There are many fascinating issues this World Cup raises which I may or not get to, including one prompted by Jack and documented by Bromark in the comments of yesterday's lame United post, but I want to first finish with USMNT and Bob Bradley before the games get too far away from me.
Does anyone think Germany wouldn't have sliced apart USMNT's defense as deftly as they disemboweled England? (Yes, one of the fascinating issues is the debate about video replay, and certainly England's wasn't-goal was a goal, but isn't it interesting we insist on more surveillance?)
Bob Bradley was not primarily responsible for Ghana's victory over USMNT, Ghana was primarily responsible: Ghana was big, fast, fit, technically skilled, and better coached, and the result was just. I'd be surprised if they don't beat Uruguay.
But Bradley is responsible for personnel and tactical decisions which made it easier for Ghana to win, and he must be held accountable for all the early goals - I've no doubt he can defense what he thinks the opponent's offense will do, but he can't conceive they might do something different than what he's scouted so he's not prepared when they do.
Falling behind early isn't because the players are flat and indifferent, it's because the other team is employing tactics that Bradley didn't scheme his team for just in case. The players look lost for the first twenty minutes, and that's on the coach. And it works against the offense because opposing coaches don't spend hours worrying what swerves Bradley's going to put into his attacking game plan.
I don't think Bob Bradley is the difference between crashing out at sixteen and winning a World Cup, but do I think a Guus Hiddink, with these players in this draw, could have got USMNT to the semis? Maybe.
Maybe not: it wasn't Bob Bradley's fault Bocanegra and DeMerit clusterfucked themselves in the third minute of overtime.
Don't talk to me about Gold Cup, the next meaningful game won't be until WC14 qualifying begins in 2013 (unless USMNT can get itself invited to Copa America - update below). Tell me, who on this roster will still be important, if on the team at all:
• Jozy Altidore, Villareal (Spain) - Maybe
• Edson Buddle, Los Angeles Galaxy - No
• Robbie Findley, Real Salt Lake - No
• Herculez Gomez, Pachuca (Mexico) - Maybe
• DaMarcus Beasley, Rangers (Scotland) - No
• M Bradley, Mgladbach (Germany) - Probably
• Ricardo Clark, Frankfurt (Germany) - No
• Clint Dempsey, Fulham (England) - Probably
• Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy - Probably
• Maurice Edu, Rangers (Scotland) - Maybe
• Benny Feilhaber, Aarhus (Denmark) - No
• Stuart Holden, Bolton (England) - Maybe
• Jose Torres, Pachuca (Mexico)- Maybe
• Carlos Bocanegra, Rennes (France) - No
• Jonathan Bornstein, Chivas USA - No
• Steve Cherundolo, Hannover (Germany) - No
• Jay DeMerit, Watford (England) - No
• Clarence Goodson, IK Start (Norway) - No
• Oguchi Onyewu, AC Milan (Italy) - No
• Jonathan Spector, West Ham (England) - No
• Brad Guzan, Aston Villa (England) - No
• Marcus Hahnemann, Wolves (England) - No
• Tim Howard, Everton (England)- Maybe
The entire defense is old and suckful (except when it's young and suckful). The midfielders, Dempsey and Donovan (and Bradley), will have four more years of mileage on their knees. Altidore could make himself some decent money in Europe if he wasn't a punkassbitch, and I doubt he'll decide he doesn't want to be a punkassbitch. Guzan isn't particularly good, Hahnemann is 74, and Howard had a shitty World Cup, yo: it's not Bradley's fault Howard didn't get a hand to both Ghana goals, to Gerrard's goal, to at least one of them.
I think the talent level of this squad at this moment is quarterfinal level given breaks, good coaching, a good draw. I think the coaching level is never getting out of group. Crashing out at sixteen strikes me as a just grade.
I do feel cheated of the game I might have seen if Lampard's not-goal had been allowed, but England wasn't going to win that game (and the same is true of Tevez's allowed goal that shouldn't have been - Mexico wasn't going to win that game).
I can't wait to watch Argentina-Germany (which hopefully I can see in a hotel room before the Gah in Uniontown), even better than a possible Netherlands-Brazil quarterfinals.
"Gulati said the USA has no plans to participate in the 2011 Copa America in Argentina."
Why the fuck not? Is he out of his fucking mind? Send a young team and let them get schooled as part of building for qualifying for WC14.
Fuckityfuck, fire Sunil Fucking Gulati too.
Arjen Robben is going to go to the left.