Remember the scene in the movie Major League when radio announce Bob Uecker says, “One god damn hit is all we got?” after the Indians lost another game? I feel like Bob now. One damn goal is all we got?
I guess if you compare the 2006 WC performance with the 1998 WC performance [also in Europe], the US MNT did [technically] improve. In France, they scored ZERO goals. In Germany , they scored ONE goal. That blip in 2002, when they made the quarterfinals was clearly not the start of a trend.
So, I angrily present my list of questions surrounding the terrible US performance in the 2006 World Cup.
1. How does Bruce Arena justify playing every World Cup qualification game for the past two years in 4-4-2 and then suddenly switching to a 4-5-1 and expect to win [much less even score]?
For the love of God Bruce, start Eddie Johnson *with* McBride – at least there is a chance to score with 2 guys up front.
The ‘lone striker’ formation is a joke unless you have Ronaldo or you have no confidence in your midfield. I guess we know now what Bruce was thinking.
2. Will Coach Bruce Arena get fired? I think so – his performance as a coach was terrible and he won’t accept any blame for his numerous screw-ups. If he doesn’t get the axe, He should show some class and resign.
Here’s Bruce’s take on his teams WC finals performance:
“I don’t think there’s anything that’s major that we would change. I think the roster that we picked was about the right roster. Our preparation was about right…”
Hmm. Sure seems like he didn’t think anything really went wrong. He’s right – they did TIE Italy [of course, Italy scored both goals...]. I mean really, is it that bad that they only scored ONE FREAKING GOAL in three games? After all, they DID have FIVE shot on goal in three games. What’s the big deal?
“It’s not Bruce,” Landon Donovan said. “Bruce is the best coach I’ve ever had. If we don’t perform, it’s on us.”
I think that *is* the problem. He may be the best coach in the history of the US MNT [he definitely has the best record], but he and Mooch should tip their hats to more talented coaches. They had a good run, but they are not the right tandem for the US to get to the next level of consistent results in International play.
3. How do the players justify the lack of drive to results? Beasely and Donovan showed that they lost their drive. I’m not even sure they should be on the US MNT at this point. Too bad the team didn’t play with Dempsey’s attitude. Maybe that is the trick for the US team? Bring in fresh players each WC and screw the veterans because we had no veteran leadership on the field.
4. Why won’t anyone in the US MNT take responsibility? The team can tell themselves that they ‘played well’, and ‘were unlucky’ to keep clanking off the post [5 times]. The fact is that the players did not finish their chances. Nobody cares if you shot 15 times if you don’t score a freaking goal.
Landon Donovan said that “he was sick of everyone in the world telling the US team that they can’t play soccer”. He proved that the world’s opinion was spot on with his lackluster performance in 2 of their 3 games. I’ll give him an ‘A’ for effort against Italy and a ‘D’ for effectiveness for the entire three matches.
Landon is only 24 years old, but he showed that he’s not a champion. When Arena criticised his performance against Czech Republic. His response: “I didn’t think I played that badly.” Right… That’s why he created no chances, scored no goals, and took no shots. But other than that, it was a great performance by his team’s designated ‘playmaker’.
5. Will the USSF finally understand that the US MNT must accept its invitation to return to Copa America?
They have been invited every two years since 1997 and have declined because it conflicts with the MLS. What a stupid reason. The MLS talent is increasing at a snail’s pace and our national soccer federation thinks that this is more important than the performance of the MNT in the only tournament that matters.
Screw the MLS. The US MNT needs to play in real games against better teams to improve. Playing Poland in a friendly is not the same as playing Argentina in a real [non-WC] tournament. The CONCACAF region has crappy talent [relative to Europe and S. America] and it shows when only Mexico can advance to the knockout round consistently. If the US were in the South American region, they would never qualify for the WC.
I think we US soccer fans, the USSF, and the players and coaches of the US MNT were deluded by the bogus #5 FIFA World Ranking. We fans and the team forgot that their performance in 2002 does not grant them respect from other teams. The Czechs made us look like amateurs and Ghana did not take the game that seriously and won handily. The US MNT are not talented enough to win just by showing up [c.f. England]. 2002 was not the start of a trend toward better International results – it was an anomaly.