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Did We Really Learn Anything This Weekend?

us soccer ball in flag 300x296 Did We Really Learn Anything This Weekend?

Sunday’s mildly shocking result in the Cup of African Nations Quarterfinals reinforces what we wrote about on Friday here at MLS Talk: Algeria will be no pushover for the United States in the World Cup.  The Desert Foxes eliminated pre-tournament favorite Ivory Coast 3-2 after extra time. In the match, Didier Drogba was effectively muzzled by an organized Algerian defense.

For the benefit of our England National Team supporters that listen to the EPL Talk podcast, Richard Farley and I taped this podcast yesterday breaking down Algeria.

Algeria’s shock victory came less than twenty four hours after the US lost to Honduras 3-1 in Carson. This is probably my last blog post ever about the USMNT, considering my new role as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the NASL. So those expecting a flame fest will be disappointed. The teams performed about to expectations: both teams did.

So, what did we learn on Saturday that was not already known about Honduras or the US? From my vantage point the only lessons were reinforcement of what was apparent already. Here is my checklist.

  • Honduras lacks killer instinct and has a goalkeeper problem. When David Suazo is injured or unavailable they lack a game breaking striker, who won’t miss sitters as Pavon and Costly (who also plays in Europe and thus was unavailable) constantly do.
  • The US has a depth problem. We knew this already. I’m not high on our talent level and those fans who continue to blame Bob Bradley for our problems think we have easy answers when none exist. We have a talent and technical development problem, not a head coaching problem. Our fans want to believe we have far more international caliber players than we really do. Our fans consistently over rate the level of our players and also over state their ability to adjust to sophisticated tactical setups. Simply put, most of our players are not as good as we think they are, or hoped they would be.  My big issues with Bradley are his in-game tactics and substitutions. Could we do better than Bradley? Yes, but if the litmus test is hiring an American coach, I doubt anyone available would do a better job.
  • For the record, in this my last post on the USMNT, I believe we could do A LOT worse than Bob Bradley as our manager. Don’t believe me? Check out France, Nigeria, Uruguay, Colombia and Sweden among others who have far greater talent than the United States, but consistently over the last three years have had worse results. Has Bob Bradley made mistakes as manager? Sure, but he’s also done far more things right than wrong when you consider what he’s been given to work with. Among, potential AMERICAN BORN coaches, he is hands down the best, unless Bruce Arena wants to coach the USMNT again. Unlike Arena, Bradley actually has a tactical setup and style in mind, but our players have yet to adapt to it. Does Bradley make player selection mistakes? Yes, but so do all international managers, and his track record given again the lack of depth and quality in our player pool have been more obvious and more defensible than many may believe.
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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 →

47 Responses to Did We Really Learn Anything This Weekend?

  1. Rabble Rouser says:

    “Due to his position as PR Director at the NASL, Krishnaiyer will not be writing for MLS Talk for the foreseeable future due to the obvious conflict of interest.”

    Yeah, right.

    • Jeffy D says:

      You do realize that several people who “blog” or write internet columns are also featured anaylsts on MLSNET. If they can do it and it doesn’t irritate you, why cannot, Kartik. Besides, he is resigning from this site.

      • GO USA 2010 says:

        I’m not one to defend Kartik and am greatly relived he will no longer write about American topics and can stick to the English/Mexican crap he loves so much, but MLS does have writers on the payroll of other media outlets writing match reports and columns for them and also pays Greg Lalas who claims MLS is one of the ten best leagues in the world in his writing to host a TV show. Kartik is the other extreme. Claim MLS is like the 80th best league in the world and that USL is better. But you can see in Lalas’ writings and opinions that he is affected by MLS, yet we never see the outrage about his double dipping that Kartik has gotten the past few days.

        On the topic at hand, I think Kartik is undervaluing our talent, as usual and over rating Bradley as usual. Haven’t we seen this very same posting before a dozen times? Thankfully, this will be the last time.

      • Rabble Rouser says:

        Those people aren’t employees of the league, they are independent contractors. They aren’t the main spokesperson for the league. They aren’t deciding who gets news and who doesn’t. Besides, they said he would stop writing on Jan. 20, but he has continued to write. It’s more the dishonesty that bothers some people more than anything else.

        • MIHA says:

          While rabel rouser is wrong about the date, which was clearly stated as January 31st both here and by the league, I have a concern for ANYBODY working for, or being associated with Traffic Sports or NASL.

          The people who write for MLSNet are helping the AMERICAN GAME, which MLS is the centerpiece of. They are growing the game HERE AT HOME, supporting OUR LEAGUE, the league that grows, develops and promotes AMERICAN talent.

          NASL is a danger, a real threat to our future as a soccer nation. MLS is run by our federation who has brought soccer to another level in this country and by willing AMERICAN investors who have lost millions growing the sport.

          The NASL is run by a combination of Brazilian match promoters who are seeking to exploit our fans, and steal our players to move them to Portugal and Brazil. Then you have Crystal Palace Baltimore, raiding our youth ranks to benefit the parent club in England. Then you have an Academy in NASL parking players for a German club, taking these young Americans out of the excellent national team youth program in Bradenton. Then you have Jeff Cooper, a board member of an English club who has ruined St Louis youth soccer by making more British and destroying the US model.

          You see Krishnaiyer double dipping would be a less of an issue if he were promoting OUR INTERESTS, the interests of the American player and game. I have no problem with reporters writing articles while also promoting MLS and our national team. But Krishnaiyer is working for the enemy, a league that must be destroyed (the USSF MUST reject sanctioning) and promoting a product that is going to take our best and brightest young players out of our environment and our leagues and move them like slaves abroad. Jason Davis of Match Fit USA, called it Human Trafficking, and I agree with him.

          I hope all US fans will reject NASL and embrace MLS, our league which has safeguarded and promoted our game for 15 years.

          • Rabble Rouser says:

            I’m not wrong about what was in this post (http://www.majorleaguesoccertalk.com/big-changes-at-mls-talk-and-epl-talk/7960) The Gaffer made on January 20.

            “Due to his position as PR Director at the NASL, Krishnaiyer will not be writing for MLS Talk for the foreseeable future due to the obvious conflict of interest.”

            I know other things said Jan. 31, but the person who runs this site very clearly said Kartik would stop as of that post. That hasn’t happened so there’s yet another credibility blow for this site.

            People blogging/writing for two sites is 100 percent different than the league’s primary spokesman blogging for a site. You don’t see the PR people for MLS/USL/USSF working outside their jobs.

  2. jcr says:

    I do think we have a depth problem and was hoping to see some players emerge such as Beckerman among others. However, we should not overlook that our depth has vastly improved from 4, 8 and 12 and 16 yrs ago and almost certainly since 1990 where we relied on Ramos, Ramos and Ramos. We still have a ways to go, but we also have come a long way. I think with some of the players, it is just a matter as to having more games such as these. Look at the play of Brad Davis and Goodson for example, I think those two players will get a few more looks and we might at least one of them emerge. Rogers was certainly a disappointment never mind Sasha.

  3. Jeffy D says:

    I am not sure I agree at all with you about Bradley, but I do 100% agree about our talent level. Our fans vastly over rate all our players except Dempsey who they dump on for no good reason. We have essentially journeyman players who are considered servicable fringe or backups at midlevel clubs and a bunch of MLS guys.

    Our fans have a vested interest in repeatedly saying “look at this MLS guy,” and “look at that guy who tears up MLS.”

    The reality is MLS is about the 50th best league in the world from top to bottom when you look at talent level. For example, Freddie Montero cannot even get called up into the Colombian National Team and Angel was written off by Colombia the second he left Aston Villa. MLS thrives on taking fringe players from the second divisions in established soccer countries and has allowed a mass exodus of midlevel American players to take place. Guys like Goodson, Parkhurst and Rolfe recently, and West, Califf and Corrales if you go further back a bit.

    I think in reality we are one of three or four LEAST talented countries that made the world cup. If I had to rank the World Cup countries on talent level, here would be my top 7

    1- Brazil
    2- Netherlands
    3- Spain
    4- England
    5- France
    6- Portugal
    7- Italy

    My bottom seven would be

    32- New Zealand
    31- Slovenia
    30- North Korea
    29- South Africa
    28- Japan
    27- Honduras
    26- US

    In other words, we are the seventh least talented team in the World Cup even though our fans act like we have all these great players.

    • LI Matt says:

      Freddie Montero cannot even get called up into the Colombian National Team and Angel was written off by Colombia the second he left Aston Villa.

      Colombia missed qualifying by one point, after scoring 14 goals in 18 games. So clearly, refusing to call up Montero or Angel was the right decision….

    • Joey Clams says:

      With money on the table, I’d take the US over Colombia every day of the week.

      By the way, MLS is way better than the Colombian Dimayor.

      It’s not even close.

  4. Eric Altshule says:

    I agree with Kartik about Bob Bradley. In general, the role a manager plays in a team’s success or failure is vastly overvalued, and I think it is more so when talking about national teams. Would a different manager be able to solve our back-line problems? Would a different manager be able to find a decent partner for Michael Bradley in the mid-field? Can someone tell me which US striker Fabio Capello would use if he had Bradley’s position? In most cases, blaming the manager is a fool’s rant.

  5. Seybold says:

    I also agree with Kartik about talent level. I don’t think it’s even close to being on a par with the 2002 squad for the first 22 (e.g. we have no solid midfield creator, that team could pick from Reyna or O’Brien–or both!)

    He’s also right about coaches–we could do much worse. Bradley is, quite easily, a much better coach than France’s Domenech.

    Best wishes Kartik, you’ve done well.

  6. CA says:

    “The reality is MLS is about the 50th best league in the world from top to bottom when you look at talent level”

    “we are one of three or four LEAST talented countries that made the world cup.”

    “In other words, we are the seventh least talented team in the World Cup…….”

    I would NEVER argue that the US Nat team is an elite team that has a genuine chance at winning the world cup. But I’d also never make make the silly statements you just did. The US won Concacaf and showed quite well last summer in the Confederations Cup, where we also beat Spain.

    Again, to reiterate and be clear, I am NOT saying that we are an elite team. But I do think you are underrating our side, and our performance last summer and in qualifying shows it. As far as MLS, if your comment was a serious one, then please kindly provide for me and others your list of the 49 better leagues. Thank you.

  7. Linda says:

    What is really great is your writing style, I normally hit the back button before the first paragraph but you kept me interested

  8. Charles says:

    I agree with Kartik 100%, we have this pipe dream that we can somehow have 15,000 people attend an average game in this country and have all the talent flock to soccer. The send our best to Europe, for not much money, model has failed, with a couple of exceptions, for 16 years now.

    But somehow we are going to have my sons generation say, yeah instead of basketball/baseball/football I am going to play soccer in front of no fans….or in Europe?

    I live in the city of Seattle. My son, a good athlete, definitely not great. He wasn’t in the top five on his basketball TEAM at ONE Boys and Girls Club, the talent was amazing, the amount of practice, rediculous. In soccer, he scored 20 goals in 8 games. You think, there is no way he could make it at the top levels in this country…wait, is there ?

    I realize that is stupid small sample, but this is indicitive of what we are getting in terms of talent, IMHO. And is shows on the international level…big time.
    To blame the coaching, is great for a fan that worships the player, because if the person blaming was coaching, the hero would have won the World Cup. But it is misguided.

  9. Lars says:

    We learned Marvell Wynne sucks at both the club and international level and should be cut from TFC.

  10. Tom says:

    Bradley has done OK. We qualified even though we are not very talented at the moment. The Confederation’s cup showed hints of something, I’m not sure if it was good talent or coaching. The Gold Cup revealed little, lets not forget that we hosted it for like the 10th time in a row- even if some of the crowds are hostile, it was still U.S. hotels, U.S. cities, no travel, etc…

  11. Matthew N says:

    I’d like to live in the world that some of these commenters live in for just one day to see what it is like to have no f**king clue about anything…

  12. USA says:

    Here are 27 leagues potentially better than MLS – and sadly, about half to two thirds of these leagues probably have better 2nd divisions:

    England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Holland, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, Denmark, Scotland, Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, Switzerland. Mexico, Costa Rica. Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay.
    J-League, A-League.

  13. Mo says:

    MLS is definitely better than 50th, but your deluding yourself if you think it’s anywhere better than 20th-15th. You have to look not only at the top divisions of even smaller western European nations (e.g. Portugal with Benfica/Porto/Sporting Lisbon), but even the 2nd divisions of the bigger ones (e.g. English Divsion-I Championship & Seria B in Italy are both stronger than the MLS). I don’t personally rate any African or Asian countries beyond Japan or Qatar because we are talking about LEAGUES, not individuals or teams; yes Pohang Steelers from South Korea or Al Ahli of Egypt could very easily compete for the MLS cup, but neither of their national leagues (which are arguably the strongest on their respective continents) are as good as MLS.

    That said, IMO, here is a global top 25:

    Better than MLS
    1) English Premier League
    2) Spanish La Liga
    3) Italian Serie A
    4) Brazilian Campeonato Brasiliero
    5) Argentinian Primera Division
    6) German Bundesliga
    7) French Ligue 1 Championnat
    8) Dutch Eredivisie
    9) Portuguese Liga Sagres
    10) Greek League
    11) Turkish Süper Lig
    12) Russian Premier League
    13) Mexican Primera Division
    14) Scottish Premier League
    15) English 1st Division Championship
    16) Italian Serie B

    17) MLS

    Worse than MLS
    18) Ukrainian Premier League
    19) Romanian Liga
    20) Columbian League
    21) Bolivian Liga de Fútbol Profesional
    22) Uruguayan Primera División
    23) Paraguayan Primera División

    Retirement Homes for Geriatric Footballers
    24)Japanese J-League
    25)Qatari League

    • WonsanUnited says:

      Wow. J-League and the Qatar Stars League at 24 and 25? That’s harsh. I don’t think you watch much of either leagues. J-League is probably up there with the SPL and Eredivisie, QSL slightly lower. Both are better than MLS. Don’t you remember Houston getting slaughtered 6-0 by Gamba Osaka?

  14. ELAC says:

    Regarding talent in the US pool, I do think that much effort is made in trying to find the next “Brian McBride” or “Caludio Reyna”. US Soccer keeps looking in the same places to find the same type of players.
    With emphasis on size and athletic ability, very little attention is given to skill, specifically holding the ball or passing.

    Just my two cents.

  15. CA says:

    I think you all understand my point. Rhetoric about MLS/US Nats being the 50th best in the world is simply that; RHETORIC.

  16. 3441 says:

    I would personally like Farley and Krishnaiyer’s lists before we close this discussion.

    Guys, is MLS top 20? 30? 40? 50?

    I illustrate the point, because both are negative and tout their credentials as seasoned watchers of the English game and thus have a bias against US Soccer.

    I am furious that Gaffer continues to allow europhiles to host a show about MLS and write for a site about MLS and the USMNT.

  17. USA WILL ALWAYS SUCK! says:

    Damn, Kartik. You finally write something right about the worthless usmnt and now you’re gonna quit. Well, more power to you. To all you dumbasses that wanna talk shit about Kartik and STILL think that us soccer is worth a damn, RE READ THIS ARTICLE. Take it in. Its true. All of it. The players suck. The coaching is good, but there is no real depth. The players that are going to Europe aren’t really bringing that experience to the NT, because they play in stupid leagues like denmark, Sweden and Norway. Even the ones in the premiership are garbage. Look at Eddie Johnson, Dempsey, Howard and Baldie Donovan.. Face it, dipshits, You follow a group of losers. US soccer is never going to win anything. You’ve never had any legendary players, other than.. Eric Wynalda, Marcelo Balboa and Tab Ramos. That’s it. Those 3 players were better then than the ENTIRE pool of us players, either national or nationalized, in the game today. YOURE ALL LOSERS! US soccer sucks. MLS sucks. Donovan sucks. Bocamierda sucks. Onyewu sucks. Davies, crippled or not, sucks. Bradley jr sucks pig nuts. You better believe Altidore sucks. Dempsey’s all right- no, he sucks too. You’ll never solve the problem at left back. Castillo is the worst player I’ve ever seen play football. You’ll NEVER win the world cup. Honduras is your dad. Mexico is your GOD. See if you can nationalize Beckham and Henry before the next world cup, maybe you’ll tie one of the games. You all suck so bad. England 5, usa 0; Algeria 2, usa 1; Slovenia 3, usa 0; Mark my words. Better get your tissue ready for june, losers!

  18. lester says:

    if you look at balance the MLS is the top league in the world.

    the usmnt has more depth than you think. we have 90 some players capped within the last few years. england wishes they had such a deep player pool.

    i think we win our group easily. then we play germany. we can beat them also.

    mexico sux. they are in a tough group and could finish last in that one. south africa at home and top teams in france and uruguay.

    bradley sux kartik. he is killing us. we would be much better with another coach. we have enough talent to go a long way and could win the world cup, but bradley does not know how to use our guys and does not favor mls guys. he is a eurosnob.

  19. USA WILL ALWAYS SUCK! says:

    “if you look at balance the MLS is the top league in the world. ”

    Allow me to retort. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    the usmnt has more depth than you think. we have 90 some players capped within the last few years. england wishes they had such a deep player pool.

    -Are you fuckin kidding me? Maradona has only been the coach of Argentina for less than a year and he has already capped more than 90 players, dumbass.

    “i think we win our group easily. then we play germany. we can beat them also. ”

    Youre a delusional idiot.

    “mexico sux. they are in a tough group and could finish last in that one. south africa at home and top teams in france and uruguay.”

    Now I know you watch soccer with your eyes closed. Last time Mex played uruguay, they beat uruguay 3-1 in the copa america. Last time they played SA, they beat them 2-0 in Houston. Last time they played france was in paris right before the 2006 world cup. They lost to france 1-0 on a F. Malouda goal.. France went on to the final and lost in penalties to Italy.

    “bradley sux kartik. he is killing us. we would be much better with another coach. we have enough talent to go a long way and could win the world cup, but bradley does not know how to use our guys and does not favor mls guys. he is a eurosnob. ”

    Bradley is the best coach us soccer has ever had. Bruce arena is a stagnant idiot. Steve Sampson is long gone, but he was better than arena. Lester, youre a stupid peace of shit.

  20. kevin_amold says:

    I think people are overhyping this Algeria win over Ivory Coast. I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, the Ivory Coast got made into sudden world beaters, when I’m not sure if they’ve ever won much of anything. They are a quality side, but they aren’t Spain. They aren’t Brazil, they aren’t Holland. They have some good players, but they struggled a little bit through the tournament. Algeria beating them isn’t some huge upset, nor is it a sign that the USA are necessarily in trouble.

    For anyone that is worried about Algeria, let me ask you right now, would you trade Algeria for Ivory Coast in our group? What about Slovenia for Russia? Would Brazil have preferred to play Spain to the USA in the Confed Cup Final? I sincerely doubt it. Asking for the Elephants and Russia would be insane. Looking at the bodies of work of these countries is how we can get a read on our chances, not the results in one-off matches. Algeria, over the course of qualifying, was arguably the worst african side, while Ivory Coast was one of the best. Slovenia doesn’t have a body of work as good as Russia’s, but they managed to get through by winning one and losing one by less than 2 goals (I think). Slovenia and Algeria should be treated as quality sides, but the bodies of work indicate that we got the weakest sides from Africa and Europe in our group.

    That’s why I’m confident that Saturday’s debacle with Honduras has any long-term implications. Our body of work (4 victories over Honduras, top of the Hex, a win in San Pedro Sula) indicates that we are better. Just wasn’t our night.

  21. Billy says:

    We have lots of logical arguments here. The Mexican creep not withstanding, the big question is whether we will win the group or finish second. We got, the weakest seeded team outside South Africa and the two weakest qualifiers for the World Cup, hands down. Slovenia does not even have a single player getting playing time in a major first division. Algeria is a joke. What other World Cup qualifier would lose 3-0 to Malawi. I saw England play Slovenia in a friendly and realized that day we would be lucky to be drawn in with either one. Little did I know that we would get both! But what is worse is that we have a new podcast host and author here who has demonstarted he knows ZERO about our team and the sport and just wants to take pot shots at us. As horrible as Kartik was, and he was horrible, negative and borderline maniciacal in pushing a hard core anti-US, pro-Mexican and pro-England, pro-Germany agenda on this site, he never wrote an article as off base, and insulting as this one, written by Richard Farley just a month ago.

    http://www.worldsoccerdigest.com/2009/12/17/1204094/the-club-of-common-cold-group-c

    This is a disgrace, and I appeal to everyone out there to make sure the author knows how we feel. We are tired of being patronized and insulted. We did not stop Kartik before he had developed a reputation among certain elements for honesty, when in fact all he did was trash Sunil Gulati and Don Garber while praising Fabio Capello and Javier Aguirre. It is disapointing anybody associated with American soccer would hire him for a job in the game, but we are also thankful they have eliminated this cancer from the US blog writing world.

    Going forward, we MUST not allow Richard Farley to progate, negative, patronizing arguments without a vocal majority coming back and saying “if you hate american soccer, please do not write or broadcast about it. please stick to the EPL.”

    Thanks for not deleting this comment, unless you oppose free speech and support censorship. Then again, Kartik does not convey any american values in his opinions so I bet this gets deleted.

    • Richard Farley says:

      “if you hate american soccer, please do not write or broadcast about it. please stick to the EPL.”

      I don’t hate American soccer.

      I don’t hate any nation’s soccer.

      I’m more than willing to engage people in questions about the article. Before he left and I knew I would be coming over, Kartik and I had been entertaining the idea of doing a question-and-answer podcast about the piece.

      Is that something people would still be interested in? I have been interviewed multiple times about the piece. I see no reason why I wouldn’t afford my new home and housemates the same opportunity.

      In general, though, I’m going to avoid responding to comments like the above or people that I see hopping from thread-to-thread with a flamethrower.

      I hope most of the MLS Talk community understands.

  22. jcr says:

    2002 U.S. World Cup Roster

    Goalkeepers (3): Brad Friedel (1994, 1998, 2002), Kasey Keller (1990, 1998, 2002), Tony Meola (1990, 1994, 2002);

    Defenders (8): Jeff Agoos (1998, 2002), Gregg Berhalter (2002), Frankie Hejduk (1998, 2002), Carlos Llamosa (2002), Pablo Mastroeni (2002), Eddie Pope (1998, 2002), David Regis (1998, 2002), Tony Sanneh (2002);

    Midfielders (8): Chris Armas (2002), DaMarcus Beasley (2002), Landon Donovan (2002), Cobi Jones (1994, 1998, 2002), Eddie Lewis (2002), John O’Brien (2002), Claudio Reyna (1994, 1998, 2002), Earnie Stewart (1994, 1998, 2002);

    Forwards (4): Clint Mathis (2002), Brian McBride (1998, 2002), Joe-Max Moore (1994, 1998, 2002), Josh Wolff (2002).

    This is 2002. Look at the defense. Eddie Pope, Jeff Agoos, Greg Berhalter, etc.. None of these players would make our team today. Maybe Mastroeni. Other than Reyna and O’Brien and of course Donovan who is a better player today. On offense, we are more dynamic with Altidore, Davies and Dempsey. McBride’s main benefit was in the air, but was not much with the ball on the ground. If you look at our other teams, the difference is more dramatic and nevermind the difference with the players who won’t make the team with those who didn’t make the 2002 team. We still have a ways to go, but to say we have not made significant progress over the last 10 to 20 years is such an understatement. Don’t ridicule last year’s confederations cup, we beat some very good teams including Egypt and Spain and led 2-0 against Brazil at halftime. This would not have happened 8 yrs ago.

    • Richard Farley says:

      I have to disagree with you on Eddie Pope, jcr.

      In my mind, although Onyewu could pass him, Eddie Pope is the best central defender of the modern era, an era that has a couple of other good candidates. I can see arguments for those others, but I would vehemently disagree that Pope would not make the team today. He would start.

      Pope was good enough to allow us to play three at the back. We don’t have anybody at the back that allows us to play a 3-5-2.

      Sanneh would absolute play on this team. His size and his experience in Germany would be valuable. David Regis played most of his career in the first division in France, which is why Sampson wanted him in so badly and he was still in the team after Sampson was gone.

      A 22-year-old Steve Cherundolo made this team and did not play a minute.

      In midfield, I think any of those players would be very good additions to the the current team. Eddie Lewis is somebody that played at the highest levels in England who may be the best crosser of the ball in the history of the program. DeMarcus Beasley has played key holds on highly successful teams in Europe. Earnie Stewart was a classic player – a more polished Charlie Davies (before Charlie Davies came along).

      Cobi Jones was an all-star caliber player in the league when MLS’s best were capable of winning the confederation’s championship. Chris Armas would fit right into Bradley’s first 2 in the 4-2-2-2, and he’s not some random player – he was capped 66 times during the era where the United States produced a World Cup quarterfinalist.

      Brian McBride and Joe-Max Moore both had careers in the English Premier League. Moore has one hundred international caps. Clint Mathis’s professional career has been a bit of a disappointment, but that’s only because expectations were so high for a player who showed a dynamism that has rarely been seen in a United States international.

      I understand people being positive about the current national team; however, the players on this team deserve more respect than to suggest players who won’t make the 2010 team would be better than these players.

      And this the 2002 team you list. Go back farther, to 1994.

      The current ream does not have Tab Ramos. It does not have John Harkes. It does not have Alexi Lalas. It does not have Eric Wynalda. There is no Marcelo Balboa. There is no Thomas Dooley. There is no Roy Wegerle in the current team.

      All of these are players Bob Bradley should be happy to have.

      They were mainstays of the 1994 team, and that was 16 years ago.

      The U.S. has talent in Jozy Altidore, but he has a ways to go before he’s Brian McBride. The U.S. has produced Michael Bradley, but he’s not Claudio Reyna.

      The Pope comment, in particular, jcr. I have a very difficult time seeing your point of view on that. Pope was a classic player, and he sacrificed so much of his career to stay and build this league.

      • Tom Dooley, Earnie Stewart and Roy Wegerle were the type of savvy veterans of European football that we do not have anywhere near our pool today.

        Wegerle started his professional career in NASL and ended it in MLS, but in between played for several top English teams, scoring a ton of goals for some very good clubs in the first division/Premier League.

        Tony Sanneh circa 2002 would walk into the right back job on this particular US team. John O’Brien and Claudio Reyna are two of the most technically gifted players we have ever produced and when they played together in the same central midfield, MAGIC happened. Hence, 2002 was the memorable run of a lifetime because Johnny O, was healthy.

        So much more here to dissect but Richard hit it on the head. Eddie Lewis is a good example also of an under-appreciated player. His crossing and set piece taking ability was second to none.

        JMM was a special player also. Not dissimilar in a way from Dempsey today. Versatile and similarly effective.

        Our top level talent has if anything gotten worse since the mid 1990s. Look at our Copa squad from 1995- it was amazing.

        As far as the depth of our pool, we are still not there but in that regard we are much further along than in the mid 1990s.

      • jcr says:

        While Pope could cover well and was pretty good in the ari, I disagree on Pope because he never was good with the ball on his feet which is where Onyewu greatly excels. Pope would never get signed by AC Milan or having played so well in Belgium. Bocanegra also with Rennes until recently was a starter also much better with the ball at his feet. Cherundolo has been starting in the Bundesliga and I think is a much better player today then when he was 22 plus we have Spector who plays often for West Ham when health and Bornstein is better than Regis was by the time he joined the U.S..

        Playing a 3-5-2, I believe was a coaches decision based on the players we had because Mastroeni did play very well as a defensive midfielder and was probably the key to 2002.

        Ok on Sanneh. Eddie Lewis barely played in the premiership and was mostly with Leeds in the next division. We have quite a few players today at that level and a decent player and decent crosser but I would hardly call him like you described him. He is like Rogers in that respect. Beasley had a couple of good years on PSV Einhoven and one or two other so there is a decent argument for him.

        Earnie Stewart does not come close to Charlie Davies plus Earnie Stewart was barely an American player who never developed here to begin with. Watch Davies when gets healthy, he will far exceed Stewart who was a midlevel Dutch player in that league and never more while Davies is certain to exceed that.

        Cobi? MLS allstar from those early MLS years. I have watched the MLS since the beginning. The league play is much better than it was at that time and Cobi would not be on this team. He was OK.

        Chris Armas OK. decent argument there as a defensive midfielder but I do feel Michael Bradley is much better in that role and Armas would not have any other role. He was capped 66 times during the era where the United States produced a World Cup quarterfinalist where there was not much depth to choose from where we were lucky to face Mexico in the 2nd round to get to play Germany where while we started off well we fell apart and very little to threaten for the rest of the match.

        Brian McBride would probably make this team but might not start.
        Joe-Max Moore was OK but I don’t think he would make it. Mathis could have been much better but for his work ethic which sucked which is why he never reached his potential.

        Forget about the slow giraffe Lalas who only played for Padova that one year as a curiosity for his long hair and the sudden emergence of the US at the World Cup. To even mention Harkes, please not even close although he played one year in the premiership for the same kind of reason as Lalas and why he never stayed there. Balboa? Dooley, he is a German who we got near the end of his career and would not call him an American. We just needed bodies. Wegerle (a South African who happened to married to an American). Balboa??? and Wynalda.

        Yes Bradley is not Reyna, but again the depth is nothing to compare.
        While no real stars, we have more players now playing in Europe then we ever have had (Dempsey, Holden, Friedel, Guzan, Hanneman, Oneyu, C.Davies, Donovan (he will stay at Everton), Howard, Bradley, Cherundolo, Altidore, Bocanegra, Spector and I might be missing some and I am not counting players in the Coca Cola championship nor in the 2nd division German or in other leagues plus several in Mexico’s top league.

        The Pope comment, in particular, jcr. I have a very difficult time seeing your point of view on that. Pope was a classic player, and he sacrificed so much of his career to stay and build this league.

        Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

        • Richard Farley says:

          While Pope could cover well and was pretty good in the ari, I disagree on Pope because he never was good with the ball on his feet which is where Onyewu greatly excels.

          Is this a statement with which the MLS Talk community would agree? If so, I need to change the tenor of my writing.

          • jcr says:

            I like a good reasoned discussion, but why would criticizing Pope have to change your writing. Pope never had any real interest overseas plus I can rarely recall ever seeing Pope do anything with his feet from good distributing, dribbling or shooting. I think Pope was a fine player but somewhat limited.

            Regarding some prior comments on the 1994 team, #1 we were playing at home (up until now, not one team has ever failed to break out of the group stage while playing at home and that includes Japan and Korea). In the game against Brazil, once Ramos had his skull fractured by Leonardo, the team fell apart and barely crossed midfield against Brazil (yes, they won that year) but just an example of the depth. I think Donovan is better than Ramos who never was a real scoring threat. Ramos had great control and could distribute but never the threat posed by Donovan who is the best player we have ever produced and yes better than Reyna. None of those other teams could also have produced the result at last year’s confederations cup where we beat Egypt and Spain and led Brazil 2-0 at halftime. Look at some of the players that were complemented (Dooley a German who became an American at 30, Wegerle a South African who was far overhyped by at least one of the comments (he never did much in MLS of all places) and Earnie Stewart a Dutchman. Regis was even mentioned and he was never much but he was also French. We don’t have that any more. Francisco Torres was born and grew up in the U.S and same with Castillo who might make the team.

  23. Seybold says:

    I agree with the point about Eddie Lewis in particular–in 2002 he didn’t even start every match at the World Cup, but he’d easily start every match these days, no one’s even close. I like ELAC’s point about Reyna–there seems to be a monochromatic search for functional players, and template for producing organized but uncreative players.

    What’s so irritating about this is that the USA national setup and development system does a poor job of taking advantage of our national strengths. We have a huge Latino population that favors a creative, ball-possession style, and seem singularly incapable of nurturing that kind of talent. Or when it appears–Torres–not doing much to integrate it.

    I personally think the head of the USSF should be someone who speaks Spanish fluently, and can appeal. There’s a talent base here that could quite frankly give the USA an element that teams like England and Germany almost never have, and what do we do to nurture it? Nothing.

  24. derrick says:

    1. U.S. players refuse to put possession first.
    2. U.S. players don’t pass well
    3. MLS isn’t producing players that are adept at one or two above.

    we already knew all of that. so never mind. we learned nothing we didn’t know already.

  25. CA says:

    I’d like to see more foreign coaches in the youth leagues, MLS, and the National teams.

  26. Rafael says:

    Amazing news! We might actually have Charlie Davies back for the WC.

    “Charlie Davies is an unstoppable force with superhuman recovery powers”
    http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/blog/sow_experts/post/Charlie-Davies-is-an-unstoppable-force-with-supe?urn=sow,215654

  27. Mo says:

    #32 Billy wrote:
    “We have lots of logical arguments here. The Mexican creep not withstanding, the big question is whether we will win the group or finish second. We got, the weakest seeded team outside South Africa and the two weakest qualifiers for the World Cup, hands down. Slovenia does not even have a single player getting playing time in a major first division. Algeria is a joke. What other World Cup qualifier would lose 3-0 to Malawi. I saw England play Slovenia in a friendly and realized that day we would be lucky to be drawn in with either one. Little did I know that we would get both!”

    To show how little sense it makes, here’s how it would look if written by an Algerian:
    “We have lots of logical arguments here. The Mexican creep not withstanding, the big question is whether we will win the group or finish second. We got, the weakest seeded team outside South Africa and the two weakest qualifiers for the World Cup, hands down. Slovenia does not even have a single player getting playing time in a major first division. The USA is a joke. What other World Cup qualifier would lose 3-1 to Honduras. I saw England play Slovenia in a friendly and realized that day we would be lucky to be drawn in with either one. Little did I know that we would get both!”

  28. remy says:

    I think Krishaniyer and Farley are both wet on Slovenia. They have over rated the team. Russia was over hyped because of Hiddink and the press. They have so few international caliber players, perhaps fewer than even New Zealand.

    We will beat Slovenia. As far as Algeria, it is really a coin toss. We have some great results like Spain, Brazil, Mexico and some horrible ones like both Costa Rica games and our struggles against El Salvador, Cuba, Guatemala, etc.

    We are inconsistent and we cannot predict against similar teams. Algeria lost to Malawi and beat the Ivory Coast in the same week. They have a lot of journeymen type players as Trecker describes them- so do we. These are the types that are always in demand in Europe but never play for truly top clubs.

    I say we beat Slovenia and lose to England

    Algeria loses to England and draw with Slovenia.

    If we draw Algeria we advance, but they have a good chance of beating us. They can muck up the middle and they have good wide play and could get a goal off a set piece or something and then pack it in.

    I think Algeria and us are neck and neck. A real battle for 2nd, which will be decided in the last group game. Slovenia is irrelevant other than playing spoiled.

  29. MLS Rumors says:

    The Algeria result did not surprise us. We wrote a piece the day of the World Cup Draw in how the US shouldn’t underestimate Algeria. To do so would be Ghana at the 2006 World Cup all over again.

    People laughed.

    We maintain that if the US does not take Algeria seriously they will go 3 and out again.

  30. zhe fulano says:

    Archundia’s yellows against Conrad were absurd. Contrast the first one to Guevarra’s taking out of Feilhaber. No call, yet far more flagrant. The 2nd yellow – a minor tug on a player who could not have impacted the play. How about the takedown of Findley outside the box? They kinds of terribly inconsistent calls would get Archundia laughed out of EPL or any other real league.

    The character of the US team changed dramatically when Casey, Bedoya and Davis were subbed in. (1) Findley’s game noticeably improved. His stoppage time set up to Casey was beautiful – even if Casey failed to finish (again). Before that, he was taken down just outside the box on a nice run. (2) Bedoya was all over the midfield and final third. He seemed to have a real good sense of where a play was going. He positioned himself better than anyone else. (3) Brad Davis made an impact right away. He was impressive on set pieces, as he usually is. He seemed to have good chemistry with Bedoya. (4) Beckerman is an MLS lifer. He is out of his league in the international game. Ditto for Wynne. (5) Bornstein stepped into the defensive general role. I wasn’t expecting to see that, but it reinforces the notion that he is continuing to get better.

    There may be 1 or 2 players from this camp that will make it the World Cup. For the last two World Cups, up to half of the team played in the January camp. We have fewer starters playing this time because all of our best players are playing in Europe – just like we want. People aren’t seeing the obvious. We are better overall and we definitely have more quality depth than ever before.

    BB may not be the perfect coach, but he has done a fine job of getting the most out of our talent pool and developing it further. Remember, he himself was a forward when he played college soccer at Princeton. Folks forget that he has looked at the game from both the player perspective and that of a coach. He has his faults, but he is methodical, he learns (like moving Dempsey up front, bringing up Davies, etc.) and he has managed to score some impressive wins under his reign.

    Just my .02.

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