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US Shows Signs of a Bright Future in Trinidad Loss

While Mexico struggles to get out of the semifinal round of CONCACAF Qualifying, the US clinched a birth in the final round with two games to spare. This gave Bob Bradley the opportunity to try a new lineup against a side that qualified for the 2006 World Cup on the road: in other words Bradley was able to blood let many of the potential World Cup 2010 starters in the toughest game the US will play in this round.

The loss to a desperate Trinidad and Tobago team that needed a result to continue pursuit of qualifying for a second consecutive World Cup means nothing. The performance with inexperienced players in a hostile environment was quite frankly better than many of the wins the US has achieved recently against inferior opposition with no hope of ever reaching a World Cup.

Here is what I liked from yesterday:

  • Charlie Davies made an instant impact after coming on as a late sub scoring a goal.
  • Jose Francisco Torres started slowly but really settled in late in the first half and was outstanding the rest of the way. If the US is to advance out of the first round in South Africa, Torres will be a key figure.
  • Jozy Altidore had a very good game despite missing an easy chance and committing the silly foul that gave up the PK to Dwight Yorke.
  • Michael Orozco was excellent in the middle cleaning up attacks that were created by the mistakes of others.
  • Danny Szetela’s short stint was a notice of intent: Szetela was impressive on the ball and hustled off the ball in his limited time.

What I did not like:

  • Frankie Hejduk has had it. Time for Marvell Wynne
  • Mo Edu was downright awful for much of the match.
  • Heath Pearce is really hit or miss. I thought he was spectacular in the friendlies I witnessed in person against Brazil and England, but has been the single worst American player in our road qualifiers.
  • Freddy Adu is still not being used properly. A world class talent who the US coaches seem clueless as to how to get the most out of.

Going forward the core of yesterday’s lineup has to be the core of the national team heading towards 2010. Players like Jozy Altidore, Freddy Adu, Jose Francisco Torres, and Sacha Kljestan should be part of every US selection from here on out. Michael Orozco, Charlie Davies and Danny Szetela also stated their case loudly last night.

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  1. Zac Lee Rigg

    October 22, 2008 at 7:51 am


    I wanted to address a question you asked Dave on the show which I don’t think he caught. You posed that it was hypocritical to call for younger attackers but not demand the same in defense.

    I think there are a couple points which can extract us Denholm-apologists from the hook.

    Firstly, there seems to be less defensive talent coming through than attacking flair. No one nearly as good as Adu or Altidore are available in a defensive position, especially under the age of 20. The host of attackers ready for the NT far exceeds the youth defenders list. Which players would you like to see bled into the squad?

    This is because, secondly, defenders mature later. Goalies don’t hit their peak until their late-20s and can last until their mid-30s. It’s a gradual scale moving forward until you get to strikers who will blossom in their early 20s or teens and be finished before the big three-oh. Given the short length in career of attackers, it’s crucial to use their turn of pace, acceleration, bravery, and youthful willingness as soon as possible.

    Currently Mastroeni is the best defensive midfield option we have. The same can not be said of Beasley, Dempsey, Ching, and Johnson in their respective positions. Plus, mistakes closer to the goal cost us far more than mistakes committed far up in attack. You want unpredictable attackers; you want trustworthy defenders.

    All of this combines to not have me calling for the heads of our back 5. They aren’t the best on the ball, but they’re a decent enough group to give a youthful attack a good shot of progressing in the 2010 WC.

  2. Phillip

    October 17, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I got through 5 minutes of the show today and cut it off because of the incessant whining again.

  3. Phillip

    October 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm


    Villarreal owns his contract. They will do what they see fit.

    They aren’t paying for his national team career.

    They are paying for the potential that he will provide the team this year and in future years.

  4. Daniel F. US Open Cup

    October 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    I understand Phillip, but still how much money did they pay to get Josy on the transfer. Either loan him out to that lower division side for the whole year, or play him now. I’m not saying he should start every single match, but at least give him the time to come off the bench. They are stalling his career at the moment. These past two Qualifiers have shown he is ready to play with the big boys.

    But don’t do him the injustice when your not playing him. Loan him out, or give him the playing time he deserves. He’s proved it.

  5. Phillip

    October 17, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    To be fair Daniel… who are you benching at Villarreal to play Jozy?

  6. Daniel F. US Open Cup

    October 17, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Cracked up said:(Guatemala who many hailed as a big victory including yourself has 1 player on a European club team.)

    What does that have to do with the USA playing a tough road match in Guatemala? Just because Guatemala has one little player in Europe doesn’t mean it has to qualify as a major opponent for the USA. What part of “Major Home Field Advantage” don’t you understand. These players were ready to play a street fight, not a match. Didn’t you see what happened to Tim Howard?, Eddie Lewis, or Kasey Keller back in the 2002 qualifiers in the 2000 Semi-Final round road match?

    (Cuba has not a single player playing outside the Cuban domestic league)

    That’s why it’s called COMMUNISIUM! Why do you think every time youth or senior Cuban players come to the States for a tournament or qualifier and they defect. Gee it’s really not that tough of a question, they make the ultimate sacrifice to leave their families behind to make a better life for themselves. Ask Maykel Galinido of Chivas-USA why he did the same thing. Oh and confidentially Cuba doesn’t have a league, because the country loves Baseball. That stadium the USA played in against Cuba in Havana, first coat of paint it’s seen in years, they just added the lights to the stadium and the field was ignored and it was so hilly & bumpy. And all these things were added 5 to 6 days before the Qualifier.

    (T&T has 17 players based in Europe including, Dwight Yorke whose been a star on a champions league winner.)

    Once again the whole argument of “they have more players in Europe than we do.” just doesn’t wash anymore. Another pathetic argument from someone who thinks that T&T players are better than US players because they have 17 players in Europe. Has this stat become more of a status symbol to make a competent argument of why our players aren’t better than others? Look at Canada, I bet a good amount of their players are playing abroad, but somehow they can’t get past the Semi-Final Round of Qualifying. There are about 6 to 7 Mexicans playing in Europe or riding the bench while the rest of the players are still in their domestic league because of the money.

    Obviously you aren’t paying attention of what happens to American Players when they do make the move to Europe. half to most aren’t getting a chance to play, because club coaches in Europe don’t believe Americans can play the game. Benny Feilhaber’s ego has caused his backside to sit the bench & right now Villarreal doesn’t know whether to loan out Altidore, or actually play him. If these past two Qualifiers doesn’t prove to the Yellow Submarine that he needs playing time now, then I don’t know what will.

    Attention everyone. Just because a certain country has alot of players in Europe doesn’t mean they are better. This past Wednesday was T&T’s 2nd win against us. Use your brains or whatever brains you have to actually make a competent argument. Thank You.

  7. bandeeto

    October 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Orozco is making a case… definately giving boca a run for his money. Except for the stupid red card, he’s shown poise, ability, and consistency every chance he’s gotten.

    From a defensive standpoint I trust Orozco as much or more that Boca. On the other hand he’s not the threat on set pieces that Boca is.

    Orozco does have the ability to play out wide. I don’t think he’ll have the speed in 5 years, but he’s still young. I don’t remember him being burned badly in the Olympics.

  8. Ryan

    October 17, 2008 at 11:17 am


    Honestly, who do you see replacing the Captain Bocanegra? He’s a 90 minute player on a top-10 Ligue 1 team that’s already shut out Lyon and Toulouse this year. Even if Boca is a problem, which I don’t buy, there’s no current Nat who is better than him.

  9. Jesse

    October 17, 2008 at 10:13 am


    That is a horrible lineup, and the same lineup the team has been using (minus Cooper) with the same unimaginative, lackluster style of play that will see us get bounced in the first round of another world cup.

    Ching, Dempsey, Pearce, Dolo and Boca are not good enough for a side that has ambitions of going deep in any international tournament.

    Beasley and Donovan are lost, and ineffective in that style of play. Without anyone that can properly distribute and take on defenders, there is no space for Beasley and Donovan to move off the ball. There isn’t a single midfielder in that lineup that is creative on the ball through midfield.

    I honestly question your ability to rate players and this game if you think that would be our best ever side. That side would not get out of the first round in any World Cup group.

    If you can’t see how much better we were in possession with Szetela, Kljestan, Adu, Altidore, Torres than we have been for the better part of a year, then you don’t know what you are talking about. If you couldn’t see how much better Beasley played with these creative players around him, who helped give him space on the field, then you are crazy. Donovan would have thrived with this team, with the amount of good possession, imagination, and movement off the ball.

  10. Cracked Up

    October 17, 2008 at 9:25 am

    While it is somewhat over the top to call this performance outstanding let’s review the facts.

    Guatemala who many hailed as a big victory including yourself has 1 player on a European club team.

    Cuba has not a single player playing outside the Cuban domestic league

    T&T has 17 players based in Europe including, Dwight Yorke whose been a star on a champions league winner.

    Anybody who claims that the kids didn’t get the toughest game in the group, on the road to the most experienced and talented team we face is a total fool. That means no insult Dunch but you should probably stick to the American sports you probably love and know a lot more about.

  11. bandeeto

    October 17, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Edu was doing WAAAAAAY worse that Adu. I expected so much more, but to my eyes he has sadly regressed since his move to Rangers. I honestly believe that the US would have played better if Edu had been red carded in the first minute. At least they would not have had a turn-over-machine taking up space just in front of the defence.

    I’m not saying Adu had the game of his life, but at least he was trying to create. Also, please realize that Adu was the danger man for T & T. The reason he went to ground so easily later in the game was because he was thrown down early and often. That showed a clear intent to shut him down by any means necessary. I don’t blame him for trying to use that tendancy against T&T.

    Hejduk was pathetic. He is a long distance runner with soccer shoes on. Not good enough by a long shot.

  12. Dunch

    October 16, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    I honestly would never call Adu in for a while if I were the coach. Altidore either- his foul and miss of a sitter were unforgivable.

    Come World Cup 2010 I can see this lineup

    Dolo Bocanegra Gooch Pearce


    Dempsey Donovan Beasley

    Ching Cooper

    That would be one tough team- the best we’ve had in a world cup.

  13. Ryan

    October 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    What was disappointing to me was that every good move Freddy made was to get away from somebody and hold up play. He didn’t use his skill much at all to take on defenders yesterday, which is what people want to him.

    Also he’s still trying undisciplined passes such as that early back heel attempt through 3 defenders to Jozy that got easily stopped. He had some well timed passes to players making runs down the side, but he wasn’t creating in the middle.

    Finally, we ask for Wynne, but has anyone ever lauded his crossing ability, which is what we were missing from Frankie? I’m not saying he’ll do worse, but I’m not ready to expect markedly better.

  14. Phillip

    October 16, 2008 at 7:06 pm


    Adu was playing in the exact same position he did against Spain where he was lauded for being “fantastic”… oh yeah, and he had Eddie Johnson in front of him.

    He’s going to ground far too often after the slightest bit of contact.

    He’s holding the ball at his feet for far too long and then tries to make an impossible pass.

    He’s not occupying open space when he doesn’t have the ball.

    Freddy’s got a lot of work to do, and it’s the same stuff that Ricardo has said is holding him back from seeing playing time at Monaco.

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