Disappointed…And Not Just By The Result

The US isn’t good enough to throw away games even if they are assured of advancement into the next round of a tournament. But that is just what they did yesterday.

Yes, a confident blast from Stuart Holden in the dying minutes salvaged a tie. Yes, six guys got their first cap. Yes, a number of players gained international experience. But you have to question the mindset going into and coming out of the game.

We caught a glimpse of overconfidence in the pre-game comments by Brian Ching. The striker was asked what aspects of their game the team needed to work on following their wins over Grenada and Honduras. His response, “Nothing.” Really, Brian?

Then there is Bob Bradley after the game. “When you begin the tournament, the goal is to win your group and advance. So the first thing that we said after the game is, ‘We’ve accomplished that goal.”

Where’s the hunger to get better? Where’s the determination to fulfill the higher expectations following the miracle finish at the Confederation’s Cup? Where’s the desire to defend the home turf?

The US should have beaten Haiti. Period. I believe the poor result came from a combination of a coach looking past a seemingly inferior opponent along with a squad that thought they could turn it on whenever they wanted following an early goal. And that’s dangerous, especially for a team who consistently struggles finishing inside the opponents eighteen.

Am I reading too much into one game that was about getting experience for the kids? Perhaps, but I also believe that for the US to be a consistent factor on the international stage they have to fight for every inch, every game with an unyielding focus on winning every contest. They didn’t do that yesterday.

I haven’t forgotten how pathetic this team looked a few weeks ago against world class competition in the first round of the Confederations Cup, but it seems like the team and its coach may have.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/07/12 at 11:49 PM

    Wow Mark (this is Matt) I have to disagree…..wholeheartedly….the U.S. played 11 unfamiliar players together.

    They all played hard; I don’t think they underestimated anything as evidenced by the goals being scored in the 2nd half, not the first.

    What I have an issue with is
    – not having a veteran presence to guide the squad on the field
    – lack of adustment or expectation that Haiti would come out scorching in the 2nd half.

    Happened the first time (against Italy) and you could blame 10-man
    Happened a 2nd time (against world class Brazil) and you could maybe fault a mismatch.
    Happening a 3rd time against a lesser opponent…well now you need to look at the strategy and tactics….

    If you’re BB after halftime and you’ve seen be a bit messy in the middle, don’t you maybe come in with Beckerman earlier (especially with 1-nil lead) and pair him with Cronin (young) or even Holden in the middle and let Arnaud fight it out up top until he tires?

    It’s not like we completely dominated the first half and you didn’t see that coming…

    I think that game tactics are what are at question…

    Reply

  2. Posted by Mark T on 2009/07/13 at 12:02 AM

    Right. The US played 11 unfamiliar players…I think that says it all right there. They weren’t playing to win the game. That’s what is disappointing.

    With their inconsistent play they need to learn how to win and improve at that every game.

    Reply

  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/07/13 at 12:08 AM

    True — but a Haitian test doesn’t say much. Our B-Team should be able to handle a team that is 90 spots behind us in the rankings

    I agree they need to win and improve every game, to me this is the coaches job and I thought the players executed as best as possible given their experience and the conditions.

    Reply

  4. [...] by Mark T in USMNT. Tagged: Gold Cup, USMNT. Leave a Comment Looking back at my post after the Haiti draw, I realized that I was only half right in my criticism of the contest. I am [...]

    Reply

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