Confederations Cup: Brazil fights back from two goals down to stop USA

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The U.S. national team played as good a first half as anybody could have imagined against Brazil on Sunday. Disciplined defending, and perfect passing sequences leading to a pair of beautiful goals, had the Americans up 2-0 at halftime and thinking about an improbable Confederations Cup final victory.

Less than one minute into the second half, that dream was already starting to fade.

Luis Fabiano's 46th-minute goal cut the U.S. team's lead in half and Brazil unrelenting attack continued to push and push until the American defense cracked, and crack it did. Fabiano equalized in the 74th minute before Lucio's 85th-minute game-winning header capped the impressive Brazilian rally. The Americans had no more miracles and were forced to settle for a 3-2 loss in Sunday's Confederations Cup final.

The defeat provided a bittersweet ending to what was still a very successful tournament for the U.S. team, which saw several new players emerge, and several established players reach new heights. Jay DeMerit, Charlie Davies and Jonathan Spector stepped up and staked strong claims to starting roles heading into 2010 while Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Michael Bradley established themselves as the strong nucleus of a national team capable of making a strong run in the 2010 World Cup.

What did you think of today's match? Still stunned by the loss? Proud of the team's performance in the final? Have a new-found respect respect for the U.S. national team?

Share your thoughts below.

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121 Responses to Confederations Cup: Brazil fights back from two goals down to stop USA

  1. patrick says:

    while it was certainly a bitter, bitter ending, I think ever US fan should come away from this tournament feeling better about the team. We have a solid back four and a left back. We scored goals from the run of play. We scored 8 goals total. We took people on and looked aggressive. We successfully played a 4-4-2. We saw bright spots in benny, spector, and even rico clark really stepped up a notch. A lot of players will be going back to their clubs with a lot of confidence and hopefully some new found respect. It would be nice to see a successful gold cup run t finish out the summer.

  2. teach says:

    A great game to watch. Loved Landon’s quote at the end of the match “We’re at the point where we don’t want respect, we want to win,”. Kudos to Bob Bradley for getting to the finals with several key players missing and dealing with three red cards during the tournament. Congrats to Howard and Dempsey for winning tournament awards. Nice to have some recognition go to the US players. Being comfortable in the venues should really help the US next year in the World Cup.

  3. TR says:

    I remember wanting a sub or two at about 65 minutes. I’m torn between criticizing Bradley for subbing so late and realizing the options weren’t that great. So, for the next year I’d like to see the US work on its depth, and the Gold Cup is an opportunity to do that.

    Even with this loss the tournament is good preparation for playing in hostile Mexico because the US has played tough teams for away.

  4. Rudy says:

    Proud of the guys on the field.

  5. mb says:

    i think the most important thing learned from these games is: don’t give up goals within 15 minutes of the start of either half. if we stop doing that, we win.

  6. jmadsen says:

    I had to start this over about 3-4 times, I’m so stunned still.

    I guess I will say this: Did you see how the Brazilians celebrated after the goals, and at the end? This was no little friendly tourney – this meant something, and we pushed the best team of the last 3-4 decades back against the wall, where they had to fight with everything they had.


  7. kahlva says:

    Can’t be anything but proud. The boys played above and beyond – if they play with that heart every single game, I’ll be a happy fan.

    That said – our lack of depth definitely got revealed…

  8. ag nigrin says:

    Very proud of the USA! We just moved a little closer to being a contender in WC2010! Bravo USA!

  9. Greg says:

    Disappointing loss but this was an extremely valuable experience for the team. We proved that we could play and I think people around the world won’t be able to dismiss us quite so quickly anymore.

    The first Brazil goal was extremely unlucky and it definitely turned the game in their favor. You’d like to see a little more heart in the offensive end in the second half but that’s starting to get a overly critical.

    I’m very proud of the boys. Next year is going to be exciting.

  10. Danny says:

    Every American soccer fan should be proud…We beat the African champs, Euro & current best NT in the world, and had a 2-0 lead at the HT against the best NT in history…Nothing to be upset about…If anything the games against Egypt, Spain, and Brazil will help our NT confedience grow more then ever…I haven’t been more proud of this team since the 02 World Cup…


  11. Jay Chittooran says:

    I think the team did very well. Many members of the team had a fantastic tournament, which has increased their stock.

    However, this game really highlights our lack of depth. After our starters, their are few players that are in form and ready to come on.

    Hopefully, players on the Gold Cup roster- a relatively inexperienced (in terms of USMNT experience) roster-will show up and generate some attention for future national team appearances and get some quality depth.

    All in all though, a good, albeit very roller coaster like, experience.

  12. John says:

    I’ll be proud tomorrow, but right now this just really hurts.
    I’m TIRED of morale victories

  13. luis says:

    i wish we would have won, i do think the subs came to late the team was tired..maybe bayern will regret not picking up landon,he tore apart the brazilian defense…

  14. cj says:

    After the Italy and Brazil first round matches I was one of the loudest on screaming for Bradley’s head and saying this team was not playing with any heart and desire.

    They changed all that against Egypt and just kept going with Spain and Brazil. They played with a lot of heart, determination and executed very well in all three games. I think the US team and fans should be very proud of their performance. We are definitely taking steps to being a WC quarterfinal team. To be able to be up on Brazil 2-0 is short of a miracle. Would have loved to see Bradley use a more attacking style when we were up 2-0. We definitely need to possess the ball better. I hope Bradley learned from this tournament and will apply what he learned about players as well as how he will be preparing tactically preparing for the WC. I hope Beasley and Sacha will not be on this team anymore. I also hope Demerit will be the anchor in the defense. I think that Donovan finally went to the next level during this tournament and has become the leader on this team with his example on the field.

    Depending on how we do in the WC, I would still like to see a very experienced manager with some more experience. If we don’t get out of the first round of the WC then the change will be warranted. It will really depend on what kind of group we get in. It will be an interesting year and I hope the U.S. can build on this tournament and not have any setbacks leading up 2010 South Africa.

  15. John F. says:

    I’m very proud of the US; I went into watching the game thinking Brazil was going to stomp on our necks 4-0 and I figured, hey, it would still be the best finish the US ever had at a FIFA tournament so OK, I’d deal with it.

    That the US stunned Brazil with a hockey-like deflection goal and then an absolutely gorgeous, picture-perfect counter-attack to lead after half 2-0 was just euphoric. Brazil eventually realized that they were Brazil and basically turned all that possession into something in the second half. That we’re sitting here saying that maybe US *could* have won the game and that Brazil had to bring their A game (and a little luck) to win is telling of how good the US when they leave it all out on the field.

    I truly am proud of this team and proud to support them. The US may not have players of Brazil’s caliber, but our heart and guts are unmatched.

  16. management mysteries says:

    Water and fresh horses for my men. How does he pick Klejstan over Torres? Yes, I know he has not played in the tournament yet, but neither had Boca a couple of games ago and he remembered how to play again. More shocking subs, I know it was thin on the pine but at least pick the best you’ve got??? I almost did not watch the first game vs Brazil when he started Klejstan and Beasley, no real excuse. It may not have cost us the game but it did not make it any easier.

  17. Jon says:

    Go on you Yanks! I am glad we leave South Africa with some hope for the future and the players should hold their heads high.

    Losing after 2-0 hurts, but tomorrow I will still feel good about the Confed. Cup.

  18. reed says:

    i’ve never been prouder of this team.

  19. sonicdeathmonkey says:


    Spot on. I too was waiting for Bradley to react to the double substitution of Brazil, then realized our lack of options. How fair is it for Brazil to have a guy like Pato, a star for AC Milan, just sitting on the bench, just in case? Great game for both sides. Congrats to Brazil.

  20. Engin Blue says:

    Definitely proud of the performance.

    We missed Michael Bradley’s energy in this one. With limited quality depth (relative to Brazil) our best bet was to come out firing on all cylinders and hold on for the ride. We just wore down in the second half.

    A lot of players stepped up this tournament.. great to see.

  21. craig says:

    Loved Landon’s statement. Its time fans thought the same thing.

    This was a great tournament, and you saw how a team can be formed by consistent play against good teams. Spector is our new right back (or left back if Cherundolo can only play on the right). I hate to say it but Bocanegra is now a sub – Demeritt proved he is a more stable defensive presence. Davies can make a 4-4-2 work with this team, and he matches well with Jozy, and probably Ching or hopeflly Kenny Cooper. And most important – this system kind of maximizes Landons varied, but not dominant skills. Feilhaber has potential on this team again.

    What else did we learn (and yes learning was the sole purpose of this tourney). Well DMB and Kleisten’s time with the national team is done for a while – neither has put in a good playing time in a while. Bornstein is fine against mediocre teams but does not belong on the field against world cup competition. Conor Casey is a waste. Ricardo Clark, while a defensive Giant, can’t string passes together.

    Most importantly, we learned Bob Bradley is not the coach to help us move to the next level. Close game, we won respect today, etc are not what this team should be about. When you think about it, what moves did the coach make helped the team vs hurt the team. More importantly, does the coach maximize the talent on the field, and allow the talent he does have to maximize their playing potential. Bob will always take us to the world cup, but he will never help the team win against better competition. He is too tactically naive and slow.

    Love this tourney – was worth blowing off the Copa Americana for

  22. Moe says:

    I am very proud of the guys. It was tough to swallow the ending, but hopefully we will get them next time. After this tournament, I am confident there will be a next time.

  23. Mario in SJ says:

    Did they ever turn it around! What a set of games! I am incredibly proud to be a fan of the USMNT. They were better than their individual talents, a TEAM.

    I see lots of hope for the future, these men as well as those coming after them are and will be a world power in soccer. One minor item has to be fixed now, that is to take care of not giving the ball away too quickly. Brazil would not have come back at us in waves if we were not so easily disposessed in the second half. We use to lack finishing, now we must control the ball better.


  24. Vman says:

    Credit to the coach for having this team ready to play this game at the outset, but he gets an F for his tactical decisions in the 2nd half, and a C- overall for the tournament.

    by about the 60th minute it was clear that fresh legs were needed yet he waited at least 10 minutes too long to pull the trigger, and then when he did it was for Klejstan and Bornstein, who along with Beasley proved they have no business being at this level, at least not right now.

    Plus the cumulative effects of his rotten subsitution pattern became apparent as the entire team wilted down the stretch. They needed some players who could do some running, hold some possession, maybe even have some talent to make something happen. Why were Torres and Adu even on the roster if they couldnt make it on to the field in these kinds of situations? It was utterly predictable that Conor Casey was going to be the final useless sub.

    I like the fighting spirit that the team showed, it was great that guys like Spector, Demerit, Davies, Donovan, and Onyewu grabbed the bull by horns, but the overall I was not enthused by the coach’s performance.

  25. Chillin says:

    Yes a sub earlier would have been nice, but at the end of the day, we just didn’t have any better options than what we had on the field. What is great about this is that we know both Jermaine Jones and Maurice Edu should be ready to go for next year 2 dmids, which is what we needed to close out Brazil. This also proved how costly that red card to Bradley was. If not for that, then Bob has another option off the bench to close out the game. The future is bright. HERE COME THE YANKS!!!

  26. Sean says:

    I am also very proud of this team. They fought hard today but fell short. I hope everyone involved in US Soccer has the same attitude as Donovan did after the game.

    It’s clearly apparent that we need more depth and I think we need a dangerous threat up top. Someone who can consistently put the ball in the back of the net. Maybe Altidore and Davies will develop into those international strikers for us.

    Well done USA.

  27. Jammer says:

    I agree lack of depth was a problem. Of course Ching, Cherundolo, Edu, and Bradley are part of that. Also Altidore needs better conditioning. Ball possession was a problem, especially for the forwards.

    For the earlier games of the tournament, you can say they were good for developing a cohesive team, finding our weaknesses, getting ready for next year, etc.

    For this game, it was all about winning. For these players, it was perhaps a once in a lifetime chance to win such a big tournament. They had a 2 goal lead. The second half collapse was horrible.

    For the tournament overall, #2 is of course a good result.

  28. stencom1 says:

    Mission Accomplished!

  29. Hincha Tim says:

    Hey, I’m glad the players and fans are pissed and sad and don’t think it’s good enough. That’s the only way we are going to get to the next step. That was the attitude after the first Brazil game and it should be the attitude after this game: better but we can still do better.

    The second half we needed to counter more when we had the chances. We needed to be able hold possession longer. It was just a matter of time before Brazil scored.

    Jozy Altidore needs to start moving his lazy butt around the pitch and start winning balls and pressuring the defense.

    With the exception of him, the rest of the boys left everything on the pitch and for that they can be justifiably proud. I hope this is another step in the maturation of the national team.

  30. CapeCodFutbol says:

    Fantastic effort, although obviously felt disappointed as the second half developed. Still, I feel like we answered a lot of questions, and found a couple of new questions to which we need to learn the answer… Depth and conditioning come to mind, but that’s for another day. Today… great effort, unfortunate result, good tournament.

  31. John says:

    Subbing on Conor Casey? Really? What exactly does Bradley see in this guy? Seeing an overweight hack with the touch of a rapist trot himself out there at the end of the game made me wanna scream. You’ve got guys like Adu and Torres who can actually keep posession and create chances.

  32. J says:

    We have a good team nucleus. However, we need to have people out there with a good touch. Klestjan, just cannot play on the same field with Brazil. Davies, Altidore, Bocanegra and Clark must improve their first touch as well. Once we have a team of 11 players with exquisite touch, then we will move to the next level. BTW – two of our players with exquisite touch were on the bench the entire tournament.

  33. Sandro says:

    Although we didn’t win, US Soccer program has been lifted. The gauntlet has been thrown. Great job guys! Some us like myself at one point just expected three games and out. You sure proved us wrong and I am glad you guys made me eat my words. Great run! 2-0 against Brazil. At the end Brazil was wasting time hoping the game to end. Terrific job! I still can’t believe this game was not moved up to ABC! instead of ESPN.

  34. Mike says:

    this team, with the additions of Ching, Edu, Dolo and Mr Jermaine Jones along with an older more mature Jozy and even Freddy, will do well next year, very well..

  35. biggy says:

    i think my soul is still bleeding. might be able to get over this some time next week. so proud and yet so crushed.

  36. BarçaGirl says:

    Yea, it definitely hurts!

    but, I can’t be anymore proud of this team!!!! They did a terrific job, proving themselves in many ways! They done a lot despite of the loss. May we just learn for it and I’m sure they will. Looking forward to future games against such teams as Brazil, Spain, etc….

  37. Felix says:

    I’m with TR on this one. I felt that we’re substitutions that were needed around the 60-something minute, but what are the choices??

    This is where the Bradley red card hurt us. Bradley’s bite in the midfield would have been huge in this game, especially in the second half, instead Bradley was forced to go with flawed options. I know he will be criticized for going with the unpopular Kljestan – but in the end, even if he did stick Torres out there (whom I assume everyone would have wanted) he hasn’t seen a game since the Costa Rica debacle, and would have been a tall order to throw out there rusty against the surging Brazilians.

    In order to have beaten Brazil, we would have had to have played another near-perfect game, like the semi-final against Spain, and to put together two performances like that for a good, but not great team, like the US, was one bridge too far.

  38. Roy says:

    Great effort overall, and the team really redeemed itself and showed great heart. But the subs were appalling. Both the timing and performances. Truly, Kljestan looked stoned on the field, just jogging around at half speed and giving balls away. This was especially disheartening after watching the starting 11 give their all for 70+ minutes.

  39. Eric says:

    I actually thought Jozy looked a little better holding up the ball today than he has in the past. No doubt he needs to continue improving though and looked gassed into the second half. However, keep in mind that he essentially came into this tournament without match fitness due to just returning from surgery and lacking matches with his club team. I’m willing to give Jozy the benefit of the doubt on his conditioning right now.

  40. TimN says:

    Hard, hard pill to swallow right now. I was just absolutely beside myself with excitement at the end of the first half. However, that EARLY second half goal by Brazil really shifted momentum…you just had that feeling they were “turning it on.”

    Moving forward, you have to feel good in knowing that the team today was not nearly as deep as it could have been…Bradley suspended, Cherundolo out, Ching out, and Jermaine Jones laying in wait. I’m REALLY bummed out right now, but am VERY proud of our effort, and am excited about the next year for US Soccer.

  41. freddie footballer says:

    that image of Deuce crying as he got his medal said it all. That’s how much this meant to the team and the fans.

    Conversely, you can tell how hard we pushed Brazil by how they celebrated their goals. Yes, there are no moral victories, but we were that close and we put a scare in them.

    I wonder what would have happened if we didn’t allow that first goal of the second half; the result might have been different.

  42. jp says:

    This was a monumental step in terms of development, prestige and recognition for US soccer. The world will take notice.

    Brazil showed that they are a true world power and their second half performance, with technique and grit, was remarkable.

  43. Brock says:

    Since we needed to maintain the high intensity through out the game our weak bench really hurt.

  44. John says:

    Dempsey wiping away tears shows that we weren’t playing for pride. That’s what makes me feel so optimistically awful right now – it’s not, hey, we can play with Brazil – it’s hey, we had the opportunity to WIN.

  45. Ben says:

    2 weeks ago, it couldn’t have looked worse for the Nats. Now, I can’t recall any time when we were more optimistic about 2010.

    Davies definitely got a ticket out of Sweden in this tournament. One of the newly-promoted EPL teams should sign up DeMerit, and who knows, maybe Madrid and Chelsea will go after Gooch again (just a thought).

    But could this have been the tournament that gives some team in England or Spain the courage to put their offense in the hands of Landy Boy?

  46. SG says:

    Can’t believe Bradley sat and watched the 2nd half and didn’t make a change…..what a JOKE! no clue

  47. I am, of course, disappointed in the loss. It really did seem like we had a good shot.

    But overall, I can’t be disappointed at the performance since those first two matches (and even then, we played well vs. Italy down a man for much of that match). These guys didn’t just play soccer. It seems to me that these guys played with more heart and passion than they ever have before. It’s clear we have a good, hearty team, and I think it bodes well for the future. This is the best soccer I’ve seen them play since I started following soccer in 2006. They may be number two in the tournament, but they’re number one to me. You done good, boys. :)

  48. Derek says:

    Great game! Plenty to cheer about!

  49. Mike G. says:

    Bradley has his flaws, but he happens to be the coach who took this team to the US’s first ever FIFA finals and beat #1 Spain 2-0. With the talent on this roster, they went further than anyone predicted.

  50. BMW says:

    Hey Ives,
    Is there any chance you can do a post tomorrow about what the press in other countries are saying about the USA after the game today? Would be interesting to see a compilation of quotes or links from outside the US.

    Great game, very disappointed but very proud of them.

  51. kpugs says:

    I still have some complaints about personnel decisions made by Bradley.

    BUT, I never would have dreamed they’d make the final to begin with. The overall result–despite my whining–is very positive. Congrats to the boys and even to Bradley.

    You can tell when seeing him interviewed just how much he cares. I may question his decisions but I don’t question where his heart is or that he puts everything he has into his job.

  52. Barry U says:

    This was a great game. Wish we would have won but we had three very good performances in a row playing high level teams. That will go a long way in the WC2010. In the game I would have really liked to have seen Benny stay on and Torres or Adu come on to try and keep the ball. Also Charlie had 2 breakaways that could have been the nail in the coffin. Again still happy with the boys.

    On the bright side. We add Jones, Edu, Dolo to the mix. Guys like Marcus Tracy, Beasley, Adu, Lichaj get playing time next year at club level and we have a pretty good squad.

    One more thing. Timmy is a World Class keeper. 1 or 2 in EPL IMO. Deserves all the credit the world.

  53. The boys showed well and I congratulate them on their run.

    I still think BB is not the guy to finish the job in 2010. When the team is struggling, he does not seem to make the right tactical decisions to compete at this level.

  54. Chan says:

    Landon’s comment was right on target; the US needs this attitude to keep moving forward. Great congratulations to the MNT for what they achieved here. They have the taste now for more. Also congrats to Tim and Clint for winning tourney awards.

    On the other side, I yelled at the TV when Sasha and Conor were subbed in. I hope the Gold Cup identifies candidates for the bench.

  55. John says:

    OK, boys take 2 weeks,refresh, don’t even touch a ball…….AND LET’S GO TO AZTECA!!!!!

  56. gino says:

    First half was too good to be true. Call me insane, but I am almost glad we lost. The US has now come close enough to taste winning the big one. Hopefully, losing this game will motivate them to make it to the semis next summer.

    No shame in losing 3-2 to Brazil. Italy would have gladly taken that scoreline.

    But for a few slip ups, Demerit was awesome the entire tournament.

  57. brian says:

    im not a fan of calling moral victories

    but after costa rica honduras brazil and italy

    this team made huge strides and actully looked like a soccer team against egypt spain and brazil the second time

  58. Josh says:

    Nothing to be ashamed of. The US just ran out of steam and depth. We learned that our starting 11 can hang with anybody, and they got five games (two against Brazil) against teams far better than anything CONCACAF has to offer. If you can go to South Africa and beat Spain and even lead Brazil for a half, there’s no reason you can walk into Azteca and utterly blast a weak Mexico side.

    That’s the good news. The bad news is that once you get past the starting 11, our options off the bench are Adu and Torres (not ready yet), Kljestan (probably won’t ever be ready) and DMB (the int’l game has passed him by; he can still play against CONCACAF opponents, but is no longer up to par against better sides).

    I expect that by next year’s WC, Gooch, Demerit, Clark, Donovan, Feilhaber and Davies will all be better for having spent a year playing tougher opposition than before. If any of them fail to move to better leagues, then some scouts aren’t doing their jobs.

    On an unrelated note: I hope this Confed Cup helps Egypt and South Africa. The Pharaohs deserved to beat Italy, and they looked like a solid side until their strikers were out against the US, and SA isn’t devoid of talent either. But one needs to get on the ball if they want to qualify, and SA needs many more games against top-caliber competition in the next year.

  59. JGIB says:

    honestly Bob Bradley could win the world cup and people would still call him a idiot for not winning by more goals and not playing freddy adu and J.F. Torres . Look he took this team and energized them after the first brazil loss. and he did something no other coach has ever done for the U.S. he took us to the final of a major international tourney. Give the guy a break he knows this team better then we do he knows what works.

  60. Rastafari says:

    It is time to Focus on our next REAL match, Mexico at Azteca

  61. Doug says:

    I was begging for Adu or Torres to come in after Brazil got the second goal. What did we have to lose? We needed a goal and I hope the some of the creative players will find a place on the squad. Aug 12 in Azteca will be a real tell.

  62. timmy says:

    1) bradley is a poor in game coach
    2)the lack of depth in our roster shows, but klejstan and casey?
    3)i think that starting 11 w/ the added depth of edu, bradley, ching, dolo, simek is pretty good. not to mention in jones comes our way.

  63. CLY says:

    Great starting lineup. Lack of “real” subs hurt. WTF was the deal with bringing on Bornstein at left mid. and Sascha at center mid. Boneheaded moves by the coach. The starters worked hard and outplayed Brazil in the first half. I would kept that lineup or at least added to the attack and not sit back and watch. Attacking Brazil, like the first half, is the only way you can beat Brazil. If you sit back they will score as they did after the substitutions were made. ……Well Done boys, you played your hearts out…. I hope Coach B takes some lessons from is substitution decisions.

  64. BrooklynFC says:

    Kljestan I could not believe it…..

    Either way i think bob is starting to understand what he wants his team to look like once SA2010 comes

    He wants to play a 4-4-2.
    He has decided what he wants his back four to look like.
    He has finally realized that he needs FullBacks that can go forward and make crosses.
    He wants a strong holding mid to play alongside his son, which definitely works.
    He wants Donovan and Dempsey on the field at all times.
    Jozy is the Golden Child… more so than his son.

    Freddy needs to single handedly win the gold cup in order to start for the national team….

    I expect to see the following lineup come SA2010
    FW-Charlie Davies
    FW-Marcus Tracy
    FW-Brian Ching
    CM/WM-Jose Francisco Torres
    CM-Benny Feilhaber
    CDM/CB-Maurice Edu
    LWM-Robbie Rogers
    CDM-Ricardo Clark
    LB-Jonathan Bornstein
    CB-Michael Parkhurst
    RB-Steve Cherundolo
    GK-Brad Guzan
    GK-Luis Robles

    We would actually have depth at every position.

    As far as this game goes, Michael Bradley was sorely missed. The line-up I posted above could have beat BRAZIL today. Just imagine if we had that lineup and could bring in Benny for Altidore and Edu in for bradley. We would have held the midfield much better.

  65. Joe B. NYC says:

    If these guys can get a win at The Azteca it would wash away the disappointment. I’m very proud of the team though…

    I like Kljestian, but The Coach should play people who are in form. I think the whole Celtic thing took him off balance. At the same time I think we shouldn’t have to worry about hearing the nepotism crap about Michael, we really missed him today…

  66. Pat M says:

    Bradley’s substitutions were terrible. They probably cost us at least a goal against Italy (if not for a lucky result in the Brazil – Italy match we may not have even gotten out of the group) The players are not the only ones who have to improve or lose thier spot. Like it or not, it looks like he will be our coach in for the World Cup. Hopefully, we can find a third striker, Edu will come back and this Jones guy will be the real deal(and Bradley will actually play him. add in Cherudulo and there is some of the depth people are talking about.

    I’m not feeling so happy about moral victories. It looks like the Gold Cup is going to be a wash so lets hope we bring our A game (and A team) to the Azteca.

  67. Andrew says:

    Things we learned from the Confederations cup (in no particular order)

    Tim Howard really is THAT good

    Spector has filled our role of a missing right back, and Bocanegra will fill the left back spot just fine

    When LD plays, the team plays. LD has proven that he CAN show up for big games. One of the best players of the tourney I think

    Charlie Davies deserves a starting spot for the foreseeable future. He was a nightmare for defenses with his speed and agility

    The US CAN score goals in the run of play

    And lastly, this US team can play and compete with the worlds best. They have the heart and perverseness to do so. In order to do that though, they need to be attack minded. The “be patient and play off the counterplay” mentality does not work against the world’s elite. Anything less than the quality we saw in the last three games in this tourney will lead to another 3 and out in WC 2010.

    And a question: Is this performance enough to at least get us considered a “seeded” team for WC 2010 (If we qualify of course)??

  68. lprevolution says:

    I am sure that lots of us were thinking right around the 60th, “where is the sub?” I was surprised to see SK come on at the 75th. Just after the goal.

    #1 Why bring in a player that obviously lacked confidence and received a red card a week earlier.

    #2 After the 2nd goal, #1 rings more true, and we needed some more dynamic play like TORRES.

    Crist! you’d think that after working under Jorge Vergara he’d have a little more respect for Mexican soccer.

    I was disappointed to say the least with Bob Bradley’s tactical choices, AGAIN.

  69. jpc says:

    Very tough loss, but overall a great tournament…

    We really only played 1 1/2 disappointing games, the 0-3 loss to Brazil, and the second half here today… The Italy game was going very well for us until the Red card, so I wasn’t so disappointed w/ that one.

    A lot of improvement is needed, especially making smart decisions w/ the ball, and keeping possession under pressure. Players like Beasley, Kljestan, Bornstein, and Casey did not do this for us, and there needs to be a rethinking of their roles on this team.

  70. CT says:

    SG wrote: “Can’t believe Bradley sat and watched the 2nd half and didn’t make a change…..what a JOKE! no clue”

    Dude, you’ve got no clue. 3 subs in the second half. What other change did you have in mind?

  71. madmax says:

    If Bradley had a 4th sub, would it have been Beasley?

    Defending Bradley because of a weak bench is insane since he made the horrible selections.

  72. CT says:

    paul lorinczi wrote: “I still think BB is not the guy to finish the job in 2010. When the team is struggling, he does not seem to make the right tactical decisions to compete at this level.”

    All right smart guy, what should he have done differently? Was it BB’s tactical inferiority that caused US players to have poor first touches and poor clearances? Was it BB that got beat on the corner at the end of the game?

    BB had a brilliant game plan for Spain. They play at this level don’t they? Today, the US got beat by a superior team. What do you think would have happened if M Bradley had started and Feilhaber was the sub for Jozy in the 2d half.? Was M Bradley’s suspension some sort of tactical shortcoming of BB?

    Sir Alec Ferguson, Guus Hiddick, or Jose Mourinho could not have done a better job in this tournament with the talent differential between the US and Brazil.

  73. Angel says:

    I’m so proud of out guys they did and play like I wanted them to play. It show that winning to Spain was no fluke and that we can keep up with the big team. USNMT gave Brazil a little scare and now too Brazil can take us as a respectful team. Only cause USA is in the Concacaf doesn’t mean they can’t compete. The Only thing I see wrong is even tho Bob Bradley had a good squad in the field is still show that he need to learn on how to win big game and how to more tactical. So I hope he can bring a good assistant coach to help him on that or maybe bring Cabrera to the Senior Team as his assistant coach. Please we need some help. I tasted, I smell the Championship and I more hanger for The UNITED STATE to Win something big if not the Confederation maybe the World Cup……GO USA YOU MADE PROUD AGAIN.

  74. JoeW says:

    Taking the “long view” here are my thoughts:

    1. We showed we can consistently score goals in the run of play against good teams. That’s a HUGE thing, a major step up for USMNT soccer. We are no longer a team that can only score on a good team with either a lucky break or a deadball situation.

    2. We showed an improved ability to play tactically and make in-game adjustments against good teams (to a limited ability). I criticized Bradley’s game plans/tactics in some matches but clearly his plan against Spain was outstanding and his game plan against Brazil forced them out of their preferred scheme. We’re not a savvy as these teams, not as versatile but we can play our game and adjust. And that was the big reason for bringing in a Euro coach–to produce a more tactically savvy coach.

    3. A number of players stepped up (Donovan and Gooch are two great examples). A could of other players proved their starter caliber (like Spector)

    4. We absolutely, positively need to be sure that Davies, Altidore, Adu are in situations where they’re getting minutes. In a WC, this team would have gone home–we would not have advanced. And we can’t afford to go into 2010 WC camp getting our more skilled attackers into game conditioning and then start working on getting them technique sharp. Altidore was a partial factor rusty, out-of-shape and not sharp. Adu was a nonfactor. We just don’t have the depth to have 2 of those 3 players non-factors (and if they aren’t playing regularly, they’re nonfactors for the WC).

    5. We’re still too dependent on a couple of players in key roles. Donovan goes down and we’re hosed. Gooch goes down and what a huge hole that would be. Bocanegra can play left back–and who’s behind him? We’ve got a lot of bodies in central midfield but behind Michael Bradley, well, two other players need to step up because our CMids will get cards (as we saw in this tournament). We need a minimum of 3 quality CMs who can play interchangeably.

    6. I think Dempsey is best as a striker (even though that doesn’t fit the old US model of a target player and a withdrawn guy running off him). If Donovan is going to play outside mid than pair Dempsey with whomever is in the best form (Davies or Altidore) and we’ve got a nice group of skilled poachers and multi-talented forwards. That also means we’d need to find an regular outside starting mid with the work-rate this team requires.


    Where are all the fans that wanted to fire Bob Bradley…..Don’t hear them now. He had a perfect game plan for Spain. Today was also well planned, Hell any other team and we would be celebrating right now.On a sad note I think this Tourney was the end for DMB.

  76. Angel says:

    John F.

    I’m with you and that is why I keep saying Bob Bradley is a good coach but not a great coach for this type of game. Why do you bring Borstein for Feilhaber, why you bring Silly Sasha in for Altidor when he only kick that ball around with no direction, why you bring Casey for Clark. Dumb Sub. maybe bornstein was the right but should of has been for any of the foward player and keep more Midfielders play a 5 4 1 formation. and the other sub should has been midfield for another Midfield. Bob should known that plus S. Africa give them the blueprint on how to play Brazil and that is not give them any space and that what the USA did in the Second half all the outside lane were open. so that the story. Until next time.

  77. Tom A says:

    USMNT Thank You!!

    I was a fire Bob guy!! Sorry!! I want the best.

    Thanks Guys!!

  78. RLW2020 says:

    tuff last half, but great turny. so much has changed in the last week. im pumped for the rest of WCQ’s and the big show next summer

  79. Johnny says:

    My heart was broken when the wheels finally came off during this game.

    My heart burst with joy when I think of how proud I am to be supporter of the USMNT after watching them today.

    My heart goes out to Clint Dempsey who clearly cared so much about winning today for his country.

    There was so much learned during this tournament and so much gained. I firmly believe this team will be a contender in 2010!

  80. nico says:

    Great showing by US. I am uncertain about whether this is a turning point, or not, in US soccer but it doesn’t matter as this moment should be enjoyed.

  81. madmax says:

    “Where are all the fans that wanted to fire Bob Bradley…” MUSCFIORENTINA

    Here’s one lad. Bradley was terrible again. Needed halftime changes on defense and didn’t make them. Needed a ball winner and attacker when behind didn’t have any. But he had time to put in his buddies, didn’t he?

  82. stephen says:

    Nothing more to say beyond what’s be expressed already.

    I will say this though-

    The quarterfinals of this tournament were more enjoyable games to watch compared to the Champions League.

  83. Andrew says:

    stephen- Quarterfinals?? there was group play and semis…..?!?!

  84. Mike says:

    the guys have been silent on twitter today, you know there hurting after this one.

  85. Tom the Yank says:

    Make no mistake, this was our best chance to win a FIFA Final, for a long time. Obviously, the lads played at their highest level to beat Egypt 3-0 and Spain 2-0. The question is, how could a 2-0 advantage be defended, given that Brasil is clearly a superior side. Bob Bradley seemed to use his subs late and he picked the wrong people, consistently, throughout the tournament. Klejstan, Casey and Beasley are clearly not at this level, right now. How did Torres and Adu sit out, in favor of players who are out of form and lacking the skill to hold the ball? Was Mastroeni injured? In any event, great performances by Donovan, Spector, Gooch and Clint, for being the man in key moments. Waiting until 72 min and bringing Sasha in, signalled the end for me. Casey – why bother using subs? It’s a shame because we kept a clean sheet vs Spain who was a better side than Brasil, IMO. Moral victories are not good enough, as this one was there for the taking and the coach owed it to the players to make better tactical decisions.

  86. Angel says:


    Please if have something to say please say it with facts. You really think that he is the genius of this USNMT not my friend, Here the fact is the players and all the complaint that happen after the lost to Italia and Brazil. The players finally realized that we had raised our voices and that we were fade up. And even knew that the media were too. So Finally they played with heart and pride. No so much cause of Bob Bradley genius tactics. Please tell me that Sasha K. is better than Torres who has played in better level games as champion with Pachuca. Adu is three time better the Sasha and that even tho he is not playing with his club imagine that. Now Beasley is just out shape and need to get back to it, for right now I give him some time off from the USNMT. Casey please that guy can only score in the MLS feel very disppointed and now I know why Bruce stop calling him for the US. So please give the good thing about what Bob Bradley did for us not to crictized him or get him fire. Why are we the only nation that can’t say anything bad about the coach or crictize him. Please!!!

  87. Tom P says:

    The legs were gone by the 70th minute. Bradley looked down Bench and what real choices did he have? None. Just none.

    Edu- hospital MB- bad red card but you shouldn’t leave your feet ever when you play for the U.S.(you ever get the feeling the Bradley marriage must be one of those fire and ice combos because the son didn’t get that temper from his Dad). Adu- couldn’t defend well enough to get any barely any minutes for last 2 years and was found wanting 80% of the time in MLS BEFORE EUROPE!

    Torres- what do we know about this guy really? I ask you real Mexican League fans to tell me how good is he becuase I don’t know either? He is the preverberal back up QB in American Football.

    Everybody else- just leave it alone unless you a true devotee of the Mexican league because you don’t know what the kid really has. We just have to wait and see.

    I swear- I’m going to start seeking out Mexican football fans any where I can find them so I get to the real info on the guy.

    We have got to send Sacha and Bornstien back to the MLS for one year exile from national team duty. I DON’T HATE PLAYERS BUT I CAN SEE WHEN THEY DON”T BELONG.

    Casey- when you hustle like Ching then maybe you can get another look but right now you defend and hustle like your playing in an over 40 league and that lasck of commitment ticks me off.

    It would have been nice to win but we are what we are at the moment.


  88. Tom the Yank says:

    I disagree, completely, as Bradley had options – he chose Klejstan, Bornstein and Casey, instead.

    I would rather that he subbed in players with skill who could hold the ball, like Adu and/or Torres but, if you want more defensive players, I’d put Wynne and Pearce in and pack it in and hope for the best. Bradley brought in players that had already demonstrated their inability to acquit themselves at this level, save Bornstein, who is adequate, at best. Again, this was our shot to shock the world and we didn’t defend a 2-0 lead with 45 min to play. The starters were warriors and they punched above their level. The coach let us down, IMO, and I say that having a good opinion of Bradley as a person and motivator of players.

  89. royce says:

    i think that the kljestjan sub was the worst possible thing that could have happened in today’s match… actually, the bradley red card was the worst thing (imagine closing the game with feilhaber and bradley, not clark and klestjan), but only considering today’s decisions, the klestjan sub was pretty bad. especially if you consider that brazil had just scored their second goal…

    although i was one of the guys hating on the coach, can’t really hate on him too much. i still don’t agree with some of his moves, but i do agree with him keeping donovan and dempsey at the wings, even when they were playing poorly (and BOTH donovan and dempsey played pretty poorly against italy and brazil first time). because you can’t sit those guys, adu and torres don’t see the pitch. it’s that simple.

    so i guess, it’s really a depth problem for us, especially in the midfield and striker positions because we lose possession too easily through the middle and place our full backs in too much pressure. good game, but still some serious work to be done

  90. Steve says:

    I’m unbelievably disappointed, but also very proud of both the players and of the coaches. I’ll say one thing about Bradley….People forget that this is a learning experience for the coaches as well as the players. I would rather have Bradley coaching this team than any foreign mercenary, particularly at this stage in our country’s development as a soccer nation. Think of the experience that he and his staff have gained through this tournament and how much it will mean going forward, not just at the World Cup, but for future generations of American coaches and players who will be mentored and coached by Bradley.

  91. 123 says:

    Great tournament! going into this i didnt think we would even score. This result is still positive!

  92. Tom P says:

    Tom the Yank- you make very good points that I agree with from the outside-which is where we the loyal, lonely, inside info. starved U. S. soccer fan sits. It isn’t like other sports here in the U.S. where you have more reporters then players up the team and coaches @#$% and you get a much better feel for what’s going on.

    Ives- who kindly gives us this blog and is most likely just breaking even if that doing – does not have the money or access to follow this national team much closer then you or I. For that matter how critical can say Ives be without going over the line with the USSF and being declared persona non grata? They seem to operate about as openly as the Iranian election board and seem to endure criticism in about the same fashion as the Iranian ruling council. I mean really- who has the money, access, interest and leverage to ever tell us what really goes on? Say Ives writes a scathing critique of the USSF, its coaches, and general practices and policies he might just end up locked from the train that barely feeds him as it is. Take a good look at Suni and tell me he does not look like a vindictive little stick with a P instead of an S. Now multiply that by the guys he works with/for and add it to the core sports press in this country lack of interest/out right disdain for the sport. Hell- none of players never even fess up about the real inner workings of the USSF and the national team program. (Wynalda did, albeit without a lot of class, and look where he is now) You smile, make no waves and play the nonthreatening idiot like a Balboa or any of those former players and you keep making a nice little living

    The mystery part is we are not at practices, meetings etc. and we don’t know what the coaches see.

    So…………. it comes down to whether we trust BB and his decision making abilities on form, fitness etc.

    And from where I sit I don’t have a firm opinion on that after the last 7 matches. I really don’t know what to think.

    Until we get a none USSF affiliated -i.e – not Harkes, the Lalas brothers, Wahl at S.I. etc. – we have no real inside, unbiased info to go on except conjecture and hypothesis from a great distance. This may sound like a conspiracy theory to the point I’m almost embarrassed by what I have written here but I’ve been following it closely for 30 years now and that’s how I see it.

    Your thoughts Tom the Yank?

  93. goalscorer24 says:

    Great job by the US players. Tough loss to swallow. Coach Bradley did get the team there, so I can’t be too critical, but I wish he would think about subbing earlier. That late subbing cost the team dearly. And when he does sub, use Torres or Adu. I know it sounds crazy but we are the same fans, that months earlier, were saying to use Spector, and Demerit, and move Bocenegra out left. That worked out pretty well. Anyway good job by the team, and lets hope we can get our first win in Azteca!

  94. dman says:

    What in the world was Bradley thinking putting Sacha into the game? The guy cannot pass with any efficiency.

  95. castroviejo says:

    bradley sucks
    subs too late
    horrible choices for subs again and again

  96. Robert says:

    I agree with the morale victory stuff. This was hard to take, even for an optimist/realist like me. Tomorrow I’ll be happy and glad for our team and future prospects.

  97. andrew in tampa says:

    our problem wasn’t depth. It was poor selection. Beyond the starters Bradley picked a lousy squad to take to the Confed Cup. the only good thing is that this is a lesson for 2010. And we need a new lb for 2010. Boca isn’t it. That second goal is his. REmember all those crosses over his head at the back post? Dont want to sound like a hater but that’s my two cents.

  98. Rich says:

    Jeff Carlisle said it best.

    “As long as central defenders Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit, along with goalkeeper Tim Howard, were in scintillating form, the U.S. looked capable of weathering the storm, which is exactly what it did in the first half. But the Americans’ continued penchant for conceding set pieces, a lack of possession, as well as some withering Brazilian pressure eventually wore them down, especially with Dempsey and Donovan providing little in the way of defensive help out wide.”

  99. CT says:

    Tom the Yank:

    Other than yourself, I don’t think there is a single poster on this site that would claim that Wynne or Pearce are better choices than Kljestan or Bornstein? Have you forgotten the misbegotten game Wynne had against Costa Rico? In the latest round of CONCACAF qualifying Pierce has been abused every time he has played.

    Admittedly we don’t know that much about Torres (anyone follow Pachuca?) and thus don’t really know how he would have done but Adu would have been a nightmare today. Think of all the times he dribbles into tackles and has the ball stripped from him. The Brazilian defenders would have eaten him up and left him on the ground whining for a foul call.

    The fact of the matter the US would have been alright today if M Bradley were not suspended and any one of Edu, Hedjuk, or Churundolo had been available.

    If you have to believe that BB made bad substitution decisions please know that he had nothing on the bench to work with.

    Tom, you’re bound and determined to blast BB and you’re not going to let little things like facts get in your way. So be it. The US has its WC 2010 coach whether you like it or not and you can either get on the bandwagon or get off. To paraphrase Landon Donovan when speaking of Giuseppe Rossi: If you don’t want to be with us, then I’m not concerned with you.

  100. martha says:

    US fans take heart.

    remember, Rocky Balboa got respect ut also lost in ROCKY

    …but he came back and won ROCKY II (world cup)

    Unless of course Bradley inserts Ching then it will be Millionare baby

  101. r.benjamin says:

    Bradley’s player selection was the biggest weakness the US showed in this tourney. His inability to recognize the best players is puzzling. For anyone telling me that Sascha and Bornstein are better than Adu and Torres, you’re either drinking the cool-aid, watch only the MLS or are just missing it. And the timing of the subs is a whole other bad story.

    Tell me why it took so long for Demerit and Spector to get in this back 4? This back 4 is 5x better than what BB selected for Costa Rica. He never figured this out in training?

    And Davies. He should have been a starter all year.

    I am positive when Torres and/or Adu somehow get minutes.. like these guys, it will be the same.

    Connor Casey?? Awful.

    Good heart this team developed. Super proud of the starting 11. And thankful some of the revelations mentioned above that were thrust on BB.

    Damn woulda like to have seen EDU.

  102. Gene_SF says:

    It’s a bitter loss, but I am very happy with the team’s performance. We simply ran into a very talented team that played a very good half today. I am proud to be a U.S. team fan.

  103. mARVIN says:

    We needed micheal bradley in 2nd half. I think we hold on to win.

    Either way im very proud of my US National Team. The two goals were great we all were dreaming with the cup. But Brasil is like that they are deadly and the world knows it. All in all I am very proud of our performance it was exceptional.

    We are not afraid of these teams anymore Argentina,Germany, Spain, Brazil, France, Holland etc. Bring em ON!


  104. jamin barnes says:

    Last year we started out rough against England, then got better against Spain, but our best game was a draw against Argentina. This tournament followed the same pattern. First two game where bad, then we came alive. That was the best football I’ve seen them play.

  105. Sularzowi says:

    Landon Donavan summed it up best

    “We’re at the point where we don’t want respect, we want to win.”

    Yes, I’m proud of our boys coming together and making the best out of the tournament. But it is time for the US to win on the big stage. We can run with the big boys (Spain, Brazil, etc.), now its time to beat them.

  106. no more setanta says:

    I wonder whether Donovan got snubbed on the Bronze Ball award because he plays his club ball in the US. No disregard to Dempsey because he is obviously one of our best and most consistent players, but there is no way that Donovan wasn’t our best player by far in this tournament. He made everything happen and scored a wonderful goal in the final when it mattered the most. I’m very proud of LD and hope he continues to improve.

  107. Patrick Marshall says:

    After the second goal, we did not pressure the ball in the midfield until the brazilians were approaching the attacking third. This is a recipe for disaster against Brazil. In the first 40 minutes we applied high pressure and put them on their heels. It really does’nt matter which players BB selects if the midfield is going to stop pressuring the ball and the forwards stop winning balls and holding the ball for longer than 1 second. Stick with what was working!

    That having been said, Sacha and Casey had no business making the trip. Back four and Keeper where great. Charlie Davies has great pace and has great potential but needs to mature in his decisions and consistency. Altidore, the same but holds the ball a little better than Davies, but seriously needs to increase his workrate. Both have some pretty poor first touches for this level. Midfield needs to pressure the ball higher up the pitch. In the second half we did not possess the ball when we won it, we just gave it right back to them way to easily for professional footballers.

    I am not calling for BB’s job. Our guys got further than any of us expected and showed moments of brilliance. our direct style of attack with speed can always be dangerous to good teams. As far as Torres and Adu go, I would like to see them play, but my mexican friends tell me that Torres, at this point is an average mexican league player, and Freddy is still imature in his approach to the game. I think both possess qualities that are lacking in our team (good touch and creativity) but lets be honest, they are not yet proven. I do think they should have had some more opportunities to prove themselves earlier in qualification and in earlier stages of the tournament. especially Torres, because he is getting minutes with a good team in a good league. I mean look at the chances Landon and Demarcus and Michael Bradley had to prove themselves at young ages. Hopefully we will see where they are at in the Gold Cup

  108. Mike says:

    I think the Bradley haters here need to do some thinking–and perhaps some reading of world soccer journalism. One can quibble with the subs in the second half. But how much of his job is that?

    The European soccer journalists–and Dunga–all stressed the US team’s new tactical sophistication, something we’ve never been accused of before (compare that with anything ever written about Arena, or in fact about Klinsmann).

    Bradley prepared a team that built on our traditional strengths–fitness and commitment to the team–by improving the team’s soccer brain by 100% and by extracting a new level of performance from key players, and especially from Donovan. Compare the performance of Donovan under Arena and under Bradley, and compare what he has to say about the coach. Donovan–working together with Michael B.– has become Bradley’s extension on the field.

    We’re making step-by-step progress, which is more than anyone could have imagined two weeks ago. The players, and especially the ones who grew like DeMerit, Clark,
    Davies, and Spector, deserve enormous credit. But let’s remember who got them here.

  109. geoffersen says:

    “The fact of the matter the US would have been alright today if M Bradley were not suspended and any one of Edu, Hedjuk, or Churundolo had been available.

    Posted by: CT | June 29, 2009 at 12:55 AM”

    CT, I usually agree with your posts but if you’re arguing that Hejduk or Cherundolo would have offered more than Spector I think you must have been watching matches through Bradley-colored glasses.

    Mo Edu would have been nice to have, though.

  110. zongzap says:

    Any time you lose after being up 2-0, something went very wrong. This game was mismanaged and it cost us. The subs were too late were just plain poor choices.

    Bob needs to learn how to hold a lead when we get it. You can bet that had Brazil been up two goals on anybody, they wouldn’t have collapsed the way we did.

    Great effort getting to the final, great effort in the first half, poor coaching once we had the lead

  111. Joga Rooch says:

    I was sick seeing sacha bounce up to the 4th official to enter the match, but I realized that there were few other options on the bench (except skinny beas–good on BB for not going there). We need a little more depth and a bit more skill to finish off a game in a way that doesn’t involve parking the bus and hoping T-ho (and the back 4) save our bacon. I was disappointed by the midfield in the second half, but they were dog tired, I’m sure. I hope BB sees that we need more mid options, a late-game striker that can stretch possession and counter when we have the lead or need to nick a late goal (not the rugged target types of Ching or Casey) and all around depth.

    Tremendous effort and a good foundation to build on for Azteca, qualifiying and 2010. Well played you Yanks!

  112. ThaDeuce says:

    i CAN’T believe Bob put in Sacha as the solution for super sub. Any stats on how many errant passes he made?

  113. JoeW says:

    I’ve criticized Bradley (Bob, that is) for some of his tactics and decisions in earlier games and I strongly compliment him on his game plan against spain and also Brasil (CC final). As an international coach (like our team) he’s a work in progress.

    For those of you who criticize the sub and roster decisions for this final, here are a few thoughts:

    1. It’s taken Spector so long to get a chance to play because he’s been hurt. He’s played in 84 club matches in 5 years (and by the way, he’s got 18 caps which for most players in most countries is a lot of opportunities to impress).

    2. To argue for Adu…argh! The single biggest problem with Beasley is his lack of form. He’s out of shape, not game fit, not sharp and not confident. So yeah, that’s what we need against a top-flite team. The reality is that Bob Bradley just wasn’t able to select a lot of players that we’d look at and say are in game-shape and very sharp. Case inpoint: Conor Casey was put on this team, he’s in the middle of his season, he plays at altitude (a particular aerobic challenge) and was clearly in-form given his recent goal scoring. And how sharp and fit did he look at the international level? Adu has 31 appearances (not even starts–this includes those matches where he comes in as a sub in the last minutes) in 4 years.

    3. I like Torres and Adu as players. And I’d argue the single biggest reasons for our losses in the CC were:
    –Italy: Space in the middle (space in the middle)–people needed to track back and didn’t which resulted in too many chances and eventually we broke down in back. Torres and Adu aren’t going to help with that.
    –Brasil: Combination of space in the middle (player ejection), conceding set pieces and failure to track back on counters. Again, none of these are things that Torres and Adu helps with.
    –Brasil II: Failure of outside backs to track back to help the backline. Again, Torres and Adu don’t help with this.

    Adu will certainly get his chance in the Gold Cup. I suspect Torres will go back to his club in hopes of winning a starting spot and more playing time.

    Beasley, Kljestan–yeah, both out of form. But I think BB had very few reasonable options. Even Feilhaber looked back against Italy. In fact, one of the criticsms I’d have of BB is that he DID include a bunch of players (Altidore, Adu, Beasley, Feilhaber, Guzan) who weren’t sharp and haven’t played much. Even though a number of them made big contributions, I think it’s important to send a message that if you’re not playing with your club, you don’t use NT camps to get in shape and relearn the game.

    Nah, credit where credit is due. Brasil is an immensely talented team, they made great half-time adjustments and they earned the win the hard-way: they fought for it.

  114. BrianK says:

    Some what off topic,…


    You have to find out what the story is with Torres. Obviously, there is some sort of problem. Did he curse Bradley out? Did he curse Dononvan out? Did he tell Bradley he regrets deciding to play for the USA rather than Mexico? What is the story? It is important, because a blind man can see that Kljestan has no confidence in his own game and we needed someone who could hold the ball (just a little bit) in the last 15 minutes of the Brazil match. What is the deal?

  115. Tom the Yank says:

    I’ve read many articles by “foreign” journalists and I’ve read the comments on here, carefully. My focus, at this time, after giving credit to the players for their heroic effort, is to assess whether the coach could have done things differently, thereby preserving or extending our lead. We can all agree that we were 45 min from a FIFA Final victory, can we not?

    Some seem to say that the coach went with the best of a weak bunch on the bench or that he had “no options.”. Some have even implied that it wouldn’t have mattered what players, tactics or formations were utilized – that Brasil would eventually score 3 or more goals, and win. Of course, Spain did not and they were a stronger side than Brasil, IMO.

    So, there are two obvious strategies for the 2nd half.

    1). Put in fresh legs, ideally with some pace, and defend and pray that every one of our lunges results in a block, a la the Spain match. As I mentioned before, I might have chosen Mastroeni, Pearce and Wynne and I’d have told them to take a yellow card, if necessary. Please remember now that we, instead, got Klejstan, Bornstein and Casey.

    2). Think somewhat out of the box and say that a 3rd goal, or even a 4th, will be needed to win the match and the tourney. Perhaps if Adu and Torres had been used in the Group games, we’d have a better sense of what they could do. We know they are small, skilled players who like to attack and that our best chance to score would come from possessing the ball. Instead, we let Brasil play keep away and it cost us.

    I know, from watching the game with some very knowledgeable soccer people, that the collective response when Klejstan came on was “Oh, no! This is the beginning of the end, right here.”. I think that many fans would have been happier had we gone down fighting with our skilled players in an attacking formation.

    We’ll never know, now, because Bob Bradley went with his favorites and he stayed in his comfort zone. No one that I respect, in terms of their knowledge of the game, could figure out what Klejstan and Casey were doing on the pitch as they’re B team players in the U.S pool – not players who you use to kill off the game, against Brasil.

    Again, everyone is very proud of the starters and we punched above our weight for 3 straight matches so the coach certainly got the most out of his starters, when it counted. What he didn’t do was come up with a sound or daring strategy for the last 45 min.

    A FIFA Final victory will likely not be this attainable for the U.S for a long time.

  116. patriot71 says:

    My brother, who does not watch soccer, actaully watched the match yesterday. He called me at half-time and his comments were, “Well, we’re winning but I don’t see how. Almost the entire game has been played on the U.S. side of the field and with Brazil having the ball.”

    Therein lies the problem, IMHO. We have a solid, solid back line and Howard is amazing. That said, you’ve got to have SOME sort of possession game to stand a chance against the likes of Brazil. To me, this shows that MB was sorely missed and also that Jones can’t get over here (and healthy) fast enough! You’re never going to actually win the Time of Pos game against teams like Brazil but you’ve got to at least have some of it.

    Anyways, very proud of the boys and hope they keep moving forward.

  117. patriot71 says:

    Almost forgot. Ives, someone asked yesterday if you could do a write-up on world reaction to the match yesterday and to the U.S. at the confederations cup in general. I would also love to see that.

  118. AJ says:

    I think if this game proved anything, that the USA lacks strength in depth. With Bradley out, having someone like Jermaine Jones or Maurice Edu available to sub for Feilhaber (or to have Jones or Edu starting) will be invaluable. And when the USA needed a goal in the final 5 minutes, they needed someone other than Conor Casey on the field. Casey hasn’t scored a goal for the national team! I realize Adu and Torres haven’t played all tournament, so it’s tough to bring them in cold after not playing at all. Having Brian Ching or Eddie Johnson (who was in form at the end of the season) or basically another decent forward would have been a massive help. It’s tough to score goals when your three subs are an out of form Sacha Kljestan, Jonathan Bornstein, and Conor Casey

  119. Xander Crews says:

    The US has depth, only Bob Bradley chooses not to select it. Not sure if Torres was hitting on his son’s girl or what, but he’s so far down the list that it’s pathetic. The most skillful player we have, and he doesn’t make ONE appearance in the entire tournament, while guys like Sacha appear three and four times. What a joke….

    I’m proud of the guys we had on the field at the start of the match yesterday. It’s pathetic, though, when Dunga is considered a tactical genius compared to your manager. Bob went into a bunker mentality after Brazil scored their first goal, only he didn’t have the proper personnel on the field to play that style. Loyal to “his” guys, apparently the only way you get into his lineup is if you’ve played for him in Major League Suck. Once again, Bradley fails his team.

    Don’t say that Bradley made the subs he did because he didn’t have any other choice. The fact of the matter is he selected the team – if he had no intention of playing certain guys (which it’s now obvious that he NEVER was going to play Torres), then he should have picked others. Not counting Robles, we had four guys who never saw action: Wynne, Califf, Adu, Torres. I’d make the argument that Califf and Torres are clearly superior to Klejstan and Bornstein – but Bob’s gotta stick to “his guys.”

    As long as he’s in charge, I’m still predicting a group-stage flameout next summer.

  120. Tom the Yank says:

    I’m with Xander, in that Bob Bradley clearly has “his guys” that he’ll stick with, irrespective of their form. I, like every other U.S. fan would have been thrilled if Klejstan, Bornstein and Casey came on and helped us preserve the greatest victory in U.S. soccer history. It wasn’t going to happen, people.

    Below, are Ives ratings for the subs. Is it reasonable to believe that Adu, Torres, Califf and Wynne could have done better? Do we really need to have this debate?

    -Sacha Kljestan (3) – A turnover machine while he was in the match.

    -Jonathan Bornstein (4.5) – Gave the team some energy, and had one decent shot, but he was never going to slow down Brazil.

    -Conor Casey (NA)- Not enough time to do anything.

    To “CT”, who earlier tried to call me out with some kind of George W. Bush, sophmoric/simpleton commment – “you’re either with us or you’re against us.” I’ll only say that I’m always on board to support the U.S. and I’m proud of the starters for playing to their potential. Criticizing or debating the personnel or tactical choices of the coach is something that is done in every footballing nation on earth, although it seems to be a new concept to many in this country.

    I’ll go one step further and say that Sunil Gulati, who has had an absolute monarchy, when it comes to controlling U.S Soccer, should resign. He’s not the man to carry us forward and, as much as I like Bob Bradley, as a person(ality), I think that you’ll find in June 2010, that he was not the right man, either.

    I sincerely hope that I’m proved wrong.

  121. madmax says:

    i CAN’T believe Bob put in Sacha as the solution for super sub. Any stats on how many errant passes he made?
    Posted by: ThaDeuce

    All of them went directly to Brasil.

    I agree with Xander Crews, there were options on the bench and if you felt not, it was still Bob Bradley’s bench, he selected everyone of them.

    USA has great athletes and improving play. The question for WC 2010 is will Bradley change and improve. I fear not. With little evidence I believe he is stubborn and vindictive, incapable of voluntary change. The change we saw, that improved US play was forced on him. My guess is that his final squad would have included, Beasley, Kljestan, and Borstein if allowed.