issues on the field gets solve, but first we need people (Bradley and US Soccer) that are to "proud" to change to change. So what we really need to ask ourselves or ask US Soccer is this. Can a old stubborn man ( US Soccer) learn to change? The answer to this question is "perhaps not". So what needs to be done? Change needs to be made from the top to the bottom. Its time US Soccer stops focusing on big players that can run hard, fast, and know how to clear a ball, and focus on getting players that are creative, that play with imagination, and think outside of the "American Box". We have been taking 3 steps back within the past 2 to 3 years. US Soccer needs to change the selection process in players from ODP all the way up. Above all the selectors need to be changed.

  36. Bill Anderson, June 14, 2011 at 5:11 p.m.

    Chuck Blazer, Dan Flynn, Sunil Gulati, and Bob Bradley must follow Thomas Rongen... The men who have overseen the last decade of US Soccer are past their expiration date. The damage has been done. There is no recourse except to change course.

  37. beautiful game, June 14, 2011 at 6:06 p.m.

    Paul's views are on the money. As for the commentary by Kyle Martino, it's small talk nonsense , irrelavent, winded and lacking any substance. Martino brings nothing to the table. As a former wanabe pro in the MLS, he's a wanabe behind the mike.

  38. Carl Walther, June 14, 2011 at 7:44 p.m.

    Bocanegro = camberro. That's what you become when you have few skills and no ethics.

  39. Joe Shoulders, June 14, 2011 at 9:06 p.m.

    again PG is right on ... I'm tired of watching Altidore, Jones, Bradley, Bocanegra, Cherondulo and the rest of these very ordinary players.

    Where's Jose Francisco Torres???
    I thought we were going to see Freddy Adu ... What happened to that?

    Torres is young, but already a true proven professional Freddy Adu is a player of extraordinary talents that have been sadly stifled by narrow-minded coaches both here and in Europe.

  40. Peter Bernazky, June 16, 2011 at 12:42 a.m.

    Bradley tenure should have been ended after the world cup.He should go back coach college.The team tatics has not changed...same players.He stands on side lines showing no emotion and players do not respond to as usual.we have so many talented players MSL to pick but Bradley tenure as coach...we will have players as Altidore who has a bust everywhere in Europe and why Jones on the team .I am tired watching our team...we barely beat Canada...Yes, we need new coach who will enthusias our players and tell Dempsey stop being a clown and score about Peter Novak as coach he will bring fire to our more business as usual ...let's rebuild our team with new coach and players

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