Commentary

USA fails 'eye test' badly in defeat to England at Wembley

The USA was not humiliated, as Ian Darke said on the ESPN2 telecast of the England-USA game at Wembley Stadium, when it lost to Brazil or Colombia.

It shouldn't be taken as praise, though, that, as Darke offered, the USA has not taken "an old-fashioned hammering" in the series of friendlies it has played against soccer heavyweights going back to the France game in June.

But the USA's 3-0 loss to England sure looked bad. For the first 20 minutes or so, before Christian Pulisic missed at one end and the English scored twice in quick succession at other end, the Americans were chasing shadows. It was never a contest.



The USA has never claimed to be in Brazil's league, and the results bear that out: 18 losses in 19 international matches. But England?

The last time the USA and England met, they played in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup. The result in Rustenberg was 1-1. You can debate how lucky Clint Dempsey was to score the equalizer when England keeper Robert Green bundled his shot across the line. But the result was not out of the realm of possibility, nor was the USA's first-place finish in their group.

That all seems like a long time ago.

Thursday's game marked the low point of the Dave Sarachan era. It came three months into the European season when reality has hit for many players. If they were playing before or hoping to play, many aren't any more or their playing time has been cut back. That could go for six of the 10 European-based players who played on Thursday, and the dip in their confidence level was noticeable.

Has the wait to hire a new national team coach gone on too long? To be sure, but that misses the point of the gap that has widened between England and the USA.

The USA always failed the "eye test" when it faced Brazil and its ball wizards -- do they look like they know what they're doing? England, on the other hand, was never a team known for its technical prowess.

The overwhelming sentiment one got from Thursday's match was the difference between the players on the two teams in terms of their composure on the ball, their movement off the ball and the speed of their decision-making.

There was a play around the 20th minute involving Ben Chilwell, Dele Alli and England's young star, Jadon Sancho, when they played keep-away with DeAndre Yedlin, Wil Trapp and Pulisic, making 10 passes in all before a triangle played Sancho through on goal.

The play came to nothing but encapsulated the difference between the teams as England -- to its great credit -- has developed a new generation of young stars with immense skill and the U.S. program has stagnated.

What was a gap between the two teams is now a gulf.
13 comments about "USA fails 'eye test' badly in defeat to England at Wembley".
  1. Eric Jensen, November 16, 2018 at 10:18 a.m.

    Agreed. Was just re-reading an artcle from a while back about how the US failed to qualify for two olympics in a row, 2012 and then 2016. Clearly something was/is fundamentally wrong, and now it's showing up in the US national team. 

  2. R2 Dad, November 16, 2018 at 11:49 a.m.

    Why didn't they play Horvath in the second half? On the bench for England: Sterling, Stones, Kane and Walker, who are all starters and didn't even play. This could have been much worse.

  3. Wooden Ships replied, November 16, 2018 at 6:07 p.m.

    R2, I’ve liked Horvath for numerous reasons after watching him in Colombia. With Coach Sarachan I’m not sure why he didn’t insert him. Maybe Italy Tuesday. Guzan is a known quantity and is what he is. We have 3 in camp, don’t leave one of them without minutes. 

  4. beautiful game, November 16, 2018 at 11:50 a.m.

    There were a few positive moments, too few. Once the permanent coach is assigned, progress will be made...how much progress remains to be seen. 

  5. John Soares, November 16, 2018 at 12:33 p.m.

    I usually take the positive outlook on these games. Young, energetic, full of potential....
    Yesterday, especially in the first half none of the above really applied. Hope some of that energy shows up against Italy. In the long run it's a friendly and Sarachan has, if nothing else, brought in many new/young players.
    Making that aspect of the job much easier for the "new" coach.

  6. David Garrison, November 16, 2018 at 12:59 p.m.

    What in the wolrd did we expect? We took a B team whose A team couldn't even qualify via Concacaf for the World Cup and played a semi final team from the World Cup. Give them a break. They had flashes where England looked a little befufddled. Give them time. Also wouldn't hurt if some had better basic skills on the ball.

  7. Wallace Wade, November 16, 2018 at 1 p.m.

    Men against boys. Many starters including Kane never even saw the pitch. It’s right there in your face. US Soccer is going backwards. We had a chance to change things and instead we get this. Just sad. 

  8. Wooden Ships replied, November 16, 2018 at 6:10 p.m.

    Wonder what the Wynalda administration would look like at this point in time? With Hugo Perez as manager having a year under his belt.

  9. Jim Ngo, November 17, 2018 at 3:56 p.m.

    4-4-2 was a poor formation choice. the U.S. needed a third central midfielder, not two strikers. Delph had little pressure, too much time in the first half. Weah and Wood never worked together but to be fair, they had few chances to.

  10. Jim Ngo replied, November 17, 2018 at 4:19 p.m.

    I meant Green, not Weah.

  11. Right Winger, November 18, 2018 at 10:02 p.m.

    Would someone tell me why Tab Ramos is not the coach of the men’s national team and I don’t mean the u20’s

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, November 18, 2018 at 10:47 p.m.

    Maybe he should hire a voice coach and develop a Northern European accent?  

  13. Right Winger, November 19, 2018 at 11:47 a.m.

    Here is US Soccer:

    We have a non functional MNT-No coash

    We have a functional U20-MNT-great coach

    We have a a non functional W U17 NT-questionalbe coaching

    We have a whatever MNT U17 without a permanent coach- 

    Go US Soccer!  Who is running this ship?

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