USA relies on Altidore's rocket to sink Guadeloupe

[USA-GUADELOUPE] Here are three points of emphasis following the USA's 1-0 win over Guadeloupe in the Concacaf Gold Cup Tuesday night in Kansas City that sends the Americans into a quarterfinal against Jamaica Sunday at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. …

What a difference a goal makes. By scoring in the first minute of stoppage time to tie Canada, 1-1, Panama won the group and prevented a possible three-tie atop Group C among Panama, the United States, and Canada with six points each.

Had Canada hung on to win, 1-0, given the same USA result against Guadeloupe, the USA would have won the group with a plus-two goal differential (four scored, two allowed), followed by Panama in second at plus-one (five scored, four conceded), and Canada third at zero (two scored, two conceded).

As the only third-place team with six points, Canada would have advanced to play Mexico in the quarterfinals. Guatemala, third-place in Group B, would have played the USA, and Panama would have played Jamaica.

Instead, by conceding that last-minute goal, Canada finished with four points (1-1-1) and a minus-one goal difference (two scored, three allowed). That placed it behind Guatemala (plus-two) and El Salvador (zero) in goal difference among the third-place teams, and thus it was eliminated.

At the 2000 tournament, Canada was part of a three-team group in which all the games finished tied. Canada advanced by a coin flip at the expense of South Korea, and won all three knockout games to capture its only Gold Cup title.

“That’s why he’s here!” Announcer Jack Edwards famously crooned that sentence when Clint Mathis scored a spectacular goal against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup, and after drilling a laser into the top corner Tuesday night Livestrong Sporting Park, Jozy Altidore took that message first-person.

He shook his fist and pointed to his name on the back of his jersey in defiance of scathing criticism levied at him during the Gold Cup, and did a fair share of manhandling Guadeloupe’s defenders before being replaced in the 78th minute. He rarely scores goals from long distance and will never be accused of elegance, but on a frustrating 90 minutes during which nobody else could get the ball past keeper Franck Grandel, Altidore came through.

Also repaying Coach Bob Bradley’s faith in them were left back Eric Lichaj (after a nightmare first half against Spain, he defended stoutly and pushed forward a few times), Chris Wondolowski (his miss of a sitter against Panama forgiven, he hit two very hard shots on frame that Grandel saved), and Jermaine Jones (he tore off his jersey and stormed down the tunnel upon being substituted Saturday, yet bounced back with perhaps his best game for the USA).
Who was that wearing Clint Dempsey’s jersey? He squandered a few very good chances against Panama, yet at least Dempsey managed to test goalie Jamie Penedo twice. Not so Tuesday night; in the first half he completely missed the frame on a close-range header from a terrific cross by Steve Cherundolo, and among other misses he dawdled on an absolute sitter served up by Alejandro Bedoya and never even got a shot off.

His atrocious finishing nullified some outstanding play by Cherundolo, Bedoya and Jones to control the ball and open up Guadeloupe’s defense. He wasn't alone; Landon Donovan squandered a shot from six yards out by blasting it over the crossbar, much as  Wondolowski had done against Panama.

End-of-season fatigue is a possible reason, and after one foul Dempsey rolled a few times and just lay on the ground to rest. Still, he kept churning away until the final whistle and got in some solid work. He just looked completely drained mentally and how well he can recover for the quarterfinal Sunday with Jamaica is a critical factor in the Americans’ chances to advance. A good game against a mediocre team got the USA past Guadeloupe, but its next Caribbean opponent is far more formidable.

June 14 in Kansas City, Kan.
USA 1 Guadeloupe 0.
Goal: Altidore 9.
USA -- Howard, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Goodson, Lichaj, Dempsey, Jones, Bradley (Edu, 85), Donovan, Wondolowski, Altidore (Kljestan, 78).
Guadeloupe --
Grandel, Comminges, Tacalfred, Zubar, Viator, Loval-Landre (Collet, 25), Nabab (Fautrai, 60), Racon (Gotin, 73), Auvray, Socrier, Jovial.

19 comments about "USA relies on Altidore's rocket to sink Guadeloupe".
  1. Gus Keri, June 15, 2011 at 8:28 a.m.

    Ridge: Forget about "end of season fatigue". That Dempsey's miss reflects a bad attitude by him. It borders on the snobbishness.

  2. Walt Pericciuoli, June 15, 2011 at 9:42 a.m.

    1-0 v. Guadeloupe proves nothing really for anyone.

  3. Andres Yturralde, June 15, 2011 at 9:48 a.m.

    Sorry, Gus, but I agree with Ridge on this one: the fatigue is starting to show. Dempsey looks it. Donovan looks it. Even Howard looks it. Good thing there are more than 100 hours to go before their next game. Best to rest, gentlemen!

  4. Jamie Nicewander, June 15, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.

    There is no excuse for the very poor form our National Team is currently in. In every game they have looked like an overrated team that thinks they are better then what they have showed us in the last year. This National team underperformed in the World Cup and continue to do so a year later. This team appears to have no chemistry and the finishing is atrocious to say the least. These teams (including Jamaica) are very weak teams and we should be dominating them all. What incredibly low expectations and ridiculous excuses.

  5. Jamie Nicewander, June 15, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.

    This National Team cannot improve unless they do what is necessary and look into the mirror. From top to bottom. From the coaching staff to players this entire program needs to do some soul searching and WE need to stop making excuses for a continuance of poor playing. Panama is the size of Florida...Guadalupe??? even the next team Jamaica...are you kidding me? We should be dominating these teams in field play and in results. This isnt AYSA youth soccer, prep soccer, or college soccer, it is the United States Mens National Team we are talking about!Winning is the only thing that matters at this level!

  6. Albert Harris, June 15, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.

    Regarding fatigue, it might be an understandable excuse for Dempsey, but Donovan's season just started in March. I'm wondering if we're seeing "Coach Bob" fatigue more than anything else. His teams have never been "stylish" but his motivational skills seemed to strike a note with the players. If he's lost that, what does he have left? I think he's definitely on trial again and if we don't at the minimum reach the finals, I think a new coach might be called for. At least it would in any other nation in the world who takes its soccer seriously.

  7. David Sirias, June 15, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.

    If this performance is considered good enough, heaven help us. ...I'm with Gus. Dempsey was showboating. If this was any other country, Dempsey gets no more call ups for a long time. That being said a good manager would have rested Dempsey Dolo , and perhaps even donovan. Seriously, if the others on the roster can't beat Guadaloupe, this is sad. That the unequivocal A team could not absolutely destroy one of the worst teams in the world is absolutely criminal..... And there sits the mainstream soccer media, absolutely silent about the iceberg right in front of the ship and the imminent disaster about to unfold. Disgusting.

  8. David Huff, June 15, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.

    Wow I'm impressed, we beat Guadaloupe 1-0, we surely will do well in WC 2014, in the heart of "futbol country" of Brasil.

  9. Jamie Nicewander, June 15, 2011 at 12:07 p.m.

    Im with David Sirias...what pathetic coverage of the iceberg about to hit the titanci,,or maybe it already has and what we are seeing is the death throws of a sinking ship... I actually walked away at halftime from the panama vs USA game. I have never done that before. It was atrocious football and not worthy of watching. Our B team should have been able to manhandle Guadalupe and Panama easily... the fact that we can't says volumes about our program.

  10. Leonardo Perez, June 15, 2011 at 1:11 p.m.

    "End-of-the-Season fatigue", Huh? We play like the English, now we use the excuse that the English use when they play lousy or are beaten at home. Can't we do better than what we saw yesterday?
    Maybe the players are fighting against eeach other instead of against their apponent. The USMNT looks and plays like there is strife in their midst. It's time for a NEW COACH!!!

  11. John Fatte, June 15, 2011 at 1:50 p.m.

    OMG, I can't believe the lethargic attitude towards what can only be described as a sub par performance during the first 3 games of the Gold Cup.

    Talk of fatigue is typical for those who would rather not accept the reality of the dismal performances we have observed.

    The USA should settle for no less than a world class coaching staff that can filter out the mediocre MLS player from those capable of competing on a national level. When they had the chance, they should have brought Klinsman in to shake things up. I'm afraid Bob Bradley can't see the forest for the trees and has his expectations set way too low for a USMNT.

    If we can't do any better than this, we should put our resources behind the women's national team and let them show us how it's done.

    I think they will be lucky to make it through the quarterfinals and god forbid we have to play Mexico - who will eat our lunch.

  12. John Hofmann, June 15, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.

    The USA MNT seemed to be particularly deliberate in its play now, which is reasonable only if they obtain tangible results, which for the most part are not there. They appear uninspired, unemotional, going through the motions. Can't imagine any of these being associated with success.

  13. Scott O'Connor, June 15, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.

    I guess Javier Hernandez doesn't have to play as hard for his club as Clint does....

  14. Scott O'Connor, June 15, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.

    Clint was pathetic. He didn't even seem to care that he was finishing horribly (no grabbing of the head in despair, no hanging or shaking of the head after a miss). That lack of emotional investment (aka desire) seems to sum up the entire team's performance right now....

  15. David Huff, June 15, 2011 at 4:12 p.m.

    This may be the team's method of signalling through non-verbal communication their no-confidence in Team Bradley and its backers in USSF/MLS/SUM. The thinking maybe that if they lose enough then Bradley must surely be gone, however in the dysfunctional environment promoted by Gulati and Flynn it still may not be enough.

  16. beautiful game, June 15, 2011 at 6:39 p.m.

    Kudos to the blogger viewpoints...Ridge is avoiding the tactical game plan, no simplicity of play, too many touches, hardly any off the ball runs, efficacy, timeliness, making something happen; who cares about fatigue, atc...LD and the Deuce looked uninspired and my gut feeling tells me that they and others have lost confidence in coach.

  17. Bill Anderson, June 15, 2011 at 9:23 p.m.

    Captain Bob hit the iceberg when he started Red-Cardo Clark vs Ghana. The team may still be loyal but the respect and fear went out the window then and there. All that is left is violins on the main deck as the ship of US Soccer slides, not so gracefully, under the sea.

  18. Andres Yturralde, June 15, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.

    Wow! You guys talk as if the USA is Spain or Germany or Brazil. Or maybe Italy or Argentina. But it's not. The USA hasn't won much, the last time I checked. And now you're all expecting them to play well every single time and make less and less mistakes. Are you serious? Are you kidding me? Take a good look and start basing your analysis on what you've got on the ground, not on what you wish for. The competition is getting tougher, and, as I said the other day, once the USA actually exits the tournament, then you have every right to go after Bradley and all those other USSF tools. But until then, what are you really complaining about? That Dempsey and Donovan and Wondo missed some sitters? Really? Is that all? C'mon, gentlemen, that kind of stuff happens everyday— and to the best of them! (I wonder what you’ll say when the USA manages to lose a World Cup final.) For now, let's look at the bright side: they got through the group stage and are in the quarterfinals.

  19. Luis Arreola, June 21, 2011 at 11:26 p.m.

    True. Have you guys seen how ma y goals Chicharito missed in this tournament? He just had more opportunities because of the best players like Dose Santos, Barrera,Guardado. That is what USA is lacking and will never have until they give Mexican Americans the reigns to the national team. Just sit back and enjoy.

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