Confederations Cup Championship - U.S.A. v. Brazil!!

Discussion in 'Prem talk, Those Other Leagues, and International' started by WhitesBhoy, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. shinerbockguy

    shinerbockguy New Member

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    A nice 3-game (er, 2.5-game) run by the USMNT.

    Our athletes are not 3rd tier - which is why we are doing a better job competing with players who are not as technically gifted as many European or S. American players.

    I'm proud of the guys. I'm proud of the current and former Fulham players. I'm pleased for the cajones Donovan has shown, despite the flack he's received through the years.

    Good job, boys.


    I look forward to this coming EPL season - & especially UEFA cup (er, 'Europa League') action. I may not be posting much - as the more I stay away, the better Fulham performs.

    Cheers.
     
    #61
  2. CarolinaTim

    CarolinaTim New Member

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    Timmy, I got overserved yesterday(it wasn't diet Dr. Pepper) and didn't read the 3rd page before I posted. Sorry, brother.

    Like Don said the reality is we just ran out of gas. As Jens said, Torres and for me, Adu would have been the subs I'd like to have seen. But that's just nit-picking because inspite of a few questionable coaching decisions, at times worse than horrible IDIOT refs, and a couple of players who didn't step up, I'm "over the moon" proud of the USMNT. Way to go, boys!!!
     
    #62
  3. DCDave

    DCDave Member

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    Jan 6, 2005
    TV ratings are in for yesterday (from Steve Goff's Soccer Insider at www.washingtonpost.com/soccerinsider):

    "According to the overnight figures from major TV markets, the USA-Brazil match on ESPN yesterday earned a 2.74 rating. The complete numbers will be available tomorrow, but this game seems certain to join World Cup games against Germany (2002), Ghana (2006) and Colombia (1994) in the top four for all-time viewership for a USA game. So if I understand the system correctly, around 3 million households were tuned into the USA-Brazil match."

    The top major markets:
    1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale
    2. Las Vegas
    3. New York
    4. West Palm Beach
    5. Hartford-New Haven
    6. Atlanta
    7. Richmond
    8. Washington, D.C.
    9. San Francisco
    10. San Diego
     
    #63
  4. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

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  5. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

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    Jen Chang = Nail. Head.

    Reviewing the U.S. performance in South Africa

    Monday, June 29, 2009 | Print Entry

    Posted by Jen Chang

    I'd said before the Confederations Cup final -- in which the U.S. lost to Brazil 3-2 -- that win or lose, it was important for the U.S. to play in a fashion that would prove to the world that its win over Spain was no fluke. And the team did just that. Whatever plaudits are sent the way of Bob Bradley's men after this tournament are more than well deserved.

    That said, this tournament's display only becomes a watershed moment if the U.S. progresses out of the group stage at next year's World Cup -- and also makes the progression to a team that can consistently make it out of the group stage. Before U.S. fans start reading too much into the performance in South Africa, it's also worth bearing in mind that this isn't the first time a CONCACAF team has excelled in the Confederations Cup. In the 2005 edition, Mexico actually won its group, beat Brazil and was eliminated only on penalties in the semifinals by Argentina.

    As with all things in life, one can always take away both positives and negatives:

    The Good

    1. The U.S. team's offensive flow. One of the most important things to emerge from this tournament from the U.S. perspective was the team's newfound ability to score from open play. For the past few years, the U.S. has generally had problems scoring goals that don't originate from set pieces. For a period, it even seemed that the U.S. team's predominant goal-scoring threats were either a penalty from Landon Donovan or a set piece goal from defenders such as Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra. The goals against Egypt, Spain and Brazil all came from the run of play and can only serve to increase the team's confidence that it can play with style and score quality goals at times. For a team that is built to defend deep and counterattack, an improved ability to score first is pivotal, especially because this is not yet a team that looks like it can put together the approach play to come from behind against a quality opponent.

    2. The U.S. has finally settled on an effective formation. After varying dalliances between different formations and whether or not to use one or two strikers, the 4-4-2 that Bradley settled on from the Egypt game onward is the way forward for the U.S. The raw, but talented duo of Charlie Davies and Jozy Altidore have the physical traits to scare virtually any defense, and both show improving finishing ability and goal-scoring instincts. Their combined presence also prevents teams from pressing too high against the U.S. Spain's Fernando Torres remarked that he felt that the U.S. team became a totally different outfit from the moment it paired Davies up top with Altidore.

    3. Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey prove their class. Both players have taken some heat in the past, Donovan for shunning Europe, Dempsey for not performing at the international level like he does for his club team Fulham. Both players answered the critics emphatically this tournament. In the case of Donovan, he was focused all tournament long and proved that he's the creative hub of the U.S. team. His work rate was exceptional and he showed up big in every U.S. game. Even if he doesn't make the move to Europe, for now, there can be no questioning his ability to play against the world's best players.

    As for Dempsey, after a couple of laconic performances in the first two games, his effort was rightly questioned. However, here's the thing with Dempsey: On this U.S. team, he's what one would classify as the de facto flair player. He might not track back on defense all the time, and he'll frustrate you by giving the ball away needlessly, but for the U.S. that's not his job. His job is to provide those moments which can change the game, and against Egypt, Spain and Brazil, he delivered in a huge way with goals in each of those games. You could easily make the argument that out of all the players on the current roster, he's the most likely to create a goal for the U.S. out of nothing. It's certainly no fluke, either. Having scored goals against the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea at the club level, it's clear Dempsey has a knack for producing against "big" teams.

    Even more notable than their performances was the raw emotion that both Donovan and Dempsey showed after the loss to Brazil. If there were ever any doubts that existed about either the heart or desire of either player, those doubts should cease now.

    4. A new-look U.S. back line. I'd been calling for at least two years for Jay DeMerit to be paired with either Onyewu or Bocanegra in the heart of the U.S. defense and we've finally seen what that looks like. For me, the rationale has always been that Onyewu and Bocanegra are too similar, with virtually the same qualities. Thus, one should be paired with a more mobile center back, who reads the game better and is better equipped to handle pacy strikers who run at defenders, and that person should be DeMerit. There's no doubt that after the duo's sterling performances it'll be hard for Bradley to break up the combination.

    On the right side, Jonathan Spector displayed very good positional sense and the ability to deliver exceptional crosses from the right. His lack of speed makes him a little vulnerable at times to wingers, but his other qualities more than offset that. At left back, I'm not entirely convinced that Bocanegra is the answer. However, as the acknowledged leader of the U.S. team, he has to be in the lineup, and defensively, while he like Spector is vulnerable to pace, he's unquestionably an upgrade over the likes of Jonathan Bornstein, DaMarcus Beasley and Heath Pearce at that spot.

    The Bad

    1. Tactics, subs and coaching adjustments. Considering the U.S. ended Spain's 35-game unbeaten streak and almost beat Brazil, it's a little strange that Bradley's coaching can be questioned. His ability to motivate the team and rally his players is certainly beyond reproach as the amazing turnaround from the U.S.'s first game to its final game showed -- and Bradley deserves full credit for that.

    However, despite those performances, nagging doubts remain about Bradley's thought process when it comes to substitutions, lineup choices and tactical adjustments. Take for instance his substitutions: They seem almost always to be in reaction to something that happens (and often when it's too late) as opposed to a proactive decision on his part.

    For example, against Brazil, not only did Bradley wait until the Brazilians had nullified the two-goal deficit before making his first move, but then he compounded the issue by putting the out-of-form Sacha Kljestan on the field for Benny Feilhaber, who'd played well up to that point. Given that Kljestan offers little to no defensive capabilities, Bradley would have been best served putting on Jose Torres instead. Granted, Torres' defensive capabilities are also questionable, but he offers far more composure on the ball and accuracy of passing -- something that was clearly missing in the second half for the U.S. It's a factor that Donovan himself mentioned as being the cause for the ineffectiveness of the U.S. counterattack in the second half.

    In terms of the Bornstein substitution, he actually should have been brought on far earlier and soon after Luis Fabiano scored Brazil's first goal. After the first 10 minutes of the second half, it was apparent that Brazil was running rampant and given the U.S. team's inability to counter or possess the ball, the best solution would have been to park the bus. To do so effectively, what should have happened is that Bornstein should have been subbed in for a striker and Bocanegra should have been pinched inside as a third central defender, with Bornstein occupying a deep left back position to stop Maicon's runs. However, the U.S. never adjusted its tactics and you saw what happened.

    2. Top teams generally don't blow two-goal halftime leads. Credit Brazil for its furious comeback, but the fact the Selecao were able to rampage over the U.S. the way they did in the second half is disturbing and evidence that the U.S. still has much work to do before it can consistently compete with the best. Not only did Brazil come back, it scored four goals in a single half (if you include Kaka's header which was unbelievably disallowed) -- almost unheard of at top-level football.

    If you don't believe me, consider this stat: Since 2000, Brazil had won only two of 14 games in which it had trailed entering the half. It'd lost 10 of those 14. Sunday's win was only the third time in nine years Brazil had managed a comeback victory from a halftime deficit.

    Part of the problem was the U.S. seemed to have no definitive plan for the second half. Usually when a team has a two-goal lead, you can either continue to attack and go for the jugular, or you can try to maintain ball possession and kill the clock (admittedly something the U.S. midfield isn't well-equipped to do) or you can park the bus and implement a smothering, disciplined defensive effort (see Chelsea vs. Barcelona at the Nou Camp). The U.S. was unable to implement an effective strategy, and until it can, holding leads will continue to be a problem against the best sides -- the U.S. can't simply count on almost inhuman performances from its central defenders and Tim Howard all the time to pull off upsets.

    3. Questionable lineup choices. For the latter portion of the tournament, the U.S. seemed to hit on the perfect starting lineup. However, one could easily argue that it's very likely that were it not for a spate of injuries, we'd never have even seen this lineup.

    It's no coincidence that most of the revelations for the U.S. only got their chance in the first place due to injury. Altidore and Davies, because Brian Ching was injured. DeMerit replaced an injured Bocanegra and has been behind even Danny Califf in the pecking order at center back, and of course Spector is starting because of injuries to Frankie Hejduk and Steve Cherundolo.

    Consider also Bradley's loyalty to Beasley, Kljestan and Bornstein, all of whom have huge question marks over their current form and suitability for international soccer, yet all of whom have strong personal ties to Bradley (Beasley played for him at Chicago, Kljestan and Bornstein at Chivas). Of course, that in itself isn't a problem -- all coaches have personal favorites -- but it does become a problem when those players are continually picked to play over players who have shown equal if not far more promise on the playing field, such as the young midfield duo of Freddy Adu and Jose Torres, who didn't see a single minute in South Africa. No one's saying that Adu or Torres are ready to start, but surely they're better options at this point than either Beasley or Kljestan.
     
    #65
  6. Team_of_McBrides

    Team_of_McBrides New Member

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    Couldn't agree more. Well said.
     
    #66
  7. FulhamNorthwestUSA

    FulhamNorthwestUSA New Member

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    Yes, well said.... The current lineup is the best we have, and the best in a long time. I would also like to see Bradley and Feilhaber together in midfield once in a while. I dont think i need to see Beasley, Kljestan, or Casey any more. They are not good enough. What happen to Beasley? He has scored a lot of goals for us in the past, but he looks useless now!
     
    #67
  8. bostoncottage

    bostoncottage New Member

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    I remain bummed that Edu was hurt for the Confed Cup. I would have really liked to see how he and Bradley paired together, as I see that as potentially our best CM pairing. (Feilhaber may be the answer, but he's so mercurial, it's hard to say.)

    What to people think of Edgar Castillo suddenly wanting to play for the US?
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/s ... index.html
     
    #68
  9. FulhamAg

    FulhamAg New Member

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    Some good news to come from the tournament. Per FSR, Rennes have made an inquiry into buying Ricardo Clark and clubs from the top flights in France, Germany and Holland have made inquiries on Charlie Davies. So that's two players who improved their stock and can potentially gain better experience than they were getting.

    Now to get more (and better) PT for some of the other guys.
     
    #69
  10. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

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    This is part of the biggest problem right now:

    "Consider also Bradley's loyalty to Beasley, Kljestan and Bornstein,..."

    That, and consistently putting Connor Casey in there. Jen must have figured that was such an obvious negative, why bother.

    Sacha may be good some day, but it won't be some day soon. And those who pin hopes on Bornstein and Hejduke are the crowd who are always just happy to be there and get a moral victory. I don't think our bench is as thin as some might state, but it is when you only use the same few under-achievers.

    Bench Quality, assuming we keep that starting 11:
    Torres (M)
    Adu (M)
    Feilhaber (M)
    Edu (M)
    Cherundolo (D)
    Ching (F)
    Guzan (GK)
    Hejduk (D)
    Holden (M)
    Mastroeni (M)
    Simek (D)
    Szetela (D)

    Guess that's my "23 Tickets".

    Reserves: Kljestan (M), Wynne (D), Rolfe (F)
     
    #70
  11. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

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    Funny you should say that -- they are my three pet peeve guys that I never need to see in an MNT shirt ever again. Maybe DMB if something breaks for him solidly overseas and he plays like he can, but he is so fragile physically and thus prone to getting out of his rhythm I have to say thanks, but no thanks.
     
    #71
  12. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

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    Good points by Jen, and WB's post touches on my thoughts from Sunday as, for whatever reason, Bradley has no confidence in some players who, in my opinion, have not been given a match-chance to win or lose his confidence - and yet, he'll show confidence (I assume it's confidence for continually running out DB, Sacha, etc.) in some players who have been beyond horrid on multiple occassions...I don't get it, but I'm not at the training sessions either.

    However, the real question, as formerly asked by A. Rose, is where do we go, where do we go, now?
     
    #72
  13. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

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    #73
  14. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Best thing about the Castillo deal is that he's a natural LB, and we could certainly use one of those. Second best thing is that he's from New Mexico!

    Good news about interest in Davies and Clark. I'm not surprised about Davies, as I think he showed himself well during the tournament. None of the old elbow. I think he could run riot in the Dutch league.

    Finally, I agree also about Edu. Based on what we have now, here's my "Best XI"

    GK: Howard (Guzan #1 Backup]
    RB: Cherundolo [Spector #1 Backup]
    CB [2]: Onyewu, DeMerit [Spector/Bocanegra/Parkhurst/Califf backups]
    LB: Bocanegra [Pearce, Bornstein backups]
    DM [2]: Bradley, Edu [Feilhaber, Clark backups]
    MF [2]: Donovan, Dempsey [Adu, Torres backups]
    Str [2]: Altidore, Davies [Ching, Johnson, Cooper backups]
    I'd have Edu more committed to covering the back 4 and Bradley more "box to box]

    Wild cards:
    • Bornstein and Boca could probably cover at defensive mid
      Dempsey and Donovan could also play striker
      If he can walk and breathe, there has to be a place on the roster for Frankie Hejduk

    Say goodnight, Gracie:

    Pablo Mastroeni, Conor Casey, Sacha Kjlesgan, DaMarcus Beasley.

    Okay, I'll take you back for one more chance:

    Ricardo Clark.
     
    #74
  15. Lyle

    Lyle New Member

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    Jan 21, 2007
    I wouldn't put down or pooh-pooh too many of the U.S. players who didn't show very well in South Africa or of late in qualifiers/friendlies. Any of these guys could get their mojo back during the next season and end up contributing bigtime next summer.

    Benny Feilhaber, for example, is a good example of why not to pooh pooh too hard on guys.

    And please show more respect for DaMarcus Beasley. The man helped the U.S. make it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup and was the first American to play in a Champions League semi-final. The guy has been good for much of his career.
     
    #75
  16. Lyle

    Lyle New Member

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    Jan 21, 2007
    Firing someone based on their halftime adjustments... haha. He's going nowhere until at least after the World Cup.

    Bradley this past week showed the world how to beat Spain. Yep, he sucks. Haha.
     
    #76
  17. FulhamNorthwestUSA

    FulhamNorthwestUSA New Member

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    I like the team we put out against spain but i say if Edu was healthy he would have played in place of clark. That would give us much better substitutes than we had available against brazil. I think Hejduk can contribute from the bench and Cherundolo too but i would not start them anymore. My tactical subs would be Feilhaber and Hejduk. Take off Altidore(70mins) to move Dempsey forward, and Bocanegra(75mins) because he looks like he cant go 90 as well anymore. Go USA!
     
    #77
  18. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

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    Lyle, I have a lot of respect for DMB, his international record and his achievements with PSV. His body has just taken such a beating over the years that he can't feature on the pitch for a full season in a low-level league like the SPL. As a result, he's not match fit and is a detriment to the USMNT0. I'm not hating; just saying.
     
    #78
  19. SteveM19

    SteveM19 New Member

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    Ditto, he's not the first athlete whose body starts breaking down in his 20s and he won't be the last.

    Who said Michael Owen?
     
    #79
  20. WhitesBhoy

    WhitesBhoy Active Member

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    I'll agree he saved his ass by beating Spain (at least until WC 2010, barring a not necessarily improbable screw-up before then). But the question is, are you a fan of the USMNT or Bob Bradley?

    HA-HA!
     
    #80
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