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The usefulness of defeat

The United States lost to the Czech Republic on home soil 4-2 in the first warm up game for the World Cup, but US National Team supporters shouldn’t be too disappointed because the game served some useful purposes. Bob Bradley fielded an experimental lineup that yielded a host of information that allowed him to pick his 23 man roster.

Beyond that Bob Bradley got a look at a number of players in different positions to see how they would fare. For instance Maurice Edu saw time as a center-back, while Jose Francisco Torres saw time as a central midfielder. He now knows that Edu does not belong in central defense, and that Jose Torres brings great distribution from the center of the pitch. Bob Bradley also got to take a look at the chemistry between Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez.

The game also showed the current status of a couple of injured players, who might be a bit rusty. For instance Oguchi Onyewu showed that he is not at 100% when he was outplayed in the air by a much smaller Czech player. At the same time Onyewu showed a level of confidence, poise and and precision in his passing and dribbling that he has not shown in the past. This must be a byproduct of training with AC Milan. Bob Bradley was also able to take a look at Stuart Holden, who played spectacularly in my opinion. He could certainly start on the right side of midfield, which would allow Bob Bradley to use Landon Donovan on the left and Clint Dempsey up top as a striker.

Bob Bradley also got to take a look at a much improved DaMarcus Beasley. He also got to see how Clarence Goodson might fill in for Oguchi Onyewu. Goodson played well and showed how he can be dominant in the air on both the defensive and offensive side of the field. Goodson played a part in both US goals. He is the only other center back with the size to deal with some of the top target forwards like Peter Crouch, for instance.

Bob Bradley was also able to make a few cuts without concern that the team will suffer. Heath Pearce played terribly and had a major role in two of the Czech goals. Klejstan, Rogers, and Bedoya didn’t show anything special. Although Brian Ching had a couple nice touches, Bob Bradley had the chance to see the danger that Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez bring, so he felt OK leaving Ching off the roster. I  see only Jozy Altiodre as having the muscle to bring what Ching has, but we will get a better look during the Turkey game this weekend.

While losing 4-2 at home does not bode well, Bob Bradley just needed a stiff test to see which players to bring to South Africa. The score didn’t really matter. With our starting eleven and not so many substitutions, our team will fare much better. Beyond that, the team showed better passing and ball control than it has in the past. Also keep in mind that a good ass kicking is excellent motivation for our players to think about when they get into the World Cup. They are going to want to show that they also can kick butt. If the team plays well against Turkey, then the US could be in for a strong World Cup run. The Turkey game will be our true first test. If we put out our starting lineup, and we don’t win by a couple of goals, then I think we are in trouble. However, I can see us beating the Turks 3-1 this weekend. What do you think?


  1. My only issue with the lineup they put out there in Connecticut is that it didn’t give the forward players a chance to show their chemistry with the players they would be playing with should they be inserted into the lineup during a World Cup match. I don’t care how Buddle and Gomez mesh together if one or the other is playing alongside Jozy Altidore. That match was purely the rat race for Coach Bradley to confirm his cuts. I will be in attendance on Saturday, and I would like to see which of these fringe players may actually be useful in South Africa, by having Buddle or Gomez play among Dempsey, Donovan, Altidore, etc.

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