Brazil dominates US at Confederations Cup

18 Jun

The US gave up an early goal to Brazil and the South American champs never looked back in a 3-0 victory in the opening round of the Confederations Cup.  Brazil has now punched their ticket to the semifinals, while the US has to hope for an Egypt win over Italy later today if they want any chance at advancing.

Brazil put three past Tim Howard in a win over the US.

Brazil put three past Tim Howard in a win over the US.

Why can’t the US play well for 90 minutes?  Brazil scored twice in the first 20 minutes with the first goal came off a set piece where a defender lost his mark and the second starting with a US corner kick when DaMarcus Beasley misplayed a short corner from Landon Donovan and Brazil was off to the races.  Jonathan Spector was the only defender trying to mark two speedy Brazilians.  It seemed like every time the US had even an glimmer of a chance to attack, someone had a bad first touch on the ball and gave it back to Brazil.  The basic technical ability of the US is just not up to par right now.  When the ball arrives at your feet, the first touch should not fail you the majority of the time.

The first half was all Brazil.  The US didn’t generate much in terms of offense, made lots of elementary mistakes and seemed to be clearing the ball out of their box a lot.  The beginning of the second half was a different story – the US looked relatively calm and collected and started putting together some solid passing.  The first touch was better and you could see that they had some confidence.  Well, at least until midfielder Sacha Kljestan went and earned himself an early shower.  That’s right, he got red carded for a late tackle.  Two red cards in two games, what is going on with this team?  It’s the young guys (Kljestan and Clark against Italy) that are making these mistakes and estentially squashing any chance the US had at a comeback.  There is a severe lack of displine in the squad when it comes to big time games.

One of the things that was a point of pride for the US team was that they played with hustle – all the time, regardless of the score.  That all out, all the time hustle is gone.  It seems like the heart has been taken out of the players and they are just going through the motions.  Things need to be shaken up.  Bob Bradley hasn’t been a bad coach of the US, but he’s not what the team needs if they are going to improve at all.  The US needs to bring in a coach with successful international experience.  In terms of the players, it’s definitely tough.  Playing in MLS doesn’t prepare them for the world stage and sitting on the bench overseas doesn’t do much good either.   You’ll notice that players that have put on a decent showing are generally the ones that play significant roles on their teams overseas (plus Donovan).  Players like Gooch and Bradley aren’t playing for huge clubs, but they are gaining valuable experience just being on the field on a regular basis.

The US has to find the passion and heart they’ve played with in the past.  Hell, just watch the tape of the World Cup game against Italy (yeah, there’s 2 red cards, but there’s also a determination that they wouldn’t give up – something the current squad lacks).  It’s going to be a very short and embarassing trip to South Africa next summer if they don’t get their act together.

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