Now that the US has been eliminated from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it's time to play a little Monday quarterback, futbol style.
Even though the US won its group for the first time in this millennium, and even though they made it past the first round (this was the team's original goal), you could say their loss to Ghana was a disappointment, or even a failure.
The US was considered a favorite against Ghana, and would have been the same against Uruguay. That would have guaranteed a semifinal date with either Brazil or the Netherlands. So what went wrong for the Americans?
You don't have to look far, just go back to June 12, when the US opened up their World Cup campaign against those overrated English fellows. Before I had a chance to settle into my seat with an ice-cold beer, England was already up 1-0.
Against Slovenia, I got to settle down atleast, only to be dropping f-bombs and shouting other obscenities at the screen the next minute. Once again, the US were down a goal early in the game.
Then this last game against Ghana; a horrible possession from Ricardo Clark led to Ghana goal in the fifth minute.
See the trend, the US were chasing the game most of the time in this World Cup.
Against any competition in this stage, your defense has to be ready at the start of the whistle. Yeah, they came back against England and Slovenia, and yeah the US tied Ghana and sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately, the Americans couldn't overcome an early goal in overtime to beat Ghana, and eventually went back to the hotel and packed their bags.
The other problem for the US was coaching. Bob Bradley, in the eyes of many, may have been over his head when he took the US job. The only reason Bradley kept his job last summer was because the US made a miraculous run to the final game of the Confederations Cup. What's sad is that the team's run at the World Cup might be just enough to save his ass. Bradley should have stayed with the same lineup that beat Algeria. Also, the US under Bradley never had a true system, a team philosophy.
If he does get fired, there are a couple of good candidates for the job. The first choice coach for the US would be former Germany and Bayern Munich boss, Jürgen Klinsmann. He knows how to find all the American talent playing across the pond, plus he is familiar with soccer in the US and MLS in particular -- having developed his coaching skills with the US National Team and with the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center. The other top choice would by our very own Dominic Kinnear, coach of the Houston Dynamo. Kinnear has always been a master at taking talent nobody wants and making winners out of them.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Although players like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Timmy Howard will be old by the time the World Cup 2014 takes place in Brazil, there is a good crop of young players on this team. Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies, Benny Feilhaber, and Stuart Holden will all be in Brazil in four years, but who's joining them? It is important for the US to start looking for talent anywhere they can.
If the US can hire a new coach soon, that would give the US the "honeymoon" experiment with this new dude. The new coach has to be more willing to attack, and not just sit back to defend and create counterattacking opportunities. The new American coach will give plenty of opportunities to players to contribute.
Mexico 1 -- Germany 3
Mexico came out aggressive in the first half against Argentina, but then faded away to also get eliminated from the Cup. The first goal was just poor officiating -- guess the FIFA referees like to sodomize North American teams. The second goal was a poor clearance from Mexico, which quicly put Mexico down 2-0. They cut the lead to half, but eventual Argentina proved to be too much.
Mexico has the same issues as the US going into this next World Cup cycle. The main goal for both teams is to get stronger, to not let other CONCACAF teams get better. The US and Mexico are still World Cups away from winning it all, but the future looks promising for players representing their North American countries.