USA Recap - The Bad 4-2

The Good
  • We hung with Brazil (the "Best Team on the Planet" - thanks Davey-O') and played them pretty well despite the final scoreline. Some of the young folks really stepped up and played without fear of the situation, which bodes well for the future.
  • I love Dempsey's fearlessness in busting out the trickery against the Samba Boys of all people. I love it even more when he finishes well, which hasn't really been the case of late.
  • Bradley Jr. was HUGE in midfield. Forget the late pen, Michael was calm on the ball, strong in breaking things up, distributed well, and was solid in possession. My original thinking was that maybe Rico Clark was a more solid contender to play alongside the creative Feilhaber in the middle of the park, but I'm going to scratch that based on Bradley's latest performance. If you've got the cahones to play like that against Brazil's "A-list" attacking midfield, you are "the Man". Also, I didn't see nearly the same level of reckless tackling as he demonstrated this summer. If he's cut that out of his game, Mastroeni can all but retire from international futbol.

The Bad
  • Set piece marking and transition defense were not so good. Now, admittedly, this is Brazil we're talking about here, but we need to play to a higher standard if we're to be a top international side. And I'm still not particularly impressed by the Boca-Gooch central defensive partnership. Plenty of physical power, but not enough futboling gray matter to go around, if you catch my not-so subtle drift.
  • Mexicans have been enamored of Brazil since at least 1970, when PelĂ© and company dazzled the crowds south of the Rio Grande, but Archundia's display went beyond simple love into downright pornographic territory. Not that Archundia's been having the best of years so far (see: the CONCACAF Gold Cup), but that was some shameful stuff to be sure.

The Ugly
  • Dave O'Brien with some serious Samba ass-smooching. "Whoa! Did you see THAT?!?!" Oh, you mean Robinho getting the ball poked away during some Frankie Hejduk wannabe stepovers ;-). Yeah, that was some spectacular stuff Davey-O'.
  • Ugh. Okay, so let's bring in probably the most skilled, artistic team in the world and display them against a gridiron backdrop on a rough, bumpy pitch. Woo-hoo!

The Indifferent
  • Heath Pearce was decent, but has yet to make a solid claim on the left back spot. Despite never really being exposed defensively, he didn't really contribute to the attack either, save for his late blast that really should have led to a US penalty kick. Still, it was a good enough performance to earn him a long look to get the nod ahead of the still not quite ready for primetime Bornstein, particularly if he has a good Bundesliga campaign.
  • Nice corner from Donovan on the opener, but it's frustrating that our most talented player seems content to not seize the spotlight and really become the difference-maker for this team.

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