Four More Years! Four More Years!

That’s right, it’s four more years for Bob Bradley and US Soccer.  His old contract ran through December and while both the US Soccer Federation and Bradley did their fair share of posturing with Juergen Klinsmann and Aston Villa, respectively, I don’t think anyone was shocked with the extension.

I’ve had kind of a love/hate relationship with Bradley over the last four years.  I don’t necessarily dislike him and I don’t love him.  I’ve questioned many of his personnel decisions but I don’t hate the results…usually.

We’ve won games we shouldn’t have (Spain) and lost games we should have (Ghana) so why not keep on that road?

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Stop and Read This

It’s a tad long, but it’s worth it.  This argument is old, stupid, and finally put to rest.  Thank you, Patrick Hruby.  Thank you.  Click here to read this masterpiece.

Coming to Terms

I’m not going to write much about this game because quite frankly, I’m tired and I’m still pissed off about it.

The US lost to Ghana, blah blah blah.

Shouldn’t have happened.  Period.  Outside of the first 15 minutes and the only chance they got in extra time, Ghana did not threaten the US goal.  The difference in the game was that they capitalized on their chances while the US did not.  Anyone who tells you that the US was outplayed, outclassed, or out anything else’d in this game is just wrong.

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Watch This

USA Marches On!

Today, USA defeated Algeria 1-0.  Today, USA also defeated all the doubters, naysayers, and nonbelievers. All the English fans who weren’t worried about us, all the national pundits who slammed the US team, all the referees who blew calls against us:  Defeated.  And it was so sweet.

Landon Donovan’s 92nd minute strike was the best moment I’ve had as a US Soccer fan, and I’ve been alive for some great ones.  Up until now, that honor went to John O’Brien for his early strike against Portugal in the 2002 World Cup.  Today blew that away.

I was at Tigin Irish Pubs (the official US Soccer bar in St. Louis) for the match and there was red, white, and blue everywhere.

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USA Starts Out Strong

I had every intention of writing a fairly in depth preview of the USA-England match that happened today but I’m in the middle of moving to a new apartment and that’s not conducive to posting.  I don’t know what Weller’s excuse is.

Anyway, had I actually written something, it would have read something like this:

USA needs to attack the wings.

USA needs to neutralize Rooney.

USA needs to shoot the ball any time their inside the midline.

USA needs to play out of their minds.

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USA Downs Turkey

Clint Dempsey celebrates his game winning goal.

In a game that showcased a team that we’re much more likely to see in South Africa, the United States beat Turkey 2-1 in Philadelphia.  Two days ago I outlined the team that I wanted to see take the field today.  As it turns out, that was very close to the team we saw this afternoon.  Bob Bradley’s decision not to start Oguchi Onyewu in favor of Clarence Goodson was probably due to the lingering affects of knee surgery, but Onyewu saw significant minutes in the second half.  The one move that surprised me was Benny Feilhaber getting the start at one of the outside mid spots opposite of Landon Donovan.  It looked as if that decision would backfire immediately as Feilhaber made a terrible cross field pass right to the feet of a Turkish player who thankfully pushed the ball wide.  From there, he failed to make a serious impact before being taken off after halftime.  I think Jose Torres may have swiped his spot with his inspired second half play.  But more on that in a bit.

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USA Makes Final Roster Cuts

I meant to do this yesterday but I was busy.  It happens.  Anyway, Bob Bradley made his final cuts from the provisional squad down to the 23 man team that will be representing the US in South Africa.  For the most part, I think he did a fine job.  One pick in particular confused me a bit, but we’ll get into that later.  First, let’s take a look at the team:

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USA Fails to Impress In First Warmup

I guess that headline is misleading since most of the first team wasn’t used tonight but it was still a disappointing performance.  Some players played their way into my good graces (not that it matters) and some certainly did not during the United States’ 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic.

Once again, this was not a good indication of how we’ll do in South Africa, it was more of a test run for the players who are on the bubble.  We’ll find out around noon tomorrow who is on the team and who will watch it from home.

We’ll start with the few players who impressed me tonight.  I was really watching two things this game: how the forwards performed and how Oguchi Onyewu held up in his first action in seven months.  What I got was a stellar performance, except for one ball that handcuffed him, from Clarence Goodson.  His play in the air was essential to both US goals.  Every set piece was sent to the back post toward Goodson who managed to get his head on a fair amount of them.  The US has relied on Onyewu to get his head on most set pieces since Brian McBride retired.  It would be nice to have another reliable threat in the air.  He also looked solid at the back, aside from the one glaring error that led to the Czech’s third goal.  Goodson should be packing his bags to Africa.

None of the forwards really impressed me, but if I had to pick two I’d go with Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez.  The announcers kept mentioning how Buddle and Eddie Johnson were working well together but Johnson never did anything that jumped out at me.  Brian Ching was also a nonfactor while he was in the game.  Still, Ching gets a spot on my team for experience alone.  At this point, Buddle would get the nod with Altidore up front for my team, assuming Dempsey stays in the midfield.

Robbie Rogers played well off the bench.  He showed some creativity on the flank and wasn’t afraid to test the Czech goal from distance with good shots.

Now for the bad.  Heath Pearce completely demolished any chance he had of making this team.  He was beaten badly twice leading to Czech goals each time.  He wasn’t in the game long enough to have that much of a negative impact.  He was bad.

I was also not a fan of Jonathan Bornstein’s play in the back.  He tends to get beat and then give up fouls in dangerous areas.  That’s not good enough in the World Cup.

Oguchi Onyewu’s performance was…meh.  Not good, not bad.  He was obviously out-jumped on the first goal, which should never happen, but the rest of his game was fine.  I was not encouraged by the way he was limping after he exited in the 65th minute.  I’ll be interested to see how much and how well he plays on Saturday against Turkey.

I’m not sure anyone played his way onto or off the team tonight since Bradley is set to announce the final squad tomorrow but it’s still fun to speculate.  I’ll try and get another post up tomorrow about the final squad, but I have sketchy internet around here, so no promises.

Waiting for the World Cup

Alright, I would say I’ve been slacking (like normal) but in this case it has been anything but.  As you know, I started a new job with the St. Louis Cardinals last Wednesday and that has kept me extremely busy.  It has also made me leery of posting about things that are baseball related.  Not that anyone there knows I have a blog or that I would say anything derogatory toward the Cardinals, but I just figure it’s better that way.  Anyway, this post is not about that, it’s about soccer.  World Cup soccer.

I went to a 30 Seconds to Mars concert with a friend of mine last night and we got to talking about World Cup rosters.  Neither one of us knew when the deadline was for a roster announcement so I figured I’d look it up and share it with all you faithful readers.

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