Don’t Be So Hard On The US

After the US’s recent run of form, MLS talk had a podcast discussing, among other things, the state of the USMNT. While I agree with the general themes (the US needs to develop a cohesive style, Bob Bradley isn’t the right man for the job, etc), I feel the gang, and USMNT fans in general, are being a bit too harsh on the team. The United States currently leads the hexagonal and right now that’s what it is all about. Being in form, playing pretty soccer, etc. are all nice things to have, but in WC Qualifying, getting points is where it’s at. The US has beaten Honduras three times in a row, twice at neutral sites, and although Honduras wasn’t with all of its stars for all of those games, we did beat them with basically our D team in the Gold Cup. Going into Honduras and coming out with 3 points isn’t out of the question.

However, they are right when they point out some problems with the US side. Bradley insists on playing like the Italians when that is clearly not our strength. With Altidore, Davies, Donovan and Dempsey we have four very athletic attacking players. Why not let them attack and use our athleticism? Also, something needs to be done about the college soccer system. It simply is not a good forum for developing players. When he was 15, Lionel Messi was at Barca. When the best US players are 15, they are busy scrimmaging away for lazy, unknowledgeable coaches. Also, something needs to be done about Bradenton. Other than Donovan, it hasn’t developed stars.

Also, project 2010 clearly was a failure. I would argue that the USMNT has improved little, if at all, since 1999. I like our depth, and I like the young players like Altidore, Davies, Spector, etc., but clearly we are not serious contenders to win the World Cup next year.

But, that being said, clearly there is some overreaction going on to some poorer than usual form. If the US gets 6 points out of their next two qualifying games and wins the hex (which I don’t think they will, but still) I wonder if the same people who were critical will be touting this US team. Or, will they be pessimistic still?

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