July 02, 2014

How Good Are the Americans, Really?: An interesting analysis of where the U.S. men's national team stands in the soccer hierarchy after its exit from the World Cup, written by Mark Satterfield of the Christian Science Monitor. "Team USA has not stagnated. The bus is still moving forward," he observes. "But the issues that made the first 105 minutes of the Belgium game -- and much of America's World Cup, frankly -- an exercise in intestinal fortitude are the same issues that have defined the USA ever since it reemerged on the world stage in 1990."

posted by rcade to soccer at 05:17 PM - 4 comments

At least you don't get patronised as much as us.

posted by owlhouse at 11:25 PM on July 02, 2014

Feels a bit like he started with the answers and worked out the questions. Hard to say how tactically naive the US really is when they lost Altidore 20 minutes into the tournament. You can certainly criticize the US and Klinsmann for not having a Plan B, but we never really got to see their tactics: they scored in the first minute against Ghana, lost Jozy 20 minutes or so later and tried to defend. They certainly need players capable of keeping the ball and moving forward with it; without them, what tactics are there but boot the ball down and rush the goal, then scramble back?

"There is not a single player on Team USA who is coveted by the top professional clubs in the world, and there never has been."

I get the point, but not where is he drawing the line as "top club" and "coveted" make for a movable set of goalposts. Dempsey was signed away from Fulham by Tottenham. Bradley played on a Roma team that wound up (albeit after he left) qualifying for the Champions League and finishing second in Serie A. Brad Guzan wouldn't look out of place at a top team (and was supposedly courted by Arsenal before signing with Villa).

posted by yerfatma at 08:31 AM on July 03, 2014

The team I saw in Jacksonville in the final send-off game, with a healthy Altidore, did not look like the one I'd been watching for the past decade. They handled Nigeria with relative ease and were strong on the attack and in midfield.

If top club equals Champions League, Tottenham was in it when they signed Clint Dempsey over Liverpool and Aston Villa.

posted by rcade at 09:09 AM on July 03, 2014

From the outside looking in, the big difference between this US team and the previous ones I've seen is that this one looks, with very few minor exceptions, like a team of footballers, whereas the previous ones all looked like teams of athletes playing football. I'd be amazed if some of the world's top clubs are not currently coveting the hell out of some of them, and I think Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Brad Friedel all disprove the notion that the US has never had a player coveted by a top team.

posted by JJ at 09:56 AM on July 03, 2014

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