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Ashley Young Is Not Good Enough For England…………But He’s Too Good for the United States

ashley young 300x300 Ashley Young Is Not Good Enough For England............But Hes Too Good for the United States

Since the US was drawn into England’s group in the World Cup, I have seen and heard lots of discussion of why the USMNT can either draw or beat England. Yet, to this point I have not seen one single shred of analysis to defend this point.

ESPN commentators and bloggers alike have made reference to 1950, the heart of American players, and the excitement of being drawn in with an opponent perceived to be arrogant and over rated. Yet, we still do not have anything passing for analysis.

It is entirely possible that every single field player the US takes to South Africa 2010 would not be good enough to play for England. Unlike Northern Ireland, who beat England in 2005 with a similarly labeled “England C” side, the US doesn’t have home advantage or the track record of sustained success against European nations. That’s why it is significant that a player like Ashley Young doesn’t get a long look from Capello: Young would without question be the star of the US team. The same could be said for his Aston Villa team mates James Milner and Stewart Downing, who may or may not be on the plane to South Africa.

In the modern history of American World Cup qualification, the Yanks have beaten a European side once in eleven tries. Eight of those matches have been loses, some by heavily lopsided scores. When you consider that many US based pundits including ESPN’s Tommy Smyth, GOL TV’s Phil Schoen and FOX Sports Jamie Trecker do not believe the talent level on the current US team is better than the sides from 1994 or 1998, you begin realize the bluster coming from certain quarters of the football community in the United States, is just that.

The United States Soccer Federation and other interested parties have spent over $50 million on player development programs since the 1998 World Cup disaster. Yet, for all this money we have a United States side that resembles the 1998 team. England is told that they should fear the USA, but aside from a very significant result versus Spain this summer, the US’ record against top competition going back to 2003 is abysmal, and in fact far worse than it was in the period from 1995 to 2002.

Even at goalkeeper, the USA’s perceived strength is exposed. Every top keeper the US has fielded this decade (Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard) has been beaten out at the club level by a current England keeper (Paul Robinson, David James and Ben Foster, respectively).

So what becomes the equalizer between two obviously unbalanced sides: Tactics? One manager in England’s Group has the tactical savvy to try and draw England into a stalemate: Matjaz Kek, the manager of Slovenia has proven throughout the qualification he understands how to put his side in the best position to achieve results.

Contrast that with the US side that under Bob Bradley has routinely conceded early second half goals after the opposition makes tactical changes. We saw Denmark score three in nine minutes last month right after halftime. Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Italy, and Brazil all scored goals this year right after making tactical changes which the US manager did not recognize until too late- in the case of Haiti, Italy and Brazil, it was multiple goals scored before the US made a tactical change to attempt to change its fortunes.

Fabio Capello is a tactical maestro. Believing he will not find a way to take apart a severely flawed and perhaps arrogant opponent after month of preparation is laughable. I personally hope my sentiments and attempts to analyze this matchup, is wrong, but the US’ has to this point given us no reason to believe otherwise.

FOR THE RECORD: I predicted the US had a good chance to beat Spain BEFORE the match, when other analysts were saying the US would get thrashed. Here is the pre-game post from our sister site, MLS Talk.

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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 →

84 Responses to Ashley Young Is Not Good Enough For England…………But He’s Too Good for the United States

  1. Matthew N says:

    I like England, I really do, but this article only serves to show just how overrated they are. There are certainly a couple or maybe a handful of US players who could make the English squad (Donovan, Dempsey, maybe Onyewu– Rio Ferdinand sucks these days anyways, etc.). England has players that absolutely blow us out of the water with how they play at the club level, but this isn’t club football we are talking either…

    • JLay says:

      I like your enthusiasm, but you’re crazy if you really believe that Donovan, Dempsey, or Onyewu would make the England squad.

      Donovan failed in Germany… twice. Given the fact that the EPL has way more top-end talent than the Bundesliga, who exactly do you think he’d displace on the England squad? If he’s in top form, MAYBE he’d sniff a spot on the bench, but I really doubt it. Dempsey is a solid player but he’s nowhere near the caliber of any of England’s midfielders. Not even close. Onyewu is a great athlete and a big body, but he’s prone to mental mistakes. England have at least a dozen better options at fullback.

      The talent comparison isn’t even close – England are clearly a much better team. Now, with that said, I’ll tell you why the US could win:

      * England have a penchant for collapsing in International tournaments (Don’t count on this one, as Capello has them playing great).

      * The US team’s conditioning, athleticism and work rate gives it a chance to win the odd game against superior competition.

      * England lacks a great finisher, and Tim Howard has been known to play out of his skin on occasion.

      * Anything can happen.

  2. Eddie says:

    “Even at goalkeeper, the USA’s perceived strength is exposed. Every top keeper the US has fielded this decade (Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard) has been beaten out at the club level by a current England keeper (Paul Robinson, David James and Ben Foster, respectively).”

    This just shows how loopy your “analysis” is.

    I’m starting to understand why so many people think your posts are rubbish.

    Can’t wait until June 12. Then all the experts can shut their mouths and actually watch the match.

    • How so? Is that statement true or false? American keepers tend to be good shot stoppers and while Friedel was certainly wronged at Liverpool when James beat him out, the other two American keepers were not- Keller never played for a club that approached Spurs level again, and Howard’s blunder versus Porto is legendary.

      American pundits and fans masking as analysts keep saying we can beat England without giving us a real reason why (sentiment does not count at this level). I have been down this road several times with the USMNT buying all the hype before World Cups and believing our team doesn’t look as stylish as other mediocre sides, particularly from Europe (like Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania) because of euro bias in the press. Then when we face off with mid level Euro sides we get exposed.

      I don’t see any reason this would be different, especially given Bradley’s tactical track record this year.

      • Matthew N says:

        Kartik… you are really going to argue that Ben Foster is better than Brad Friedel? The reason Friedel/Howard/Keller play for midtable sides is because Europeans hate Americans and they think we are awful at soccer. Look at how much it costs to buy a random Brazilian/English/Spanish/Italian player versus how much it costs for an American who may be of equal skill. Come on… your argument is decent, but Friedel is probably one of the top 5-10 in the world right now…

        • JLay says:

          Anti-American bias? Clubs buy American players strictly because they are Americans and they see the US as a growing football market. Do you really think Onyewu belongs at Milan?

          They do the same thing with Asian players.

          Europeans think we are terrible at soccer because we ARE terrible at soccer. I support the USMNT, but I know who and what they are. And we’ll never get anywhere with Bradley and Gulati at the helm.

  3. Dave says:

    Friedel was not beaten out by Paul Robinson at Blackburn, he left to go to a bigger more successful club in Villa. Tim Howard could not beat out Van der Sar, he was ahead of Foster in the pecking order and asked for a transfer to play regular first team where he sits as the #1 keeper at Everton.

  4. Friedel was beaten out by James at Liverpool.

    Keller was beaten out by Robinson at Spurs.

    Howard was dumped in favor of Foster at United.

    I didn’t think I would have to spell that out to people who follow the Premiership.

    That’s why the keepers were listed in that order.

    • Eddie says:

      Hahaha… Friedel was beaten out by James?

      No, Liverpool made a very dumb decision. One they’d most surely admit now.

      The England keepers are crap. It might not matter. But anyone who argues that England’s keepers are better than the US’ is talking nonsense.

    • Peter says:

      Kartik, I agree with your points made in the article, but firstly, right now who would you rather have to choose from, Friedel, Howard and Guzan or James, Green and Foster? I know what my choice is. Secondly, don’t you think the game between the two sides is a long time away yet (6 months!) and your already boring me to tears with it, when I should really be looking forward to it. Thirdly, as far as I know Ashley Young cannnot be eligible to play for England, so this article is pointless, you may as well have chosen Rooney for all the good this does. Obviously a slow day at the office for you Kartik, shame.

      • Kevin_Amold says:

        Exactly. Who would take James/Foster/Robinson over Howard and FRiedle RIGHT NOW? I don’t think either Villa or Everton would switch, and I think Pompey and Blackburn might. That’s what matters, not what happened years ago.

        That being said, the rest of the article seems pretty reasonable.

      • Pete says:

        What are you talking about, Ashley Young is English and has played for England. The fact is he will struggle to get into the English side and would be a star in the US side.
        As far as goalkeepers are concerned you are talking about a position that England is weakest in and a position that the US is probably the strongest. I am English and live in England and even I would prefer Friedal to any keeper we have but the fact is he probably wont be playing for you either as I believe he has neo retired.
        As for Howard, I would have to say he is still no better than the average keepers England have at the moment.

  5. Tony H says:

    Anybody who really believes Landon Donovan could play for England or any other top 10 nation needs to really think before posting. Donovan was a total failure in his three previous attempts at playing in Europe and scores very few non PK goals at the international level.

    The US opened the last world cup after all this same talk about how ood they were with a 3-0 smashing to the Czecks.

    The question us Americans need to focus on is whether we can beat Slovenia or Algeria.

    Here is the US record in the second half of games the last several months

    Brazil: conceded 3 goals- scored none
    Mexico: conceded 5 goals- scored none
    Mexico: conceded 1 goal- scored none
    El Salvador: no goals
    T&T: scored one goal-conceded none
    Honduras: scored three- conceded two
    Costa Rica: scored twice-conceded none
    Slovakia: no goals, but pepered with shots which Guzan saved
    Denmark: conceded three- scored none

    So I see the author’s point entirely. Against BETTER opposition, which does not included EL Salvador, Costa Rica, etc the USA gets SHELLED after halftime when adjustments are made.

    Anybody who think England will not do that to us is living in dreamland.

  6. Chris says:

    Often the sum of the parts are greater than individual ability. I think this US team could well be one of those teams. Also did you not watch them in the confed cup during the summer where they beat the Spanish. Spain are a far better team than England.

    I can see England slipping up if they have your arrogant attitude towards other teams.

  7. Chris says:

    And as a Villa fan I can tell you not one Villa fan would swap Friedal for any of those English keepers you listed. They are all extremely error prone and in reality that is England’s major weakness going into this world cup. Friedal is a far better keeper. All 3 English keepers are either playing for really average teams or only second choice behind better foreign keepers.

    By the way I’m not from the US but I really found this article so arrogant I felt compelled to reply.

  8. Peter says:

    England is better than the US – I’m not sure anyone says otherwise. However, there is a history of the US rising up against much better teams and giving a good account of themselves (Portugal 2002, Italy 2006, Spain 2009). Yes, England has the better player at all 10 outfield positions (don’t start with the goalies, the US has a clear advantage there), but Portugal/Italy/Spain all had the same advantages.

    Our talent level is a lot higher than it was in 1994 at pretty much every single position on the field. Claudio Reyna (who was hurt during that tournament), Tab Ramos, and maybe Earnie Stewart are probably the only players who would start on the 2010 squad (assuming guys like Davies/Gooch were healthy).

  9. Tom golien says:

    I think this guy is really biased and has no clue wht hes talking about, i myself am from england and yes to be honest no american players would get into our first team except for friedel(easily best keeper in the prem atm) and maybe tim howard and brad guzan who is fantastic and probably would be straight into the england squad but he just hasnt had his chance for villa yet cz friedel is so gd, our goalkeepers r rubbish and these two goalkeepers r amongst the best in the world certainly friedel is, and david james makes too many mistakes foster is shocking bt the only gd goalkeeper is green who i would rank just second above guzan just and just above howard bt no where near to the quality of friedel so can u cut the crap and stop being so biased (do u even watch football and hv u seen them play) just becz there english doesnt mean there the best, like the other guys who commented on here i think our defence is rubbish 4 england bt hv much more quality so would easily get
    in for americas squad, so i think a little bit less biasness would be gd for both sides of the argument

  10. jmansor says:

    The US team is more prepared to play against a European Team than in 98. Confederation Cup last summer and several friendlies this year in Europe are better preparation than in the past. I am not saying they will beat England, but I bet it is closer than you think.

  11. dan says:

    you’ve drawn me in with your Ashley Young headline….

    you could play this game with any match up though… how many of the Burnley side that beat Man Utd would get into that team? How many of the Wigan players would get into the Chelsea team they beat? both the big clubs have periphery players who would walk into the likes of Burnley and Wigan.

    i’ve no clue the point you’re trying to make about goal keepers, but i’d have Tim Howard in goal for England over any of the current choices. in fact, as a Villa fan, i’d probably be happier seeing Guzan play before Ben Foster.

    but look, anyone can beat anyone on their day, as Spain will testify. fortunately i don’t see a Capello side being as complacent. first game for both sides though, frequently cagey affairs, there’s every chance the US could come away with a point.

    finally, if you performed this same style of analysis on the Senegal and French sides prior to the 2002 World Cup, how would you have rated Senegal’s chances? or, how about the US side from the same tournament prior to their game against Portugal?

  12. Tony H says:

    Anybody who has actually WATCHED this US team and not simply relying on being an American and believing we’ll overachieve would find this article mild compared to what could be written.

    The GK comparison, I agree is absurd, but the rest of the piece is so on the money. The US has a history of playing up to top Euro sides? One win in Eleven tries in the World Cup since 1990 is simply playing the law of averages. The same US team that beat Portugal got killed by Poland in the same group.

    The same US team that beat Spain, gave up three goals in 3 of the other 4 games in that tournament.

    The US has not shown the heart they used to for years now.

    I like this author, even though he has been at fault in the past for writing some knee jerk anti English stuff- this time he actually made his argument, expanded on it with real evidence, not the hyperbole of some of these responses and defended his point well.

    You can disagree with him, but you cannot dispute the overwhelming evidence in this piece to draw the conclusion he did.

  13. Ray says:

    You know I don’t get it…since when did this become crap-on-us-soccer-talk? I can get that on any number of blogs. I started reading here because of the intelligent and informative previews of the EPL and other international matchups and all things soccer.

    You guys can’t possibly be out of ideas to write about?

  14. JW says:

    The funny–and sad–part of the article’s argument is that the only area in which the author actually presents evidence (with the GKs) is flawed and no longer justified. While I certainly agree with a few of the observations–yes, Young is prob better than most US players (although he is quite flawed himself)–it’s all unfounded generalizations. Who’s to actually say that Milner would start for the U.S.? How do we know?

    I guess this is one of the entertaining parts of sports–the “what if” arguments that are rarely ever proven true or untrue…

    • Pete says:

      Did you actually watch the Villa game last night. Milner was fantastic, My friends and I were actually talking about him overtaking Lampard and Gerrard for a spot in the midfield of England.
      So, if this a player that wouldn’t get in your side you must have one hell of a side, Watch out Brazil is all I can say.

      Pete from England

    • Soccer Guru says:

      The argument about second half goals is dead solid analysis that American writers and fans try and avoid. That won me over because I have complained about the same issue, over and over again this fall.

      The US plays a solid first half and then comes out of the dressing room half asleep while the opposition makes one of two major tactical changes. The US concedes goals and are chasing the game. In some cases they come back and in others against better teams, the game is over, but they almost always get burned right after halftime.

      I read the article and said “this is crap” until I got to that point, and then re-read and said “he makes a lot of sense.” That’s how powerful that argument is for ANYBODY WHO WATCHES THE US TEAM REGULARLY.

      • Eddie says:

        Yeah, but that’s not new to anybody who follows US soccer. Of course, the arguments he makes are mostly correct. But they are obvious. Ashley Young is better than most of the US players? Yeah, no kidding. England has a superior squad to the US. Yep, everybody knows that. But, the matches are played on the field. While the evidence may show that the US has difficulty beating European powers (except for Spain this past year), it also shows that England always bottles it, too.

        My issue with this post is that he criticizes others for a lack of analysis and then makes an absolutely absurd and unfounded analysis of the goalkeepers.

  15. J says:

    Why is everybody getting so worked up about the US v England game. Of all the games in that group, this is probably the most easy to predict. England will beat the US by 2 or 3 goals to zero in what will be a routine, comfortable and professional performance. Anybody who thinks anything else is deluding themselves. The US team is inferior to that of England in virtually every way. Goalkeeper probably the exception to this rule but the most important one is coach. Bradley isn’t fit to tie Capello’s shoes and won’t be able to outwit him.

    Both the US and England team should worry a little less about the game between the two nations (which is a forgone conclusion) and worry a little more about the potential upsets that Algeria and Slovenia could provide both teams.

  16. Soccer Guru says:

    I’m an American and have mixed emotions about this piece but suspect much of it is accurate.

    ESPN commentators and bloggers alike have made reference to 1950, the heart of American players, and the excitement of being drawn in with an opponent perceived to be arrogant and over rated. Yet, we still do not have anything passing for analysis.

    I agree with this. Most of the bloggers out there are just simply fan boys who wave the flag “go USA.”

    In the modern history of American World Cup qualification, the Yanks have beaten a European side once in eleven tries. Eight of those matches have been loses, some by heavily lopsided scores.

    Yes, but Germany and Italy are more accomplished nations in the World Cup than England. The US losing to Germany is a given. The US or anyone losing to an underachieving and traditionally inept English team is NEVER a given.

    The United States Soccer Federation and other interested parties have spent over $50 million on player development programs since the 1998 World Cup disaster. Yet, for all this money we have a United States side that resembles the 1998 team.

    No doubt that the US team is not at the level we expected after all that money has been spent, but this team is alot better than 1998. Chad Deering is nowhere near this team.

    Even at goalkeeper, the USA’s perceived strength is exposed. Every top keeper the US has fielded this decade (Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard) has been beaten out at the club level by a current England keeper (Paul Robinson, David James and Ben Foster, respectively)

    This argument appears to be deeply flawed, but is it? Each of these US keepers has been beaten out by an English keeper at the club level. For me, that is pretty solid analysis.

    Contrast that with the US side that under Bob Bradley has routinely conceded early second half goals after the opposition makes tactical changes. We saw Denmark score three in nine minutes last month right after halftime. Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Italy, and Brazil all scored goals this year right after making tactical changes which the US manager did not recognize until too late- in the case of Haiti, Italy and Brazil, it was multiple goals scored before the US made a tactical change to attempt to change its fortunes.

    This is the best point in the entire article and wins the argument for me. Most american fans/bloggers are avoiding this very real, recurring issue. Unless a coaching change is made, I see this potnetially happening in ALL THREE matches in South Africa.

  17. John H says:

    The USSF claimed the US could be in a position to win the World Cup in 2010 when they began that spending spree on player development and training facilities.

    Does everyone acknowledge here, even if you disagree with this poster that the US is nowhere near that goal?

    I happen to think this article is on the money except for the very stupid goalkeeper argument.

  18. Pezza says:

    English Villa fan here.

    Firstly, who are you calling a mid table team? We are third in the table currently, havign beaten Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool this season, 2 of them away from home.

    Secondly, Friedel is STILL one of the best keepers in the premiership, Guzan will be a fantastic keeper in years to come. England’s keepers are awful i’m afraid but we have some very good players infront of them who will make short work of the teams in the group. The hard part starts when we face someone on our level and usually shrink into our shells. QF, maybe even Semi’s for England based on the kind draw we’ve had but eventually Spain, Brazil, Italy, Holland etc. will knock us out.

  19. Efrain says:

    I am a proud American and want to see the USA suceed! But this article is pretty spot on. I have never liked Bradley’s coaching and have wished that the USSF would get rid of him. It is obviously too late now. Lets hope he smartens up and teaches his players about composure and posession, instead of panic and kick the ball right back to opposing team. If he can do this, then we might have a chance against England.

  20. DANW says:

    I’m an Englishman and let me tell you something,

    I have nothing against you guys, infact I pretty much believe you dominate world sport and have some first class athletes doing the biz in a host of different athletic endevours, but…

    Losing to the USA at football is the most highly embarrasing thing that can happen for any England fan. I mean, baring your keepers, who by the way are some of the finest in the world, your team is absolute dredge.

    The USA has a fantastic team spirit which lifts their performance to that of a team who perhaps should be sitting just inside the top 30 of world football, if it came down to individual ability you guys would be a complete walkover. Infact, I would bet money on myself making your plane for South Africa if I took the sport up seriously tomorrow.

    The USA are the whipping boys of world football, the team that no one wants to lose to because it would bring shame on an entire nation.

    and for the record, the game is called football not soccer, damn that grates when I hear it……….. What you refer to as football is just ladies rugby.

    Stick to pretty much anything else, your fantastic at it all!! Just leave football to any other world nation and everyone will be happy.

    Peace out, and good luck at the finals, you will need it, really really really really really really really really badly.

    • David says:

      Ok. (rolls over to English fans and team).

      You make so many good points only to follow it up with things like “I could make the USMNT”, “Anyone losing to USA would bring shame”, “football not soccer” (yes Aussies, New Zealand and S Africa, the host nation calls it soccer, so screw you and your high road football). You’re a joke.

      • DANW says:

        David, I could make your team, very easily infact as it is pathetic.

        • kevin_amold says:

          So do it then. Get some glory for yourself. Move here and lead us to the round of 16 in 2014. Come show Bradley what you’re all about.

          What a joke.

        • David says:

          No, what was pathetic was you not making the Euros and continuing to act like your shit doesn’t stink. You had amazing talent then, just as you do now. The problem with your footballing nation is they think they’re the best and should be entitled to everything, but in reality they’ve achieved very little for the standard and platform you put yourselves on. You’re a top ten nation in football, make no mistake, but you’re not a top five by any means and the US might lose, but they’re not afraid of you. And they shouldn’t be.

          And you’d never make any team.

    • Dave says:

      I’m an American and let me tell you something,

      I have nothing against you guys, in-fact I pretty much believe your domestic league is the best in the business and that English players are some of the best in the game, but…

      It is this incredible English arrogance that would make losing to the USA so completely unbearable to England fans like yourself. Even though we’re clearly a Top 20 international side (contrary to your notion we barely nudge into the top 30 on a good day) you mock our capabilities on this blog. We’re clearly favored to advance out of our group in South Africa, so claiming that we’re absolute dredge is just hogwash. I can only dream that your team will come into the game with the same arrogant attitude, as that was exactly why we beat Spain in the Confederations Cup. How did England do in the Confederations Cup?

      If I was an England supporter, I would be absolutely terrified of this match. For the USA, there is really nothing to lose and everything to gain. Winning this match would put us in control of the group, and put the arrogance of DANW in check. For England, a loss is an absolute disaster that would send the entire nation into utter despair. I boldly predict a repeat of 1950, with a loss to the “lowly” United States keeping England from advancing past the group stages.

  21. jleau says:

    I think the point of this article is that England has better players than the US and a better coach. Fair point, and as an American who hasn’t missed a US match in a long long time, I would agree with that assessment.

    I can’t understand hiding that simple analysis in amongst some contrived point about Ashley Young (you didn’t even tell us why you think Ashely Young was so great – hell it’s the title of your article) and a completely erroneos comparison of keepers.

    My guess is that simple analysis doesn’t make for much of an article 7 months before the game and neither does this.

  22. Gaz says:

    Listen – I understand the overall need to defend your team. I generally get a little defensive when people rip on the US national team. Despite being English, I’ve lived here a while and am more than a little invested in them.

    However, you guys have look at what he’s saying here. His point is true. Not one single US player would get a run in the England side.

    Someone mentioned Donovan, Dempsey and Onyewu getting into the England squad. Are you serious?!? Dempsey is actually a perfect example. He’s one of the stars and a starter for the US team – yet he would have to beat out Gerrard, Lampard, Lennon, Beckham, Barry, Wright-Phillips, Milner… do I need to go on?

    On to the point of who will win:

    The US is a good, quality team – they could beat the English because a team can sometimes be better than great individuals. But England is playing like a team now too – and individual performance can and will win you games too.

    They beat the Spanish – and it was a good, deserved win. Though it is only one game and can’t make silly assumptions like, “we beat Spain once and therefore we’re better than anyone that can’t beat Spain”.

    I respect the US team and I know it sucks that a lot of English fans and media are writing off the US side. But if you look at it objectively, the English should and probably will beat the US. Just like an Aston Villa side should and probably will beat a Blackburn side.

    • Pete says:

      I am English and hope the US team do well ( not beat England as that would be a sackable offence, well it was for G Taylor anyway) but all the same I hope they do well. The sport in your country needs it.
      I heard someone mention an acadamy that you have and that the aim was to be a power in the sport by 2010 but the fact is the US will never be a force until kids are given a ball at the age of 2 like they are in England, Spain and France.
      Acadamy’s need the talent in the first place to work with and until this happens you will never have that talent.
      Maybe if this world cup goes well for you more parents will give their children football’s instead of a baseball bat or an American football

      • ovalball says:

        “…the fact is the US will never be a force until kids are given a ball at the age of 2 like they are in England, Spain and France.”

        And there’s the rub. Regardless of size of population or money spent, it will NEVER happen.

    • kevin_amold says:

      I’m with you on this one. They wouldn’t get a run-out, but my argument is that maybe a few of them should. (JUST a few, mind you. And most of them would be keepers. England are undeniably composed of better individuals, and they seem to be playing as a team. And I appreciate people that don’t write off ANY opponent in the World Cup (I think US fans should be careful of doing just that to the other two members of our group.)

      I just get a little tired of hearing about why I shouldn’t be excited to watch USA-England because we’re so inferior and we don’t play the best football, and not one of our players would start for England. If that’s not the purpose of the article, then the author should examine his or her tone, because that’s exactly how I take articles like these. I am a reasonable fan of the USMNT, I want to win every game, but I know we probably won’t right now. Just don’t tread on my enthusiasm….that’s all I ask.

  23. NeilBaldwin says:

    What DANW said.

    A loss at the hands of the United States would be self respect suicide.

  24. kozado says:

    So long as US pro athletes have to choose between American Football, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer, the US home grown professional soccer players will never be drawn from the elite athletes this country produces.
    Do you really believe a European soccer team could compete with an American soccer team whose players are of the same athletic ability as the players in our National Football League? I don’t. It is unfortunate but the economics of sport in the US will keep the USMNT from ever dominating that sport on the world stage because while our players are excellent soccer players, they are only good athletes. Doesn’t mean we won’t have our victories, like on June 12. USA!

    • DANW says:

      If players in the National football league are so athleticly perfect why do they need to wear girly pads and helmets the big flowers.

      Lets put St Helens or Leeds Rhinos up against them and see what happens.

  25. DZ says:

    USA and Wigan fan here. 2 brief points to make:

    1. Honestly, I could care less what Tommy Smyth or Jamie Trecker or Kartik Krishnaiyer thinks as it’s just hype for a match to be played 6 months from now. All the best analysis in the world and $1 will get still just get you a horrible cup of coffee. The fun is always in watching the drama unfold. World Cup is certainly exciting, 6 months of drivel and “insight” is not and I’m shutting myself off to it as of today.

    2. The USA-England match, while will be fun to watch, really has little to do with the USA advancing from the group. The USA should plan on defeat to England (any other result will be gravy on top) but be very concerned with beating Slovenia and Algeria. Any draws or losses there and the USA has yet another group stage elimination in what is nearly the easiest possible draw they could get.

  26. Chris says:

    kozado do you honestly think that the guys who play american football could play football? How do you know they could even kick a ball straight? So they are fast and athletic that means nothing in football if you don’t have the ball skills to go with it. You see in this form of football you actually have to use your feet. Thats where the name came.

  27. Landy Cakes failed three times in Germany and will be ripped to shreds at Everton.

    He is the US best player and he wouldn’t start for any top half Premier League team.

    Some Yanks are bloody sicko to keep saying they can win.

    I live in the USA but come on guys, read this piece and react logically rather than emotionally. Everything the author cited is accurate. The US record vs Europe, the US record in second half of recent ties, the US goalkeeping record at English clubs.

    This article is entirely factual! Get with the program people!

    • Eddie says:

      “Some Yanks are bloody sicko to keep saying they can win.”

      The key word being can. Yes, they can. It’s not likely, but then again it wasn’t likely the US would beat Spain this year.

    • jleau says:

      I believe the point is that the best that the US has do not play soccer, they play basketball and football. Obviously an athlete that has never really played the sport can’t just make the switch and dominate. However, if those players were properly trained they would be dominate players based on their immense athletic ability.

      I have watched a ton of English soccer an I can say with certainty there are very few English athletes that could even hope to play basketball or American football.

      • DANW says:

        Sorry Jleau, I think you meant to say ‘I have watched a ton of English football’. Thats all, thanks.

        • ovalball says:

          DANW…..get over it. We grow up with the football/soccer designations and continue to use them even on a soccer/football site. It helps us avoid confusion and it really isn’t important. It would be like me freaking out over “dummies” or “lifts”. It’s just culture.

          BTW, I totally agree with your rugby/football (see?) comments. Every time I see a great rugby tackle (and I watch a lot) I wonder how interested an NFL cornerback would be in that….without his armor. Probably not much.

        • jleau says:

          Nah, I meant what I said.

  28. osgoodisgood says:

    Good Lord Kartik, either your postman uttered some seriously anti-Indian slurs yesterday under his breath, or your favourite local take-away has closed in favour of a chuckee cheese.

    True, it is your place in the US football sphere to stir the pot like no one else, and bravo to you on that.

    But you have gone to absolutely rubbish extremes in this piece by denegrating the one beacon US footballers have in the larger world.

    First up, you have forgotten that Tim Howard was voted PFA first 11 in either ‘O3 or ‘O4, I can’t remember quite which year and Giggs quote was “we wouldnt have qualified for champions league without Timmy”. It was patently one of the most outstanding seasons ever witnessed from a top flight keeper. Ben Foster never beat him out, Ferguson, a HUGE admirer of Howard reluctantly let him go to Everton where he has been an massive part of getting an enormously flawed side to the brink of Champions league year after year.

    David James and Freidel are an interesting discussion in their own right, both have had long and extremely succesful careers in the Premiership, although Friedel has never had a run of bad form as James has on numerous occasions, and we are talking season long runs of bad form here, hence his nickname “Calamity James”. He has never performed to the level of Friedel in international football, as you will recall Friedel was named first 11 at the Korea Japan 2OO2 if I am not mistaken.

    James was in a good spell at Liverpool and Friedel had to bide his time. As far as who’s in form at the moment, let’s quickly examine his competition:

    Cech is in the worst form of his Chelsea career, I can tell you that 98% of English Chelsea supporters would give away their favourite curry to have Friedel in competition with Cech right now.

    Van De Sar is barely hanging on at the end of his great career, although just about the same age as Friedel we see the fantastic athlete that Friedel is in comparison, he looks like he could play another 5 seasons at this level whereas Van De Sar looks like he wont make it past February.

    Foster isn’t fit to sniff Guzan’s jock imho. Guzan given the opportunities that Foster has had would be firmly number one at United right now.

    Almunia? You must be joking. Not fit to be even mentioned in the same breath as Friedel.

    Gomes although at times an extraodinary shot stopper and quite decent athlete doesnt have half the technical abilities of Friedel or superior instincts on crosses and balls into the box. Spurs supporters would gladly swap Gomes for Friedel and 5M in a heartbeat. Make that 12M on second thought.

    Given is having an equally phenomenal season as Friedel, but in comparison, who has a better defense in front of them, and who has let in fewer goals?

    Reina is a terrific keeper, but he isnt having the best season either along with his creeky backline, certainly not all his fault, but certainly not better than Friedel.

    Tim Howard deserves so much better than what he has had to deal with this season at Everton, he should be at a top club, but once again he’s standing tall amidst the morass on the blue side of Liverpool and no he’s not the best kepper in the land, and no he isn’t better than Friedel but I would think almost any England supporter [including me] would take him over what’s available to Capello.

    The Ashley Young point is a good one, and for the life of me why he hasnt recieved the time of day from Capello is beyond me, he possesses everything in his game that no one else in the English pool has, two good feet with which he can send in searing crosses with either foot, is lightening quick, as well he delivers some of the best corners and free kicks in England. If Agbonlahor is healthy I dont know why he isnt in the mix either.

    Otherwise you’ve made all your other points more than 27 times and no matter how on the money they were months ago to keep rehashing them with just one new point and an obvious desire to gash US players by attacking our very strength doesnt serve you well.

    But not even Ashley Young has a great match every time out, so give it another go Mr. K. Whatever it is, it will be far more interesting than anything else being written by football journos who live on these shores, regardless of what country they hail from. As there are plenty who hold other passports who write or utter absolute nonsense in the football media in the states.

  29. Connor says:

    I cite the Argentina game in 2008 and the Spain game in 2009 to show you what Tim Howard can do and no English keeper would be able to. Shut them out. Tim Howard is better than any English keeper anywhere, as is Brad Friedel for that matter. Your “analysis” is asinine. Sure on paper England should win, they have class talent all over the field, but so does Spain, to an even higher degree. As does Argentina. As for Bob Bradley’s tactical acumen, he realized his blunders following the first 2 matches in the Confed Cup, dropped Beas and Sacha to the bench, brought Davies and Clark back and we outscored our remaining opponents 7-3. He’s no Hiddink or Capello but he realizes when he’s made a mistake. Any team can win on any given day and your piss poor pessimistic outlook is shameful.

  30. Fate says:

    DANW you have no idea what you are talking about. Typical English hubris. While I do not think the US will beat England, you severely underestimate our team. If the English players have the same attitude as you do, then we have a very good chance of upsetting you. Look at all the other teams in the past who decided to take the United States lightly, and paid for their cockiness.

    Also, just so you know, our American Football players wear pads and helmets because the tackling in our sport is VERY different from the way tackling is done in rugby. Look up the stats online of how hard american football players hit. They are two incomparable sports. Before we introduced mandatory helmets and padding to our sport, there were a number of deaths from American football every year. And that was before our players were as strong or as quick as they are today. Our American Football athletes are among the strongest and fastest human beings on earth. Period. We have so much more money for training and player development here than you do in England, I promise you that if any of your club rugby teams went head to head with an American football team they would get steamrolled. See how we dominate in the Olympics? (Aka pure physical training) Well that same level of athletic dominance translates to our athletes in American football as well. Sorry buddy.

  31. FOR THE RECORD: I predicted the US had a good chance to beat Spain BEFORE the match, when other analysts were saying the US would get thrashed. Here is the pre-game post from our sister site, MLS Talk.

    http://www.majorleaguesoccertalk.com/confederations-cup-why-the-us-has-a-chance/4369

    • USA in 2010 says:

      Congratulations Kartik. You were right then and dead wrong now.

      For starters, MLS is a more complete and competitive league than the beloved EPL that the euro and english lovers drone on about. Every game is competitive in MLS- you have to be on your game every week to win. In the EPL, Man U or Chelski players can take whole months off if they face Sunderland, Wolves, Wigan, Stoke, etc.

      Now look at the US team.

      Howard- would start for England
      Spector- would start for England over Wes Brown
      Gooch- would pair with Terry for England
      Boca- would not play for England
      Bornstein- would not play for England
      Bradley- would start for England over Barry or Carrick
      Feilhaber- would not start for England
      Donovan- would be a world superstar if he were English.
      Dempsey- would be a reserve for England
      Altidore- is better than Heskey, would start for England
      Ching- would not play for England

      So Kartik, your claim that not one US player would make the England squad is way, way off. Some guys like Ching and Bornstein wouldn’t. Some like Donovan, Jozy and Gooch would slide right in and make England even stronger.

      Additionally, the MLS guys on the bench will be hungrier and battle tested since every game matters in MLS.

      Your point about other Euro teams like the Czech Republic and Germany are well taken. But those teams are usually better than England anyhow. Losing to Germany means nothing against a weaker England team. Germany beats England all the time anyway. So why can’t we?

      • DANW says:

        Wow, that reply was one of the biggest piles of complete and utter shi*e I think i’ve ever heard, seconded only by Susan Boyles debut album.

        None of the USA team would make the england squad let alone starting 11 baring Friedel who would walk into the side.

        Are you on crack?

      • Alejandro says:

        Sorry man…I am as much of a USA Homer as the next guy, but…

        1. Altidore over Hesky is a real stretch. His first touch is dreadful. Hesky has the same amount of power as Altidore and has the touch to go with it.
        2. Dempsey is the most frustrating person on the US team to watch. he has the skills to be a contributor on the English squad, but he plays lazy.
        3. Donovan has the skills to play anywhere on the front 2/3 of the field, but he is way too passive to play up front for England. I know it sounds crazy, but he would make for a great holding mid-fielder, if he had a little mean streak in him. He plays up front for the US, because Ching is worthless and Altidore can’t hold onto a ball to save his life.
        4. Charlie Davies would be the one player that I could see making England squad starting 11. He would be a great compliment to Rooney and his speed would open up space for Rooney…lots of it. btw…Outside of Rooney, England is rubbish up front. I would take Donovan over Crouch or Angbholar (sp?)….and dont get me started on Hesky or Cole…they are both rubbish.

        It isnt about having the best 11 players…it is about having the best 11 players that compliment on e another’s game. Someone gives Rooney space and time up front and England will be devastating in this tournament. If England doesnt have anyone to open space for Rooney, the England squad will look a lot like United up front. boring and predictable.

      • Gaz says:

        Hah! You are in some sort of parallel universe where statements like, “Gooch- would pair with Terry for England” actually make sense.

        You’re delusional.

        If any of these players were half as decent as you say they would be playing in Europe for ten-times the amount of money they get in the US.

        You’re an idiot – I don’t know what else to say.

  32. Brickthrower says:

    Football is not a game of player vs. player. The fact that Ashley Young would be one of the US teams top players is pointless. Was the bench of the Russian National Team more prominent than the entire Slovenian team? Yes. Did Slovenia still take them out? Yes.

    I don’t agree with the commentators who say England is overrated, because they are not. They’re a well coached team with experienced players and great control of a game. With that said, they’ve been minimally tested. Ukraine and Croatia are not the national teams they used to be. They’re qualifying group was somewhat easy. However, if they’re group was somewhat easy then the US took the remedial path to qualifying. It literally hurts to watch CONCACAF qualifications, that’s how poor the game play is.

    Overall, I still think the United States has a good chance to at least draw England. If England were a Brazil or Argentina I would give the US a much smaller chance. My reasoning: The US style doesn’t conform to the European gameplay. You’ll see US players pressure the ball every second of the game, something that most European sides don’t deal with. (The only time I saw the US not do this was against Italy last summer, and they got smoked trying to play the European style.) This energy and persistence by the US throws teams off of their game plan. And when a team is rocked, anything can happen. Teams that have players who are great on 1v1′s obviously welcome the American pressure because they’ll blow right by them. England, I’m sorry but you still don’t have players who are 1v1 experts.

  33. OleGunnar20 says:

    First of all, this article is about as insightful as me saying “if you walk outside in the rain without an umbrella you are going to get wet.” I am not sure that more than 3 outfield players would make the 2nd 23 England squad (Donovan, Dempsey, Jermaine Jones) but the difference in talent only makes a win or tie for the USMNT unlikely but not impossible.

    The argument about the GKs is specious. What does the good or bad decisions of EPL managers in the past have to do with how good the GKs are NOW? I guarantee you that this very second Sam Alardyce, Avram Grant and SAF would trade their English GK for Brad Friedel, Tim Howard or even Brad Guzan even if they had to throw them in a chipper shredder to fit them into the Fed-Ex box.

    Now. The argument about coaching is spot on and is a bigger hindrance to the USMNT getting an unlikely result against England than is the obvious and unarguable talent difference. Bob Bradley is a tactical buffon. From squad selection to substitution to in-game adjustments to overall tactics he is the single biggest reason that the USMNT (sadly) is more likely to go 0-0-3 than it is to advance out of the Group Stage.

    I certainly hope the US vs England game is entertaining and I will keep my fingers crossed that the US can miracle out some sort of result (and a miracle it surely would be) but as long as we play intelligently and respectably (ideally a 0-1 loss say) I will not be to disheartened. I will, however, be skeptical of and worried about the USMNT turning games the “should” win versus the likes of Algeria and Slovenia into games the “actually do” win until such time as they prove otherwise.

  34. Jon says:

    I agree with much of what you wrote. And as an American, I always take a realistic perspective when we play in the World Cup. I think the US could go 1-1-1 in the group stage with the loss to England and the draw with Slovenia (and that might not even be enough for us to get through). At the top level, the US is not just not there YET.

    With that said, you’re a bit harsh with some of your statements. Young and Downing would be the stars on the US team? That belittles some of the genuine talent on the USMNT. And as others have pointed out your analysis of keepers is not only way off base, but also inherently difficult to make comparisons. It doesn’t matter how/when the keepers left; what matters is how those keepers perform currently. Do you suggest that Foster, Robinson and James are better than Freidel and Howard now? Absolutely not. Even Guzan looks good when he plays. Gone are the days of Shilton and Seaman…English keepers are rubbish.

  35. Tony C says:

    To whoever said that both teams should focus on the games against Algeria and Slovenia, yes they are important, but this game will determine who advances. Slovenia will win this group. For whatever reason, they own England, and will continue to do so in SA. They will either beat or draw the USA, I haven’t given enough thought to the match-up to give a definitive prediction. Algeria will not factor, they will lose all three games. The biggest thing to look for in the England/Algeria and USA/Algeria fixtures is a terrorist attack or some political demonstration. All this being said, this fixture, the first of the group means everything, because the winner will advance.

    The real mystery here is how Capello deals with the unknown US elements, that is, the players not in English Domestic Leagues. Thought they are not as individually skilled as the English players, you have to wonder how Capello will adjust his lineup. The pace is surprising, and some of the US players are very confident on the ball. The MLS guys like Holden, Rogers, Bornstein, Holden, Feihaber out of Denmark, Bocanegra in France, Bradley and maybe Jones out of Germany and hopefully Castillo in Mexico. Fabio will know some of these guys, but they really can surprise opponents. It would be well worth a consult with Mr. Beckham (if not a call-up) to get some inside information on the US domestics.

    • Pete says:

      Is this the same Slovenia team that England beat a few months ago or a different one? If it’s the same one, they have no chance as we dominated them for 90 mins and they were lucky to get away with only a narrow defeat.
      I thougt people on here were actually interested in English football and actually knew what they were talking about.

  36. brn442 says:

    The writer simply makes up his own facts to defend a silly premise to start with. He says, “Even at goalkeeper, the USA’s perceived strength is exposed”. For him, it’s “perceived” every other human, it’s a fact. This is classic ” Every top keeper the US has fielded this decade (Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel and Tim Howard) has been beaten out at the club level by a current England keeper (Paul Robinson, David James and Ben Foster, respectively” Mind you – these three English Keepers are currently working off of the bench or a side on the wrong side of the League whilst Freidel and Howard are solid starters for two ambitious clubs.

    First off, Brad Friedel was brought in as a possible successor to James, not the other way round, Brad’s failure to cement a start at the club has more to do with the lack of opportunity not his ability. I’m sure Liverpool up until Rena, rued letting him go, Brad has probably been the most consistent keeper in the PL the last 10 years. Tim Howard, that Valencia mistake aside, has progressed far more than Foster (who arguably, isn’t even Man U’s #2) has at this point. Keller has had a successful spell in England, Robinson who was one of the hottest properties in English football when he was at Leeds. The fact that he was younger and English is probably why Spurs signed him.

    The US team may reach the semis, they may not get past the group stage – who knows. But, anyone with a basic knowledge of the team should acknowledge that the current team is more, talented, dynamic, and better coached than it was in 98, and certainly 94.

    • Better coached than 94′?

      You are entitled to your opinion, but Bora drilled discipline and tactics into that side- they hardly ever lost their shape at the back, unlike Bradley’s side which falls apart at the back anytime adversity strikes.

      As for the comparison with 1998, we NEVER leaked goals like this. Go back and look at the qualifiers and the friendlies leading up to World Cup 1998. We never gave up three goals in a half. Heck, as bad as that 1998 team was for Sampson, we still only conceded five goals in three games the whole tournament. This year. we have conceded at least two goals in a half seven times!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Eric T says:

    Bottom line – Bob Bradley needs to go.

    As far as the post, I have no problem with it. It’s merely opinion, and, despite being as big a us supporter as there is, I see some of the logic in it (with the exception of the GK comment), all you need to do is look at our past word cups. We need Charlie and Gooch back badly.

  38. Evan says:

    This is a horrible post. Stop with the American bashing and just see what happens on the field. Enough is enough

  39. Jon says:

    Why do I bother to read Kartik? Simply stirring the pot as usual..

  40. Al says:

    Taking a slightly different perspective, you could say England are the equivalent of Aston Villa (where Brazil would be Man U) and the US is the equivalent of Hull City. But as they say, it’s a funny old game, and anything can happen on the day.

    btw, from what I’ve seen of Brad Guzan playing for Villa in the Carling Cup, you’ve got a real star in the making there.

    • Gaz says:

      And I think that’s the point that most English fan are trying to make here. England is like an Aston Villa and the US is like a Hull City. And anything can happen on the day – but 9 times our of 10 the quality of Villa will put Hull in their place and the quality of the England squad will beat the US.

  41. fgmash1 says:

    Its funny how all of the sudden the english team is reffered to as this great team when a year ago, they could not even make the European championship. Thanks to Fabio Capello, he’s been able to get the best out of them but ge carefull not to put them on a pedestal cause they might dissapoint you. This team has been known to choke in big tournament.

  42. tinka says:

    England are beatable, to say otherwise is just showing your ignorance. We have a left side of Gerrard, who’s not on form and a right side that is based on pace. Rooney is our one true talent the others are also ran’s on the world stage.

    Brad Freidal would get into the England team, no problem. Hes the most on form keeper in the PL and has shown this season after season. James, Foster and Robinson don’t even come close…….LOL

  43. ty says:

    Just please stop referring to the US as “Yanks” or “Yankees”. Only people that live in the north are yankees. In the south being called a yankee is very insulting. After all, you bemoan us when we call you “british”. Its the same thing.

    BTW heres why we can win: You have no midfield cooperation or understanding. I would love nothing more than to see Lampard and Gerrard in your starting 11. They cannot play together and I have a strong suspicion that Capello will try nonetheless. Also, Rooney is guaranteed to start and I cant see Rooney developing any kind of understanding with the likes of Bent (he sucks anyway) or Defoe.

    If we don’t get Davies and Gooch back however if could be another story. We are dessimated at the moment.

  44. Godzvilla says:

    Ashley Young WOULD make the England team IF he played for Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool. He is good enough but he’s being kept out the squad by over-hyped players like Lennon and Walcott. It’s what happens when the nations’ press is based in London.

  45. S A Meiner says:

    as long as the americans insist on having american coaches, they have no chance. that 50mil would have been better spent on a hiddink

  46. Chris says:

    Something to consider here…

    Looking at the players, the English team is one of the best in the world, and this has been true for a long time. And yet, what have they won since ’66? The fact is they are an UNDERPERFORMING elite team. Given the talent they have, they should have more to show for it. For whatever reason, the English don’t play up to their potential.

    Now looking at the players, the USMNT is crap. Our domestic league is only 13 years old, we lose our best young athletes to other sports, and there are very few good coaches to develop our players. But from time to time we put in performances that exceed what we ought to be capable. A strong run in 2002, tying Italy in 2006, the Confederations Cup in 2009, etc. Granted, our lack of talent and depth eventually catch up with us because you can’t expect a team to overperform every game, but the fact remains that the USMNT is an OVERPERFORMING national team.

    Will England underperform in 2010? History says that they will because that is what they have been doing for a long time.

    Will the US overperform? If their history is any indication, then they will play a few games much stronger than anyone expected them to before eventually losing out to a superior opponent.

  47. nick says:

    delusional yanks

  48. Joe Bloe says:

    “Fabio Capello is a tactical maestro. Believing he will not find a way to take apart a severely flawed and perhaps arrogant opponent after month of preparation is laughable.”

    Blahahaha. Really nailed this one. Capello is definitely a mastermind hahaha.

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