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USA 1-3 Italy: Some Positives but Same Old Story

1072120 medium USA 1 3 Italy: Some Positives but Same Old Story

Photo from Getty Images/FIFA.com

Some quick points:


  • I believe Rico Clark’s sending off was justified. I’ve heard and seen since the red card arguments against it, but if you tackle from  the side with your cleats out and get no part of the ball, that’s a letter of the law for sending off. In fact I believe Clark should be suspended for several international matches for what was a reckless and malicious tackle. American defensive midfielders don’t have the grace or the technique to tackle properly in those situations. We have seen it time and time again. The American holding midfielders are a red card waiting to happen in every critical match.

    • However, I do also believe Landon Donovan being taken down in the box late in the second half should have resulted in a penalty. We’ve seen two penalties called in matches before at FIFA competitions. Anyone recall Cameroon-England in 1990?

    • Prior to Clark’s sending off,  Donovan was the most impressive player on the pitch and had outplayed the much talked about Pirlo. Landon created space for himself today coming back into the midfield and linking with the wide players and Jozy Altidore up top. Donovan when in the right place on the pitch and properly motivated is still a one of a kind player in the history of the US.

    • The US ultimately failed because of a lack of tactical discipline when down a man and the failure of Coach Bob Bradley to properly adjust his setup to being up a goal but down a man. Steve Sampson for all his faults, quickly made changes in 1997 when falling down a man at Azteca and allowed the US to get a result. Bradley’s tactics were poor, and his substitutions were either poor or made too late.
    • Charlie Davies coming in for Jozy Altidore was a good tactical move, but the continued freezing out of Jose Torres and Freddy Adu is mind boggling.
  • Jay DeMerit showed a tactical awareness that Carlos Bocanegra typically lacks. Italy quite possibly would have  had a goal before the Clark sending off, had Bocanegra been fit and in the lineup. Jonathan Spector a more natural central defender continues to do very well on the right side.
  • Egypt’s performance against Brazil was impressive this morning and they will be difficult for us to get anything against. But the US must take chances going forward in the next two matches. Torres and Adu who have been apparently dropped for not playing good enough defense (Jen Chang of ESPN.com reported Bradley indicated that was the issue with Torres), need to be unleashed now. At this stage of  the tournament in a hole, Bradley must take some chances going forward.

Player Ratings

Howard       6

Spector       6

DeMerit       6

Onyewu     5

Bornstein  5

Feilhaber    5

Bradley        5

Clark              3

Dempsey     4

Donovan     8

Altidore       5

Davies           5

Beasley           6

Kljestan          NR

Listen to Post match podcast below, featuring Hannah Lee of Forza Football, Jamie Trecker of FOX Sports and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

29 Responses to USA 1-3 Italy: Some Positives but Same Old Story

  1. C Webb says:

    I agree. Same old story.

    That being said, we were royally screwed (again!) with the sending off of Clark. However, up to that point the US was playing very timidly and of course their all-inclusive bugaboo of poor first touch paired with spazzo passing (even though Italy wasn’t really applying all that much pressure) didn’t help matters.

    It was only a matter of time before Italy scored. It’s just a shame that it had to be Rossi scoring twice. And before anyone comments about how another one got away (and that includes you Kartik!), Rossi was never going to play for the US unless it was clear that Italy didn’t want him.

    Rossi’s club form got him his invitation to the Italian National team. Had he started off at Parma and then ManU by playing just average soccer, he never would have been chosen for Italy considering their depth of scoring options.

    Considering the US was playing a man down for nearly an hour in this match, I don’t feel too badly about this performance. I think some players played well (Altidore, Donovan, Dempsey, Gooch and Howard). I thought others didn’t (Feilhaber – don’t like him outside. Needs to be inside but he did give up the ball for Rossi’s first goal; A lot of people liked DeMerit in this game. I didn’t at all. I thought he looked very slow and got beat on nearly every corner attempt from the Italians. Let’s not even get into how badly he played Pirlo on that 3rd goal).

    The result was just considering the domination in the second half. That being said, it certainly is a more stomachable 3-1 loss than the other one a few weeks ago.

  2. dave says:

    the game was certainly physical from the get go and i think that was a good approach against italy. that being said, the ref should’ve tried to calm things down a bit.

    clark should’ve never gone for that tackle, let alone swing his leg high near gatusso’s? knee, it could’ve broken his leg. the red wasn’t ridiculous like some think it is. clark put himself in the position to leave it up to the ref’s discretion, which was bad on his part.

    overall, the US played with a lot of energy and donovan looked dangerous on the attack. he could be so much better though if he played in europe. it’s not too late though, but time is ticking. we had our chances, and we should’ve taken better advantage of them, especially going up against a team like italy.

    italy was going to eventually score, but we could’ve done better to get a draw. going down 2-1, BB had nothing to lose and everything to gain. i wasn’t overall impress with BB’s sub. maybe adu after going down 2-1 would’ve add the spark we needed on the counter.

    hopefully we can get something productive out of our next to match. here’s hoping for atleast 3 pts, but 4 would be great.

  3. Rex says:

    The red card was not justified. It wasnt from behind.

  4. Robert says:

    Kartik –

    I know you were happy with the Davies substitution, as was I. The pacy Davies could cover more ground as the lone striker than a tiring Altidore.

    Now, why we go Kljestan instead of a more creative player like Torres or Ado is beyond me. Perhaps Bradley playing favorites again? Did Torres look that bad in Costa Rica that he doesn’t even get a sniff of action anymore?

    Overall, the US looked good in this game, especially prior to the send-off. If it stayed 11 v. 11, they definitely get a result in this one.

  5. Angel says:

    well Like always some dumb ass get red card it, it was a late Challenge and lift the leg little high and hit it pretty hard. But I want to praise the USA for the 55 minute for their playing but once again we have a coach that doesn’t of tactics of substitution. He’s poor decision kill the USA team. I just don’t know why you bring Beasley and Sasha instead of bringing Torres who would be a better fit for this game. Knowing u were a man down Torres would have help hold the ball. I have a question what ever happen at the Costa Rica game that Torres been in the Dog House is it because he took a free kick from Donavan. I don’t like Nowak but ever since he left the decision making is worst and that lineup the same. Poor Altidor always up by himself and noone to help him. Bob Bradley is killing our player like (Adu, Torres, Orozco, A. Alvarez) I don’t blame Rossi for oupting for Italy instead of USA. with a coach that doesn’t know what his player position is.

  6. Julius says:

    So, I’m not the genius tactician as every fan obviously is but I feel compelled to throw in my opinion. The red card seems harsh given other elbows and hard tackles throughout the game. Yes, Clark was late and yes, we should expect those calls to go against the US outside CONCACAF. However, the US held their own for the first half and did well for large proportions of the second half. The score line is flattering to Italy. The US gave a fight. However, the fight could have been better if… (and here’s were I play manager) Adu (maybe Torres) came on for Dempsey (I disagree with C Webb) as someone to possess and maybe start a counter attack.

    And Rossi choosing to play for Italy isn’t against US Soccer, it’s against Rossi. Just like if Jermaine Jones comes to play for the US instead of Germany, it’s against Jones.

    Those be my thoughts.

  7. Joey Clams says:

    Nice one, Kartik. Clark should be put in the freezer for a spell. If Jack Charlton were coach, you’d never see Clark again.

  8. Zamu65 says:

    blah,blah,blah…the US loses again to a real world soccer power..nothing makes me happier! Just stick to basketball and your very quaint version of “football”..hehehe!

  9. C Webb says:

    Well Kartik, you just might be one of the only people on the planet to think the red card was justified and deserves further suspension.

    Part of a referee’s job is not only to adhere to the rules, but not be a slave to them as well. According to the strictest black letter law, yes, Clark should have seen red. But so should Grosso for the elbow on Donovan.

    And for the record, the argument that the cleats were exposed on the tackle seems a bit weak. C’mon, anytime you lift your foot off the ground, aren’t the cleats exposed?

    Turn this around another way, had it been Gattuso pulling off the same missed tackle, don’t you think the Italian’s would be simalry outraged?

    It was a bad call. A yellow card at best, but not even close to a sending off offense.

  10. BC says:

    Ditto for Clark and the tactics, the game was there for the taking, and it would have been such a big win for US Soccer against the world champs. Why not make a defensive minded sub up 1-0 and take out Dempsey or Altidore? The middle of the field was wide open for the 2nd half and Rossi/De Rossi were able to really step into those long range efforts without any challenge. I’m glad the US just didn’t park the bus, but it just didn’t seem like the team and the coaches went out to win the game in the 2nd half but were playing out the string hoping to hold on. Then again if Gooch doesn’t whiff and screen out Howard we could be talking about a valuable point.

  11. kyle says:

    Clark- No skill and is reckless
    Beasley- Please just go away
    Bob Bradley- When you are down a goal bring on attacking players
    How long is the corpse of Beasley going to be wheeled out?
    Donovan showed his class today
    Bocanaegra who?

  12. The podcast is now available. Scroll down past the player ratings to listen.

    I do think the red card was justified but I do believe the official cost us the game with the non PK call which is called 8 times out of 10. Besides, that’s a set play we run with a cross to Landon on the left side who crosses back in the center of the field to target to put a header on goal. We’ve used that same “play” on set pieces several times in the last three years and usually with much success. Donovan never had a chance to play the ball, and as we’ve seen in European club football this year that PK is almost ALWAYS called.

  13. Phillip says:

    The fact is Torres has received a majority of the blame from the coaching staff and fellow players for the first two goals in Costa Rica.

    The first one for colliding with Pablo letting the guy skip through and then for not tracking back and covering his man on the second goal.

  14. ryan says:

    looking forward to back-to-back three-and-outs in south africa. yay, usa! ugh…

    save u.s. soccer.
    fire gulati.
    fire bradley.

  15. I know that’s the case Phillip. Bradley has unprofessionally scapegoated Torres to the media. So Beasley bad giveaway is forgivable and it’s okay when Dempsey doesn’t track back because they are “our guys” while Torres came from outside and doesn’t know the Bradley way just yet. It’s ridiculous. Bradley holds these grudges against players and that’s part of the reason we are not progressing. Where is Kenny Cooper. Did Cooper do something in training two years ago to make Bradley angry. How is Sacha Kljestan considered a viable option at this level over Freddy Adu? The questions persist even when our guys plays their hearts out and give a good showing like today because the tactics and player selection and culture of protecting certain guys are so questionable.

  16. eplnfl says:

    I must agree for the most part with Jamie Trecker’s comments. Why at all levels in all competitions does something stupid seem to take place to take the US out of matches. We have such a fine line of talent that any red card or bonehead move makes it impossible for us to win.

    I am not in the mood for moral victories or good efforts for one hour. We all have too much invested in the US team to accept these results. How can anyone expect any thing better against Brazil or Egypt. Going home with no points is a complete failure and heads should role at the top. Things are primed in the public and the media for the US to see soccer take off and the play of our team is the one factor holding things back.

    We need more then to hear then Donovan looked as good as anyone or Spector has found a home at right back. No one can expect more then a quick exit in South Africa in 09 and 2010. Sad, because enough talent seems to be present to make the US a top 10 soccer nation.

  17. TheseColorsDoNotRun says:

    Thanks for the good work and podcasts Kartik.

    I am a supporter often baffled by Papa Bradley’s team selection and substitutions.

    I think we’d be substantially better off if Jose Francisco Torres saw the field more.

    So I am wondering: Where and how exactly has Bradley been blaming Torres? Is there an interview or link?

  18. The Gaffer says:

    I wasn’t too impressed with FIFA’s world TV feed of the game. There were a couple of key moments in the game where we were at the mercy of the TV cameras, and they failed us. Most notably the sending off incident with Ricardo Clark. It took several agonizing seconds to determine what had happened. Plus, we were kept waiting after the foul on Jozy Altidore in the box to find out whether it was a penalty or not.

    Let’s hope FIFA does a better job with the TV footage next summer!

    It also is a perfect example of why we need the ESPN commentators at the game, but commentating the game off a TV set in Bristol, CT.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  19. Joey Clams says:

    This is what Michael Bradley shoul have said to Rossi at the end of the game: “Good game. But if you ever celebrate a goal like that against us again, I’ll break your fucking legs.”

    Seriously.

  20. Brian says:

    I still can’t get over why people think we should have played better against Italy. We simply aren’t good enough, how can you really blame Bob Bradley for us playing down a man for 60 minutes, was that his fault. People need to get a grip and realize we just aren’t there yet as a soccer nation. Who knows if we ever will be but to claim Bradley is the problem is just to take the easy way out on this. There were definite positives from the first 45 minutes and we will never know what the outcome would have been if the game ended 11 v. 11, but we are playing Brazil and Italy here not Honduras and Costa Rica. I can’t wait to see everyones reaction after Thursday.

  21. Louis says:

    I cannot believe I am about to say this because I have for years advocated MLS playing second fiddle to the USMNT because of the nature of this country and the fact that anything that happens to grow the sport will need to be done thru the nats, but go out and support MLS, support USL, support your local amateur side but do not watch or write about this stinking team as long as they continue to hire second rate american coaches. It’s the only way Gulati and the suits will learn.

  22. Roger says:

    I used to really hate Trecker. But these last few months of listening to him on your show plus US related performances have convinced me he’s right. He’s much more sincere on your show than he appears in print and as I’ve listened to him my eyes have opened up as to the ineptitude of the USSF and the totally amateurish nature of our coaching.

  23. Angel says:

    Bob Bradley is a person who play with players that he feels very comfortable, That is why he keep using his players that he knows best and like Kartik says he used player from the USSF youth System. He always use (Beasley, Bocanegra, Sasha, Broinstein, M. Bradley) all this come from either Chicago Fire or Chivas USA. and of course even tho Donovan and Dempsey are good players they know or think that they are Irreplaceable. Donovan sometimes he so Premadona that he think he is the best free kicker we have in this Team. Not only I think that Bob Bradley keep a grude with some players for Samples (Adu, Cooper, Orozco, Arturo Alvarez, Benny B.) all this guy have one thing in common and that is that either they had make a mistake that cause something to the USMNT or in the Youth USNT. For Example Benny, Alvarez, Adu and Orozco had problems before with Nowak in the Olimpic team or in DC United. and Now Cooper and Torres had some kind of problem with Bradley in the USMNT Camp or in a game. Anyway we as supported and as fan on the USA we need to know why are these player are been left behind or bench. Sunil have to start thinking that if this keep going on we are not going to have player with good talent on the field but we always going to be the laughing stock of the World of Football (Soccer). Noone is going to think that we are a legit team. Believe when I hear spanish comentator in ESPN español, Fox Soccer Network., Fox Español and even on GolTV. We are an emberrassment and they think we don’t belong on a the Big stages. what the heck they don’t even want to talk about team USA or mention anything about it. And why is this, cause if have an Idiot as President of the USSF who doesn’t know or even play soccer in his entired life. A Coach that never play either, that never play in a world cup or even professionally. I’m getting tired of this Idiots. And now the question is what can we do as fan and spectator of Good Football to correct this problem, Should their be a change of presidency of USSF and coach of the USMNT. Who is about Sunil G.

  24. Trey says:

    Bradley is not fit to be an international manager. I agree with Adam Beasley.

    Consider this fact.

    Bradley started Feilhaber after 45 minutes of good soccer in a home game against Honduras, a team as has been pointed out by Kartik time and time again that was missing its two best midfield players

    Bradley benched Torres after 45 minutes ON THE ROAD in Costa Rica, where despite being partially to blame for the first goal Torres was the only guy to hold the ball up and show some attacking intent. Also the kid had probably never played on astroturf before.

    Torres is an influential team member of perhaps the top club in this region.

    Feilhaber has played for three clubs in three years in three different leagues and has been a malcontent.

    So what does Bob do?

    He starts Feilhaber against Italy and leaves Torres to rot on the bench.

    Knee jerk reactions and different standards for different players make a losing national team coach.

    Bradley must be fired!

  25. Johnny says:

    Time is up Bradley. His adjustments are always too late. Playing down a man why didn’t we sub for fresh legs sooner? The team looked rutterless in the second half. What sis Bob say or not say to them at halftime?

    I would love to see Boca move to left back, although isn’t that we we had him for the Ghana game in 2006? He did a piss poor job at LB in that game. That being said he is a much better option than Bornstien, Pearce, or Beasly.

    Also why is Adu even on this roster if Bob has no intention of playing him? OR for that matter Torres? I know Bob eluded to these players being a defensive liability. Well I hate to tell you this Bob all your players in mid are dfensive liability so you may as well go with someone, anyone that has a snow ball’s chance in hell of finishing a shot.

    I know Charlie Davies did not play well but we need speed up top whith Jozy. People keep saying Connnor Casey is there to hold the ball up and relieve pressure. As far as I am concerned Jozy can do it and do it well.

    The formation I would like to see is

    Jozy Altidore-Charlie Davies
    Landon Donovan
    Jose Torres-Michael Bradley-Dempsey
    Boca- Gooch- Demerit- Spector
    Howard

  26. Angry USA Fan says:

    The red card was deserved. Clark lost the ball and then lost his head. The foul seemed hard and deliberate. Clark struck Gatusso too late and too high for it to look like a fair challenge. It came off as a lame bit of revenge. … The ref could’ve mercifully given a yellow card instead, but didn’t have to. A player who commits a malevolent, boneheaded foul like that one is lucky — not entitled — to avoid expulsion.

  27. Andrew says:

    Here is the bottom line. 1.Jozy Altidore had no desire or ganas at this level to strike the ball on goal when he is one v one with the keeper. He is supposed to be an international striker and if he can’t score or at least attempt a strike from that distance we will never be able to beat teams at the highest level. 2. Losing the ball in the center of the pitch (Dempsey versus Honduras and today Dempsey and Feilhaver against Italy) is nonsense. again at this level inexcuseable! Both times we were punished with an immediate strike and goal. 3. Oneyu is perhaps the worst central defender I have seen in a long time, he needs to go. 4. Where is Adu? Where was Torres? Where are the players that actually know how to play? Either sitting on the bench or home watching the game on TV. 5. Yes we can and have been able to play with the best teams for awhile now and occasionally managed a victory here and there and even a spot in the quarterfinals not so long ago and ironically should have won that match and went on to the semi’s…but our lack of desire and commitment 4 ninety minutes will be our downfall…we havent accomplished anything yet but we seem to play as if we had

  28. Tony H says:

    We were spared a shameful own goal by an offsides call. It was given a goal by a rather questionable foul on Altidore. Altidore was not free in the box; his and the defender’s legs became entangled. He certainly embellished his fall. And equally as certainly, he would not have scored.
    So there were three major calls in the match. One went against us, and resulted in the team playing one down for sixty minutes. The other two benefited us in the form of two goals.
    It is truly absurd for the US fans to attribute the loss to the officiating. If England had lost a similar match, English fans would be scrutinizing every player and the coach.
    The US fans, much like the US players, make up for their lack of knowledge of the game with blinkered energy and spite for the “enemy.” A bit of objectivity, please!
    I love our team but people who think this was somehow some remarkable performance like Ives and all the tool posters there don’t know the sport at all!

  29. Gulati says:

    So let me get this straight: american defensive midfielders shouldn’t be allowed to come in on hard tackles due to a lack of grace or technique? what the fuck does that even mean? Who decides when you have the “grace or technique” to play hard and challenge? A straight red for coming in late on a tackle is a ridiculous call as was both red cards given to the US against Italy in 2006. Up until the red card, the US went pound for pound against Italy just like in 2006, and once again the outcome was thrown into question by the referee. That’s the best we’ve looked in a long time, and the Davies subsitution did nothing to shore us up defensively. your blog sucks

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