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USA 3-0 T&T: The Triumph of “Anti Football”

On a day when football finally came home in the form of England’s heroic 4-1 victory over an arrogant and vastly over rated Croatian side, “anti-football” scored a big victory as well.  While youngster Theo Walcott provided the heroics for England, no youngster of Walcott’s caliber was in the negative looking and tactical side Coach Bob Bradley sent out for the United States against a weakened Trinidad and Tobago team which was going to be run off the pitch by any side with a pulse last night. Instead of calling in Walcott’s American facsimiles Freddy Adu or Jozy Altidore, the United States fielded a safe lineup which featured Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley exploiting the flanks and a 3-0 US victory. Given the weakness of the opposition and the ease with which otherwise shaky internationals like Beasley and Dempsey dominated their markers, would not this have been the perfect occasion to enter Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu to World Cup qualifying?

The American victory while deserved was not pretty. Unlike the Mexico-Canada match going on at the very same time in Chiapas, the US lacked artistry or any sort of technical on the ball skill in this match. When you are facing a young side that’s going to be easily overwhelmed, results like this one occur, but the inability of the United States to control possession in the midfield was apparent. Freddy Adu would help Bob Bradley’s side in this regard instead of watching the US hoof the forward or simply play unattractive football which is bound to be losing football come South Africa 2010.

Mexico’s two youngsters, Carlos Vela and Giovanni Dos Santos didn’t have the best of matches tonight against an extremely game Canadian side. They did not have too: Their manager Sven Goran Eriksson realizes the occasion and the need to build the strongest possible side for South Africa. After all Sven left England something special by taking its future starlet Theo Wolcott to World Cup 2006, which in turn increased his understanding of international football allowing him to humble the arrogant Croatians in Zagreb.

But the Americans don’t take these sorts of steps: playing it safe both on the pitch and with regards to player selection is the norm in US Soccer. Today’s result not withstanding every subsequent matchday for Dos Santos and Vela where Altidore and Adu do not participarte is a victory for Mexico in the long term battle with the United States for regional supremecy.

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  1. Phillip

    September 12, 2008 at 10:51 pm


  2. kevquinnc

    September 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Why do I get the feeling that we can put the 1970 Brazil team out there and Kartik and Denholm still wont be satisfied because Adu and Altidore aren’t on the team.

  3. Stanley Villa

    September 12, 2008 at 10:43 am

    On goal #3, after further review, the issue is Gooch crashing in to the T & T keeper in order to get to the free kick. The play should have been whistled dead then and there, as Gooch knocked the keeper onto his back. That makes whether Chinger was onside irrelevant (although I must admit it looked like he was after watching it again).

    There is no argument on Lil Mikey’s goal, which unlike you, I’ve replayed before posting. Gooch, Boca and Lil Mikey (and the whole team really) were up there and 2 of the 3 were offside, definitely Gooch. They are all right in front of the keeper, so in no way in a passive offside position, so offside. The only “argument” is in your pickled, MB fanboy brain.

    On goal #2, Gooch handled in the build-up to the pass to Dempsey and it wasn’t called. So really, the result could have been 0-0

  4. FC Vandy

    September 12, 2008 at 9:52 am

    The first goal is a goal that would be argued the other way, if the flag would have in fact gone up.

    Ching being behind the defender when it is deflected off the keeper has nothing to do with offsides. It is only at the time when Gooch plays the ball, do you judge Ching’s position at which time Ching is behind Gooch and thus the ball. Once the ball is played if the defense does not want to stay on their mark, the offense is not penalized. By your arguement once a player clears the defense on a breakway, no offensive players could support him until the defense retreats. ANY player behind the ball when it is played by his team is NEVER offsides.

    Another example would be if a forward is behind the second to last defender and steals a back pass to the keeper. This is not offsides, because the ball was played by the other team.

    You can stay convinced if you want, but I will never agree with you, neither would an assessor, and neither would Pierluigi Collina.

    Enjoy your new DVR! It gets old eventually.

  5. Markus Merk

    September 12, 2008 at 3:31 am

    “I have reffed for over 20 years now, spare me the lecture on the offside law.”

    Yeah, keep replaying your DVR to get the call right.

  6. bandeeto

    September 11, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Some counter points,

    We did play better… actually we played like a good CONCACAF team. Based on that I am not hopefull for WC 2010.

    T&T ran around like chickens with their head cut off in the first half… wow we dominated them. They play better in the second half… wow we don’t dominate. People are reassured by this? This is proof that Bradley is preparing us for WC 2010? Please.

    The US, and Mexico, have an advantage that south american and UEFA teams don’t. the US can experiment with squads, tachtics, pretty much anything and still win against regional competition. a good coach would use this to prepare for stiffer competition. Lay the foundation for a style of play that can win against credible opposition. Going off of what the US has done so far this campaign (style of play, personnel, etc) hmmm… I wonder what Bradley is preparing for? No the WC surely. but we’ll dominate Bermuda!

    Jozy comes in against T&T, scores 2 goals from the run of play, and is on the field for Villa’s next game, while beginning the integration process into the seior national team. Familiarity with other players on the team sometimes helps players, oh i don’t know, play. Especially against organized teams.

    Controlling the ball in the midefield is not something good teams turn on and off. Can you imagine Brazils coach telling the team… “Well it’s only Bolivia, so don’t worry about posessing the ball in the second half.”

  7. Stanley Villa

    September 11, 2008 at 8:41 pm


    I have reffed for over 20 years now, spare me the lecture on the offside law.

    On the first goal, your the one that needs to watch the reply again and pause it when Landon strikes the ball. I just did it on my DVR. Lil Mikey and somebody I can’t see in a white shirt are both offside, clearly!

    On the other offside goal, #3, you need to watch it again. Gooch headed it down and it deflected off the keeper to Ching, who was standing in the 6 yd box when the header came to him, 5 yds behind the closest defender, offside clearly again. Gooch being even or on had nothing to do with it as Ching was in the offside position. ESPN never showed from a good angle, but it was obvious.

  8. FC Vandy

    September 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    While clearly not deploying the lineup or even roster I would like to see, the US moved the ball well in the first 45 minutes last night. The second half was meaningless

    If you watch the replay, both goals were onsides. It is when the initial ball is played. Bradley was clearly even when the free kick was struck. The fact he was behind the defense when he played it is simply poor marking. Gooch is not relevant because he ultimately did not play the ball.

    The last goal Gooch was even when the ball was struck. He got behind the defense,again bad marking and headed it. Ching who placed it into the net was behind Gooch and thus the ball when Gooch played his initial header. Any player behind the ball a NEVER offsides.

    The rule is tough to understand and neither were even in question.

  9. Stanley Villa

    September 11, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Lil Mikey, being praised to the heavens by the fanboys on the usual boards, was quite simply way offside on the set piece (along with somebody else, Gooch?) and the 3rd goal was offside by an even greater margin (like 5 yards).

    Lil Mikey made a bad turnover which led to a T & T goal that was chalked off and I saw T & T come out to start the second half and take the game to Dad and the travel team only to have that 3rd offside goal be allowed.

    When are teams in qualifying going to realize the winning formula vs. Dad and his “empty bucket” which is simply this: Do not bunker inside your own penalty area and invite the pressure. Push-out 40 yds and win the battles in the middle of the park and play the offside trap, having the keeper sweep any balls over the top that are not offside. T & T did that in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

  10. eplnfl

    September 11, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Kartik: You and I must have been watching different games. The US had a excellent offensive game plan the first half breaking attackers up the middle and using their speed advantage over T@T to good effect. There was little control by the mid-field since none was needed! Ching, Beasely, and Donovan worked extremely well together. Ching especially was difficult to defend even when double teamed!

    Fact: 3 semi-final games and no goals given up by the US. Outstanding, defense wins, period end of story. Howard was not even tested last night.

    By the 2nd half the US knew it was in control of the match and had little drive. Would Altidore or Adu have played any better then the players on the field last night. No. Should we get them experience? Yes. Was it a sound choice to have them go the China and miss this games. Yes. Is it a good idea to have them gain time in the next two semi-final games. Yes.

    If the other team can not score you can not lose!

  11. JayRockers!

    September 11, 2008 at 10:42 am

    It’s amazing. Kartik was touting the likes of T&T and Canada as being a step above the USA going in to this round of qualifying.

    As it stands now…

    USA 9, Guatemala 4, T&T 4, Cuba 0.
    Mexico 9, Honduras 6, Canada 1, Jamaica 1.
    Costa Rica 9, El Salvador 6, Haiti 1, Suriname 1.

    No surprises at all. It’s business as usual in CONCACAF, and the US & Mexico look to stroll into the World Cup.

    We’re getting the job done while at the same time not running out our best lineup each game. Any friendlies we play in the next year and a half, and the Mexico games and Honduras & Costa Rica away will tell you where we stand as a footballing nation. Not these petty qualifiers in the second-worst region.

    Someone should ask Kartik whether he’s ready to just sit back and enjoy a soccer game for once. Particularly our game against Cuba at RFK, which should look alot like our last WCQ at RFK.



  12. Brian

    September 11, 2008 at 8:25 am

    I think the point is, that qualifying isn’t the issue for the US now, the focus needs to be putting together a squad that can get out of the Group Stage in the World Cup, and possibly farther. Bradley isn’t doing that now, but he sure as s**t better start doing that no later then the Gold Cup and the Confederation Cup. If he shows up there with this squad, we might as well not even bother showing up at South Africa 2010.

  13. Football Detective

    September 11, 2008 at 2:10 am

    USA’s results are all that matters at this stage. I don’t care how they play as long as they win. You can slam Dempsey all you want – that doesn’t make him any less valuable to the team – he is finding a way to get it done!

  14. Phillip

    September 11, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Ending the show at the 37th minute.

    The incessant whining is just WAY TOO much for me.

  15. Phillip

    September 11, 2008 at 12:58 am



    Jozy stayed at Villarreal… instead of coming to a couple of WCQs where he wasn’t necessarily needed…

    Jozy scores a hat trick against like a 5th division side…

    Villareal has an injury to another striker leaving just two forwards… one of them is Jozy…

    now the manager feels a little more secure in throwing Jozy out either this weekend against Deportiva or next Wednesday at Old Trafford…

    if Jozy comes into camp… he doesn’t see the pitch for Villarreal

  16. Berlin

    September 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Good result. Choppy play. Lots of kickball.

  17. mario

    September 10, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Deuce is BACK!!

  18. elisa

    September 10, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    What happenned to JS and the Third Half Chat?

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