Night-and-Day: Snap Judgements, USA vs. Guadeloupe

Difference maker...read on.

The United States eeked out a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe Tuesday at Livestrong Park to move on to the Gold Cup knockout rounds and face Jamaica in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.

Tuesday’s game was a tale of a fatigued squad–two fatigued squads–with the States having more talent than their opponent, enough to subsist for the win.

Some quick snap judgements:

• Cause-and-effect: When the Yanks move off the ball they’re universes better than when they don’t. (Thank you John Harkes.)

Not sure how to highlight this point further. But it’s starkly black-and-white.

When the United States made runs off the ball in the match, they created chances. Good chances.

When they didn’t, those chances were hard to come by and passes were forced.

It’s really that simple.

Countless times a Yank had the ball in the possession and a circumference of players around him were stagnant, the lot maybe drained from the wear-and-tear of the match and looking for the simple “rest” pass.

(You know the position where you make yourself available for the safe, possession-keeping outlet pass, but it does nothing to improve the attack.)

There is a certain measure of fatigue that played into the game, but a good team would acknowledge that by players making runs in spurts–as Alejandro Bedoya did when he entered.

For example: “Okay, Dempsey’s tired, I’ll makes some runs.”

It was really quite a terrible display at many times and if the States do that in the second round…that is stagnate…they’ll be given their walking papers early.

• Jozy Altidore should cancel his membership to the Lebron James School of Development

Jozy Altidore’s first half strike was a “Whoa, where did that come from moment.”

US fans have seen Altidore uncork some shots either on the run or facing up outside the box before, rounding Jamie Carragher at World Cup 2010 and a near miss from the left hash extended in a friendly against the Netherlands come to mind.

Tonight, Jozy Altidore showcase the wide range of his talents, but just not enough.

The offense was at its best when Altidore was moving off the ball. Only he did this on just three out of 10 possessions.

Altidore bodied up a few players–a moment in the 47th minute when he earned a foul on a drag run was satisfying, but too often he didn’t initiate contact.

And there was the aforementioned Altidore strike. Fans will be pleading for Altidore to wind up more often.

Consistency game in and game out has proven too difficult for Altidore to achieve over his 37 caps, but Altidore needs to improve his fitness and desire in more frequents spurts during the duration of the game.

He’s that integral right now to the US attack and should be.

• The old guard and new guard owned the corners

Steve Cherundolo quietly goes about his business, shutting down would-be attackers on his flank and being useful and dangerous on the attack.

Tonight, Cherundolo–on his third game in eight days–owned his domain.

Acquitted well...

Likewise, Eric Lichaj, wrong-footed on the left flank, was just as effective if not more so because the Yanks have not seen their leftback get forward in this tournament. In fact, the 43rd minute of Game 3 was the first time the Yanks switched field to an advanced leftback in the tournament to date!

Lichaj was dangerous in the attack, having the discipline to challenge wide on his worse foot rather than continually cutback on this strong one. That takes mental discipline and desire to adhere to the game plan.

In defense, Lichaj held his line well and used his low center of body to ride his attacker off the ball.

And, a huge credit to Lichaj–and something Cherundolo does well–for continuing to pursue a play before an offsides call was about to be made. That’s fundamentals and those efforts do not go unnoticed by a coaching staff.

• A troubling lack of getting stuck-in from the States.

As good as Lichaj was at using his frame and being physical–at one point absorbing a foul and playing on while everyone else on the pitch stood still–the rest of the US team sorely lacked in this operational category.

Jones...better...

Beyond Lichaj, Cherundolo and Jermaine Jones, the US showed an amazing lack of challenging for possession and making hard tackles.

Again, perhaps they were tired. Perhaps they were worried about fouls.

Or perhaps Bob Bradley drilled maintaining shape and containment into their persons so much that going for the tackle wasn’t worth it.

Whatever the reason, the US lost most of the physical battles this evening and that’s troubling considering Jamaica–a team made of nails–and perhaps a Panama rematch may be on the docket next.

Quick hits:

• Michael Bradley exhibited thorough soccer best practices on the evenings, at one point continuing a run into the box that most would have broken off. He earned a bonus possession when the ball fell to him. However, Bradley, still should not be the main distributor for the Yanks.

• I’ve never seen Landon Donovan walk so much during a match. He didn’t take on players after a few early spurts and his service was again erratic. I’ve got to believe something’s up.

Captain America, well done.

• Carlos Bocanegra should be commended on his backline management and positioning this evening. It was excellent.

• Alejandro Bedoya played his second impassioned, aggressive game of the tournament….while Robbie Rogers watched from somewhere in the stands. Stain on Bradley here. Bedoya is and was not redundant to a Benny Feilhaber and should have been on the roster from the beginning. He’s precisely the spark off the corner the team needs.

• And yes, finishing, was atrocious, but I do chalk that one up to fatigue unless we see that pathetic of an effort again.

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107 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by thebostinian on 2011/06/14 at 11:43 PM

    Only watched the second half…but it looked…well, good, but in a U14 team beating a U12 team. We have more talented players, but I don’t know if we played well. I do know that that’s the first time I’ve ever called Clint Dempsey – my favorite player in the world – a four-part swear word before.

    Honestly, we should’ve won at least 3-0…and it could have been even bigger than that. Hopefully the five day break is enough for the players to be up for the match against Derice Bannock, Sanka Coffie, and Yul Brenner – because the finishing here was atrocious, and I’m really hoping that the cause of it was fatigue and nothing more. Dempsey could’ve had a hat trick in about ten minutes…and came away with no goals. Ai yi yi.

    Reply

    • “I do know that that’s the first time I’ve ever called Clint Dempsey – my favorite player in the world – a four-part swear word before.”

      This.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/15 at 6:56 AM

        He looked like he was sleep walking out there. Got himself into the usual dangerous positions and then seemed to just take it for granted that he’d score.

        Reply

  2. Posted by . on 2011/06/14 at 11:48 PM

    I’ve always preferred Bocanegra in the centre and this game only reinforced my opinion. He reads the game pretty well and his lack of speed doesn’t impede him so much in the centre. Also provided pretty good cover for some of Lichaj’s flubs. If Lichaj is a workable option at LB, I fully support leaving Boca at CB.

    Reply

    • Posted by mbw on 2011/06/15 at 6:51 AM

      Thoroughly agree, but it would be cool if Boca could resist the urge to play the ball to the other team’s centerbacks every time he gets it.

      Reply

  3. Posted by dth on 2011/06/14 at 11:50 PM

    With the turnaround to Sunday, with yet another flight, can we expect fatigue levels to markedly decrease? I’m not sure that would be fair (particularly if DC will be hot on Sunday, which seems very plausible at this time of year). That was the worst part of the Panama loss–that we’d have to exert more effort in this match than needed in this match, making us exhausted for the next match, etc.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/14 at 11:56 PM

      I don’t think so on Saturday, though at least it’s a few more days. You’re such the contrarian. Ha!

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/14 at 11:57 PM

        The offball movement and physical play was appalling from the States tonight. They play like that Sunday and they’re going to get creamed.

        Reply

    • Posted by EFG on 2011/06/15 at 3:42 AM

      Saw the weather report on the gym this morning and it is supposed to reach 90 on Sunday and having our game at 3pm isn’t going to help things. With humidity it’ll probably feel closer to 100 on the field (and in the stands) during the match.

      Reply

  4. [...] player ratings [ESPN Soccernet] * Greg Seltzer’s player ratings [MLSsoccer.com] * Snap Judgements, USA vs. Guadeloupe [The Shin Guardian] * U.S. 1-0 Guadeloupe: Analysis and Player Ratings [The USA 10 Kit] * USA sinks [...]

    Reply

  5. Posted by EFG on 2011/06/15 at 3:48 AM

    My impressions:

    1) Someone other than Donovan needs to start taking set pieces. They’ve been terrible for a while now and when Dempsey was taking them around the box, those were his best strikes on goal of the match. My mind was made up when Donovan chose to cross a ball into the box for Goodson from 22 yards out. And don’t give me the “from that angle, a left-footer was needed”, not buying that.
    2) Jones had a nice bounce back game and was physical without being reckless. I’m confused at what the general popular opinion of Jones is. Do we fans want him to be in a more “enforcer” role or in a more “creative” (for lack of a better word) role? It seems that there is vitriol when he’s not doing either and it confuses me as to what we want from him. Do we as a collective fan base know?
    3) Good luck keeping Bedoya out of the starting lineup on Sunday

    Reply

    • Posted by chuck on 2011/06/15 at 4:38 AM

      1) Donovan has been poor this tourney–on free kicks and everywhere else. Hope he gets it together for Jamaica.

      2) Jones was solid. It seemed today his role and MB’s were clear and maybe the two are begining to understand each other. It’s not quite a ‘doble pivote’, MB pushes higher up (though not such that you would call this a diamond midfield), and Jones sits deeper, often covering for an advancing Lichaj or ‘Dolo. I thought it was a good, not great, performance from central mid.

      3) Are you suggesting BB adjust his tactics and start a 4-5-1? What evidence is there that BB knows anything besides a 4-4-2 exists?

      Reply

      • Posted by Bode on 2011/06/15 at 4:46 AM

        Re: 3) It’s possible that, given our striking situation, Deuce might be moved to striker with Bedoya taking over on the left.

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      • Posted by Alex on 2011/06/15 at 6:54 AM

        In the Guadeloupe game, our most recent iteration of our central midfield conundrum, I think that Bradley played more advanced with Jones behind in a kind of “linker-destroyer” pair of roles, respectively, or roles that would normally appear in the 3-man midfield of destroyer-linker-creator.

        However, I think part of our problem is that we do have a kind of redundancy in the midfield. I have always heard Tim Vickery and Jonathan Wilson talk about the roles in both 2-man and 3-man central midfields. We are reminded of many other 90’s-early 2000’s teams with the sort of “creator-destroyer” roles in the 2-man, diamond midfield, like Real with Zidane and Makelele. However, if we are looking at our midfield in the same way, we have the redundancy of Jones-Bradley and the “#10″ redundancy of Donovan-Dempsey, resulting in a) no width and b) clogged and static central midfield play and confusion as per roles. If we then try and think of it as roles based off a 3-man midfield, then we have the “destroyer-linker-creator” setup, but again, this doesn’t really work as Bradley is becomes either too far advanced or behind the play (where Jones should be) to act as linker, and Donovan and Dempsey are stuck outside-pinching-in and don’t act as a proper “creator” figure.

        Basically, I think that we are stuck tactically in a way where our central midfield roles are ill-defined, regardless of whether you think of them in a 2-man central midfield, or even a modified 3-man central midfield (where either Donovan or Dempsey acts as a 3rd midfielder in the center pinching in). In our empty bucket formation, Jones and Bradley are confused as to positioning, because neither should interject themselves into Donovan or Dempsey’s lanes inside. We don’t have FBs who can bomb up and down the flanks all night and fill that vacated space for overlapping runs to the corner flags. Our short-pass central midfield space gets either too clogged up or, paradoxically, too long and our passes get picked off based on the position of Jones-Bradley and Donovan-Dempsey pairings. I have advocated for a while now that we have the effective parts to play with a 3 man midfield in a 4-3-3 (Jones-Bradley-Dempsey) with 3 fwds (Altidore-Bunbury-Agudelo/Donovan) and the wingbacks to do it (Chandler (RIP?)-Lichaj/Bornstein).

        Sorry for the rant. It’s just that either I think the problem in our central midfield is so obvious, or maybe I am oversimplifying and reading too much Jonathan Wilson without really understanding it!

        Reply

        • Posted by patrick on 2011/06/15 at 8:34 PM

          Like your thoughts –and certainly there is some personell issues with our options at midfield–however going to a 4-3-3 would never work on the world stage for two big reasons:

          1. our backline is suspect (watch group play in ’10 Cup). The only reason I have not said awful is b/c our keeping has kept the ball out of the net. a 433 puts ob’s in a lot of 1v1 situations.

          and

          2. we do not have three forwards who would be committed enough to defending. Certainly, youre right it would space us out when in possession of the ball, but defensively the three up
          top become vital defenders

          Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/15 at 7:06 AM

      It needed a left footer on that side. I was watching the Univision stream and the angle was terrible for a right footer to shoot on goal.

      That being said, you’re right that Donovan shouldn’t be taking set pieces. They have been awful lately. In general, he’s been lackadaisical and out of sorts. He should’ve been rested for the Guadeloupe game.

      Bedoya needs to start. Bradley lucked out that he was able to call him in for Feilhaber. Including Rogers or Adu over Bedoya looks really dumb now.

      Reply

      • Posted by Logwyn on 2011/06/15 at 3:18 PM

        At this level we’re really talking about left foot/right foot? No wonder the we can’t do well at the national team level. We are concerned about what footed we are……

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        • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/16 at 3:15 AM

          There are certain angles on free kicks that make them very difficult to score based on the angle towards goal. It doesn’t matter if you’re Roberto Carlos, Juninho or Becks if the angle isn’t a good one chances are you’re not going to score.

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  6. Posted by Colin on 2011/06/15 at 4:35 AM

    How about the 4-5-1-0 formation that was employed for the final 10 minutes or so?

    As much as SOME of the US finishing was awful…I would give at least half that credit to the Grandel. While he looked a bit foolish on Jozy’s strike, he made some impressive if not spectacular saves throughout the night. He made 2 first half saves from Wondolowski shots in quick succession….neither of which should be considered poor finishing by Wondolowski, but rather good goalkeeping. Think of it this way…if Howard had made those same exact saves…we’re all saying “OMG, HOWARD IS A BEAAAST!!”…not “wow, that other guy is finishing poorly tonite”.

    However, Duece’s would be tap in was just terrible.

    Reply

    • Posted by chuck on 2011/06/15 at 4:48 AM

      Right, the irony is, BB made two defensive-minded substitutions late in the game (mids for forwards) and our offense looked BETTER, livelier, more threatening. To me, that is an argument to scrap the 4-4-2–if we don’t have one real quality striker, why start 2? Play a 4-2-3-1 or a christmas tree. Our spark is with the midfielders. So get them on the field. Tall Altidore (if you insist on playing him) to keep his back to the goal and get the mids involved.

      Reply

    • Posted by Alex on 2011/06/15 at 6:56 AM

      Play 4-6-0 like Roma! Counter-attack city! I guess we don’t really have a player like Totti to pull it off though, but maybe Dempsey is crazy enough to do it.

      Reply

  7. Posted by John Henry on 2011/06/15 at 5:13 AM

    Side note: It’s painful to think how much better this team would be if … … … Subotic and Rossi were on it. Ouch.

    Reply

    • Posted by Crotalus on 2011/06/15 at 9:03 AM

      As a fanbase, we’ll probably get over that fact in about 2022 when they retire from international competition.

      Reply

  8. Posted by jb on 2011/06/15 at 5:31 AM

    I was horrified by the way we played, particularly the last 15 minutes. Guadaloupe had completely given up, was not pressuring the ball, was barely jogging…AND WE STILL COULDN’T SCORE. Deuce was off, and I was going to give him a pass because of how well he has played up till now, but the laziness displayed on the Bedoya cross is unacceptable! From anyone! Something is wrong with Donovan.

    I know it appeared we won the possession game, and we did create good chances. Best of all the defense was solid. But consider the opponent! A nation of 400k that isnt world cup eligible, playing without a starter and a third game in about a week after playing a man down the whole tourney! I slept on this so as to not overreact but if we don’t have a complete turnaround and reach the final to play a stirring match against (presumably) Mexico, I think drastic changes are needed. Coaching regime change and revamping of the player pool.

    Reply

    • Posted by thebostinian on 2011/06/15 at 6:33 AM

      The Bedoya cross wasn’t laziness…that was simply getting too cute.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/15 at 6:33 PM

        You aren’t giving enough credit to the Guadalope player who made a fantastic play. That is a goal nine times out of ten.

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  9. Posted by Nicholas on 2011/06/15 at 5:38 AM

    It just never seems like our guys have multiple options in possession. I don’t think it’s formational because I haven’t noticed it being all that much better when we go with a 4-5-1.

    All of those beautiful triangles that Spain utilize never really materialize for the States. As such, our attack seems to become someone predictable or lower percentage with the through balls or over the tops.

    Bravo on the chances created, but it doesn’t seem like we’re destined to ever play a great possession game.

    Reply

    • Posted by scweeb on 2011/06/15 at 9:53 AM

      I don’t think we could pull of the beautiful traingle possession like spain! but i do think we should try and mix it in with the talent that we now have in are mid.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Dikranovich on 2011/06/15 at 5:50 AM

    Sunday is expected to be a perfect day mid 80s with possible thunder showers. Dc is currently in a cooling trend. Man those fans in kc had to make Americans proud with their display of fandom. RFK will be rocking and smoking Sunday afternoon. Tailgating starts at ten.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Jake C on 2011/06/15 at 5:55 AM

    Yep and yep. If jozy took shots like that regularly then a bunch of our problems go away. Poor finishing aside, you make an interesting comment about the lack of tackling last night. I also saw that against panama; I saw Donovan, Bradley, jones, and, well all of the defenders (save dolo) miss them against panama. That needs to stop if we’re going to keep playing that formation.

    The off the ball movement was better from the onset last night, and it’s interesting that happened in the final game of the group, when they were the most tired. I don’t know what to make of the difference between the last game and panama, but that can’t just be down to the players, can it?

    Reply

    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/15 at 6:22 AM

      Do the cards get wiped now that we move to the knockout round? Donovan is not a tackler but wonder how much of Bradley and Jones was the fact that they already had a yellow.

      Reply

  12. Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/15 at 5:57 AM

    More of a tidbit then a comment…

    ELO ratings (through June 7th):

    Mexico – 10
    USA – 32
    Costa Rica – 40
    Honduras – 45
    Jamaica – 47
    Panama – 58
    Canada – 59

    Not sure if ELO are better than FIFA or even worth paying attention to but the pre-Gold Cup ELO ratings were surprising to me.

    Reply

  13. Posted by Damon on 2011/06/15 at 5:59 AM

    Doesn’t the US have to look at going 4231 with Demsey in the hole and Bedoya out on the left? (or call it a 4411 since its pretty much sematics….)

    Reply

  14. Posted by JW on 2011/06/15 at 6:37 AM

    Maybe Rossi would have felt at home on this team, we’re certainly starting out like an Italy…

    Also, someone needs to tell Jozy to turn and shoot more. He’s caught two goal keepers navel-picking with how fast they happened. It needs to happen 5 times a game, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Also, can we get McBride to personally tutor this kid in the dark-arts of physicality?

    I think the Dempsey shocker was a little bit of lost confidence from earlier, maybe a ghost from his Panama miss. He just needs to have a a ball come in where he has to lob the keeper with a backheel between 4 defenders from the endline, because when it’s too easy… maybe he thinks?

    Landon needs to be shown a video from when he used to tear apart Caribbean opponents. MB and JJ are not Reyna, but they can get the ball to you if you make dangerous runs. And seriously, you’ve got ‘Dolo, MB, and JJ as cover if you get caught out, there isn’t better coverage in this tournament.

    Finally, if Bocanegra starts out wide against the Jamaican wingers, God help us all. He’s looks much more comfortable at this level in CB over LB. Love that switch. Sorry, Ream.

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  15. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/15 at 6:58 AM

    I know Jozy is tallish and biggish (6’1″ and 175 is not that imposing), but he is clearly NOT a target forward. He receives the ball and turns toward to goal almost everytime. Its like some kid is pressing X a thousand times trying to score in a video game. Jozy is a nice player and a good forward, just not a center forward. I can see the states running with him wider or letting him turn to shoot more.

    Also I like wondo out there working his butt off for the first 45. I would split him with Bedoya each putting in 45.

    Start:
    Dempsey-Wondo-Altidore
    Jones-Bradley-Donavon
    Lichaj-Boca-Goodson-Dolo

    Half switch to
    Altidore
    Bedoya-dempsey-Donavon
    –Jones–Bradley–
    Lichaj-Boca-Goodson-Dolo

    Then at 60-70 inject edu or Kljestan for jones or bradley. They are clearly gassed by then. Then depending on how the game is going Agudelo for Altidore at 80ish for the fresh legs.

    Reply

    • Posted by Alex on 2011/06/15 at 7:09 AM

      Good call on that Jozy comment. I lolled! But it’s true – he’s always looking for that turn, regardless of where he is on the field, rather than the layoff-pass-to-rolling off the defender or the flick-on. I think Teal looked passable as a target fwd when we have trotted him out on the field with that as his defined role. He certainly understands the nuances of the role better than Jozy, and I think Teal acquitted himself well in the SA game with Agudelo way-back-when. Altidore as looked best out wide cutting in – again, another call for the 4-3-3 (am I crazy over here or what!).

      Dolo-Goodson-Boca-Lichaj
      Jones-Bradley-Dempsey
      Donovan-Wondo-Altidore

      (Oh God, why didn’t we bring Boon-Boo-Ree instead of Adu??)

      Reply

      • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/15 at 7:12 AM

        Alex, didn’t you know that the Gold Cup is being used as a way to evaluate players? It’s not about winning the Gold Cup but about seeing Adu’s condition.

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      • Posted by Alex on 2011/06/15 at 9:56 AM

        Well, its a shame that Bunbury got hurt right before the Argentina and Paraguay friendlies. He does look like a dynamic CF. And he started the MLS season hot with that sick brace. But his form has been so woeful lately that it’d be hard to call him in. I certainly dislike the Rogers and Adu picks (well, I’ve liked Rogers as a player, but he’s been so damn disappointing that it’s hard to now) but I don’t think Bunbury would have helped if he played like he’s been playing in the MLS. We can’t get an on-form Forward to save our collective lives.

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        • Posted by Tony on 2011/06/15 at 2:31 PM

          Bunbury’s problem is: he forgot that good touches leads to goals. he needs to go back to basics (good touches) and the goals will come in abundance.

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    • Do you think Wondo could hold the ball up? Like the 4-3-3 but wouldn’t mind maybe seeing Agudelo in the center of the three in place of Wondo. Could see him getting behind/ challenging CBs and isn’t bad bringing balls down.

      As far as Wondo in this last match:
      Obviously not the speediest, but even seems a tad slow in his reactions. May be nitpicky but the finishing could be better if he made that last touch a bit sooner. Just doesn’t seem to have the finishing skills or speed (yet) at this level. Also a great striker may have ran across the goal to come to that cross from Dolo. Overall did ok.

      Reply

      • Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/15 at 10:34 AM

        I do not see Wondo as able to be a Target forward. We couldn’t play a long ball to him and expect it to be won, but that is mostly true of Altidore too. I would think to force the long ball wide and let the wings win them and look for a smart run from Wondo to open space. I find his movement might not be producing for himself, but its making space for other players. Problem with both Altidore and Agudelo is their movement is too similar and they aren’t creating the space we need.

        Another though would be donavon or dempsey as center forward in a more Messi-like role. Donavon could be a speed option, Dempsey more creative/tricky.

        Another thought on Jozy: the US is trying to play him like Drogba, but I think he might be more of a Torres type. Both Center forwards, but they play drastically different styles and obviously can’t play together well in a 4-4-2.

        Reply

        • Posted by MJ on 2011/06/15 at 1:00 PM

          Forgive me for not remembering the minute of the match but, during Jozy’s dragging play through the box just before he got subbed, I seem to remember seeing Wondo standing wide open directly ahead of him waiting for the tap-in goal. The camera cuts away quickly after, but Wondo throws his hands up in a fairly obvious moment of frustration with his partner choosing the solo route that prevented a goal and, on a personal note, denied him the breakout goal he was looking for I’m sure.

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          • Posted by duder on 2011/06/16 at 4:31 PM

            yes you are remembering that correctly. Jozy decided to be selfish and take the risky shot as opposed to setting up his teammate for the higher percentage chance.

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      • Posted by Soccernst on 2011/06/15 at 10:59 AM

        Are we longing for Ching? :-)

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        • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/15 at 11:13 AM

          I’m longing for McBride. I’d take a McBride who’s been retired over any of our strikers right now. At least you know he’ll try hard out there and he won’t miss from 3 yards.

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  16. I think the lack of getting stuck in was due to the yellows to Jones and Bradley both of which knew that another would’ve meant suspension which would be far more important than the challenge they made or didn’t make so I commend their discipline

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    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/15 at 7:17 AM

      I think this is certainly a fair point…

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      • Posted by thebostinian on 2011/06/15 at 7:47 AM

        Especially considering the propensity of both guys – especially Jones (who’s first name is so hood that I feel like I should just use that when I’m talking about him, but hasn’t been around enough to merit the use of anything other than his surname) – to see more cards than Phil Ivey.

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/06/16 at 12:42 PM

          Michael Bradley rarely gets carded anymore. The yellow against Canada was his first in a U.S. uniform since the Confederations Cup. In Germany, his card count usually floated around four yellow cards/year.

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  17. The team looked mentally fatigued even more than physically. The lack of challenging, stepping up and hustle at times is still worrying. It’s hard to go from 0 to 60, and this match could have gone along way towards rebuilding some confidence, if the entire team had gone out with more drive and determination. It is going to be hard to transition to Jamaica.

    Yes there was physical fatigue but that doesn’t explain letting up as soon as Jozy scored that goal. Understand Bradley’s philosophy of keeping a not too threatening Gaudeloupe team in front of them (not playing a high backline etc.). But immediately the USMNT just back off and conceded space into their end far too easily.

    There were a lot of frustrated players out there. It just seems like the players sense the lack of cohesion and uncertainty of the formation. This team needs to have a day off to clear their heads.

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  18. Posted by Kevin O' on 2011/06/15 at 8:49 AM

    Can’t believe the title didn’t read “Jozy and the Pussycats.”

    Matthew, great comments again. Jozy has long been the most frustrating yank to date for a while because of his ridiculous upside. His problems are in this order:

    A.) Attitude
    B.) Fitness

    I would have added first touch not so long ago, but he really does have a decent first touch and can make lightning fast great runs, here’s the caveat: “when he applies himself.” But he saves himself more than a sixteen year old Mormon girl. What gives? He reminds me of the 90’s NBA punks who would come into the league motivated by a large payday and stats only, team be damned. I run hard when I want to, I’ll try when I want to. (Love your Lebron comment.)

    This early in his career and based on his position he should literally be running circles around the field, the last wanting to come off, making at least 20 quality runs a game, constantly pressuring the keeper, being a pest when the center backs attempt to link to the midfield, etc. Instead, at minute 60 I can guarantee that he’ll be starting to slump and look like he’s just finished the Boston marathon. Sometimes he looks an 80 year old man walking to the corner store for his daily newspaper.

    I’m routing for him, and desperately want to respect him, but he’s quickly becoming as odd of a duck as Donovan. Somebody provide him a copy of “Doing Work” quick!

    Reply

    • Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2011/06/15 at 9:49 AM

      My current image of where Jozy should be effort-wise is the October ’09 Costa Rica game that had the CD9 tribute. Jozy was flying around all night. That is the effort he is capable of, and we don’t see.

      Reply

      • Posted by thebostinian on 2011/06/15 at 10:28 AM

        Instead, he’s had a tendency to play like Antoine Walker after he got 71 million over six years from the Celtics in 1999. Jogged a lot, stayed outside and was content to chuck up threes even though he had thirty pounds and five inches on the guy guarding him.

        Reply

  19. Posted by jbf on 2011/06/15 at 10:10 AM

    From the comments above, it looks like I’m in the tiny minority here, but here’s my take.

    I don’t think the U.S. really cared that a lot of their chances weren’t going in. And in a way, I kind of like that. Sure it’d be great if all the chances you created went in (and the best teams do that). However, I felt like the U.S. was playing with a confidence and a (attempted) flair that I rarely see from them. Those boys were playing pretty well together, and it seemed like each of them was trying to show each other what they could do. I thought Dempseys attempted chip (and Jozy’s strike) were perfect examples of this idea. They felt they were dominating this game and weren’t afraid to try stuff out. As opposed to most other games where we’re a little bit timid and think we need to manufacture stodgy, ‘system’ goals, and that’s the only way.

    Player interviews after the game seemed to echo that. No one was real concerned about the questions about finishing or playing with less than perfect efficiency.

    I think this is the next step that US Soccer needs to take. It needs to play with a little audacity. It’s also why I think wynalda (aside from being not too great a commentator) was so bemused at the teams performance after the game. He’s from the old generation, who really probably weren’t overly skilled or athletic, so they needed to manufacture hard fought goals.

    Sure it wasn’t against the best opponent, but I liked what I saw last night, and I hope they keep working at it, and playing a bit more free.

    Reply

    • I agree with this. This match was the best performance of the group stage, albeit against the weakest team. Happy to save the clinical finishing for a day where the chances are fewer and the result is in doubt.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/15 at 6:31 PM

        I don’t think you can “save the clinical finishing for a day where the chances are fewer and the result is in doubt.”

        However, I agree that the US pretty much had this game under control. Had Dempsey finsihed even one of the numerous chances the offense created even in the last few minutes, it would have been 2-0 and a pretty comfortable win. I suspect he will be better next game.

        I think the team are tired and did just what what they had to do. I was advocating dropping Donovan but in his latest interview he said something about only having had a little time with this squad and feelng like he was starting to round into form. Donovan is renowned for being pretty blunt so I’ll take his word for it.

        The subpar games have been setting off a lot of criticism but BB went into this knowing if he didn’t win the Gold Cup his job was in trouble so that should not affect much.

        Reply

    • Posted by KickinNames'... on 2011/06/15 at 3:33 PM

      I’d just like to see them win and play consistently. 1-0 over Guadaloupe is just not the place to be “trying stuff out” especially after Panama came out and blew them off the field for a half.
      I’d like to see less swagga and just some good sound consistent soccer. But I’m “old school” too I guess))

      Reply

    • Agree that it is ok that the team doesn’t get down about the poor finishing. But it is important to maintain focus for the entire match no matter who you are playing/ what the circumstance. Along the same lines as “practice like you play.” Bad habits breed future bad results. For the most part good match, but there were a few moments of relaxing slightly on challenging, not stepping up as quick, and not focusing on staying over the ball. Also a little bad luck. Just felt Guadeloupe made it too easy for the US to connect passes and find there spots. Hard to draw real conclusions from this match.

      Here’s hoping this team really comes alive on Sunday.

      Reply

  20. Posted by Alex on 2011/06/15 at 10:11 AM

    I know people are quick to blame Dempsey for having a bad night and all, but the biggest disappointment for me this whole tournament has been Donovan. He’s supposed to be our superstar, our offense. Instead we have Landycakes. The unmotivated underwhelming player who isn’t living up to the name. He just looks slow in his decision making, in his runs, in his effort. The only time i’ve seen him be effective was the 1st half vs Canada and that was only because Canada sat so deep and didn’t press so he could find passes even with his slow speed of thought. Excluding a few good feeds vs Canada, and one moment when he pulled an Iniesta-like move to split a pair of defenders vs Panama, hes been beyond disappointing. Even his set pieces have felt lazy; floating into traffic to be easily cleared out by defenders who have ample time to position themselves. We need him to bring it vs Jamaica. We need him to stretch defenses with his speedy determined runs. 2010 Landon Donovan, please come back.

    Reply

  21. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/06/15 at 10:18 AM

    “I don’t see Agudelo playing tonight. Bedoya for wondo in the 65th. And that graphic suggests lichaj will not be getting forward tonight… which is highly improbable because if that’s the case, why is he in the XI to begin with?. Lichaj’s night tonight.”

    kudos to me

    Reply

  22. Posted by Ben K on 2011/06/15 at 10:29 AM

    I thought Jones was probably tied with Cherundelo for player of the game. His distribution was on point and he had 3 or 4 BEAUTIFUL balls over the top of the defense to set up real scoring opportunities. I liked his hustle in the transition game and he single-handedly stopped several dangerous counter-attacks from Guadalupe. Complete 180 from last game–perhaps he is channeling his old Schalke-bad-ass-mofo ways?

    Reply

    • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/06/15 at 2:48 PM

      The movement was also better on the wings. When Cherundolo AND Lichaj streak up the flanks that creates more space to pass into. Also Guadaloupe’s flank defending was poor.

      Reply

  23. Posted by dth on 2011/06/15 at 11:11 AM

    Reply

    • Doesn’t that just speak to how the US has created few quality chances/ has finished a low percentage, in the past (and currently)?

      Reply

  24. Posted by Gino on 2011/06/15 at 12:11 PM

    I haven’t really seen Jamaica play much this Gold Cup but I’m definitely nervous about Sunday. The Nats have underwhelmed so far while the Jamaicans seem to be firing on all cylinders. This doesn’t bode well. Gotta hope Landon snaps out of his funk or heals up or whatever is ailing him. Clint’s gonna need some creative help. I’d like to see him up top and Bedoya start out wide this weekend. Other than that, I think the lineup should be the same as yesterday’s.

    Hopefully the four days rest and a newfound sense of urgency reinvigorates the team. If we’re flat again and get bounced early, then wholesale changes will be in order.

    Reply

  25. Posted by Randy on 2011/06/15 at 12:52 PM

    We are really missing Stuart Holden in the tournament.

    Reply

  26. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/06/15 at 1:02 PM

    I’ll say it. Bench Donovan for Sasha or Bedoya. Not getting good service on corners and free kicks. Not creating scoring opportunities (Dempsey’s shocker stems from the number of scoring chances he missed but Donovan had less than a handful over the tourney).

    Reply

    • Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/06/15 at 7:43 PM

      You’ll say it but no one is going to listen.

      I realize this is the place for speculation, but let’s be a little more sober in our assessments especially concerning one of the two best players on our team. Lando hasn’t been very good this tourney, but the level of scrutiny placed upon him makes the games he has had look worse than they really are. Additionally, the guy was extremely ill days before the first game and despite what he says it probably carried over to his overall fitness over the course of the week.

      Sasha over Donovan? Really? Really?

      Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/15 at 8:10 PM

      Humoring your comment Bernie….

      …on defense alone Donovan needs to stay. Invaluable if he doesn’t even touch the ball. (Not that he’s a great defender, but he’s positionally excellent and a danger on the counter).

      Reply

  27. [...] Night-and-Day: Snap Judgements, USA vs. Guadeloupe The United States eeked out a 1-0 win over Guadeloupe Tuesday at Livestrong Park to move on to the Gold Cup [...] [...]

    Reply

  28. Posted by Bob on 2011/06/15 at 7:49 PM

    Very interesting tonight on ESPN as both PTI and Around the Horn discussed the victory over Guadeloupe. The guys on both shows heavily criticized the team for not destroying Guadeloupe and hinted that BB may need to worry about his job. Now, these guys are not Soccer experts, but BB better worry about the ESPN-affect on a story. If the general population starts paying to the USMNT in non-WC years, then the scrutiny and criticism of BB will skyrocket.

    Reply

    • Posted by CJ on 2011/06/16 at 4:41 AM

      I just watched the highlights of the game on USSOCCER.COM and found the number of opportunities the team had to be ridiculous. Easily 6 solid scoring chances. A hat trick a piece for Dempsey and Altidore if they simply had the hunger from the first touch. With that said, you can’t criticize a coach for his tactics when the team SHOULD have crushed gimme opportunities. The only criticism I can contribute to the coach in a situation like that is not preparing his players mentally to get after the other team and not let them hang around. Without an emotional spark, which BB doesn’t ever seem to provide, guys like Dempsey and Donovan who play far more talented opponents will dog possessions because they think the game will just fall in their favor on talent alone.

      Reply

    • Posted by SamT on 2011/06/16 at 6:59 AM

      Cool. Whether you believe Bradley should go or not, media coverage is always good for the sport. People pay attention to gossip stories. “Should the coach be fired” fits the bill.

      Reply

    • Posted by Tony on 2011/06/16 at 11:30 AM

      Good pub!

      Reply

  29. Posted by KickinNames'... on 2011/06/16 at 5:48 AM

    Rewatched and came away with the what we’ve learned so far:
    Jones and Bradley are a good pairing for teams that don’t attack or pressure high (ie Canada/Guad). The one team that pressured high caused our back 6 to fold. Mikey has been the stronger and more consistent of the two and VERY composed going forward.

    Boca is more composed back there but agree with comments above that distribution is then very limited, mostly to long turnovers.

    This was Guadaloupe. 1-0 to this squad is actually pretty weak result. There aren’t many attaboys to go around when you compare the talent level and programs.

    Today is a perfect example as to why Bob does not entrust the #10 role to Demps. Needed a composed aggressive veteran driving the attack and really got a schoolboy effort with a double shot of Deuce Juice. Too much freestyling, whining and diving and not near enough reduced-ego distribution to wide open teammates. That may be harsh but when you demand the rock and strut like the centerpiece then you HAVE to deliver against teams like this. His lack of composure and just plain nonchalance was inexcusable given the number of chances.

    Landon just looks gassed. I really don’t think you have to look more into it than that.

    Jozy decided to care more today and was more aggressive at times. Fantastic strike but most of us just then want to know where that is the rest of his time on the field.

    Wondo looks like a Ching type more and more. Nice player who tries hard but not a intl level striker/forward. And def not what Altidore/Agudelo needs as a complement in 4-4-2. As many have noted, speed is not there and that just adds to the center pitch congestion.

    Goodson looking more and more comfortable esp with a vet beside him. Ream’s time will come by 2014 IMO but needs some seasoning before then.

    Reply

    • Posted by duder on 2011/06/16 at 4:33 PM

      The pitch was not congested. Wondo opened up more space than Altidore and Agudelo do b/c he made more/smarter runs and he passed better and more accurately than them.

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/06/17 at 6:08 AM

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. I’ll call my TV repair guy…However, I saw a lot of top of box traffic jams consistently throughout this game and in prior matches.

        He’s a very incisive forward. Good space making runs But there is very little “play thru” channel runs from him which all agree this squad needs to make space for Demps or Donovan. He shows for the ball but doesn’t have the speed to turn and break down or threaten out wide at this level. We’re all trying to erase the CD9 tape we have playing in our heads but even still…CW doesn’t seem to have the speed to compete at this level esp with Altidore in ink.

        Reply

  30. Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/06/16 at 9:45 AM

    The players looked tired, lacked focus, played slower as the game wore on (too many touches, a sign of slow thinking), looked a bit disorganized as the game wore on and once again they played down to their competition. and they weren’t ready for the pace of the game when the whistle blew — AGAIN — and nearly gave up another early goal. This sounds very much like a team that has talent, but has practices that aren’t very hard or very intense.

    i’m starting to think BB coddles the veterans in practice, to avoid tiring them out, but it’s having the opposite effect; they get lazy and lose focus if given the opportunity, and Guadeloupe gave them that opportunity. And we all know that finishing, or lack of it, isn’t physical, it’s mental. And good, intense practices don’t just keep the body fit, they keep the mind fit as well. Dempsey was extremely focused in the first game; he basically stole that goal he scored. another week of camp and his mind wasn’t as sharp. and donovan has gotten worse in each game.

    i’ve seen it happen many times to youth teams, even at the academy level, when they have to play a game after they had a couple practices rained out.

    Can anyone confirm/deny this about BB’s practices?

    maybe he’s letting dempsey and donovan take it easy in practices now, and that’s why altidore seems to get so tired so quickly, because they’re allowed to dog it in practice. If that’s true, then that’s certainly on the coach. there’s a fine line between overworking players in practice, and keeping them sharp, but that’s BB’s job to figure out where that line is, and it doesn’t look like he’s doing it right now.

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/16 at 5:10 PM

      Since the 2002 World Cup the USMNT has been renowned in the soccer world for having one of the best fitness coaches in the business, Pierre Barrieu.

      USMNT players are renowned for their fitness. One of the reasons Holden had such a good year at Bolton is because he can run all day and he and Donovan were always one and two in terms of US player fitness ratings.

      There are a lot of things wrong with this team but understanding how to deal with fitness issues or how to run practices in that regard isn’t one of them.

      Reply

      • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/06/17 at 9:24 AM

        thanks for the reply, that’s good to know. But I’m not saying they aren’t physically fit. the fact that they can come back late in games attests to that. but they don’t seem mentally fit. people play the way they practice. and watching how quickly they lost their focus against a lesser opponent started to make me think the “scrimmaging” or drills they run with the ball just aren’t mentally intense enough. the really good players on the really sharp teams (like Spain vs. US) don’t lose focus when they’re up 1 nil, they don’t take 2-3 extra touches–they keep playing the same way, because that’s what they know. you let up on a team by putting in lesser players, not by having your best players play like they’re in a playground. I’ve never seen Dempsey play like that at Fulham. Bedoya and Sasha seemed fired up when they came in, as they should, because they’re fighting for time and starts, and likely practice that way.

        anyway, i had never criticized BB before, but this thought just came to me because watching America’s best look like they were playing in a playground at the end of the game made me think they must’ve had a soft practice.

        Reply

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/17 at 4:37 PM

          The way I would address what you are saying (and most people forget this) is that the USMNT is a national team not a club team.

          Since 2007 Dempsey has averaged around 40 appearances for Fulham in a season. That is more than half of the 70 appearances he has for the US since 2004. Tell me honestly that you expect his US teammates to know what to do with him nearly as well as his Fulham teammates do?

          These guys haven’t played and practiced together a lot. Sure this is a veteran team but there are also a lot of new guys, Lichaj, Jones, Ream, Wondo, Agudelo, Bedoya in important roles. And the older guys haven’t played together very much since the World Cup.

          Think back on all the “horrible” US players you’ve seen over the years

          How many times do you hear the words: “lazy, standing around, stupid, can’t complete a pass” ?

          Another way to look at that is that they are unsure of the next move, which is what happens when you haven’t played much with your team mates. Completing a pass is a two-man job; if your man is expecting something different from what you send his way, there is a good chance the pass won’t be completed.

          It’s not an excuse but it does mean when things get tough there isn’t as much to fall back on.

          Reply

          • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/06/18 at 6:49 AM

            What i’m saying has nothing to do about not playing together much. i think everyone would agree that they played much better, together and individually, against canada than they did against guadeloupe, and that’s after they had another week together.

            i don’t think the US players are “horrible” or “lazy” and i don’t think they always just stand around; i think they work very hard, and play well together when pushed. And again, like you said, it’s not a fitness issue. This team played down to their opponent last Tuesday, and played well below their potential.

            maybe it’s not BB’s fault, maybe the players just had a bad week of practice, and it showed. but when one of your top guys isn’t giving 100% in practice or a game, it trickles down. maybe it’s just what we have to deal with; dempsey had a great season, and to have to deal with gold cup group stage games after a long tough EPL season, maybe he just couldn’t get himself up to train hard.

            i have faith though, that dempsey is too good and has too much pride about his play to have another “un-focused” game (i won’t say bad game). and we’ll see how much pull BB has on his Vet players like Donovan and Dempsey, to get them to play up to their potential.

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/18 at 3:13 PM

              Mr. Montanez,

              Mr. Montanez,

              If you look back on the group games now what I see is a competent if unexciting performance against Canada, a close but underachieving game against Panama, and, in the last game a performance similar to the Canada game but with comical and highly unusual finishing by Dempsey.

              The utter Armageddon like hysteria caused by their performance says more about the fact that most UMSNT fans are just waiting for any excuse to lacerate Bradley rather than a particularly insightful assessment of the team.

              Since the end of the 2009 Confederations Cup they have always been a team that does just enough to get by, so I’m not sure why everyone has their shorts in a twist. The US has had trouble getting reliable scoring from the forwards since Bake retired. Jozy has two invaluable goals in three games and everyone still wants to banish him to the outer darkness. Like I said, the criticism of him says more about the fans than it says about him.

              This is a team in transition, missing its most dynamic player, Chandler.

              They are through to the next round and that is really all that matters. There are tons of examples of teams stinking up qualifying rounds in FIFA tournaments and qualifying for the next round by the skin of their underachieving teeth. And many of those teams have gone on to do well.

              In 1982 Italy had three draws, scored two goals and gave up two goals in its qualifying group and went on to win the World Cup. The US isn’t as talented as Italy but you get the point.

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/18 at 7:20 AM

            Martin: your argument applies to all national teams [ perhaps with the exception of Barca-heavy Spain], no?

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/18 at 3:55 PM

              Three Lions,

              Yes and no. It’s a little more applicable to the US than to any other team.

              Back in the 70’s those great West German sides were a composite of Bayern Munich/Borussia Moenchengladbach. Holland were mostly Ajax/Feyenoord.

              I would argue that those national teams (and other world powers such as Italy, Brazil, France, Argentina etc.) created a style that is still identified with that country, even if the present day team doesn’t exactly play that way anymore (note Brazil under Dunga, then after Dunga). So even if there aren’t a lot of Bayern players on the German team or a lot of Barca players on the Spanish team, they pretty much know what is expected of them.

              Of course what really matters is these teams have so many good players, playing for so many good teams with various styles of play, they can play whatever “national style” they want and expect their guys to pick it up pretty quick.

              Bradley and the US do not have that option. Our players are very talented but on the whole, very inexperienced. Yet, we have to trust them with important jobs because how will they ever learn (see Tim Ream)? I hate to bring up an old cliché but if you took the four best teams in the world, I’ll bet we have a hard time placing anyone on their 23 man rosters. Dempsey and Donovan might have a shot.

              Plus our best players are assembled from many times zones and have heavier outside commitments that they used to. Again this is fine when you have a lot of depth but the US has almost none. What that means is, if Dempsey and Donovan do not get back to form the US has almost no chance to win the Gold Cup. But I’m not counting them out yet.

  31. Posted by berniebernier on 2011/06/16 at 12:10 PM

    Yes my bench Landon post was harsh but to me it served as a forum to get a reaction or multiple reactions and see if my line of thought is accurate.

    1) Totally understand Matt’s comment about defense. Positioning is something I am still adjusting to on TV. Definitely understand the argument you were making.

    2) If Lando is hurt/sick etc why is he still an automatic start? At this point the US team has depth. Sasha and others are not so much worse than Lando that it is crazy to raise the question as to whether they are a better start than Landon at 70% (or whatever he is at because it sure seems less than 100%).

    Honestly to me the only automatic start regardless of the circumstamces is Timmy H. Everybody else has a back up that is at least competent. This isn’t 1994 when we had no depth at all.

    I am not saying Landon is over the hill, washed up, or anything more than on Sunday for one knockout game in a major tournament I am not sure Sasha or Bedoya aren’t the safer option (obviosuly 2010 Landon is better than them).

    Again this isn’t Sasha is a better player just that on Sunday I think its at least conceivable that Sasha/Bedoya help the US play better.

    Reply

  32. Posted by jb on 2011/06/16 at 12:51 PM

    I think the stakes are too high to start Landon on the bench for this but I can think of some potentially good things that could come of it:

    1. Shows every player on the roster that no one is an automatic starter – everyone must earn it.

    2. Would show amazing courage by B Bradley to leave out his most recognizable and arguably best player to try and better the team, despite potentially having his job on the line.

    3. Maybe Landon needs it – he was too ill to play Spain, has had something wrong with him since, now he’s flying cross country to be in sister’s wedding and only getting back same day as an afternoon game…

    4. Talk about a versatile sub – LD could come off the bench and play almost any attacking position based on who may need subbed out.

    Reply

  33. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/06/16 at 1:33 PM

    I can agree with #3. A player is never going to admit that he isn’t fit to play, and its up to the coach and physios to determine if his fitness is lagging at the moment. The wedding part just adds to my feeling that the team right now is not entirely focused on national team play, and particularly this Gold Cup. Especially for veterans who are more likely to pace themselves over the course of a long season that typically involves high level club play.

    Additionally, I imagine the luster of wearing the national team shirt wears off a bit over the years, and group level games just don’t mean as much e.g. Dempsey’s lackadaisical finishing the other night. It looked like he was on the training ground, and I do think this mentality is why the US plays down to opponents…its the reason that many good teams play down to opponents–the imperative to focus just isn’t as immediate because the other team isn’t applying the necessary pressure to demand the focus.

    However, if this carries over to Jamaica, then obviously the team is going to get thumped–which is the gut shot that perhaps some of the vets need at this point.

    As to #1 and #2, I find it much more likely that benching the face of the team would actually disrupt the locker room and cause divisions between BB and the players–something he can’t afford at this point. If it were a new manager, sure, that might work–but one of the problems of being an established manager is you are in a sense locked in to making certain roster decisions. You have, in essence, established a logic to your decision making, and to break this logic with your players is to sever the trust you have with them. Here, courage is not synonymous with intelligence. Likewise, it would be courageous of Bob to bench Dempsey based on his disregard for discipline in the last game, but I don’t think it would be particularly intelligent to do so.

    #4 Sure, Lando would be versatile as a sub, but he is no less versatile as a starter. We often see him change position on the wing, and there is nothing preventing Bob from pushing Lando up top with a tactical substitution later int he game if he wanted to go in that direction. Dempsey has usually been honored with this move, but it doesn’t have to be that way each and every time. I’m a big believer, especially in soccer with the limited number of substitutions that you start with your best players on the pitch and then adjust accordingly. It’s no use keeping an ace up your sleeve if in leaving it there you put your team into a weak starting position. See for example, starting Clark over Edu against Ghana, because of proported fatigue, only to put Edu in midway through the first half down a goal.

    Reply

  34. Posted by s44 on 2011/06/16 at 1:39 PM

    Donovan is probably sick and unfit, but when’s the last time the team looked good without him? Right, never. In fact, history suggests that they likely can’t even stay composed.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/17 at 4:41 AM

      Well, they haven’t looked good with him or particularly composed so I’m not sure it would hurt at this point.

      Reply

  35. Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/16 at 4:43 PM

    If sick and unfit still merits an automatic start because we don’t have anyone that can play outside midfield competently (remember Dempsey plays left for the US but right for Fulham so its not a side of the field issue) then the US is not as far along as a soccer team as I believe. Not saying that he will be or should be benched but I feel like it should at least be part of the discussion.

    Honest question, when was the last full strength side without Landon? I know some of the Europe guys won’t travel back for all of the firendlies but being in MLS and the fact that we play mostly at home means that Landon is always in the line-up for our A, A-, or even B+ squads.

    Reply

  36. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/06/17 at 8:54 PM

    Bob Bradley has made a mistake poo-pooing DeMarcus Beasely.

    Reply

  37. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/06/17 at 8:56 PM

    It’s time to look beyond the Landon Donovan Era me thinks

    Reply

  38. Posted by dth on 2011/06/18 at 5:55 PM

    Guatemala leads Mexico 1-0! USMNT in crisis!

    Reply

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