World Cup Crashout...
By now, as I'm sure you've heard, the US Team has crashed out of the World Cup in rather spectacular fashion. Going in, the US team was picked by many to repeat, or exceed, the 2002 squad that made a surprising run to the quarterfinals, and was a missed-handball-shoulda-beena-penalty-kick-for-us from reaching the semis.
What was the problem? Well, we had a few, and these are the ones that FIFA can't address with their officiating...
1 - Team Selection - It became apparrent very quickly that we had no creativity up front or in the midfield. Taylor Twellman should have been on this team. He's the most electric scorer in the MLS right now, and did a fine job in the friendlies and qualifying stages for the US team. Freddy Adu could have made an impact as a last 30 minute sub in some of the games. Particularly the Italy game. He's blindingly fast, and would have pushed the Italians, and perhaps drawn some key fouls.
2 - Formations and gameplan - Why in the hell, knowing that we needed to beat the Ghanans, did we come out in a completely defensive 4-5-1 formation? Why did we stick with that formation after it didn't work in game 1 against the Czechs? We looked so bad in the middle at times, it reminded me of Steve Sampson's ill-fated 3-6-1 that we used to legendary results in the '98 cup. Why not go for broke in the Ghana game with a 4-3-3, or a 3-5-2 if you wanted to keep more folks in the middle? We needed bodies up front other than Brian McBride. Ifin it were me, we'd have seen this lineup in the Ghana game -
G - Keller
D - Cherundolo, Onyewu, Conrad, Bocanegra
M - Dempsey, Reyna, Convey
S - Wolff, McBride, Johnson
this lineup would have been an all out sell out for attacking, but it also leaves us with Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley on the bench, which is where they deserved to start the 3rd game. It would also have allowed us to go to a 3 man back line should we have needed to throw another man forward, which we did.
For the record, guys, kicking the long-ball and hoping you hit someone in stride is no way to win a World Cup Game.
What does the future hold? Well, it has become apparrent to me that the MLS needs to go forward and bring in as many European players as possible, to show the US players how the European/world game is played. We need to get our top guys into the top levels of European football. Oguchi Onyewu going to Middlesborough in the EPL is a good start. Now let's find a new home for Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Pope, Ben Olsen, and some others...