Home > Football (soccer) > Eh, Coach … Got a minute?

Eh, Coach … Got a minute?

So let me get this straight: Robbie Findley was ineffective and subbed at half-time, and Ricardo Clark was ineffective and had a mistake that played a large part in an early goal against the US. Um… are we speaking about our first game vs. England … or our fourth game vs. Ghana…. or both?!

Such a surprise that coach Bob Bradley would not keep the same players that were inspired enough to lead the USA to a win over Algeria. When Benny Feilhaber came in against Algeria, he totally changed the game. Same thing again today. The way the US started in the second half was inspired, and could have had multiple goals if we had brought our finishing boots.

WHY WHY WHY is our coach making the same subs and changes again and again?! Someone has to ask the tough questions and get some answers. Today’s game against Ghana was the most important since our last game against Ghana in 2006, and will be our most important game until some time at World Cup 2014.

So, basically, our most important game for 7 years was today, and the coach got it all wrong. I wouldn’t say that I agree with John Harkes or Lexi Lalas much, but even THEY were asking why so many changes to a team that had just played the most inspired half of their lives during the second half against Algeria.

We need to know.

Today’s stud was Clint Dempsey. It actually appeared that the Ghanaian players respected him more than the others and backed off when he had the ball. This gave Clint the time and space he needed to have a very effective game, drawing a wonderful penalty and being very dangerous all over the field.

Clint Dempsey fouled going for goal

Landon Donovan. Ugh there were long stretches of time where Landycakes was in full force out there, but to his credit he did convert a pressurized penalty to become the all-time leading scorer for the USA at the World Cup Finals with 5 goals. But in my opinion there was still not enough from our best player in terms of attacking. There were times we had 4 v 4 situations, and he would pull it back and pass backwards rather than press our advantage.

Jozy Altidore is the “Adidas Hit Man” or so they say on facebook and yet he left this world cup with nary a goal, and hardly a shot on target. I know he is young, and hopefully there will be many more and better performances from him in the future. As for now, he’s still not the one. Too many of his own bad touches took him out of positions to score.

Benny Feilhaber was a game changer. Is there a problem with playing him the entire 90 minutes? He’s tough, he passes quickly, he’s inventive, and he keeps the ball moving. What is not to love? Every game he entered, he changed for the positive. It would have been a different game today if he had started.

I hate to say it but Jay Demerit did not close down an advancing Kevin Prince Boateng fast enough. Sure Boateng is big and fast, but Demerit needed to get out there quicker and force him in a different direction away from the goal, possibly fouling him in the process. I mean seriously — how many top teams at the World Cup would let an attacker sprint towards your goal unimpeded for so long without getting a challenge in? (Hint: the answer is NONE.)

Carlos Bocanegra I have a question: Is that the best challenge you can put in to clear that ball? Ghana’s attacker Asamoah Gyan wasn’t even bothered by that challenge. I think he thought a fly had landed on his arm or something. And there went their game winner. My brother and I were speaking before the game that our biggest concern was with long balls from Ghana over the top — could our central defenders deal with their muscular, physical and fast forwards? Erm, I guess the answer would be “no.” End of story. (We should give Carlos a break, though. He’s not actually a central defender by trade. He had to fit-in to central defense when the actual central defender the coach picked for the team (Onyewu) turned in multiple dismal performances due to the fact that he hadn’t played a competitive game for over 6 months. Uh, coach?)

Tim Howard. Some say he’s at fault for getting beaten at the near post and for the record I agree he needs to cover the near post better. But that goal was not his fault at ALL. Some say yes, but I am not one of them. Give a world class player a clear run at goal and a free shot from inside the 18′ and they will almost always score.

I feel for Ricardo Clark. Son Bradley’s pass wasn’t exactly to his feet, and so it sort of drew him into the Ghanaian defenders, but to try to take a guy on from that position was a diabolical decision. Two disappointing games.

Robbie Findley had the best chance, and almost appeared to shrink before the opportunity.

And that my friends is the difference in the game! They had two clear chances and they finished them both. We had two great chances too. Robbie scuffed his shot, appearing to hope the ground would swallow him up before he had to pull the trigger, and Dempsey was fouled on the other one, which turned into our penalty. Ghana converted their two goals and we could only convert one.

And voila, they advance.

I was relieved after the England game. We got lucky.
I was pissed after the Slovenia game. We got screwed.
I was euphoric after the Algeria game. We won our group!

I am disappointed after today’s Ghana game — but I can honestly say that the best team won. If we had played for longer stretches like we did during the first 30 minutes of the second half, I would say we were the better team. But we didn’t. And we’re going home. Hopefully the coach will see which players were on the pitch for the best parts of the tournament and figure out a way to have them on the field from the beginning.

  1. paythepiper
    June 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I agree – the better team won. And like you, I am disappointed. Great review of the players and the game – and I love your summation of how your reactions!

  2. headlesspoet
    June 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Liked the player-by-player analysis. I was disappointed after the game too.

  3. June 28, 2010 at 2:08 am

    it’s already late to talk about coaches that are history. i prefer to concentrate on the future: http://texttrade.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/hatred-post-about-maradona/

  4. June 29, 2010 at 12:17 am

    saw the starting 11 and started yelling at the tv. no idea why buddle sat on the bench. kind of reminded me of 2006 when Brian Ching sat on the bench for Arena. Hopefully Clark and Findley learn from this and get better. I would like to see Bradley stay on as coach at least through the Gold Cup.

    • June 29, 2010 at 8:12 am

      Yeah, Buddle is a mystery. Did we have a hotter striker going into this world cup? He may never be in that form again… and we didn’t use it. Disappointment.

      I think Bradley does a good job, but there is something wrong in his team’s preparation. It’s not like it’s a one-off. We gave up early goals to czech republic and turkey in world cup warm up games, and then in 3 of our 4 world cup games. There’s something wrong there, and I’m not sure Bradley knows what to do about it. I think he’s a good coach and helped them get as far as he can, but he’s lost now. I mean — using the same subs each and every time this world cup? Ugh.

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