Team USA in the Gold Cup match of the Confederations Cup. Great news for those fans of US Soccer, but for those who enjoy world class football the result was to be expected. I will give the US credit for beating Egypt 2-0 in order to advance to the cup, but then again Egypt is not a world powerhouse when it comes to football. Unfortunately, the strong, yet aging Italians could not put together much of a showing versus Brazil and ended up watching from the sidelines.
I was able to watch the second half of the USA v Brazil match yesterday while at work. I was shocked, as probably most football fans were. First because the US was up at the break. But second they were up 2-0! Not sure which came as a bigger surprise. Yet one of the problems with being up by 2-0 is complacency. It’s that false sense of security a team gets when they know they can make a mistake and still leading the match. Yet the game does not end until the whistle blows and the US could not manage much in the second half.
It was quite evident within minutes that Brazil was faster, stronger and better on the pitch when the whistle blew. But again, we football (not disillusioned US Soccer fans) fans knew that going into the Gold Cup game. After the first goal by Luis Fabiano, you knew the Brazilians meant business and were not going to let the match slip away.
Though out much of the second half Tim Howard (Everton) was under siege by the multifaceted threats that Brazil possessed. If it was not Kaka, it was Robinho. Yet in the end it was excellent control and execution by Brazil that just worn the US defense down to a point where they were ball watching by the 60 minute mark.
While I am not a US soccer fan, I am a big fan of Tim Howard, goalkeeper for Everton. He is one of the “elder statesman” along with names like Beasley, Donovan, Bocanegra and Hedjuk that have been together for years. Yet each year we hear there will be grand things from this team and each year they underachieve. Although *sigh* if I must I will give them credit for beating the top ranked Spaniards, 2-0. Howard played very well between the sticks, but his defense let him down. He made some great saves, yet was on the side of luck a few times as well. The US defense is not as solid as what Howard has in front of him in Everton. Props to Howard for a job well done.
So why is US Soccer not competitive? Let’s ask Bob Bradley. After their monumental win against Spain he was quoted as saying, that the victory was in part of the success to his players’ development in Major League Soccer. What sort of bullshit is that? The MLS is the laughing stock of world football. Sorry, the league is at best mediocre and probably rivals some the first and second divisions of other countries.
The problem in the Brazil match was the lack of experienced bench players and the right strategic moves by Bradley to secure a victory for the US. At the 75th minute Bradley brought on Bornstein and Kljestan, a defender and midfielder in order to show up a very tired lineup. Brazil was consistently in control and dominating play. Many of the US players, especially in the defensive third were caught ball watching or out of position, as the outside players for Brazil and time and opportunities in which to capitalize.
Once the game went level, it was a given the US would not be able to muster a win. Brazil was too strong, to experienced to let this potential upset bite them in the ass. They proved once again why they are one of the BEST nations when it comes to international football. Maybe when the US realized the game is called FOOTBALL and not SOCCER they will have a better understanding why they will never win major games. As for 2010, don’t expect much of a showing. Their bench players are not strong enough and the starting eleven, while somewhat experienced don’t all play at the same competitive levels for their club team, which in turns hurts when they come together as a national team. Sorry US, stick with a game you are good at, like American football, baseball or basketball.