Gulati: Emphatic Words, Wrong Tone?

TSG is usually not one to comment secondarily on reporting.

In this case, we’ll make an exception.

Gulati on missed opportunities...

Multiple news outlets this morning attributed the following quotes to Sunil Gulati in a press conference earlier today.

The first, on the Yanks missed chance to advance versus Ghana and what it means for the great good of “US Soccer:”

“It is also a missed opportunity to stay in the American public’s eyes for another four, five six days, maybe 10 days, when interest is at an all-time high. I have no doubt there will be people still watching at bars at strange times, the TV ratings will still be good, but what the ratings might have been for a quarterfinal game or dreaming beyond that. We clearly caught something in the last few weeks that we haven’t seen before. The job is to try to hold on to some part of that.”

The second paraphrased:

The USA has no plans to participate in the 2011 Copa America in Argentina.

The third:

“I think it ultimately comes down to players,” he said. “The expectations have to be realistic. The players that are representing the U.S. are not players at Arsenal and Inter and Real Madrid and Barcelona and Chelsea and Manchester United and so on. The players we were playing against in some of these situations are.”

To this writer, these three statements should be reviewed.

Let’s address the first two together.

On the surface, “marketing” is very simple. It’s about three things: Positivity of “signal” (“Landon Donovan scores the game winner against Algeria”), Strength of “signal” (The US were robbed versus Slovenia–more newspapers cried injustice than ever before) and Frequency  of “signal” (The more games played at the World Cup level the better.)

While I sympathize with Gulati’s statement about the greater–and casual–public watching another Yanks’ match in the quarters–the positivity and strength of the signal would have been there–I think Gulati is certainly taking the wrong tone here in that commentary.

It’s quite an illusion to think that one mere additional game of the World Cup will almost in and of itself spur soccer on and send a message of pity thereafter.

To follow, the best way to reinforce the mostly positive signal that came out of South Africa is to play more high value tournaments within a short period of the World Cup’s close. That’s “frequency.”

Mexico and Japan join host Argentina at the 2011 Copa America. If I’m managing the United States–and rumors are the Yanks weren’t invited because they sent more of a “B” or even “C” squad back in 2007–I’m finding a way into that tournament that runs from during the same timing at the Gold Cup to face the same quality brand competition that enticed US fans during the World Cup.

Think about, what if Argentina wins the World Cup?

…and especially if Mexico is sending a team to both the Copa America and the Gold Cup. I’m not sure why the States can’t do similarly.

If I’m Gulati, the message from me should be one of “building,” not one of “lamenting” or “holding onto part of it” because it will take more than just another deep World Cup run for the States to continue to claim more soccer fans in the United States. For Gulati, the States need the frequency of play for continued relevance.

On to the third quote:

In concert with the third quote, Gulati made this statement, “The United States failed to meet expectations.” Good. The public and those who are objective likely see it that way and probably will take some solace in that conclusion.

However, dressing down the Coach–as Sunil did–and then acknowledging that the “US players are not members of top programs like Arsenal and Barcelona” is bogus and contradictory to leveling the “failed expectations” label. Which one is it?

Muntari, Ghana's (and Uruguay's) lone player from Gulati's super teams...

The United States would have played Uruguay in their next match. You know how many players they have on their roster from Gulati’s aforementioned super teams? Goose eggs. Slovenia, which were narrowly nipped by the States, zilch. Slovakia who fell to the Netherlands today. Again zero.

And Ghana? Precisely one. Sulley Muntari who barely saw the pitch for the Black Stars on Saturday and who was a permanent member of Jose Mourinho’s Inter doghouse.

Sunil Gulati, your time to make your presence felt and do your best work is now–especially if you, and not Bob Bradley, are the new singular “organizational” face of the United States. Start it off on the right foot. Do some work.

More on Gulati’s comments here.

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54 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/28 at 10:09 AM

    In the latest edition of stating the obvious, Gulati must be removed.

    Reply

    • I almost agree with you. His experience at the head of our federation though is invaluable. Not many people know the ins and outs of our peculiar little league and our complex relationship with our hemispheric neighbors.

      With that in mind, I don’t think we’re ready to ax him just yet. But even if we were, who does the axing? Admittedly I’m not savvy enough with the makeup of our federation. Who does Sunil answer to?

      He’s a smart dude and his connections are second to none. Who would replace him?

      In my comment I suggest a board of some sort. Without the time to do the proper research, I wonder if such a board already exists.

      Matt, I’m sure, will correct me on this (as usual).

      Ah, to have the time of the TSG staff to do nothing but research on soccer would be blissful.

      But I’ll leave it here, and refer to the experts of this wonderful publication to do the heavy lifting.

      Reply

      • Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/28 at 12:10 PM

        My main gripe with Gulati is that he makes all of his decisions with an American isolationist mentality, and within that mentality is loyal to a good old boys network of coaches and former players around when they all started this thing.

        Hopefully everyone heard Klinsmann raging on the US youth system, because it is totally bunk. But even with that system (and in spite of it), we have steadily produced players of better quality over the last 20 years, and just won our group at the World Cup. But imagine how many players we have lost over that time – – with potential to be great if only exposed to some class coaching – – as they wasted away in high schools across America. Especially frustrating are those players without means, who unless they are lucky enough to get spotted by someone with connections that’s feeling charitable, can’t afford to join the elite club teams. Players not exposed early on to the class coaching at these clubs have no chance to play professionally.

        Bradley did a good job because he implemented a system that favored the talent we had. But now our talent is starting to outgrow that old school American system, and we have to change with it. Otherwise players like Torres will be wasted. The USMNT has huge chance to develop a system that mixes latino and european styles of play, which very well could be unbeatable in the future given the athletes we develop. But that will never happen unless the youth system is completely changed, and the youth system will never be rehauled until Gulati allows it.

        Gulati lost my respect when he turned down Klinsmann because he wanted to do this. If he isn’t the next coach, at least hire him as a consultant and give him the power to re-tool the youth system.

        Excuse my candor, but comments like the ones contained in the above post certainly don’t help Gulati’s image as an arrogant prick. Really, you’re going to say we lost in part because our players don’t play for the big club teams? It’s complete garbage for the head of our federation to come out and state that publicly. Also tell that to Donovan, who probably could have been at one of the elite teams if the MLS wasn’t so short-sighted as to ask for something ridiculous like a 30 mil transfer fee for a 28 year old player.

        In fairness, his tenure hasn’t been all bad. But Gulati needs to make some serious adjustments if we ever want to win a World Cup.

        Reply

        • Most England players are at those clubs. How’d they do?

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        • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 2:46 PM

          Klinsmann just repeated the same old cliches with very little specific sense of how the usual fix-alls bandied about could work in America, a very different culture than the Latin or West-European counties people want to copy.

          USSF has actually been doing good incremental work to push youth in the right direction (fewer games, more training, etc.).

          Reply

        • Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/28 at 2:57 PM

          It’s a little segment on an ESPN post-game show. He’s not gonna go into specifics, especially when he has to allow what he is saying to be understood by the asshat sitting to his left, Alexi Lalas. Sure, the US is a giant country and it is a bit of a logistical nightmare for the USSF to go about changing the entire youth system. But Klinsmann has lived here for 12 years and i’m sure he has some more specific ideas already in mind about how to get the process started.

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        • s44 – the USSF has been doing a good job, but for all the good that the Developmental league does, it is still only for the richest of clubs/players due to the costs involved. Also, one of the ways to completely overhaul the youth system overnight would be for the club teams within this country to stop poaching players and begin ponying up some money for “youth transfers” which would entice the clubs to ditch the win trophies at the expense of player development mentality.

          It’s something that we discussed back in April: http://theshinguardian.com/2010/04/18/guest-post-here-claudio-use-this-schematic/

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  2. Agreed. Sunil does some puzzling things.

    Failing to take the reins and establish a true American football hierarchy was a huge mistake by USSoccer. They only did damage control after it was obvious the two league weren’t close on an agreement. I know the situation is far more complicated than I’m leading on, but it’s just another example of USSunilSoccer not doing what’s in the best interests of the program and being too passive far too late in the game.

    This particular situation is stunning. How does one go from crying when you win the group stage to openly criticizing the coach after very next game? Seems a bit bipolar to me.

    I think if Bob had the choice, he’d definitely want to take a team to Copa America; it was Bob, not Sunil, that openly expressed major interest in international competition with the Confed Cup (a move I was not so sure about initially, but it paid dividends twice over by prepping Our Boyz for the big show, evident in MB90 and Deuce more than anyone else.

    And his comments about players in the Big Leagues is counter productive and another huge head-scratcher. Sunil, how do you expect people to pay attention to your league if you’re openly admitting that it’s players are inferior to the over-hyped leagues? I mean, what the hell does it matter if Our Boyz play for the big teams? Matt’s points made above, and the fact that the best player on our team has played exclusively in the MLS, should have been noted and he should have taken the time to promote not just USSoccer, but our domestic league.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like we need to disperse the power a little more within our federation? The USSF always feels like more of a dictatorship than any kind of organization that values dialog. That is never a good thing.

    Good reporting TSG. As usual.

    That is all.

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  3. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/28 at 10:29 AM

    It’s a little hard to be too harsh on these guys. On the one hand, they took the initiative 15 years ago when almost no one else in the states gave a damn about soccer and decided to dream big about how to put US Soccer on the map. On the other, I think the sport has outgrown their knowledge.

    Reply

    • Ouch! Cheers for the honesty tho!

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 10:32 AM

      Kaya — I think I’m being “fair” but I can understand my statements as being “harsh.” I most certainly can.
      …and as well USSF head is not the most cherished position in sports obviously.

      That said, Gulati’s presser today seemed haphazard in the face of a loss to fresh in many fans minds.

      As I wrote below, the time for Gulati to do real work is now.

      Reply

      • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/28 at 10:46 AM

        Sorry, I wasn’t trying to say you were being harsh. You epitomize the tagline of Faux News (Fair and Balanced… haha, except I’m being serious.) Often the truth is harsh… I was just trying to open by giving Sunil props for getting things going.

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  4. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 10:30 AM

    John — completely agree your comments on the dispersion of power.

    That said–and in response to John and Dennis–to me, I’m evaluating what Gulati does *now*.

    The reality is he got re-elected–unopposed…and what a fortuitous time for a re-election campagin–in Feburary of this year for four more years.

    To me, he needs to be doing positive things here this year after a “decent,” but ultimately “lesser” World Cup then fans expected.

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    • Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/28 at 11:32 AM

      Just fyi, I meant that my comment was stating the obvious to me, not that your post implied it (which it may or may not have, i’ll leave that to you to state outright).

      Reply

  5. Posted by DanPA on 2010/06/28 at 10:33 AM

    I only hear Gulati through a very cynical filter.

    1st quote: “I missed an opportunity to make a boatload of money”
    2nd quate: “What? …we weren’t invited because we treated it like a joke lat time!? We don’t want to go anyaway”

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 10:37 AM

      Here’s the thing…what if Mexico send their “A” team (as they should since it will be a World Cup rematch for them) to Copa America?

      How poor does the US look then taking on squads on the Gold Cup junior circuit?

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      • Posted by DanPA on 2010/06/28 at 11:06 AM

        I think that the casual fan, the ones that Gulati sees as the ‘missed oppurtunity,’ don’t notice a difference in the Gold Cup. We may even capture another 15 minutes of attention if we can take a A/B team and beat Mexico’s C team 5-0 (like Mexico did to us in 2009).

        I agree that we should take a team (a quality team) to the Copa America if offered the chance. If nothing else, more top-level competition is good for team development.

        From a US soccer marketing standpoint, its probably a high-risk/high-reward proposition: Go to Argentina, invest, market and televise some prime-time coverage and 1. do really well and make money on the investment or 2. do ok or flop, lose money, and lose the momentum of the world cup.

        Reply

        • I think the casual fan might not have noticed till now. But in the past two weeks the names Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, and Howard have been embedded in the collective conscience of the casual sports fan. I think those guys being there would get people to tune in who might’ve ignored it otherwise.

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      • Posted by DanPA on 2010/06/28 at 11:20 AM

        just to be clear, I was responding to Matthew’s question: “How poor does the US look then taking on squads on the Gold Cup junior circuit?”

        cfig, you bring up a very important point, casual fans will recognize, Donovon, Dempsey, Howard, Altidore. I think that US soccer/espn sees a safer return on their investment if these recognized names do well against Gold Cup competition versus a lower liklihood of success in S. America.

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  6. Posted by Colin on 2010/06/28 at 10:38 AM

    I dont know, I think the US did just fine. They got further than exactly 1/2 of the teams in the tournament. Further than Italy (Fifa #5) and France (Fifa #9) and just as far as England (Fifa #8) and our rivals Mexico (Fifa #17). And they did much better than the USMNT did in the 06 WC where we only got 1 point (because of an Italian OG)

    Uruguay (#16), Argentina (#7), England (#8), Holland (#4), Paraguay (#31), New Zealand (#78), Brazil (#1), and Portugal (#3) were the only other teams that were undefeated in the group stage. And had it not been for a terrible referee decision, the US would have finished with 7 points in the group stage…the 2nd highest possible number.

    The theme all along for the US was to get out of the group stage and then anything could happen in the knockout stages. Its fairly hypocritical to be disappointed when the “anything” turns out to be a narrow loss in extra time to a well organized Ghana side that is fighting for the entire continent of Africa.

    For me, the minimum expectation was to get out of the group. The bonus target was to win the group. Check and Check. A realistic target was for them to make it as far as they did in 02 and win at least 1 knockout game. They barely missed out on that target, but if you ask me, simply saying that the US failed to meet expectations is taking too much credit away from them. I think the “expectation” was to get out of the group…and anything more than that was a “target” rather than an “expectation”.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 10:43 AM

      Colin:

      I’ve though about this. And the best way I rationalize it is this way.

      “Did the States ever play their “best game?”
      “Could they have beaten Ghana with their “best game?”

      I think the answer there is yes.
      Every team makes mistakes, but the States just fell apart way too frequently early do not suggest “What would have happened had they not conceded early.”

      As a writer on the Yanks I had them going to the next round with Uruguay (or Argentina as my bracket shook out.)

      To me, they missed expectations–I wouldn’t say they failed. But that’s how I look at it.

      Reply

      • I agree with your sentiments, especially the questioning of did the US ever play their “best game?” Hell, did they even play an entire 90 minutes of solid soccer? I would answer no. The heart, grit, and determination that they showed in the first 360 minutes was endearing and made me proud to call the USMNT my team.

        Could we have beaten Ghana by playing our best game? Absolutely; we almost took care of them in the second half when we were playing pretty decently. Needless to say if we had strung together our best 90 minutes we would’ve been moving on. However, I cannot think of a game in recent memory where we played an entire 90 minutes of solid soccer (obviously including some ebb and flow), and therein lies the problem. Whether it is our players, our coaching, or our culture we have a hard time playing a complete match. There are players who stood out, but the team as a whole did miss the expectations, albeit just barely.

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 11:14 AM

          Nick — agree with you sentiments — especially on the ebb and flow.

          It’s funny though — the players who made the errors for the Yanks–beyond the strikers who were completely uncomfortable with opportunities–were largely the veterans…Onyewu–obviously playing hurt, Clark, even Howard.

          You have to play your best game at least once–that’s up to Coach, captains and the rest of players.

          I think Ghana did play theirs…against the States.

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      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/06/30 at 11:59 PM

        For me, they exceeded expectations by winning the group but by winning the group, they had a bracket that could send us to the semis. I’m not saying either teams are walkovers but both Ghana and Uruguay are beatable and neither are world beaters (anymore). If they had done the expected we would have won second in the group and loss to germany. That wouldn’t be as dissappointing, but to lose to Ghana (again) in the round of 16 when we had the potential to make it to the semis. That’s… very dissappointing.

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    • Posted by zlionsfan on 2010/06/28 at 11:33 AM

      Colin, I think that sets the bar too low. Italy, France, and England all had significant management issues: we advanced beyond Italy and France not solely because of anything we did, but because they took themselves out. We had opportunities to beat England and did not capitalize on them. No credit should be given for surpassing ’06 or any other experience like that: we should expect at least the round of 16 every time. We have the talent for that now.

      I don’t think they failed to meet expectations in terms of the progress they made, but rather expectations relative to the competition they were facing. They had several opportunities to win every match they played and managed to do so just once; had they beaten Ghana, keeping Forlan in check could have pushed us through to the semis. The next time that possibility comes around, the road will be significantly rougher. (Ghana at a semi-road match … whatever. We’re still a better side and have played in much tougher situations. There was a sizable US contingent in South Africa. Which was more difficult, playing Ghana in South Africa or playing at Mexico? Kingson can’t pass Chris Kirkland to play at Wigan, perhaps something other than shooting directly at him would have been better, although at least this match there were several shots on target.)

      I’m happy that they made it as far as they did, but I’m very disappointed that they didn’t seize what was presented to them. Ideally, someday we’ll be able to go head-to-head with any side in the world, anywhere, but until that happens, we need to maximize opportunities like these.

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      • Posted by Colin on 2010/06/28 at 1:05 PM

        I would have loved to see them go further as well, but if you read what players and coaches were saying before the tournament began…making it out of the group stage was the only real expectation…and anything beyond that would be various targets to meet. The first target was to win the round of 16 match, then the next would be to win the quarters, then the semis, then the finals. Unfortunately…only 1 team of 32 can meet all of those targets. Brazil and Spain are really the only side that can legitimately claim that winning the entire tournament ..or even reaching the semis…is an expectation rather than a target.

        Personally, I think a lot of people are taking too much away from Ghana. Ghana’s last group stage match was against a German side that needed points to advance out of the group. They were only beaten by a score of 1-0 to a very strong German side (as shown against England). And in that match, Ghana more than held their own.

        I guess I just never expected them to beat Ghana…I thought they had a good chance to do so if they did well…but as we found out, sometimes they dont.

        The fact that we are even debating whether or not the USA should be expecting to make it to the quarterfinals of the world cup is a sign of how far US Soccer has come in the past 3 years.

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    • Posted by Freegle on 2010/06/28 at 12:08 PM

      Success vs. Failure I think depends on whether you think the whole is more than the sum of it’s parts.

      The whole is that we won our group, advanced out of the group stage, had a valiant effort in an elimination game, and captured the attention of a nation that is usually indifferent to soccer.

      The parts, however are giving up early goals and having to play catch up in 3/4 matches, ametuerish mistakes by veteran players, questionable player selection and tactical decisions to start matches, etc. Do you realize that the USA led for a TOTAL or 3 minutes of the 390 + minutes that we played during this world cup?

      I feel like we advanced in spite of ourselves, which is, indeed noble. But, I think its overstating things to call it success. This squad was flawed in qualifying, we overcame it. We were flawed in this tournament, and again, we overcame it to some extent but it eventually caught up with us. So my question is: Are we a success for overcoming our flaws to advance to the knockout round? or are we a failure for not being able to address and correct those flaws enough to move on further? Don’t get me wrong, the bandwagon jumpers are great and the media attention is overdue in my opinion. But, seaking in strictly soccer terms, and based on the teams we faced, I’m leaning toward the latter.

      Reply

      • Posted by Colin on 2010/06/28 at 1:08 PM

        I think youll find that most teams in the world cup have their fair share of flaws to overcome.

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      • Freegle – that is the best verbalization of my feelings about this tournament. Of course, I’m disappointed because the “tease” that is the USMNT got me dreaming of a Quarterfinal matchup (a winnable one on paper) against Uruguay. However, our flaws caught up with us in the end and I feel the pangs of failure at not having those addressed during qualifying, the group stage, the first half and extra time of the Ghana match. I’m proud of this team’s ability to fight through and succeed in spite of themselves but I feel that realistically we need to understand that there are some failures to account for, irrespective of playing against Germany or Ghana in the round of 16.

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  7. Posted by dude on 2010/06/28 at 11:11 AM

    1) Gulati is not the type of person who should be making the major decisions about the cycle. He’s a business man who has contributed, but his tunnel vision is killing us.

    2) Regardless, I hope this means that Gulati is opening up the search and dropping Bradley. He is known for pettiness, and losing a convenient path to the semifinal amidst an avalanche of interest is getting to him. However, I still am not sure he chooses Klinsmann or a truly forward thinking candidate, but rather one who will owe him for the salary increase.

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  8. Posted by Trevin on 2010/06/28 at 11:13 AM

    One note you have failed to account for on Copa America 2011 – FIFA has changed the rules. They have cracked down on teams from outside playing in another confederation’s tournament(s). They made this change after Japan and Mexico were invited. Mexico has gotten permission to send a B/C team – basically, their 2012 Olympic team (only 5 over-age players). Japan may or may not attend. The USA wouldn’t be able to send anything better than that, which would be a B/C team as well. You can’t blame Gulati for that.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 11:15 AM

      Trevin:

      Did not know that — and thanks for the catch — I will put that up in my article.

      That said–I’m sure the States would get some leeway here.

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  9. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/28 at 11:19 AM

    Dani Alves is starting because Maicon can’t keep up with(or won’t be able to keep up with) Beasejour & Sanchez on the wings. You don’t need a physical presence the likes of Maicon for thhis match, and Chile’s target striker is like 5’8..

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  10. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/28 at 11:22 AM

    And who’s idea was it to bring a B-team to the last Copa America? If Project 2010 was implemented before then, then wouldnt that contradict the whole mission? You cant not bring your best players to the Second best Federational tournament in the world when you want to have an even outside chance of winning the world cup a whole 3 years later.

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  11. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 11:22 AM

    Blowing off Copa America 2007 was the smartest thing Bradley did. We had to win the GC, and did.

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    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/28 at 11:26 AM

      I’m not sure I understand how bringing players to the Copa America is related to bringing players to the Cold Cup all of 2 years later…

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      • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 11:30 AM

        The start-of-the-cycle GC is the qualifier for the Confed, so 2007 and 2011 are important while 2009 and 2013 are irrelevant.

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        • The every 2 years gold cup is holding up back…

          What’s Mexico’s plan? Are they going to participate in the Copa America and let us have the Gold Cup and head off to the Confederation’s Cup?

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          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 12:25 PM

            Agreed – Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras are the only true competition and–if you believe the hype–the US should be in a final every two years with Mexico.

            The Yanks need diversity, better competition, and brand names that the fans want to see.

            Copa America–if the States could have somehow scored a bid–would have indeed been a better selection.

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 11:27 AM

      Not suggesting that Copa America 2007 wasn’t a good choice (have no opinion there), however not angling for Copa America 2011–especially when the World Cup is nearby in 2014…and off the momentum of World Cup….and with solid teams there.

      Not sure I like that.

      Antonio — Gold Cup was 2007 (US beat Mexico) as well as 2009.

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  12. As I commented in the previous post, the entire player development system needs a revamp. The project 40 “skim the best talent” approach has taken us as far as it will.

    Unfortunately the whole thing is going to turn now on Sunil. What a ridiculous time to have an election – right before the big event? Anyways, I think that it was reasonable to expect last 8 again given who we were facing. Would I feel better having gone out to Germany in the last 16? Probably. Winning the group wasn’t as much exceeding expectations as benefiting from a poor England performance. Whatever holes we faced during this competition were entirely self-dug.

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  13. Honestly I wish that Gulati’s first public comments after the US exit from the World Cup would have been a bit more… optimistic.

    Immediately after a water-shed moment for US soccer in the public’s eye he does the following:

    1) Calls the team and their campaign (a team regarded as heroes, etc just days before) “disappointing”
    2) Gives non-statements about the coach that led them there
    3) Announces that US will no be participating in the next major international tournament that they could

    Talk about a buzz kill.

    I’m not saying that Gulati should have papered over the deficiencies of the US squad or its coach, but with the mainstream media still with its cameras and microphones trained on the USSF Prez (for only a short time longer) he could’ve done more “selling” and left a positive impression of American soccer and planted future seeds for the new fans we’ve brought on board.

    Instead we have downer message and few things to look forward to regain the competitive (and new viewer) edge. August 10th v Brazil is for money in the bank nothing else so that doesn’t count.

    Is it too much to expect that Gulati continue the sales job right at this moment?

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/28 at 12:17 PM

      Couldn’t agree more Dan. Unless Gulati spent the last 48 hours pouring over the games, speaking with the coach and players and formulating a rather informed opinion, then he shouldn’t have been selling not reviewing.

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    • Posted by Megan on 2010/06/28 at 7:42 PM

      I agree completely. I guess I don’t share the opinion of most fans; I thought this was a successful world cup.

      If we had finished 2nd in our group and gone out against Germany, I don’t think anyone would have been disappointed. That’s about where we’re at. We exceeded expectations, won our group, didn’t lose a match in regulation, finishing with a 1-0-3 record that should have read 2-0-2. Since 1930, we have lost at least 2 matches in every World Cup (in regulation). This was our best group stage performance ever.

      I don’t think you can look at our team and say we’re a top 10 team in the world. In the end, we lost a game we could have won. We cannot measure where we are as a soccer nation on that one game. In fact, we can’t measure our progress based solely on World Cup performances, because then we really don’t seem to have improved much since 1994, when in fact we are so much better.

      We could have done something special, and that’s disappointing to me. But my expectation for US Soccer right now is to get out of the group stage EVERY tournament. When we can do that consistently, then I’ll start saying, “OK, now we really need to start making it to the quarterfinals every once in a while” and so on.

      That’s not saying that the team couldn’t have done better. I just think that they may have set the bar beyond themselves in the group stages, and a lot of people changed their definition of a “successful tournament” once they saw what they thought was an easy road to the semifinals.

      Reply

      • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/29 at 1:35 AM

        Maybe your measurements for success make sense as a generality, but in this case, there was a path to the semifinals that may never come around again, and that’s why it’s such a disappointment. For this tournament, the way this team played compared to what they could’ve done, it’s a disappointment.
        Every one of our 4 games, there was a serious error in defense within the first 15 minutes. Only against Algeria did it not result in a goal for the opposition. Sorry, but that statistic represents a failure that was never dealt with.

        Reply

        • Posted by Megan on 2010/06/29 at 2:34 PM

          You say that this chance may never come around again. We’re going to continue to get better. We’re going to start consistently getting good results against better teams. One day, we’re going to make it to the point where we’re not going to NEED an easy path to the semifinals.

          We had the same flaws in 2002. There is always something to fix. We should not let that take away from the end result.

          I think we need to recognize where we can get better, but also appreciate where we are right now because there is progress. That’s why I think labeling this tournament as a failure is a bad idea.

          Keep in mind: the Ghana loss wasn’t nearly as bad as the loss to Poland in 2002, and even by today’s standards, no one would rate 2002 as a failure.

          Reply

  14. Couldn’t agree more. The main thing for US Soccer right now is to continue this interest. I know that at least in my age range (college) the interest was very easy to mobilize and is willing to do this again, but like most things, these young people can and will become bored soon. If the new US fans have to wait until qualifying for more USMNT games…..then that will cause the 2014 to just be a repeat of the level of interest, instead of an increase.

    Reply

    • Posted by Colin on 2010/06/28 at 1:24 PM

      Thats a really good point. The last world cup was on when I was a senior in college. I told myself during that tournament that I was going to start saving money and was going to be at the next world cup. Fast forward to June 2010 and I spent 2 weeks in south africa….and from what I noticed while I was there, many of the US fans were in the same age range as myself…25-30.

      I think that a younger, and more interested, group of US fans is on the rise and eventually, this age group is going to start having kids and start promoting the idea of their kids playing soccer rather than football or basketball or baseball.

      While its nice to convert casual fans into more interested fans…I dont think Sunil Gulati is really responsible for much of that. I feel its more due to the active fans converting the casual fans by talking about games, going to games, and spreading the word that way.

      Reply

  15. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/28 at 4:17 PM

    How about some speculation/thought on the pressing issue: the next coach…

    Reply

    • Posted by Dennis on 2010/06/28 at 5:08 PM

      I hear Sven Goran Eriksson is available.

      Seriously though, I don’t even know where to begin the speculation.

      Is USSF gonna insist on staying American and in the MLS? Someone already made the comment that if we are gonna do that, might as well keep Bradley, which I tend to agree with. Sigi Schmid? Preki? Jason Kreis?

      I would have loved to see what Hiddink could do with this team……

      Reply

  16. Posted by chris on 2010/06/28 at 4:51 PM

    If we would have been invited to the Copa America would we have not gone to the Gold Cup? Or would it have been just like the last time where we were at the Gold Cup and then the Copa America was only a short time after?
    What would happen if we theoretically would win Copa America? Copa America’s winner would go to the Confederations Cup right?

    Reply

  17. Posted by BW on 2010/06/28 at 4:56 PM

    a little too soon and too many ‘blew it’ analogies for me to appreciate this one: http://tweetphoto.com/29668896

    Reply

  18. Posted by Tom M on 2010/06/28 at 5:39 PM

    For anyone interested Victory is on Versus right now. East coast anyway. Great movie. One of my faves.

    Reply

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