“Fool’s” Gold Cup

Well, last night wrapped up yet another Gold Cup for the USMNT.

Yet another lackluster performance by the Yanks.

What does it take to play like a national team that has some pride in the kit that is put on?

A 2-0 lead wasted away rather quickly. Only to lose 4-2?!

I believe the ONLY player that deserves the most praise is the player who was most criticized, Freddy Adu. No one believed Freddy should’ve been on the roster. But his last two games were very positive for him. Does Bob Bradley deserve SOME credit for picking Freddy? I don’t really know. If he does, that may be the only credit that I’ll give him in recent years.

I don’t want to forget about Clint Dempsey. He had a solid showing each game. He was just on the unfortunate end of the ball not bouncing his way. He put himself in such good positions. He was on the end of many scoring opportunities. He hit crossbar. He just was not able to find the back of the net that often. I don’t believe too many other players can say that they had the opportunities and chances that Clint had. I think this deserves some credit. He is the heart and sole of the team.

What does it take for this team to come around?

If there aren’t major changes, we will not be successful against El Tri for MANY years to come. El Tri has done a great job of getting many young players quality playing time in international matches. This has paid off. Those young players can now excel in crucial games.

Meanwhile, Bob Bradley doesn’t make any real changes. Sub “Sonnyboy” and Jermaine Jones, who clearly didn’t have the best showing during the tournament. Bring in younger goalkeepers to earn some experience when needed, why Hahnemann?! Time for Bornstein to take some time off and maybe have an Adu-esque return? Goodson earned quality minutes and showed a lot of positives, but did show some inexperience. Ream showed his inexperience. I was ready to write-off Kljestan, but he had a decent showing (as much as it pains me to say it). Agudelo is still young and it shows. Jozy wouldn’t have helped us against Mexico. Cherundolo and Bocanegra are veterans with nice experience, but will not always be there. It would be nice to see the US develop creative strikers who can hold a ball and maintain possession. It would’ve been nice to see if Charlie Davies can still perform at the international level.

The USMNT is now 1-4 against El Tri in Gold Cup championship matches. Those matches resulted in a 14-2 goal differential favoring El Tri. The USMNT last won the Cup in 2007 (which earned them the right to play in the Confederations Cup).

So, in recent years, the USMNT had a good Confederations Cup (2nd place in 2009), a disappointing World Cup (2010), a first-ever group stage loss in the Gold Cup (against Panama this year), and two 2nd place finishes in the Gold Cup (2009 and 2011).

When we’ve had the opportunities to earn a trophy, we’ve let it slip. A 2-0 lead against Mexico last night quickly dissolved to that 4-2 disappointment. A 2-0 lead against Brazil in 2009 Confederations Cup eventually came crashing down to a 3-2 defeat (with the game-tying goal and the eventual game-winner coming in the last 16 minutes of the game!!!).

Has the USMNT been riding the Confederations Cup success since 2009? It doesn’t seem like they have played with the same fire, passion, desire, and heart that they did then. They wanted to prove themselves to the world. Now, it seems like they are already “proven” and don’t need to show anyone else what they can do. What is the next step?

I believe a change of scenery needs done. The USSF did it in 2006 by letting Bruce Arena go. Is Bob Bradley the next? I have never been overly critical of him, but there are just some questions that need answered (like, why not adjust the game plan a little when up 2-0…?). The USMNT is a counterattacking team, clearly. But we haven’t ever played the pace of game that El Tri did last night, or Brazil did in 2009 Confederations Cup. We had a high tempo 20 minutes against Canada in our opening game of the Gold Cup this year. Sit in a little. Possess the ball. Connect passes. Win 50/50 balls.

Sorry Bob, I can no longer support you leading the team. I wish I could. I haven’t minded some of the mind-boggling decisions, but this heartbreaker is just too much. It’s time to shake things up. We need a reality check.

I guess the good thing is, there’s always 2013 right? Maybe we’ll get figuring things out to have a solid showing at the 2014 World Cup…


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