Italy 3, USA 1: A Look Back

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It is a loss that will take U.S. fans some time to get over, if they ever do, but the U.S. national team's 3-1 loss to Italy on Monday had its bright spots and promising developments to go along with the mind-numbing and spirit-crushing moments.

Losing to Italy in a game the Americans were winning is one thing, losing to a questionable red card and to a brace scored by an American-born (and raised) player is something altogether different. We can talk about Giuseppe Rossi later in the day. Right now, it is time to focus on the American players who actually play for their country, as well as the developments in the match that led to the 3-1 result.

We can start with the U.S. team's player grades. Yes, it was a loss, but playing against a team like Italy a man down for nearly two-thirds of a match is a circumstance that cannot be ignored when looking at the performance by the Americans.

Here are the grades:

Tim Howard (7). Made a handful of clutch saves that kept U.S. team within striking distance even as Italy attacked in waves. Can't be blamed for second goal, with multiple defenders screening him on well-struck blast from DeRossi.

Oguchi Onyewu (7). Was a rock in the back, rendering Gilardino invisible and reducing Italy to short corners on all corner kicks. Could have done better on Italy's second goal, but overall this was one of Onyewu's most impressive performances. 

Jay DeMerit (6). Looked tough, confident and sharp when the match was still 11v11, and held his own for a good while before playing parts in first and third Italy goals. Overall, he still looked like the third best centerback in the U.S. pool.

Jonathan Spector (7.5). Most impressive overall performance. He kept Fabio Grosso and Vinceno Iaquinta honest on the right flank, limiting the service and staying in good position throughout. The right back job is his for the foreseeable future. 

Jonathan Bornstein (6). Not sure what all the criticism toward Bornstein is about. Yes, he had some nervy moments, but Bornstein stood toe-to-toe with Mauro Camoranesi, who had no impact on the match and was Italy's first sub. Zambrotta didn't do anything on that flank either. Perhaps the waived-off own goal is skewing some opinions of his performance, but I think he did well enough to keep his hold on the left back spot.

Michael Bradley (7). Was a real force in the first half, making countless key tackles, neutralizing the masterful Andrea Pirlo and picking up the load in midfield after Clark's red card. He needed to finish his golden chance in the first half, but still delivered a memorable performance.

Benny Feilhaber (5). Hit on a few long passes, including the one that led to the USA penalty, but his work in central midfield was lacking and he bore little resemblance to the player who impressed vs. Honduras. Looked awful in giving up possession on Rossi's first goal (though Dempsey put him in a tough spot).

Ricardo Clark (4). Looked good before the red card, which was very harsh, but ultimately he was still the one who went in late on a challenge. Consider it a lesson learned (hopefully).

Clint Dempsey (5). Will Dempsey ever step up and be a serious threat for the national team again? He had some brief glimpses on the ball, but was largely irrelevant. His lazy pass to Feilhaber helped cause Rossi's first goal.

Landon Donovan (7). For the second time in his career, Donovan stepped up his play against Italy with his team a man down. He tried to impose his will on the match, but never could crack Italy's tough defense (though on a different day he might have had two assists on his beautiful passes to Bradley and Altidore). Probably deserved to draw a penalty when he was fouled and did well to convert the penalty. Almost gave him a 7.5 but he continues to disappoint with his poor set-piece delivery.

Jozy Altidore (7). He never put a shot on goal, but was a handful for Italy all day long. Played with confidence and desire and caused fits for Giorgio Chiellini, one of the best young defenders in the world. He scuffed a great first-half chance (he should have taken a shot on goal rather than trying to pass from close range), but he has improved in each of the past two U.S. games and looks to be back on track in his development (assuming he winds up somewhere in the fall where he will actually get games).

DaMarcus Beasley (5). Held his own in a late sub role. After his past two shockers, Beasley helped restore some (though not all) of the confidence U.S. fans lost in him recently.

Charlie Davies (5). Provided his usual late-game energy, and found a great late chance, but mis-timed an open header. He's someone who needs to get more minutes at some point this summer.

Sacha Kljestan (5). Looked like he would hit one of his trademark top-corner goals, but missed by a few feet. Could be ready to re-gain a starting role during this tournament.

Bob Bradley (5). Fielded a strong starting lineup, but needed to bring in fresh legs sooner, especially when Italy brought in its own in Rossi and Montolivo.


Most disappointing develpments from the match? Dempsey continuing to fail to have the impact you would expect from an EPL standout is one, as was Feilhaber's overall performance. Yes, Feilhaber started out on the right flank, which doesn't really suit his strengths, but he spent most of his time in a central role after Clark's ejection and still struggled to maintain possession.

Clark's ejection exposed a weak spot in the U.S. roster, the lack of defensive midfield options. Maurice Edu's absence due to injury, and Pablo Mastroeni's exclusion from this roster, left Bob Bradley with no good options after Clark's red card. Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan, Jose Francisco Torres and Freddy Adu are all more offensive-minded, leaving Bradley in a bind when he could have used a defensive presence in the middle of the park.

What changes should we expect vs. Brazil? I have a feeling we will see Kljestan start in place of Clark, though I would like to see Jose Francisco Torres to get the nod. If Carlos Bocanegra is healthy he will slide back into the lineup, but you wonder whether Bob Bradley will take a look at Bocanegra at left back in this tournament. He isn't generally used there because he's always been needed in central defense (and because he offers little on the offensive end) but DeMerit's solid play coupled with Brazil's various attacking weapons might lead Bradley to consider a Bocanegra-Onyewu-DeMerit-Spector back-line.


What did you think of the U.S. team's performance, and the performances of its players?

Share your thoughts below.

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182 Responses to Italy 3, USA 1: A Look Back

  1. Joe says:

    If this is a dress rehearsal for next year, then we are in SERIOUS TROUBLE. The US needs to get rid of BRADLEY now instead of waiting until we go three and out next year and have to start the “rebuilding” process over again. Someone get Gulati Klinsman’s number…

  2. zoran says:

    Not sure why you would want your coach sacked? You don’t have the same level of talent, as one of the perenial powers, big deal! you did very well in this match.

  3. Joe B says:

    Bradley does seem poised to lead us to three and out in South Africa

  4. BK says:

    Giving Jose a 7 after fluffing that golden opportunity he had in the 1st half is criminal. He had a decent game but a world-class player simply MUST do better when given a chance that good in a game that big. Thats the difference between a Rossi and an Altidore. A 6 is more appropriate in my opinion.

  5. Tommy H says:

    Howard made nice saves late in the game, still, could have done better on first two.

    Starting to agree with the BB haters, maybe we do need more experienced tactical help. I’m not sayin we have great attackers but they aren’t this bad. We cannot score during the run of play.

  6. AS says:

    Nearly the entire team gets above average grades for a 3-1 loss? What a joke.

  7. BK says:

    I meant Jozy, of course.

  8. Eric Griesheimer says:


    I think I agree your assesment. The red card makes it difficult to really evaluate them. It would have been nice if Bradley could have brought another definsive midfeilder in for Feilhaber in the second half. Sadly, there wasnt one on the bench, something that Jermain Jones and Edu will fix.

  9. Ulrich says:

    PLEASE….. who is Sacha going to beat out – he’s weak as a 90min player??? So he took a long shot – big deal!

    And Beasley still looks like he’s lost out there.

    No way either of them played games deserving a 5!

  10. jpc says:

    After watching the game over again on espn 360, I have to say that we had the better chances until the red card, although very slightly. Not saying we should have or were going to win, but I was impressed w/ the way we played in that period, and to be honest the first half in general

    Demerit Oneywu was a good tandem, I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Bocanegra outside on the left. That would be a very good back line

    Bradley and Altidore should have both scored after being set up on great plays by donovan

  11. golfstrom says:

    I thought we played well given the red card. Bradley, LD, Altidore, Spector in particular were awesome. Funny (and predictable) to see the madding crowd turn instantly back against BF and RC. Also, the late goal was unflattering to the score line.

    My only complaint is BB’s subs were too late…but he didn’t have much to work with. Half the complaints I see are he didn’t bring on Adu and the other half are he didn’t bring on Jermaine Jones. Please.

  12. man i feel wounded by that game. still it was great to at least get on the score sheet. with 10 men, I guess we cant really hope for better against a team like italy. But how depressing. You would have thought de rossi would at least understand, but I guess he is young and still dying for acceptance from his own Italian fans. It almost gives us a nice outlet to moan about.

    Was hoping to see torres, but Kljestan did as well as anyone who came on late.

    Was bradley forced into waiting for Italy to make its moves first? Is that why he delayed on the subs?

  13. yes says:

    ricardo was not good before the red card (how many passes did he complete v. give away, 1/10?).

    bornstein was also decent, but if demerit can play like he did yesterday (and get in game shape), I would like to see a backline of spector-gooch-demerit-bocanegra. tough to play your best defender at left back but that would be a good, physical backline.

  14. Kevin says:

    Ives, I think you’re spot on with your comments save for the part about Landon not cracking Italy’s defense. The through ball to Bradley was good (and give Jozy credit for this diagonal run that opened the lane up) and MB should have done better. LD’s through ball a few minutes later to Jozy was even better. Jozy should have crushed it instead of trying to lay it back across. Both cases, LD ran at the defense and made the right decision on the pass, and put both passes in dangerous spots. It’s not his fault neither MB or Jozy couldn’t finish.

    The difference in the game (besides playing a man down) is that Italy just put better shots on frame. Dempsey’s effort on frame was ok, but hardly world class. Bradley did have a blistering shot in the 1st, but it didn’t have the placement that Rossi or De Rossi had. Sascha hit the ball well, but again, not on frame. Davies mistimed his header by a fraction of a second and couldn’t get it down.

  15. seven says:

    I agree that the red card was a little harsh, but it wasn’t just late it was also high.

  16. EdTheRed says:

    Just because Rico’s challenge draws a yellow instead of a red sometimes doesn’t mean it wasn’t late, nasty, and high. It was a completely boneheaded play, and the ref was well within his discretion to hand out a red for it.

  17. Jon says:


    So it is Bradley’s fault that we played a man down for 2/3rds of the match? Ok.

    What did he do to lose the match?; short of holding a gun to Rossi’s head last year and making him put on the red/white/blue?

    If you want to blame him for bringing in a hack player who doesn’t know how to tackle or keep composed, I might listen to that angle. But in that – we got who we got…

    Blame MLS.

  18. brad says:

    I hope we can beat Brazil with 9 guys..undoubtably we will recieve 2 red cards…

  19. JCC says:

    I don’t agree with Bornstein assessment. I don’t think he rendered Camoranesi completely ineffective. There were times where Camoranesi looked pretty dangerous and Bornstein looked out of sorts. His “nervy” moments, as you put it, could really be a liablity against an attacking player who’s really on his game that day.

  20. MikeD says:

    Jozy needs to play regularly in 09/10 or I’m giving that spot to someone else. He is slowly shaking off the rust and had better touches in this game, but needed to do much better on that one he flubbed. If he was scoring goals for his club his confidence would be high and he might’ve buried that.

    This is a crucial summer for Altidore/Adu and others who will be looking for playing time/new clubs. We cannot have these players go into the World Cup as benchwarmers.

  21. Barry U says:

    This reaaly hurts becuase for 45 minutes we outplayed those guys!!! Jozy was a beast. Only complaint is that he should have taken Buffons head off with a shot instead squaring to LD (trying to at least). How in the world did Xerez not play this kid. LD played well. But if I see him take another free kick strike I am going to fly to LA and punch him in the groin. Just Kidding. We need to maximize set pieces and getting the ball in the mixer is our best bet. John Spector plays for West Ham and sees Italy type players all the time. Hello BB!!! Play this guy. Mike B was good in the tackle and breaking up plays. He should have taken Buffons head off with a shot like Jozy did not do. Gooch and Jay played good until they started to tire. Rico got a bad call IMO. But now we can see the value of getting Jermaine Jones or Mo Edu in the fold. Jones/Mo are the same athelete as Rico but better soccer player IMO. Also, playing at the Allianz Arena or Ibrox prepares you better than Robertson stadium for these matches.

    Now we move to Brazil. Egypt gashed that D left and right. We have a chance I think.

  22. Sean says:

    after digesting what happened, i feel that mike bradley, onyewu and spector had the best games, with donovan on their heels. time howard should have done better on the second and third goals, even if gooch screened.

    rossi hit a ripper after dispossessing benny, who was put in a bad spot. watching replays of that goal, nobody would have stopped it.

    i would like to see some more attack minded players in this tourney. there is nothing to lose from going out and attacking these teams. clark needs to go, as he is a liability. we need to go out and bang with brazil and egypt.

  23. KyleFeller says:

    Frustrating game to watch here in New York. I saw people wearing US Jerseys and Italy Scarves and I wanted to puke. Nonetheless, I hoped I got under the skin of the tourist Italians by constantly reminding them that an American is their best youngster.

  24. aristotle says:

    I’m pretty sure we will finish in fourth place in this division, behind Egypt. Will that be enough to get rid of Bradley?

    I wonder if the U.S. finishes last in their division in this tournament, and goes three and out in the world cup, (almost a certainty at this point) will anyone apologize or at least admit to being wrong about Bruce Arena then? Probably not. It absolutely amazes me that Arena had to go after the 2006 World Cup. That “messed up” Arena team was WAY better than this team. The U.S. team has been going in the opposite direction ever since they fired Arena. Meanwhile, the guys that everyone said Arena should have played in the world cup have done little or nothing since that world cup.

  25. Optimist Primer says:

    @ JOE

    A man down for an hour… Missing 3 key players to injury… Losing to the defending World Champions by two goals. And you think that’s cause for sacking the coach, or concern that we’re in SERIOUS TROUBLE? What would Klinsmann have done differently? Stopped Rico’s red card? Scored Jozy or Bradley’s sitters?
    Get real man! We are who we are. We have the players we have. Let’s support them and recognize when they put up a good fight, criticize when they don’t. ANY world power, in similar conditions, could have lost 3-1 to Italy. Hopefully their fans would recognize those conditions and not think the sky is falling.

  26. cbr says:

    clark looked a tad slow out there with his reactions and passing prior to the red card. We need to schedule more friendlies and get all thoseguys “on the bubble” like clark more experience playing against tough opposition.

    i am no euro snob but in order for the nats to be taken seriously we need our starting 11 to be playing in europe (and playing regluarly i might add)

  27. Brian says:

    I just don’t understand why there are so many idiots that post on this blog…we played as well as we could for 60 minutes before an American scored against us. Yes Bradley should have subbed earlier but that doesn’t take away the fact we were destined to lose the match after the RED card in the first half. There is no way to gauge how the game would have ended if it were 11 v 11. Chalk it up to bad luck and inexperience I guess, but we have to be realistic. We are playing against the best teams in the world this week. Lets not bash the coach for things out of his control. All of you will be praising Bradley if we somehow pull out a result against Brazil.

  28. BrianK says:

    Very disapointed with the result. It would be nice to compete against the Top Tier nations on a level playing field,…but USA fans have to get used to the fact that calls will not go our way for two reasons,…#1 – the rest of the world despises the US and thus it flows through to the game officials and #2 – there is an attitude of “how dare the Americans think that they can compete at the game of football.”

    Some thoughts:

    1. Clint Dempsey is tired. He had a long season and needs time off. Pretty simple.

    2. Thought the defense had a decent match. All of the goals came from the gaping hole in the midfield that was thrown out of wack by the red card.

    3. Jamie Trecker is killing Tim Howard for the second goal and claiming that Tim is not being challenged for his spot as #1. I don’t agree with Trecker. Ives,…any thoughts on that? I agree with your assessment that it was a long range curling shot and he was screened.

    4. I would like to see Torres get some time.

    5. I was VERY, VERY disapointed with Altidore’s and Bradley’s reaction to their respective chances in the first half. Shows a lack of confidence.

  29. ben says:

    the fact we were essentially lobbing the ball to jozy and weren’t able to possess the ball in midfield was maddening. we exerted almost no pressure on their midfield and there were acres of space for the italians to send through balls. this was all before clark’s sending off. feilhaber was lazy and clark was way too frantic. the clark/bradley tandem has shown to be weak over several games.

    i will give the US credit for not crumbling and for playing not to lose. i do not hold my head in shame over the loss, but am shocked by how tactically deficient our international caliber players are.

  30. Ives says:

    The moments Camoranesi had were when he floated into the middle of the field to find space. He had one very nice sprint through the middle that could have been dangerous if not for DeMerit stepping up and picking off a pass.

    When Bornstein was matched up one on one, I don’t recall Camoranesi or Zambrotta getting past him for a chance or good cross.

  31. Dr. Truth says:







    Watching how Egypt kept toe-to-toe with Brazil..Egypt played Freddy Adu’s style of play which is also the way Brazil plays. Also Torres should be Bennys place as well.

    Look, we all know some people dont like Adu because he is not playing with his club..BUT at his current age 20 years 14 days……Michael Bradley had yet to become a 90-minute starter for Heerenveen.and MB was getting starting 90-minute chances in the 2007 Gold Cup .so as US fans i ask whats harder to crack into the starting lineup as a 18 and 19 year old Benfica and Monaco or Heerenveen/MLS Club……….we all know the obvious answer to this and its time we give Adu the respect he deserves….because Adu is already in head of the curve at his current exact age in Europe faster than Any player in US history… why penilize him for it..when we know we Need Adu vs Brazil. I want to win and i looked what i saw vs Spain and Argentina with Adu, if you disagree then its apparent your a tool.

  32. brad says:

    Donovan said it best… ENJOY:

    The first half of the U.S.-Italy FIFA Confederations Cup match was an intense affair had the passion and inspiration of a World Cup match the game was so physical. Ricardo Clark was red-carded by referee Pablo Pozo (Chile) for tripping midfielder Gennaro Gattuso that even Italian players thought was harsh. “Truthfully, I don’t think it was a red card,” Giuseppe Rossi said. “It was more of a yellow card.” “It made all the difference,” Landon Donovan said. “Eleven guys from each team were prepared and ready to play the game and the guy in the middle with the whistle wasn’t. That’s unfortunate because we wanted to put on a good show. Everybody watching the game knows it wasn’t a red card. The referee after the game will know it’s not a red card because it changed the game. He got emotional and made a quick decision instead of taking his team and thinking about it, maybe asking the linesman or the fourth official. He knew he made a mistake. It was a stupid, stupid move by him.”

  33. Tommy H says:

    BrianK you are right on, Dempsey has not played well in several US games. He needs a rest or something.

  34. Tom P says:

    That is the most balanced and well thought out, constructively critical assessment of the game I have seen. Hats off to you Ives.

    I think we are all just frustrated we can never win the big ones and that shows in peoples rabid dog responses. I still say, like the old saying goes, you need the horses to run certain courses and yesterday was a perfect example. I was gutted as a fan after Costa Rica due to the lack effort, focus and energy vs. a beatable opponent. Yesterday was a whole other ball game because we played hard and well vs. vastly superior talent and pedigree.

  35. Ives says:

    BrianK, I obviously disagree with Jamie’s assessment of Tim Howard. There’s not much else to say really.

  36. Mikeype says:

    It would be nice to actually play Italy with 11 v 11 sometime, to see what we can actually do against them.

    As for sacking Bradley, it is way too early for me to consider that (if we go 0-0-3 in this tournament, definitely yes he has to go).

    This is exactly why Ricardo Clark is playing in MLS. Clark does this game after game in MLS, committing silly fouls and accumulates yellow cards.

    For Spector, I think that we have found our missing RB or LB, depends on Cherundolo.

  37. jpc says:


    I hate jamie Trecker, I think he is the dregs of soccer journalism; however, I agree that there is not way the second goal should have gone in. Other than that, Howard was terrific, but unfortunately the best keepers (and howard is world class) need to be perfect in big games

  38. Murphy says:

    Clark’s tackle was reminiscent of the best of Pablo Mastroeni. It may not have hurt Gattuso that much, but it was so obvious and high that it doesn’t matter. Sure, the ref could have given him a yellow but there was no need for Clark to foul Gattuso in midfield like that. That’s where someone like Jermaine Jones would have known better.

    I think the US was playing well before the red and played well after it. We can’t expect them to pull out a 1-0 win against Italy a man down.

    DeMerit and Spector played well. Yes, DeMerit could have pushed up on the 1st goal but another central midfielder could have been there if Clark wasn’t ejected. I like the idea of the Boca-DeMerit-Onyewu-Spector/Cherundolo backline. Bornstein is fast but Boca would be better out there on the left than any other option, and i think DeMerit and Onyewu could handle the middle.

    Also, give Rossi some credit–the guy could have signed up for the US and played in every world cup for the next 15 years no problem–it was clear he was going to be a great striker–but instead he chose to try to make the Italian national team coming out of Jersey. That’s a pretty bold move. There were and are still no guarantees that he will be on the team. Its not like he’s competing against a bunch of guys who play in MLS.

  39. Danny says:

    I’ll always love Rico Clark. I mean, ho can you not love a guy that kicks Carlos Ruiz? HAving said that, I think he needs to learn his lesson the way Michael Orazco is learning his lesson for that red in the Olympics. That is, he shouldn’t be on the squad for a while.

  40. bp says:

    It’s not disaster time yet. Italy’s Italy. We just don’t have the talent level to beat them 10 v 11, but neither do a lot of better teams than the US. I’d like to see us finish better, but I put that a lot more on the players than Bradley. Of course, I want us to do well v. Brazil, but again…Brazil’s Brazil. If we win, that’s news. If we don’t, that’s not. I’ll really be looking for some progress, which is hard to judge a man down.

    As for 3-and-out in ’10? I hate to say it, but some 3-and-outs are worse than others. I think this team looks more like the ’06 3-and-out, where we actually had a statistical chance of making it at the start of the third game, as opposed to the ’98 team, which was done after the second game. I gotta say I prefer Bradley over Sampson. Even as we remember ’02 fondly, keep in mind that we got to the elimination round through the back door that year, too. We were lucky to be playing a “local” team in the next round that we were just learning to dominate and that’s been on the decline since. Had it been Germany, who knows? Football’s a weird game that way.

    Don’t take this as complacency…I’m still looking for that next generation of players that’s really going to take us to the next level, but that’s going to take a while (although I hope I’m wrong).

    So let’s all just take a deep breath!

  41. TomT says:

    Anyone blaming Tim Howard is a complete idiot. DeRossi took a hard shot from distance that Howard did not see until it was too late. Not only that, Gooch could have, and should have, blocked it.

    Jamie Trecker just writes things to be controversial so people will actually go and read him. Nobody would read him otherwise.

  42. CP2 says:

    Ives, you say you want dempsey to step up and be a legitimate threat on the USMNT again? until he has players alongside him and a SYSTEM to play in (and 10 other guys on the field, of course), he wont be that threat. the US does not have enough talent to take home any major competition outside of concacaf. everyone is asking this team to highly overachieve.

  43. jjfad13 says:

    BK. Jozy definitely should have done better with his chance but lets go easy on the comparisons with Rossi. Rossi is 22 and has had over 50 appearances in La Liga. Jozy is 19. Lets see where is 3 years from now if you want a fair comparison.

  44. Doug says:


    Great job with your analysis of this game. I think a lot of people were so upset by the loss that they lost track of how strong, overall, most of the starting elevent played today. I was very impressed. Thanks for taking the time to set things straight.

  45. Turtle says:

    To those saying our tactics were flawed:

    I agree that Altidore could ahve been left on the field. However, I do understand the insertion of Davies. Jozy was looking winded. Davies is SUPPOSE to be a speedy guy. He was SUPPOSE to run around and challenge the distribution coming out of the back and and be a speed threat on the counter attack – of which he was niether. That’s his failings as a player – not performing in his usual manner. Not a tactical failure.

    Beasley coming in was the same theory. He’s SUPPOSE to be a two-way threat – and he is when in form. This is why he was really the only option coming off the bench (not another two way player to choose). At the time he came in US was down 2-1. Remember, this was right after Italy went ahead.

    I don’t have that much of an issue with the Coach’s tactics.

    The fact of the matter is USA matches up well with Italy – EVEN WHEN DOWN A MAN. It’s been held to be true in 2 consecutive games. Imagine a day when we get to play 11 on 11.

    BTW American players outscored Italin 3-1 :)

  46. Htownguy says:

    One of the questions that i have is, why does BB automatically give a starting spot to Dempsey? I like Dempsey but he hasn’t proved earned his starting spot as of late.

  47. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Donovan’s poor set piece deliver almost set up the tieing goal but for Davies’s poor finish.

  48. PetedeLA says:

    I’m so sick of these fr#cking excuses. Like that’s the only time someone was given a red card unfairly?

    Instead of complaining about the ref, Donovan should maybe be thinking about working on his free kicks and shooting in general.

    If he ever makes the jump to a higher league, he will look back on these performances and recognize his underperforming.

    What the heck is he waiting for? He needs to ask himself, have I given up scoring when it’s not a fr#cking penalty?

    The Italians have played tons of games, Champs League, League Cup, in one of the hardest leagues in the world.

    He plays for the Galaxy.

    I thought he played very well, but there’s a time when he needs to be ‘selfish’ and set up his own shots rather than hoisting that kind of responsibility on a 19 year old who’s got no playing time under his belt.

    Wake up Donovan!
    (still think he’s a great player, though)

  49. Doug says:

    One more thought. That was the best game I have seen Landon play against a top team EVER! He has never played with the amount of confidence that I saw from him yesterday. As Ives correctly stated, he tried to impose his will on the game and, I thought, was largely successful. He ran at defenders, causing numerous problems for Italy’s highly reputed defense and did not hesitate. But Landon still is not our primary goal scorer (with the exception of penalty shots, in which case he is money). He needs people like Altidore and others to finish off the chances he creates.

  50. Johnny says:

    Bob Bradley is good but not good enough. For a long time I was an advocate for giving him time to get this team right. Time is up. His adjustments are always too late. Playing down a man why didn’t we sub for fresh legs sooner? The team looked rutterless in the second half. What sis Bob say or not say to them at halftime?

    I would love to see Boca move to left back, although isn’t that we we had him for the Ghana game in 2006? He did a piss poor job at LB in that game. That being said he is a much better option than Bornstien, Pearce, or Beasly.

    Also why is Adu even on this roster if Bob has no intention of playing him? OR for that matter Torres? I know Bob eluded to these players being a defensive liability. Well I hate to tell you this Bob all your players in mid are dfensive liability so you may as well go with someone, anyone that has a snow ball’s chance in hell of finishing a shot.

    I know Charlie Davies did not play well but we need speed up top whith Jozy. People keep saying Connnor Casey is there to hold the ball up and relieve pressure. As far as I am concerned Jozy can do it and do it well.

    The formation I would like to see is

    Jozy Altidore-Charlie Davies

    Landon Donovan

    Jose Torres-Michael Bradley-Dempsey

    Boca- Gooch- Demerit- Spector


  51. Ives says:

    CP2, you have a valid point about Dempsey needing better support, but other players find a way to have impacts despite the supporting cast. I suppose the expectations are high on Dempsey because he’s done so well in England and is regarded by some as the U.S. team’s best attacking player.

    I realize soccer is a team sport, and you need your teammates, but I don’t think it’s asking too much to say a player like Dempsey needs to make more of an impact.

    I do agree with those who believe he could be worn out from a long club season.

  52. SR says:

    If you all were Jermaine Jones watching this game live, what would you be thinking? So what does he probably think of the US team at this point? Too early?

  53. BellusLudas says:

    Bradley would get a 3 from me. I think when Rico gets sent off you have to make a bigger adjustment and kill-off the match. A lot of time was on the clock but with a couple subs and a change in formation we should have been able to do it.

  54. Steve says:

    I am sorry to say this but it comes down to coaching. Yes, Italy has more talented players but Bradley was out coached by Lippi. Lippi knew when to make changes and which personnel to insert to the game. Bradley’s decisions continue to confuse everyone. We are no different and no better than 2006 at this rate. Yes, we have gotten younger but we are still no better than the 2006 team.

  55. PetedeLA says:

    Johnny. Email that to Bob, stat.

    Looks really good from here.

  56. Rich says:


    Good job on the ratings.

    Since we all bleed for this team it hurts alot, but really did we expect more?

    This is essentially the same attacking team that played against Costa Rica and Honduras. If we cannot threaten their golas more how can we expect to convert against the Italians.

    We know exactly what we are going to get from this squad and again we got it. It hurts again, but we really should expect it.

    This is the third major international tournament in a row where we have gotten a red card to ruin a game. Ghana, Olympics and now this. Once the red card happened you knew it was jsut a matter of time.

    That said, Rossi’s first hit the inside of the post and went in. If he is off by an inch or 2 either way the shot does not go in. Sacha hits a screamer and it goes just over. That is always the way it breaks for the #14 team in the world versus the 4th…..

    – Gooch raised his stock.

    – Donovan played well, why can’t he do it every game?

    – Feilhaber was invisible except for the one pass.

    – I know we are stuck with it by please BB no more Beasley! Although what about using him as the second defensive Mid?

    – Jozy should shoot. That is what he is paid money for!

    – I hope BB goes with 2 forwards against Brazil. I think that makes Jozy more dangerous.

  57. mnmike says:

    I have never understood the whole Rossi=Benedict Arnold bit. Some fans need to relax.

    I really like Spector. Not only was he solid defensively, but did well pushing forward before the red card. The RB spot is his, health permitting.

    Bornstein, by contrast, does fine 1 on 1, but he tends to get lost marking off the ball. That’s my concern.

    Overall I was pleased. The US created some nice chances in the first half. The 3rd goal was partially due to fatigue. I think the greatest difference between the two sides was that the US doesn’t quite know how to control posession and build up an attack (granted, it’s a big difference).

  58. UR says:

    What’s glaring in most US games is the lack of being able to score in the run of play.

    Watching Rossi put those 2 away was clinical and coldblooded goalscoring. We don’t have anyone that does that. Jozy should’ve pounded that great chance in as should have Bradley the younger.

  59. patriot71 says:

    Here are my two biggest concerns with the USMNT as a whole:

    Mid-Field – We have got to close down the space! This is happening time and time again and I honestly can not believe it’s not being discussed more. Any team worth their salt is going to take advantage of that.

    Defending Set Plays – Yes, our d-line held its own yesterday, but we were also extremely lucky that Italy didn’t connect on a couple of its corners and free kicks. We were ball watching – plain and simple.

    As for individual performances, my thoughts on a few guys:

    1. Altidore – I can’t believe some posters are saying he should have been ranked lower than a 7. Yes, he missed on his one big opportunity but I don’t think he’ll make that mistake again. Outside of that, he was fantastic. The Italian coach said there were two players that really gave his side fits – Altidore and Gooch. Anytime a 19 year old is being pointed out as one of 2 players that really gave a defending WC team a hard time…come on people!

    2. Gooch – Man, has this guy grown into a leader! He was a rock back there and what a difference from the guy that we watched in the 2006 WC.

    3. Donovan – Yes, he converted a PK and had a great second half. That said, where was he for most of the first half? He’s got to be a significant force the entire 90 minutes.

    4. Bradley – Again, I don’t understand the haters. Name me one other middie that was closing down space and making significant tackles? Also, he was sprinting to get back once possession was lost. Again, give me a break!

    5. Dempsey – Not sure what the problem is. He’s definitely lost a ton of credibility in my book. Too many sub-par matches not to.

    6. Spector – Seemed to always be in great position and had some very key clearances. Very impressed with the youngster.

  60. TheseColorsDoNotRun says:

    Dear Ives,

    Bob Bradley seems like a good man.

    Looking not at this one game, but at his entire tenure it is clear that Bob Bradley is not the man we should have managing the side.

    There is very little evidence that he brings much to the table where high-level international tactics, substitution decisions, or man management are concerned.

    His continued reliance on Sasha Kljestan and DaMarcus Beasley is damning. His failure to play Jose Francisco Torres more is stunning.

    As manager, Bob Bradley conservative, workman-like, and unimaginative. If he is running the show in 2010, odds are we will pick up a point or two. And then we’ll get a couple years to pick over the failure after the fact.

    I understand journalists need to be circumspect in ways that supporters do not. But sometimes the facts that must be reported are uncomfortable.

    The player pool is basically fixed in the short term. But the manager can be changed.

    I understand that “not Bradley” is not a real choice — that a better candidate must be available and interested before you part company with the incumbent. I also understand that Guus Hiddink is already employed.

    Still, the limitations of Bradley Senior deserve to analyzed more sharply on this site.


  61. Wes says:

    I’ve said it a million times.

    Ricardo Clark and Mastroeni can’t be trusted. They are a red card waiting to happen.

  62. TomM says:

    We played well against a very talented team- a bad call by the ref changed the game. It happens. Those of you calling for Bob Bradley’s head, and thinking that slotting in a European coach who will play phantom MLS players (to replace all the current players you’re unhappy with) and turn them into technical geniuses capable of starting for Chelsea and competing against the likes of the Spanish and Argentina national teams really have your heads way too far up your arses.

    How about instead you grow a reasonable set of expectations for this team? Methinks you’re not capable. I’d prefer to fire you…

  63. Johnny says:


    You’re right we don’t have anybody like Rossi. Rossi was exactly the kind of player this team needed. Even Jozy is quoted as saying he is diappointed that he’ll never play with Rossi after the game. I used to be a Rossi hater but after watching that game as brutally soul crushing as it was I’m over it. This kid never played games with us, he always said it’s Italy or bust. The sooner we all move on the better. If we go two more games without socring in the run of play Bob needs to get gone!

  64. JK says:

    Ives, your ratings are right on. It’s hard to say what would have happened if the US had the full 11. Also, anyone who thinks Howard lost us the game is out of their mind. It’s not his fault that the midfield did not step up on the first two goals (the third was all Pirlo). That can’t happen even if you are a man down. Howard also made very good saves at the end of the game, and he kept his team in the game.

  65. Andy in Atlanta says:

    I am really sick and tired of you people calling for BBs head… the guys is doing just fine… do you really think Jurgen K would do that much better? He was a joke @ Bayern Munich…

    The US was playing very well against Italy until Rico made a stupid move and the center made an even stupider move by sending him off for his first challenge of the game… if you look back at the replay in HD… you will see that Rico did not hardly make contact with the player but it was dumb an high…

    Also…enough of the Dempsey bashing… Clint made some mistakes but there is not doubt that when it tight spaces he is our best player and you need a player like that… Mexico was always so powerful because they had three midfielders who could play in tight spaces and keep poss of the ball…we should be happy just to have two in Clint and Landycakes…

    Michael Bradley wore down as the game went on…to be expected when having to chase so much…he was really strong in the opening half and deserves credit.. I think we will play against Brazil well (not going to win) and we should evaluate after Egypt…not before.

  66. mike says:

    Either Onyewu or Howard should get docked at least 2 points for the 2nd goal.

    Thought subbing out Altidore was a huge mistake unless he was too exhausted to continue. He was giving Italy’s back line fits and was doing a great job holding the ball.

    Dempsey needs to sit. Maybe he’s exhausted from EPL play.

  67. patriot71 says:

    I see a lot of people calling for Torres to play. Personally, I think he’s a great player and I guess I’m kind of 50/50 on that suggestion. The reason I’m not jumping up and down for the kid to get in there is that he seems to be weak on the one thing we desparately need – a DEFENDING middie. He has gotten lit up in that area. That said, he does seemt to be able to hold the ball pretty well.

    In short, I don’t know. What are other’s thoughts on this one?

  68. Jeff says:

    Interesting to see who gets the defensive mid role. Many are suggesting Torres but that makes no sense. He is not a defensive player. I think Ives is right and we will see Sacha in there.

  69. Joe B. says:

    I stopped paying attention to Jamie Trecker a long time ago. He’s covers soccer, but it’s still Fox News…

  70. Josh says:

    I thought the US played very well against a more talented opponent until they ran out of steam from being a man down. Their performance was tough and brave, and I’m proud of them for it.

    That said, they have got to develop more mental toughness. For his part, Donovan realized this and took the match to the Italians. If he could always play with that kind of aggression, he’d have made it in Europe long ago (and the US might have equalized against Ghana in ’06). Jozy, however, did exactly what Donovan did in that Ghana match and decided to pass up his best opportunity all match. Italy doesn’t give you too many chances, so you’ve gotta go for the kill when they do.

    I’m a fan of Clark, but this wasn’t the first time he’s made a boneheaded challenge. Dubious red card aside, you don’t put yourself at the mercy of the ref in that situation. Wes is right: he just can’t be trusted at this level. Hopefully, when Jones is cleared to play for the US, we won’t have to.

    Michael Bradley is coming along nicely, but he still runs out of gas toward the end of matches. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt the team, sometimes it leads to a careless yellow. Unfortunately, the only midfield player with Hejduk-esque stamina is Clark, but that stamina doesn’t do any good when you only get 30+ minutes before he gets carded. MB ran out of gas (as did Demerit), and left too much space on Italy’s goals. A lot of that has to do with being a man down, so it’s not their fault, but still… Bob needs to recognize that his son is not an aerobic beast like Hejduk, and to sub MB out when he’s gassed.

    Otherwise a good measuring-stick game. It’s important to remember that Italy is simply better than the US, and nine times out of ten they’re going to win that game. For that reason, I think it’s fair to say that within their (not-inconsiderable) limits, several of the Nats stepped up and played very well against a quality opponent, something that can only help down the road.

  71. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Geez, there are some over the top posts here today. Fire Bradley? Yeah, good idea. That will turn Richardo Clark into a combination of Gennaro Gattuso and Mahatma Gandhi. His “continued reliance” on Beasley and Kljestan? You mean the two guys who have lost their starting jobs recently? Injuries limited choices, a red card took out the one position of critical need in this match and we still lead at half. Yeah, sounds like a coaching failure…

    But the one that kills me most is Dempsey. Players get every moment picked over and analyzed. Gooch and Howard, not to mention Donovan, had very solid games but get downgraded from some for a single play. Yet when it comes to Dempsey we here “He’s tired”. Oh, poor baby…against all those well rested Italians, too…

    Forgive the sarcasm but please…

  72. Ryan says:

    Trecker is the worst sports journalist I’ve come across in awhile. I stopped reading his stuff a long time ago. Howard was clearly screened and should not be blamed. Gooch had a great game, but he should have got in front of that shot (should have used the left boot instead of the right).

  73. John says:

    Bottom line – the US had to play for 70 minutes down a man versus the current World Champions. What do you expect? The team played decently in most positions and ran out of gas as you would expect.

    People are ridiculous on most of the criticisms. I do get mad about Clark’s poor decision to foul a guy unecessarily at midfield, but in any other country everyone would be blaming the referee for making a terrible call. 19 out fo 20 times that foul is a yellow only (or less) even in international play. I’m sure Fox Sports News could find 100 exact examples of this play where there foul only generates a yellow card.

    Michael Bradley is a stud and I can’t believe that some don’t recognize/acknowledge it. He is one of our 2-3 most important players. I like Freddy Adu too, but he and some other players mentioned are luxury players when you play a superior team like Italy or Brazil.

  74. TheseColorsDoNotRun says:

    Dear Ives,

    Here’s suggestion for the site.

    I think it would be a great thing if after every match our national side plays you:

    1. Post your grades (1 to 10) for the players *and* manager.
    2. Also have “Supporters Poll.”
    3. Have the site set-up so that your grades can be seen side-by-side with the average supporters poll grades.

  75. Blokhin says:


    The consensus is that Dempsey needs a rest, or at least to be challenged for a spot. So, who’s the answer? Beasley? Does Torres play on the left wing for Pachuca at all?

  76. BlueWhiteLion says:

    . . . i’m just too exhausted to comment. Overall, good analysis, Ives. I might drop LD and JA a bit, and both are guys I like. Donovan, when he steps it up is fantastic, but he does at time–early on–seem to be pacing himself rather than going full bore. I think he is fit enough to hit it harder, earlier and rattle the opposition. JA is showing promise, but he still has problems with the ball at his feet, and his square-not-a-shot was almost inexcusable. Still love the guy, but I think 7’s are too high, taking the whole game into consideration.

    They also did not generate much connection in the latter 1/3 of the field early on. Why is that? Not in their game plan? Not quality enough as players? No balls? You see what happened when they DID step it up. It opened the game up. Haven’t watched a replay yet.

  77. BlueWhiteLion says:

    oh–and I like Harkesy as a commentator. Not sure why others seem to hate him.

  78. Turtle says:

    BlueWhiteLion – because no one is happy with anything on this site.

  79. Pat M says:

    While he wasn’t my first choice I felt Bradley deserved a chance. Three years later, I fear he has run out of ideas.

    I was thinking in the second half when Italy made thier first sub – what is Bradley waiting for? he’s got tired legs out there and he is not making substitutions. That came back to haunt us. So put the first goal on Bradley as much as Feilhaber. He should have replenished his midfield before it was too late, it was obvious what was happening.

    We need someone with better tactics. It could be Klinsman or dare I say it “Sven”.

    Bradley seems a bit naive regarding how to play top level opponents. Until we find someone who knows how to approach these games and understands how to change the flow when needed, we are doomed to see more of the same.

    On a related topic, I would like to someday see the US play Italy 11 v 11.

  80. JRhode says:

    Ives, I think you are too kind in your rating of Demerit. Look at his positioning on the first two goals and the fact that he got burned on the third. I am not trying to make Demerit the scapegoat here, but definitely not one of his fanboys either.

  81. primoone says:

    No sense in mentioning how much of a POS Rossi is for celebrating his goals against his own country and dedicating them to his Family in the USA…

    But lets focus on the positive thing. Our Backline deserves some praise. Contrary to popular belief (Ives) Demerit played well. There is no way you can blame him for that first goal. First and formost, cardinal sin Benny gives the ball away in the midfield. That = poor defensive positioning for us. There is no time for the defender to push up on the unmarked guy (rossi) especially if he takes only 2 dribbles then unleashes a rocket. No way you can blame that on JD. That third goal yes, JDs fault, he got abused on the touch line (laughs) but hey, garbage time goal im sure he was exausted.


    Spec-gooch-JD- Boca


    LD – Torres


    * Sasha because Dempsey needs a break

    * Davies because Josy needs a break

    * Sasha and Torres can both Interchange

    their respective MF slots

    I think if Bradley is not here to secure points (as evident by the non-coaching in the Italy game) then he needs to play guys that dont get regular starts for us.

  82. primoone says:

    Retraction: Mis-stated that Rossi scored goals against his own country. Rossi is not American as evident by the Italian Crest on his Jersey. My apologies…

    FOOK Rossi

  83. patriot71 says:


    Not bashing on you and I definitely agree that Dempsey needs a break (maybe bring him in as a 2nd half sub?). However, I would definitely keep Altidore in the line-up. Yes, he flubbed that one opportunity. However, I thought he was brilliant outside of that one error and, again, he’s named as one of the 2 players by the Italian coach that gave them fits. Keep him in.

  84. Nick says:

    Ricardo is the new Pablo! Costly fouls in critical matches.
    Other than that, I thought the Nats were holding their own and playing pretty well up to the red card. Seriously, did anyone out there really think we could hang on for 60 minutes playing a man down?

  85. T says:

    I am so sick of BB getting so much crap when we were down a man to the WORLD CHAMPIONS! The loss falls on one man’s shoulders and that man is Ricardo Clark. We beat Italy all over the field in the first half but of course we’re not going to be able to do that down a man for 60 minutes. Bradley’s only warranted criticism in this games is what Ives said, and I’ve stated to my friends, Bradley waited about 5 minutes too late for each sub. I don’t think Bob is without faults but what coach isn’t?

    For those blaming Bradley for this loss, with Klinsmann at the helm, do we win this game? I don’t think so. I think people want to hate BB so much that they will look to blame anything on him. We could beat Brazil on Thursday and people would not give him any credit.

  86. sonicdeathmonkey says:

    Im encouraged that more people are at least admiting Clark’s challenge was bad. I said right off the bat that it was a red, and got flamed all afternoon. Whether you think it was a red or not is inmaterial. It was late, it was high, and it was reckless. And much like Pablo’s red in WC2006, it was really ridiculous considering what part of the field the ball was on at the time. Making a last gasp attempt in front of the goal is one thing. Doing what he did with the ball 60 yards from your goal is quite another.

  87. yes says:

    People jump so fast off the dempsey bandwagon. He did a lot of good things prior to the red card; I thought he was one of the more lively players. After the red card he had to change his game to be more defensive, which is obviously not his preferred role, but I still think he did pretty well.

    He is still the best right mid in the pool, and will really benefit from having spector behind him.

  88. JustinG says:

    I am totally down with trying out those 4 in the back.


    If it doesn’t work, oh well, at least we gave it a whirl. Better to try it now in this somewhat meaningless tourney than in a meaningful WCQ game.

    Also think Bob should have gotten some fresh legs in there sooner than he did.

  89. Yossarian says:

    The Ives forums after and during the U.S. games used to be awesome, but they’ve recently become overrun with clueless idiots who just use it as a chance to complain, inanely shout for people to be fired, and generally deride players even when they play well. If you don’t think that was an excellent overall performance by just about every U.S. player yesterday, you don’t know what you’re talking about and should just shut up. I used to really look forward to reading these threads, but yesterday was completely unreadable.

    I think Ives has to start liberally awarding yellow and red cards to those who abuse their commenting privileges. This is becoming ridiculous. If your life sucks and you just want to whine and complain about something then find some forum for losers whose lives suck. We’d like to actually talk soccer here. I’m so sick of the incessant complaining, even when the team performs great. We’re not Brazil, people, some of the expectations here are completely absurd.

    I’m not a huge Bradley fan, but I’d like to congratulate him and the team on a tremendous performance against one of the best sides in the world. If they hadn’t been so worn down by having to play 10 v 11, they would have had an excellent chance at achieving a result. Onyewu was a beast and even Lippi complimented the U.S. as being a very difficult team to play against, singling out Gooch and Altidore as being particularly tough to handle. High praise, indeed!

  90. mikemc says:

    My one complaint of Bornstein (sp?) is that he has no right foot. There were a few times in the match where he came down the wing and should have cut to the middle for a right footed service, but he seemed hesitant and then tried to get the ball on his left and lost it. At this level, you should be able to cross with both feet.

    I would like to see this line-up vs. Brazil:




    Bornstein/Bocanegra—Onyewu—Bocanegra/DeMerit— Spector


  91. JIM P says:

    Here are my criticisms of the game. The US Nats are my team win or lose but here is an honest assessment.

    1. Ricardo Clark deserved a red card, but so did the Italian who elbowed LD.

    2. The penalty kick was deserved, but so was the own goal by Bornstein.

    3. Feilhaber made the decisive play when he turned the ball over in midfield. The US never recovered and the Italians got momentum.

    4. DeMerit should have stepped to the ball on the first goal.

    5. Howard should have taken a step and saved the second goal.

    6. The last goal was players running out of gas because they were playing with 10.

    7. Bob Bradley should have subbed FB the minute Clark got red-carded even if it meant a midfield of LD, MB, and new sub DeMarcus Beasley.

    8. The Italians have argueably the two best outside backs in soccer, and possibly the best midfield. The US were undermanned and any team in the world would lose to Italy down a man for 60 min.

    9. Can Jermaine Jones put a direct kick on net? If so, get him in there.

    10. I do believe this the US Nats have dropped off a little as National teams do since maybe 2-3 years ago, but what an incredible improvement since the 90’s before we had an MLS.

  92. fubar says:

    Andy in Atlanta and Others – I am calling for Bradley’s head on a spike. Let’s look at the facts. Your a man down but leading 1-0 at the half against the reigning World Cup Champions. What do you, as manager, do tactically to insure a victory or at least a tie?

    Do you continue to attack by playing long balls into space and thereby tiring your players? Or do you put 10 men behind the ball, conserve your energy, and counter when you can? Well, we know what Bradley did and 99 out of 100 managers would have done it DIFFERENTLY.

    He just has no sense of tactics. The guy is out of his depth. And YES, Klinnsman would have done a better job.

    We could have walked off that pitch with a tie and with a little luck, maybe even a win BUT for BB’s tactics. The players deserve better and their coach let them down. Bradley gets a 3 and only because he put out a nice starting line-up although I would still take exception to putting BF on the right wing when he is more of a central player. It should have been a 4-5-1 with Donavan and Dempsey on the wings and BF in the middle.

    C’mon, the gaffer is toast. Adios BB…

  93. Adam M. says:

    Bradley made a huge tactical mistake by not continuing to attack in the second half. The U.S. arguably looked even more solid in the attack after Clark was dismissed and by pressing play into Italy’s half, it lessened the impact of Clark’s absence. So what did Italy do once it realized that Bradely conceeded the midfield (and that it couldn’t score from inside the area thanks to some very solid play from the back 4)? It took advantage of the space and launched two missiles from the midfield space that Bradley conceeded. And there goes the game.

    I’m not sure why Altidore was subbed, but he looked like the only player Italy was concerned about. Dempsey frankly looks like he needs to eat something and is clearly due for a rest. Why not try Adu there against Brazil? There is nothing to lose, right?

    I thought Bradley should be fired if we got no points through the Mexico game. Now I think he is gone if we don’t get any points in the Confed Cup. And if we get 1 point but don’t score a goal from the run of play, he should be gone also. It looks like he has taken us as far as he can.

  94. bp says:

    OK. Pretend you’re Rossi. Your family identifies strongly with two countries. You’re good enough to play on the national team for either one. Do you play on the one that’s likely to win a world cup or two during your active career or the one that’s just hoping to make it to the semis some day? Do you want to play next to Zambrotta, Gattuso, Pirlo, Buffon, et al…or Ricardo Clark and Benny Feilhaber? Sure, Freddy chose the US. Over Ghana. Nice team, but not the Assurri. As for the US, we’ve got nats players who don’t even suit up for their club teams. If the Yankees and the Padres were both after you, who’d you be more interested in? If the kid can make it in Italy, more power to him. Maybe we can get him in MLS when he’s 32, just for kicks.

  95. beckster says:

    Ives…very balanced assessment – especially compared to Treker. But I think that a couple of points that Treker made were valid. One, Spector and DeMerit had very good games and one could argue that Gouch has such a great game because he worked better with DeMerit. I think, if given the chance to play together, a Spector, Gouch, Demerit, Boca backline could be stronger than one with Bornstein. Bornstein again showed that with real European competition and speed that he had trouble.

    I also agree with Treker and a couple of the comments above that Clark and Mastroani can’t be trusted in games of this magnitude. We so need Edu.

  96. kpugs says:

    For various reasons I was not completely up to speed on any pre-game notes.

    Having made that admission, really? Benny over Torres? Torres not even seeing a minute of action? Torres being the best player on the field and removed at half time?

    I still have faith in Bradley, but I find myself questioning more and more of his decisions every single game. At this point I’m wondernig if in South Africa (if we get there, knock on wood) he’s going to use the first match as an experiment. Enough already with this B.S., I’m sick of this guy “experimenting” every single effing game.

  97. beckster says:

    p.s. one final thought. Treker made the point that Dempsey is exhausted after having argueably the longest toughest European season. I agree with that. The problem is that the same thing will happen next year at World Cup so how do you give Dempsey the rest he needs to perform at the level he is capable of? Can Bradley figure it out?

  98. bp says:

    Sorry…”Azzuri.” I’ll spell-check next time.

  99. Al17 says:


    Avg #Caps (32.3)

    Least #Caps J. DeMerit (Watford)-(10)

    #4 players with WC Finals experience



    Avg #Caps (48.3)

    Least #Caps – Legrottaglie (Juventus)-(11)

    Players with World Cup experience used

    9. Eight of their starting eleven played in the 2006 World Cup Final and Luca Toni off the bench makes it 9. One those players includes a guy who’s last name is Pirlo. The man of the match for the World Cup Final.



    My question is what in the hell were you people expecting yesterday? Fire the coach is such a tired song. Considering the key injuries we have, Bob Bradley has done a hell of a job preparing this team for yesterday’s match. We were beaten by the current world champs and played them hard despite being a man down. We ran outta steam in the 2nd half. Playing at full strength against Italy is tough enough but to play them short handed is even harder. I’m damn proud of the way we played yesterday. I’m looking forward to Thursday’s match against Brazil. The US Nats are gaining an incredible amount of experience and at a young age from this tournament. We’ll benefit from it at next summer’s tournament when things really do matter. We didn’t lose to New Zealand. Did I mention that the oldest player on the field for us yesterday is 30 and he was in goal?

    Ricardo Clark’s Red Card-

    Those of you getting on him for the sending off are WRONG. The ref and his crew should be sent home. There was no way in hell that was a card and especially his first foul of the match. Maybe a warning but that’s it. Clark may have been late but 10 times outta 10 that’s a warning, no card what so ever. It was BullSh! and call if for what it is.

    John Harkes

    Hope like hell he loses his voice because I’m so damn tired of hearing him during match commentary. Clueless seems to be the way for him.

  100. JoeW says:

    I don’t really care about the scoreline or that we tried hard. What is so depressing is that the real value of this tournament is for the USA to get games against toplevel/WC-caliber teams in the WC setting and to push us tactically. When we went down a man, the tactics all went out the window.

    Let’s supposed the scoreline had stayed 1-0. Or Rossi had never entered the game. Or Pirlo got hurt. All factors that might have led to a 1-0 USA win. While that would have been nice, the real value of this game is an opportunity to raise the tactical acumen of our team against a very sophisticated side. While it would have been nice to win, a win was not the most important thing here.

  101. CT says:

    Some observations:

    For all of you who want to fire BB – Please describe exactly what BB’s mistakes are and what you would have done in the alternative. Just blurting out “Fire BB” adds absolutely nothing to the discussion.

    Rico Clark – You guys make up you mind. If his challenge was in fact red card worthy, then Rico made a bad mistake that hurt his team grievously. If the red card was completely unjustified and should have been a yellow (as I believe) then it has no bearing whatsoever on the match and is comparable to a number of violent challenges by both teams throughout the match. If you believe Rico should have gotten a yellow, shut up about his challenge – it would have been irrelevant to the match and is not grounds for banning him from future USMNT important games.

    Rossi – The mindless venting about Rossi playing for Italy is understandable but has gone on too long. Rossi is gone and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. If you could start for the Lakers why would you opt for the Bobcats or T-wolves instead?

    Team/Player performance – Someone wrote earlier that giving most of the players above average grades for a 3-1 loss is stupid. No, the critic is stupid. As much as would would like it to be so, the US is not yet in the same class as Italy, Holland, England, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, and a few others. It’s conceivable that the US could take a game from those teams but it would require a heroic effort from the US and a subpar effort from the opponent. To play 60 minutes shorthanded against the reigning world champion team, and get the result they did, the US did a fantastic job. Enjoy the fact that the US is on the path to equality with the world’s best and hope we can sneak out a result against Brazil.

  102. JRhode says:


    I envoke Catch 22 of soccer fandom. If we aren’t a little disappointed when our team had a better result in its grasp, can we really call ourselves fans/supporters? I love the USMNT, however, it is also an exercise in frustration. I don’t care who we play, as a fan I want a result. Don’t take the disappointment being voiced here personally, most of us do love our team.

  103. Avid US fan says:

    Bob Bradley = 1
    Clark = 1

    The point missed here is failing to understanding the international game and how FIFA refs will decide. Our coach and players are naive to outside influences and how refs are positioning themselves to FIFA to ref in the WC. I’m sorry, but astute, experienced international players know how to get away with things. Clark lunged recklessly after his first touch had gotten away from him. He gave the ref a golden opportunity to show FIFA how tough he could be and “control” the match. That is all on Clark and B Bradley for not preparing the team right.

    BUT, Bob Bradley deserves more blame for more reasons. He failed to plug the gap left in the midfield by Clarks departure (or wrongly assumed Feilhaber would do it). Major, major tactical mistake that left us exposed to the two crucial goals.

    Second, he fails to understand how to play at the international level, the mindset and how the game is played differently to a different audience.

    Third Bradley has fielded a team “in promise only.” Altidore, Adu, Beasley, Spector, Feilhaber, and DeMerit are all players that either have NOT played in matches this year or are coming back from injuries. THIS is our national best?!!!! Bradley has gotten caught up in potential NOT in actual performance.

    Fourth, Bradley obviously didn’t learn anything from the last Italy-US game to even field Clark. Do we not have any other American DMids outside of Mastoeni and Clark? Will Clark apologize to the team and nation for his foolish lung leaving the team a man down, and more importantly a huge gap that was exposed?

    Fifth, Dempsey lost the ball in the midfield during Honduras that led to a goal. Yesterday he hamstrung Feilhaber who was picked by Rossi who… yeah, same result. Get Dempsey off the field. He deserves a 2 for the match.

    Finally, Other than the Italy game in WC 2006 and the team performance in WC 2002, we have to go back to Bora days for examples of a team that was organized, disciplined, and in games for the duration even if they don’t win them. The time has come for an international coach that has coached and been successful at that level, who understands what it takes and can prepare our team to take over the national program. Continuing in the Arena-Bradley mold will only leave us with the allure of promise but won’t get us to any meaningful rounds.

  104. dolan says:

    I was disappointed to see Benny start against Italy. His game is better suited against the Latin style. Italy are the hardest, best defensive team in the world. You’re playing right into their hands by putting a player like Benny out there.

    I would like to see Bornstein in DMB’s old role. He has pace, can defend 1 v 1, is not afraid to run at guys, and can whip in serves with the left peg. I’m just not sold on his size or positioning as a left back.

  105. Nick says:

    In a slightly different world imagine this team taking on Italy,






  106. Avid US fan says:

    Oh, and Rossi, there is no sense in crying over it. He has always said what his intentions were. HOWEVER, it still stings to see an AMERICAN hang 2 on us.

    I also grew up from the age of 5 to 13 in another soccer-playing country where I learned to play and love the game. I never, thanks to my mother, lost my love for the US (where I was born) but I respect the heck out of the other country and if I had been in Rossi’s situation would have been mindful of that respect and, hopefully, handled the goal celebrations with more respect. That’s all I would hope from him.

    Yet, as an American, I can’t understand how you would turn your back on this country. But that just my personal issue.

  107. FCB says:

    The US needs an attacking midfielder like Steven Gerrard or Andres Iniesta, period. We will NEVER win against world-class opposition without one.
    If the only offensive tactic you employ is lobbing balls to the top of the circle from a defensive midfield position then more often than not you are giving the ball to the opposition.
    I long for the day the US can score a well worked goal, not a counter-attack or set-piece goal, from run-of-play against a world-class team. No corners until the 90th minute is a clear indication of this.

  108. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Jim P: “…was deserved, but so was the own goal by Bornstein. ”

    Huh? How? The guy was clearly off side and was involved in the play. If he’s not off side Bornstein doesn’t have to try and make a play. You are the only person I have come across claiming that it wasn’t the right call.

  109. Angel says:

    Wow Bob Bradley is a person who play with players that he feels very comfortable, That is why he keep using his players that he knows best and like others says, he used player from the USSF youth System. He always use (Beasley, Bocanegra, Sasha, Broinstein, M. Bradley) all this come from either Chicago Fire or Chivas USA. and of course even tho Donovan and Dempsey are good players they know or think that they are Irreplaceable. Donovan sometimes he so Premadona that he think he is the best free kicker we have in this Team. Not only I think that Bob Bradley keep a grude with some players for Samples (Adu, Cooper, Orozco, Arturo Alvarez, Benny B.) all this guy have one thing in common and that is that either they had make a mistake that cause something to the USMNT or in the Youth USNT. For Example Benny, Alvarez, Adu and Orozco had problems before with Nowak in the Olimpic team or in DC United. and Now Cooper and Torres had some kind of problem with Bradley in the USMNT Camp or in a game. Anyway we as supported and as fan on the USA we need to know why are these player are been left behind or bench. Sunil have to start thinking that if this keep going on we are not going to have player with good talent on the field but we always going to be the laughing stock of the World of Football (Soccer). Noone is going to think that we are a legit team. Believe when I hear spanish comentator in ESPN español, Fox Soccer Network., Fox Español and even on GolTV. We are an emberrassment and they think we don’t belong on a the Big stages. what the heck they don’t even want to talk about team USA or mention anything about it. And why is this, cause if have an Idiot as President of the USSF who doesn’t know or even play soccer in his entired life. A Coach that never play either, that never play in a world cup or even professionally. I’m getting tired of this Idiots. And now the question is what can we do as fan and spectator of Good Football to correct this problem, Should their be a change of presidency of USSF and coach of the USMNT. Who is above Sunil G… ANGRY FAN

  110. JP says:

    These games are simply tune-ups for the World Cup. Winning is just icing on the cake. I rather play Italy and Brazil than New Zealand and Iraq. I also rather see Clark get red carded in this tournament than in the World Cup and learn from his mistakes here, even though it shouldn’t have been a red card. I doubt that he will do something like this again. The down fall with the Italy game was not losing; it was not being able to evaluate the team as a whole with 11 men on the field. I have a feeling that the U.S., fully healthy, will do well in WC 2010. Just do not let Cobi pick the ping-pong ball. By the way, the U.S. would have beaten Italy 11-11.

  111. Nelson Mandela says:

    The own goal should have counted…The player in question was clearly in an offsides position, but he wasn’t close to Bornstein (who had a nightmare of a game, not sure what game Ives watched). You didn’t see the USA players protest, in fact you could s sense of relief on their faces when the ref called offsides.

  112. Aquaman says:

    I think you were very fair with Bornstein. He almost had an own goal that was luckily called back (and if it hadn’t he’d be deserving of a lower grade) and he let Camoronessi get it some crosses, but other than that Mauro was not heard from much. Bornstein didn’t let them cut into the box and broke up a lot of the runs down the flank. I don’t think enough credit is given to Feilhaber’s passes though. His long ball as he was taken to the ground on the Jozy penalty was excellent, and his cross field ball to Dempsey later in the game (which Dempsey subsequently tried to dribble through about 6 people) was also pretty good. His defense leaves something to be desired but his passing instincts should be seen as a valuable commodity.

  113. Al17 says:

    A Coach that never play either, that never play in a world cup or even professionally. I’m getting tired of this Idiots….

    So that’s how you feel about Jose Mourinho?

    He never played at the pro level. Hell, he got his first break working as a translator for an English coach in Spain.

  114. Tony in Quakeland says:

    “The own goal should have counted…The player in question was clearly in an offsides position, but he wasn’t close to Bornstein (who had a nightmare of a game, not sure what game Ives watched). You didn’t see the USA players protest, in fact you could s sense of relief on their faces when the ref called offsides.”

    You didn’t see the Italians protest either, at least not much. The ball Bornstein hit was a pass TO the offside player. He was not just involved in the play – he WAS the play. He drew Howard toward his side as he assumes a postion to defend the goal; otherwise he would have been able to clear Bornsteins ball. Proximity has nothing to do with it. It’s all about being involved in the play

  115. CO_Soccer_FAN says:

    I know I’m a late come to the comments thread but I just watched the game on my DVR. First things first, I’m proud of our boys performance last night. The reality is that our team is not at the same level of Italy at least not yet. Second, it’s tough to play the World Cup Champions when you have 11 players on the field as is, it’s even tougher when you’re a man down which brings me to my next point. The ref made a bad call period. Yes, Ricardo Clark’s foul was a hard foul but definitely not red card worthy, yellow for sure. The ref’s bad call especially so early in the game where so much intensity and pride was simply stupid and unexcusable. Bottom line, team USA hasn’t gained the respect of the refs when they play the top tiered teams. Again, I like what I saw last night, our boys got tired towards the end, and Italy took advantage of it. Nothing to be ashamed from this American.

  116. Joe B says:

    Italy’s first two goals came with the US just about to substitute a player.

    Bob Bradley is terminally above-average.

    Of course, its not his fault that Rico got the red.

    But who doesn’t agree that an A+ coach could’ve made better tactical adjustments to squeak us out of Pretoria with a point???

    Does anyone think that the progression of the team post-Arena has been significantly for the better?

  117. T says:


    That being said, do you think this was a good opportunity for Bradley to learn and adapt to a similar situation in the future?

  118. kebzach says:

    I can’t believe how many people have fooled themselves into thinking that the USA has top 5 level MNT players.

  119. primoone says:


    Buddy of mine made a funny comment I said ” Rossi is no American… he said “I beg-to differ, Rossi is definitely an American…He was a self-centered, disrespecting little prick in someone else’s country”

    I never thought of it that way

  120. bob says:

    hey yes it was a disappointing loss and yes Bradley was outcoached but the fact is that the USA outplayed the World Champions Italy for the 1st half. and Rico’s red card was garbage.
    and if you include Rossi as an American, the Americans were clearly better than the Italians today. yes he plays for Italy but he’s a product of American soccer. it’s just a matter of time before the USA is at the same level or better than Italy, and the future Rossi’s will want to play for the USA. give it eight years or so, have patience.
    and yes Dempsey needs a rest, and Beasley is done. get him out of here…

  121. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Matt: That blog article was drivel. Nonsense. Pure garbage. I don’t know that there was a single valid point. If that clown wants to quit being a Nat fan, then good riddance. Who needs him?

  122. DC Josh says:

    People calling for Bob Bradley’s head need to calm down. The game was lost on the field by the players. If Bradley and Jozy score, you all would be singing praises for Boss Bradley.

    He waited to make his subs to see who Lippi was going to bring in. If he put in Torres or Adu, they would have done nothing defensively. He has never been a pumped up, throw a chair across the locker room coach either.

    It is very hard to judge a team when they play a man down for 60 minutes against ITALY. The scoreline is scewed with Rossi’s late goal and Pirlo absolutely is their best player, he torched Spector, I think, on the last goal with an amazing move. The problem with him is he just roams around the field, so no one can mark him because they have to maintain their shape.

    After Brazil and Egypt, take some time to reflect, then judge. It’s always very easy to dump the coach, but the problem almost always lies within the squad.

  123. Xander Crews says:

    Have to agree that so many above-average grades are a bit ridiculous in a 3-1 loss, especially a loss where we were outplayed for the entire second half. Down a man or not, I don’t think there were that many bright spots. Poor finishing, poor decision making, poor tactical judgments… I think you could reasonably make the argument that this team has regressed over Bradley’s term.

  124. Joe B says:

    DC Josh,

    Characterizing those calling for Bradley’s head as ‘uncalm’ isn’t quite fair.

    We’ve been reflecting on Bradley being unable to take us to the next level for quite some time now.

    We don’t need to wait to watch Brazil and Egypt to learn more about what Bradley brings to the side.

    He is a great coach. For an MLS squad.

    For a national team – I doubt any other country in the world will want to hire him when we eventually get around to firing him.

  125. Javier says:

    Fire Bob Bradley.

    Why was Altidore the loan forward to start this game? Why did the team come out playing so defensively the second half? Why wasn’t Altidore kept in the 2nd half and Dempsey subbed out? The Italians were having a tough time with Altidore. Dempsey just sucked again. Why was DMB who has been playing so bad subbed into this game? As one person above said, “Beasley looked lost.” Granted the U.S. played a man down most of the match and did well, but the game management by BB left a lot to be desired. I used to support this man now I believe it’s time to bring in a new coach. And if U.S.Soccer refuses to bring in a foreign coach than hire Dominick Kinnear.

  126. KCB says:

    v. Italy w/ 10 men was a great opportunity for the US to learn things about itself.

    1. Need more strength in the defensive midfield. (As Ives and others point out)
    2. Need to finish when in the box, or at least put the ball on goal. (duh)
    3. Bob Bradley needs to be more involved in the game. What I mean is, YELL a little, throw your hand up, look like you care, and be more aggressive with substitutes. One sub can change the match and he constantly waits to long to bring on that new energy.

  127. Metromaniac01 says:

    I want Ching back! Jozy looks awful! Lazy as anything out there, he is always offsides (because he is too lazy to get back) and he does not work hard off the ball. People love it when he makes a 5 yard spring towards a defender and then fouls him or just falls over….everyone is like wow he is working so hard. He is not! He just wants it to look that way.

    Also Jozy never finds space to get the ball. His goals for the Nats (except for his first one against Mexico) come from him beasting through weak islanders. That will not cut it anywhere but in CONCACAF. How many times have you seen him find space and get the ball near the goal? His great chance came against Italy because he stood there when Landon made a 30 yd run. He isn’t getting playing time in Spain and has always had fitness problems, I remember seeing him gassed 30 minutes into Metro games…every game!

    Look at my screen name here, I love Jozy and help he gets his act, but we are a much better team with Ching on the field.

  128. SR says:

    Easy on Rico. He most likely won’t be part of the 2010 squad in SA anyway. JJ will take his starting spot and BBs obsession with Kljestan and Benny will leave Rico SOL. He’ll be passing his days picking up lousy yellow cards in early July with the Dynamo.

  129. Yank 10 says:

    For those of you trying to compare Rossi and Altidore compare this. Rossi has played in europe much longer than Jozy has. Also Jozy is only 19 and Rossi is 22. In three years I fully expect Jozy to be around the level Rossi is barring any stupid loans or injuries.

  130. Nico says:

    For the love of Science, please no Kljestan.

  131. Yossarian says:


    I certainly understand getting frustrated and disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with that, but some of the mindless mindless rants calling for firings and benchings for every single mistake are moronic. It’s becoming impossible to read the forums because you have to sift through the thoughtless venting. You see guys play tremendous games and get ripped apart for one turnover or blowing one scoring chance. Even the best players in the world make several bad touches per match. Who, exactly, do we have sitting on the bench that is so incredible? Is Beckenbauer in his prime waiting in the wings to step in for Michael Bradley? Instead of just idiotically venting, people need to take a second and write something with a bare minimum of sense and perspective or else these forums are going to turn into an unintelligible mess like many others have. I’m not trying to lump everyone together – I think you know whether you’re being senselessly negative or whether you’re just making logical criticisms.

  132. Yossarian says:


    Not sure what you were watching. Jozy gave the Azzuri fits all day. The opposing head coach even singled him out with Gooch, saying, “They were well organised and made it quite difficult for us, especially their number five player (Oguchi Onyewu) and 17 (Jozy Altidore), who caused us lots of problem. Yes, we won, but it was not easy.”

    For the first time, Jozy showed that he can play as a lone target player against world-class competition. He might have blown 2 or 3 touches all night. The one setup by Lando, he should have done better with, but even the best strikers in the world blow a few touches per game.

  133. Fred says:

    Ives, is there any way the US can appeal Clark’s red card so he can appear vs. Brazil?

  134. JM says:

    To Al17

    Thanks it’s good to read some voice of reason among the screaming mob once in a while.

  135. N-Whit says:

    The only difference in this game was our inability to capitalize on our chances and one stupid tackled. When you play a world-class team, you have to capitalize on your chances. If not, you will be punished. As for Clark’s tackle, he should know better. Yes, the call was harsh, but there was no reason for the challenge.

  136. Smithfan says:

    I Agree with Many posters here,

    This is Freddy Adu’s game vs Brazil. He has yet to be given the same chance as everybody else……….and freddy has proven vs Spain and Argentina as examples that he is not afraid to take on World Class defenders and get us a win. The same lame excuses that Freddy dosent play defense or hustle on defense are proven to be wrong as a poster in another forum broke down the CR game showing Freddy Play,hustle,and intercept passes on defense as RM. Now Freddy is not a RM, he is a SS/CAM so defense should not be his concern,as if you watched how Egypt almost beat Brazil, they did what Freddy like to do.

  137. Dan Roudebush says:

    Good assesment Ives.

    For those calling for BB head get off!

    Probably the same ones critizing his selection of players for the Gold cup last year versus Copa A. But that got us into this tourney so we can see how we match up against top teams.

    And so what if we go three and out? Calling for BB head because he doesn’t win a game here? The purpose is to test and see where changes can be made to get further in 2010. To get acquainted with the country and get organized (one of our strengths-we just picked up a cherry SA training facility BTW)

    So far Bob is doing OK. I thought we looked very good in the first half, and actually the start of the second.

    BB has looked at what, over 60 players. Does anyone really think he hasn’t looked/played some one worthwhile?

    The fans calling for tactical changes? Probably don’t know what tactics mean. Never seen them define anything other than a paper formation which always changes on the field.

    Yeah fire BB because he doesn’t have a supply of pixel dust to raise there technique/level of play.

    Maybe fans should, instead, get afetr MLS to put bucks into a pro youth development program.

  138. Donjuego says:

    How can you give Altidore a 7, as high as anyone else, when he was in alone and whiffed on his shot? He whiffed!

    He has only a few jobs — finishing is one of them. He failed.

  139. Steve OReilly says:

    All this talk about firing BB is a little silly and uninformed. Most of the complaints of BB (and Arenas before him) seem to center on a few things:

    1. OPEN UP THE OFFENSE. We are in fact scoring more than before (averaging 2 goals per game in Stage 2 Qualifying vs. 1.6 four years ago).

    2. PLAY YOUNGER PEOPLE. Uh, look at the squad that played Italy. We can all debate which crap player we want at left back but there is no slam dunk candidate that hasn’t been given a chance.


    The real complaint is that the talent pool isn’t getting better. That’s not Bradley’s job. National team games aren’t meant to develop talent. Gulati should be fired if anyone, if that is the problem. Our team is actually a much better collective whole than the sum of the parts — We had three players in the lineup Monday playing in one of the top 4 leagues (not counting Spector, who hasn’t really played in a couple years) and yet we still have a borderline top 15 team in the world. This is not a team that has vast talent and is underachieving. It just doesn’t have the talent some wish it did.

  140. Eric F says:

    Cheers to:
    Optimist Primer | June 16, 2009 at 10:29 AM

  141. Alf says:

    Honestly, I was very impressed with the U.S. considering all the limitations they had. Staying ahead of Italy 1-0 for almost an hour, even with a man sent off, is tough for any team.

    The ref was a huge disappointment when he didn’t give the U.S. another penalty in the second half. This could have been a 3-2 game.

    Also, some kudos have to be given to the last man standing, Tim Howard. As tough as this loss may be to swallow, it could have been much, much worse near the end if it weren’t for Howard keeping the game alive. Yeah, De Rossi’s goal should have been stopped but Howard didn’t exactly get too much help from the U.S. midfield and Onyewu. As for Rossi’s goals, well, let’s just say Buffon must be thrilled that those shots weren’t going in his direction.

    The U.S. should put up a hell of a fight against Brazil and hopefully run away with a point. Egypt doesn’t look like it will be easy, either. They just can’t get tired near the end of games like they did this time.

  142. Alf says:

    Also, and this has been reiterated before, but the U.S. HAS to tighten up and close down the midfield. I couldn’t believe the amount of space De Rossi and Rossi got for Italy’s first two goals. It’s going to be a long day against Brazil if that doesn’t change.

  143. ProjectUSA says:

    I do not understand what this justification about Clark’s tackle is about. Straight red every time, and not for some technicality, if you tackle like that you do not deserve an opportunity to play this sport.

    He left his foot high, knowing he missed the ball, knowing he would catch their ankle or leg, and that’s rotten. But intent is not even required for the red. The burden is on the tackling player to win the ball cleanly and safely.

    Fans and players justifying tackles like that is part of what holds us back in the US. We’re ignoring the soccer problem: how do you win the ball cleanly? Yes it is hard, especially against very very good player like one finds on the Italian National Team. And if you go in cleanly and miss the ball, the player has just beaten you, you’re behind him. Welcome to soccer. This is not the NFL.

    Other than that… I think the boys from the USMNT did OK, it was better and they looked like a team.

    Hard to say what they might have done if they had 11 men throughout. I would like to see more penetrating wide play & bringing the team down field. The couple “close” open play opportunities where we pass to no one in the box were embarrassing, as if the player was saying “If only there was someone there to get my pass…”

    We still don’t seem to step up enough in midfield and pressure the player with the ball consistently, but given how hard the US team had to work with a man down against the the reigning WC champs for 60 minutes, it’s more of something for the “to do” list than a criticism.

    Go USA! I hope the USMNT soak as much in from Italy and Brazil as you they can. This Cup can be a great learning experience, and we have much to learn if we want to raise our game to the next level of competitiveness.

  144. goalscorer24 says:

    Why does Bradley want to start klejstan over Torres? Is it because Klejstan use to play for him at Chivas? Will Adu get any chances?

  145. SSReporters says:

    Did anyone even notice that embarrassing own goal could have very easily wiped the US’ sails out had it not been for the offside call? I was in shock at least until the flag was raised.

    10 men or not that 2nd half was awful. They stood around and let Italy do whatever they wanted to. If the people angry at Rossi would think for a moment, they should realize that the US back four should’ve been slightly interested in closing him down.

    And in general, this Rossi hating is nothing short of stupid.

    *WARNING: US Soccer rant in 3….2….1….*

    Why is it that whenever we lose we start rolling with the excuses? The referees suck, Rossi is a traitor, should’ve been a PK….

    Can we just stop to think that we aren’t one of the best teams in the world? Look, 2002 was a fluke. And even that, Portugal hasn’t even been to a World Cup Final and Mexico hasn’t made it to a WC semi-final.

    At best, the most powerful and wealthy country in the world fields an ordinary national senior football team. The player we promote as being the best of the bunch is Landon Donovan, who fizzled in Germany and is only the master of taking penalty kicks right now.

    Our coach is Bob Bradley. I won’t even continue there.

    As far as developing the US team into a respectable powerhouse that is going to be nearly impossible. The MLS is becoming less of an outlet for American players to show what they can do at club level and more of a retirement home for washed up European has-beens like David Beckham.

    It’s going to be very hard to develop soccer in the United States as long as you have the “soccer moms” group running the show at the youth level (don’t keep score? Everyone gets a trophy? Come on!), and have playing soccer at a higher level discouraged to play football or basketball.

    Muhsin Muhammad of the Carolina Panthers was a soccer player but ended up playing football instead….he was discouraged from playing soccer in elementary school. There’s your example.

    We have a long way to go and the journey is going to be supremely difficult.

    In regards to this current national team, it is going to get eaten alive in the 2010 World Cup. We have these false impressions that we’ve made it big time by beating Mexico at home for the umpteenth time in the Gold Cup, and then turn around and lose in the Copa America and Confederations Cup with stronger teams.

    We’re ordinary. Nothing more. We just don’t have the players or the coaching to make a splash in international play. We’re just CONCACAF giants, which says absolutely nothing, and fall flat once we face real competition.

  146. Nicole says:

    Donovan was right about the referees and his criticism was very nicely worded.

    This site is becoming worse and worse with regard to lame, asinine comments by readers who truly don’t have a clue about the game and just want to rip on players for no other reason than they simply don’t like their personality for some reason.

    It’s almost become unreadable and I don’t come here nearly as often as I used to. And I have a feeling, my frequenting this place will become less and less as time rolls on.

  147. Mark says:

    I agree with Tony in QL and AI17 in that Bradley is not the root of all evil as many of you believe. He’s done a credible job with this team under difficult circumstances.

  148. John says:

    This game was a perfect example of how far we’ve come, and how far we’ve yet to go. Encouraging, yet maddenlingly frustrating. Unfortunately, we’ve been at this stage a LLOONNGG time. Since our well deserved Quarter Final performance in ’02, we have been stuck in neutral. Very little improvement.

    We’ve always played to the level of our opponent (’02 WC, Italy in ’06, win over Brazil in ’98, unfortunately that applies to our play in CONCACAF. How can we play this well against Italy and so poorly against CR and Honduras in the same month? One word, coaching.

    Brazil will be interesting, I have NO IDEA which team will show up.

  149. Ted says:

    Really, can you really blame this on Bob Bradley? (don’t answer that)It isn’t his fault that Clark got a really weak red-card. Once we were down to 10, it was just a matter of time. I can’t think of a single defensive minded sub he could have brought in that would really have made a gigantic impact. This is Italy, one of the tournament favorites, a team that turns actual contendors into a pile of mush. Without that 11th man, it was only a matter of time. In my opinion, the same would be true against Italy for Brazil, Spain, or anybody else if they went down a man. Be happy we scored a goal. Also, seriously, Dempsey has got to step up. Another quality game for LD.

  150. TheseColorsDoNotRun says:

    Dialogue with coach Bradley’s supporters:

    1. His critics recognize that our player pool is mediocre. No one is suggesting that a top drawer international is sitting around undiscovered.

    2. Everyone knows that you don’t part with a coach unless a good substitute is available and interested.

    3. The criticisms are not based on last night’s match alone. A point off Italy would have been a good result even without a man sent off.

    4. People who criticize Bradley *love* the team.

    5. Some possible legitimate criticisms:

    — He is too conservative in team selection.
    — He is slow to move on from his under-performing favorites.
    — His substitutions are not terribly astute.
    — The team does not appear to be advancing in its tactics and strategy.
    — Excellent coaches get teams of mediocre players (like our beloved squad) to over-achieve. See Bora and latterly Hiddink. So far, Bradley does not appear to have the combination of tactical sophistication and motivational intangibles to do it.

  151. Luke in NC says:

    I am not a fan of Kljestan as a central-mid starter at this point. He is a big card-liability.

    Hope he proves me wrong if he gets his chance, though.

  152. AddisonJim says:

    After watching the MNT for the past few months I’m lost as to what Altidore adds to the team. Is ther something wrong with his legs? Does he ever run? I only see him walk or jog. He gives up the ball easily. He needs to watch some film of Brian McBride.

  153. Ranger says:

    Fact is Adu was the perfect counter-sub at the 65th minute for ball possesion, taking players on and creating chances………NOT Beasley………….

    If you cant see that BB messed up that one then your a tool.

  154. chuck says:

    I’d support the Bocanegra-Onyewu-DeMerit-Spector back-line. That is worth seeing.

    Is Torres being punished? Is BB just too in love with his son at the attacking midfield spot (not without merit, mind you)? How are we, USA, overloaded at that position? I never thought I’d live to see the day. If that is the case, we should be playing a 5-man midfield, with Torres (whom I rate much higher than Adu), MB and X (the missing, hard-nosed defensive midfielder, Jermaine maybe?), with a couple of wingers.

    We can’t finish anyway, so why have more Altidore up top?

  155. HokieFutbol says:

    So I fully expect to get made fun of for this comment, but it is something USMNT HAVE to look at. If Klejstan is on the field, he should be the one taking set pieces close to goal. I don’t think Donovan has put one on frame in the last 3 international games. If you remember Sweden, Klejstan scored upper 90 from a set piece around 30 yards. This kid may not offer much but you can’t argue with his ability to shoot accurately and with pace from distance. This is something that either no one else is able to do effectively or they just don’t do it. I loved Donovan yesterday in his set piece service (Davies should have scored) and run of play (Bradley and Altidore should have scored as well), but he should not be the one taking shots from set pieces.

  156. Adam says:

    How does Bob get a 5? He loses a defensive midfielder and his first sub is striker for striker? He knew he was playing Italy, Brazil and Egypt. All good teams. All teams he would need a defensive mid against. We get one on the roster. Injuries and red cards happen. You have to adjust. Bob didn’t before the tournament, and he didn’t in this game.

  157. Areign says:

    “Nearly the entire team gets above average grades for a 3-1 loss? What a joke.

    Posted by: AS | June 16, 2009 at 10:13 AM”

    we were dominating while a man down and it wasnt until the 11 man italy ran us ragged that we started to tire and dropped 2 goals because we didnt close down the shot quick enough.

  158. EA says:

    I actually thought the team played VERY well considering the circumstances.

    All 3 goals came as a result of too much space in the midfield. Almost as if one of the midfielders wasn’t there.

    Because he wasn’t.

    We took the game to the Italians for stretches, and when Clark was sent off, we were really beginning to look strong.

    In spite of being a man down… with just a LITTLE bit of help from an official (the youngest in the tournament, BTW, who missed calls all over the field, all day long…) when Donovan got plowed in the area, we salvage a draw.

    In spite of being a man down, with halfway decent finishing from Jozy, Bradley and Davies, we beat Italy like a drum.

    I hope that our boys look at that, pick thier heads up, and play with some fire in the next two games.

    They earned it.

  159. Nelson Mandela says:

    Well said, TheseColorsDoNotRun…

    BB’s in game tactics are horrible, and have been horrible. Not just this game. We are able to get away with it when we play the likes of T&T, El Sal (at home), Hond.(at home), Grenada, and all those other islands. When we play powerful Euro or S.American teams we are exposed for our tactical ineptitude. This goes back to the Sampson, Arena days. We, not only need someone with the skills to put together a good gameplan (CR on the road=crap gameplan) but a tactician who can evolve and make good decisions/changes as the game changes. Sampson was just too dumb, Arena has too much of an ego to think he planned the wrong tactics and Bradley is a hybrid of both.

  160. HokieFutbol says:

    EA I agree 100%. We have been complaining about even a lack of chances in the run of play and could have beaten Italy with 10 men if we FINISHED OUR CHANCES(although the Altidore and Bradley chances were before Clark was sent off I believe).

  161. John says:

    Hey Turtle, do you really not know that you’re SUPPOSED to put a “D” at the end of SUPPOSE?

  162. Misfit says:

    Eh… not a good result. I knew Italy was gonna dismantle the US pretty bad… I watch all of italy’s games and the US as well, and I thot that the Usa had a great chance of an upset right before the “Red Card”. Don’t know what the discussion was at halftime in the locker room but it seemed like the US was actually gonna play defense for the remaining 45 mins against italy… Mayb against CONCACAF that wudv worked but Lippi is a tactical genius and once the US became overly complacent and tired he put in 2 offensive subs to finish them off… That’s exactly what happened… The US should’ve studied the Italy v. Holland tape in Euro 2008 to learn exactly how to defeat that particular lineup. I was very disappointed with the overall US mentality and as a team they seem soooo lost. I don’t see Bradley as the coach to get them to that next level… He’s a “systems” coach and sacrifices a lot of results sticking to his systems. (i.e Beasley at left back, feilhaber on the right…wtf?) There are true players who excell in their own particular postions. these stupid experiments rarely work even for the elite squads. It’s sad to say but the US looks in bad shape… It’s a young team that rides mostly on confidence and discipline neither of which seem existent at the moment. Results are KEY for a squad like the USA…. I’d love to see this lineup against Brazil..

    Dempsey was absolutely lost on the left vs Italy and it’s obvious that both Dempsey and Donovan are stronger on the right…so keep em there… Spector has been super solid latley and links well with dempsey.
    Torres was the US best offensive threat against Costa Rica and was subbed for some reason… I would love to see him go up against a Brazilian team not known for its D. Feilhaber seems more comfortable in the middle with many passing options available for him…. so give that to him. He’s also a better defender than Kljestan so I think he should start. Bradley will do the dirty work as usual… Bocanegra is a conservative player so the team needs that presence especially on the left where they seem to be that weakest.
    I think the US should go for the 3 pts so that puts a whole lot of pressure on the defense to keep the US from falling behind or losing a lead. Bocanegra will be the x-factor on the left.

    The US should attack and be very aggressive with the brazilians. If brazil has an achilles heel it would be their ego and Defense so destroy them both… haha Easier said than done though 😉

  163. Johnny Boy says:

    The red card while harsh was in the acceptable range to give-late and high. Clark could have seriously hurt someone.

    Donovan haters forget about the corner kick that Davies could and should have easily headed in.. which gives Donovan three passes that should have been converted.

    Feilhaber is either rusty or else never heard that giving the ball away so easily (and not just on the goal) is a bad idea. Benny is so easy to knock down he looks like Freddy Adu.

    Ditto for Dempsey. Sit him down now and play Adu, Torres or someone else who would benefit from the experience. He seems to be sluggish and tired, about 80%. The US would have won or tied if he and Feilhaber hadn’t been so lazy with that ball they gifted to Rossi.

    Jamie Trecker? Is he still writing about soccer? He knows as much about soccer as Ives does about the inner workings of the Guardian Council of Iran(just a guess).

    Rossi looks like Billy Joel (younger edition).

    Demerit and Spector looked good. I hope they get an extended look. Beasely looked better than he has lately but, as he sub, he still ain’t no Cobi Jones.

  164. Angel says:

    I was wonder if you can start a poll of who people would like to see as the New Coach of USMNT just for kick.

    Well was thinking of who can be the next coach for either for this World Cup or the next one. Here are some name and let me know who would you like to take over the National Team
    H. Hidding, La Volpe, Pekerman, Bielsa, Scholari, Alex Ferguson, Frank Rijkaard, Juande Ramos (Ex Real Madrid Coach), Klisman, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, Coach, Erickson, Mourinho , El Coco Basile, Schuster, Louis van Gaa, Maldinni etc.

  165. madmax says:

    I thought coach Bradley gave the game away. He doesn’t seem to have an ability to adapt to changing game conditions. When Costa Rica overran his flanks he froze. Here with and exhausted central defense he waits way too long to react, and Rossi literally walks in twenty meters to score. The excuse that he had no one after Clark got ejected (‘left Bob Bradley with no good options after Clark’s red card’) is only true because of his own poor team selections. The result didn’t reflect on the team and their effort, but certainly highlighted a Coach way over his head.

  166. ThaDeuce says:

    Bradley’s tactics in the first half were stellar. we started great, held our own, got a red card, and AFTER THAT, scored the first goal. Maybe he lagged in substitutions, but maybe he just didn’t feel defensively comfortable with anyone on the bench. I can’t blame him, but from my tv screen I think Torres would have been a good option.

    All in all, great game by the U.S. Unlucky red card.

    (screw) Rossi

  167. Eurosnob says:

    Red card for USA and 1-3 against Italy it looks like success for many of you.Americans don’t understand football (soccer).Sorry guys you are idiots.

  168. daggius says:

    game was a joke

    altidore should have taken a shot after donovans pass

    red card should have been a yellow

    usa was giving italy way too much space in the midfield in the second half

    should have put kljestan in early in ENFORCER MODE, which is what he has been doing for chivas usa this season, e.g. playing physical instead of scoring goals,

    and a defender jumped on top of donovan in side the box and knocked him down, thats not a pk right there?

    and its not a red card when the last defender trips altidore in the box either for that pk?

    joke ref
    joke game

  169. madmax says:

    briank “3. Jamie Trecker is killing Tim Howard for the second goal and claiming that Tim is not being challenged for his spot as #1. I don’t agree with Trecker. Ives,…

    I agree with some points Trecker made on Howard and then add my own. Howard does not seem to work hard to stay sighted. And second he has a noticeable communications problem with his own defenders. On several occasions now I’ve seen CD’s running at him asking to play it back and getting no answer. They then have to clear it out at the last second, and this is with little or no pressure.

  170. madmax says:

    The people comparing Rossi’s goals with Bradley’s and Jozy’s misses overlook one important detail, Rossi was unmarked on both occasions. Thank Coach Bradley and his staff not the exhausted players.

    Can Italy beat USA 11 vs 11, We don’t know.

  171. Andrew says:

    Okay, Okay—- Rossi’s first goal was nothing short of amazing!! I think Altidore can be every bit of good as Rossi.. The biggest difference I see now and when Rossi plays for Villareal.. Selfishness. All the world class strikers (Messi, torres, Rooney?) possess a certain amount of selfishness in front of the goal. Jozy lacks that bite right now, and more playing time will get him there. He is pure, raw undeveloped talent and at 19 should have the prowess to become a world class striker. Keep playing Jozy!!!!!

  172. madmax says:

    Ives, “Clark’s ejection exposed a weak spot in the U.S. roster, the lack of defensive midfield options.”

    The last I heard was that Coach Bradley made the Cup selections.

  173. Keith says:

    In spite of the score, I think the U.S. defense played very well while being a man down most of the game. Italy’s first two goals were real masterpieces — blistering shots to the goal corners from well outside the box. catching Howard by surprise. The last goal was the only one where it looked like they danced through the defense. I really like Onyewu’s distribution and Spector’s calmness on the ball. The back line can only get better once Bocanegra returns.

    I’ve been more concerned with the U.S. lack of attacking decisiveness, and last night it really hurt us. This is the third game in a row where we still haven’t scored from the run-of-play. Four U.S. goals in the last three games: three from penalty kicks, and one from a corner kick. We’re not very threatening up top. Hopefully Jozy can regain more of his form during this tournament — he looks much sharper than he was in the last two qualifiers.

    Maybe Dempsey should only play one half of the next two games — he looks like he needs the rest. We know what he’s capable of, so this is a real drop off in form. He’s not doing anymore than Torres, Feilhaber, or Sacha could provide -or Adu for that matter.

  174. Tom says:

    Dempsey needs to stay at home until he figures out if he wants to play for the national team or not. For the past three games he has looked like he could care less about playing for the US. He puts in a lot of effort at Fulham and does a good job. I don’t know why he doesn’t play like that for the US.

    Keep Beasly at home too, until he gets some minutes with some sort of club team.

    I think that a Stuart Holden, Chris Rolfe, or a Chris Pontius(Maybe) needs a chance at replacing Dempsey and Beasley.

  175. fifawitz1313 says:

    I think something we forget and need to remember for some perspective is that our average player age in this game was 22.9 years old for the US and 29.4 for the Italians. We need to stop being so short sighted and remember that this team is being built for 2014/18 and we need to approach 2010 with the right attitude… aka we are gaining MORE EXPERIENCE for our 2014/18 runs. Sure we all want to win it now but let’s be patient and see how our young stars develope over the next five-six years. Then if they underperform Gulati and whoever is coach then should definately go.

  176. madmax says:

    The fact that Ives gave Beasley and Kjlestan 5’s says that many people including Ives have lowered their expectations, probably because they were included. Neither should be on the squad based on merit. Please tell me where they were on the last goal, please.

  177. Patrick Marshall says:


    It think you graded the boys on a curve! Dont get me wrong, I thought it was a great effort overall under the circumstances of playing a man down, and I agree with most of your assesments, just they were all a little high. I could not give GOOCH a 7 after reaching across with his right foot to TRY and block a shot that could easily have been cleared with the left. That is a mistake I occassionally expect to see with an inexperienced youth player, but not a national player. He has some great qualities, but is not a complete player and he continually makes critical mistakes. I also could not give a seven to anyone who missed a sitting duck, even though I admit Bradley and Altidore had exceptional games. I think Beasley did better than some have given him credit for but he really needs to improve on his service. Davies did not do as well as he should have and we dropped off when he came on. Altidore challenged well and used his frame well in his challenges. Landon is exceptional when running with the ball. Free kicks should be better from him. I agree with you on Spectors play. Best performance of all the defenders. The give aways in the middle of the field have to stop. I cannot stand to watch a player give the ball away in the middle of the field, but to then sit there and watch? this is becoming a trend. If players quit on their teamates, their coach and their country, they do not deserve to be on the field. This happened with some key players against Costa Rico as well. That is what troubles me.

  178. Brent McD. says:

    A few random comments:

    * Torres delivers a better centering cross than Landon. Just saying. However to suggest that he could bring some bite as a DM is insane — the guy is smaller and more fragile than Beasley.

    * Those recommending Bocanegra for LB are forgetting that our outside backs need to be able to surge forward the entire length of the field into the offensive end. Do you really see the Blackmouth running down the left wing and delivering a cross?

    * Surprised how folks roundly criticized Michael Bradley for not finishing his chance in the box, but Camoranesi clearly clips his heel which wrong-foots him. Good, sneaky defending but a lot of players probably flop when they feel that contact and force the ref to make a decision. Give MB some credit for trying to finish the play on his feet.

    * The whole Rossi situation begs a hypothetical — what if he wasn’t good enough to play for Italy a la Jermaine Jones with Germany? You, me, and everyone else would happily welcome him back to the fold and start him up top. I still reserve the right to boo the guy when he wears the Italy shirt.

    * I don’t think too many knowledgable fans have false hopes or unrealistic expectations for the USMNT. No question our #14 FIFA ranking is too high. At this point, as a fan, I ask for a competitive spirit and continuous improvement. I think we are getting that from the current team.

    * Having said that, I wouldn’t mind if Bob Bradley fielded an all-European-based squad. Our MLS guys all-too-frequently look over-matched in International games. Maybe Bradley drops a none-too-subtle hint: if you want to play for the MNT, then get your a$$ to Europe and learn how to play the game properly.

    * Many of the apoplectic comments I’ve read in the last 24 hours are reminiscent of 2007’s Copa America discussion. Remember these tournaments are preparation for the Big One next summer. In the end, the World Cup (and to a lesser extent, the Gold Cup) is all that matters and is how Bradley should be judged. To suggest firing him less than one year before the World Cup is ridiculous. If we go three-and-out next summer, then Bob will be gone. Count on it.

  179. Doug IL says:

    I do not feel as positive about the game as many others. To me, USA never looked really dangerous, even at full strength.

    I was left with a feeling of frustration once again that we cannot create many opportunities from the run of play.

    I believe John Harkes among others listed Jozy’s ability to draw the red card as one of the positives of the game. If we have to start relying on players diving and embellishing to create offense, I am really worried.

  180. ! says:

    Bradley if you are reading this: START TORRES! He was one of the only ones who looked like he belonged on the field in Costa Rica but for some reason, he was taken off at halftime. He shows creativity on the ball in the central midfield. Possibly the true #10 playmaker we have been looking for.

  181. Peter Bering says:

    If Guiseppe Rossi of evident Italian ancestry had been born in the Netherlands, been a dual citizen and even played in the Ajax youth system(our best), and had then chosen to play for Italy, we would genuinely have wished him the best of luck and kept in friendly touch.

    It is not as if G Rossi would have been a worse player had he grown up only in Italy…. His father and G both GAVE to US football by coaching and playing there while G was a child. They have not TAKEN anything! G Rossi pretty much trained and played with Italians from the age of 13, always wanted to play for Italy, IS evidently Italian and was never even coveted by US trainers unskilled in recognizing talent for national teams until it was WAY to late. Go Rossi!

  182. I voted for bradley to be fired because this is how the US should play ALL THE TIME. The fact that they don’t is a symptom of coaching not personnel.