USA Reaction - Embargoes for Everybody!

1-0? Really? For all I know, we dominated from start to finish (though the writeups don't seem to validate that point), and could have won by much more. I'm not really going to do much of a reaction to this match.


I didn't bother watching. I can't stand Bob-ball. We've got the most attacking midfield talent this country has ever produced swimming around in the player pool, we're taking on a team whose players do not benefit from training day-in and day-out at professional clubs, and yet Bob still rolls out the twin d-mid setup?

For the love of GOD, man! I don't freakin' care if it's efficient and "gets the job done". Truth be told, it seems like it very nearly didn't, as the Cubans had a late chance (or so I've heard) that could have knotted things up.

Let's review. Two matches. Two 1-0's. A goal from a set piece and a goal from a long ball. And still the same sorry cast is trotted out to the embarrassment of many (well, me at least). I'm not going to pretend that results don't matter. They do. But the game is also about entertainment--about skill and beautiful play. We're actually in a position to do a little bit of that these days.

We're one of the top dogs in this region. With all due respect to our Cuban brothers and sisters--they're not. We've got the talent. We've got the players. We've got the experience. What we don't have is a quality hand on the wheel.

Bob is Bob. He gets results, he prepares well, he's thorough. He's an ideal assistant coach. But where is the inspiration? Where are the tactics? Where is the willingness to use the tools at your disposal to paint something beautiful rather than resorting to dull, dreary landscapes in shades of gray. Those new away kits sure fit the zeitgeist of American soccer in its current drab, unambitious state, don't they?



  1. I watched the game. I can't say we dominated. There was a lot of ebb and flow with our central defenders managing to fend off the Cubans in the final fourth of the field and Howard pulling off the saves when they couldn't (although I can't say he was tremendously overworked). The defensive mids did not play well. They were outhustled and often gave the ball away even before getting to midfield. I would ascribe that to their being tired from too much international competition and too much flying around.

    Playing Donovan at the withdrawn forward position and Dempsey on the right flank seemed to work a lot better than the other way around. They worked well together and had some freedom to roam. Dempsey played in the middle quite a bit which led to some good short passes between he and Donovan and his goal came from being in the box. Donovan had to track back quite a bit to help with defense and get the ball which reinforces the impression that the defenive mids were just out of gas.

    Beasely played like the old Beasely of 2006 - holding up attacks by passing backwards on counterattacks and missing open nets on scoring opportunities. Hopefully we will get to see him regain the form that was more evident since his transfer to Rangers.

    Ching was international Ching (as opposed to MLS Ching) which meant that he worked hard to win balls, hold balls and feed balls to other attackers but was unable to score himself - mainly because his first touch failed him on two opportunities.

    I get the Bradley critique but I'm not down on him yet. I doubt he will experiment much with his formation but that might be a function of how well his attacking midfielders and forwards mature. When Feilhaber was playing well, he played the link role very effectively and I'm guessing he is relying on Edu to supply some of that. Figuring out how to best position Dempsey and Donovan and their interplay with Beasely is still a work in progress and then he has to figure out when and where to play Adu with these guys.

    His target forward situation is a conundrum. He knows that Johnson, Ching and Twellman don't scare anybody as scoring threats but likes "the other things they do" such as playing defense and hustling for balls. Everyone wants to see what Altidore and Cooper can do in these roles. I imagine it is Altidore's job eventually if he deomonstrates more hustle off the ball and plays more defense. If Altidore starts scoring in Spain, he will not be denied. Cooper is just weird. The guy seems to be perfect for Bradley's style of play but Bradley has been pretty dismissive of him up to this point. We'll see.

    I figure one more ugly game with T&T and then things will begin to open up if we get the 3 points.

  2. Excellent comment, anonymous. So excellent, in fact, that I'm going to frame my responses to you in a post this evening. So there's that to look forward to ;-).