USMNT

Copa America semifinal recap: USMNT 0–4 Argentina

The US was soundly defeated by Argentina on Tuesday night, 4–0, with Lionel Messi getting a goal and two assists, and Gonzalo Higuain scoring a brace. The US couldn’t get close to the Argentines, who looked every inch the best team in the world.

First half

As expected, Jurgen Klinsmann gave starts to Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman, and Chris Wondolowski for the suspended trio of Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones, and Bobby Wood. Also as expected, the Argentines put the US under pressure immediately, winning the first corner of the game inside three minutes. Argentina took the corner short, but the next pass, to Ezequiel Lavezzi, was cleared, though only as far as Lionel Messi at the top of the box. Lavezzi curled his run into the penalty area, and Messi deftly chipped the ball to him, over the US defense. Brad Guzan came for it, then didn’t, and Lavezzi cushioned a header over the stranded keeper for the opening goal.

Argentina looked comfortable. The US wasn’t being overrun, but the early goal meant Argentina didn’t need to force anything, and nothing the US did put them out of sorts in any way.

In the 22nd, the US gave up a soft free kick, and before anyone had thought to get set, Argentina took it quick, and played Higuain into the US box, one-on-one with Guzan. But as Higuain shaped to shoot, Geoff Cameron came in with a firm tackle from behind, reaching his leg around Higuain and taking the ball cleanly, sending Higuain to the ground. It had to be perfect, and it was.

The US wasn’t always so clean with it’s play, and it was somewhat surprising to see the first yellow card not given until the half-hour mark, when Chris Wondolowski took out Messi on the counter. To put it mildly, it was a bad decision on Wondo’s part. Messi stepped up to the free kick, nearly 30 yards out on the US center-right, and proceeded to send the ball dipping into the far upper 90 of Guzan’s goal. It was stunning. And while Guzan might feel he should have done better, given the distance, it was the perfect strike. It made Messi Argentina’s all-time leading scorer, to boot.

The US created their first real moment of danger in the 42nd. From a throw high on the right, Gyasi Zardes turned his man and sent in a cross deep to the far post, but Nicolas Otamendi flicked it away from Wondolowski, who was waiting to pounce on the edge of the six.

The half ended with a bit of ugliness from Guzan. A ball from deep released Lavezzi again, and he looked to have headed the ball over Guzan again for Argentina’s third, reaching the ball just before meeting Guzan at the top of the US box. But as his momentum took him past Guzan, the ball well away, Guzan subtly reached his arm out and put his bicep into Lavezzi’s face, clotheslining him. In the end, it was neither a goal nor a foul, as Lavezzi was offside. It was dirty from the US keeper, knowing he was beaten again and resorting to cheap physicality to feel better about it.

Second half

Christian Pulisic entered at the half for Wondo, who did nothing to dispel the unfortunate notion that he’s terrible at international level.

Argentina struck early, just like in the first half. In the 50th, Higuain tested the US offside line again, but this time got it exactly right, meeting the ball over the defense at the penalty spot. His first-time shot was well blocked by Guzan, but the ball fell into Higuain’s path. He took one touch to round Guzan and another to poke the ball home. Everything about the goal was technically excellent, and Argentina took a deserved three-goal lead.

Steve Birnbaum came on for Kyle Beckerman shortly after, pushing Cameron into midfield, but the game was essentially done. In the 60th, Lavezzi took a scary fall over the advertising hoardings, and was down for several minutes before being taken away on a stretcher, holding his elbow. In the 78th, Darlington Nagbe replaced Clint Dempsey, whose biggest contribution to the game had been to elbow Javier Mascherano in the neck in the first half. In the 82nd, Guzan did well to get low and parry a goal-bound Messi shot.

Argentina had time for one more goal, though, in the 85th minute. A poor pass from Bradley was bizarrely let go by Birnbaum and picked up by Messi, who darted into the box and squared for Higuain to shoot home unmarked. The US, conversely, finished with no shots of any kind.

Final thoughts

Argentina is the best team in the world right now, and the US looked miles away. There’s no shame in that, really. Only a few teams could match Argentina when they play with such confidence. If the team around Messi had played this well in 2014, they very well may have won the World Cup.

But it’s hard not to feel disappointed in the performance. The US has done better against big opponents in the past, and on this night, the team was never competitive. The missing men—Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood, and Alejandro Bedoya—would have made a difference, and Klinsmann was conservative when he might have been daring in replacing them, but in the end, Argentina is just so, so much better than the US that nothing would have changed the result of this game. What would have been nice is to feel like the US was playing the same game.

USA
1-Brad Guzan; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks, 23-Fabian Johnson; 19-Graham Zusi, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 15-Kyle Beckerman (3-Steve Birnbaum, 60), 9-Gyasi Zardes; 8-Clint Dempsey (10-Darlington Nagbe, 78), 18-Chris Wondolowski (17-Christian Pulisic, 46)
Subs not used: 5-Matt Besler, 12-Tim Howard, 14-Michael Orozco, 16-Perry Kitchen, 21-Edgar Castillo, 22-Ethan Horvath
Not available: 7-Bobby Wood, 11-Alejandro Bedoya , 13-Jermaine Jones
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

Argentina
1-Sergio Romero; 16-Marcos Rojo (15-Victor Cuesta, 84), 13-Ramiro Funes-Mori, 17-Nicolas Otamendi, 4-Gabriel Mercado; 8-Augusto Fernandez (6-Lucas Biglia, 59), 14-Javier Mascherano, 19-Ever Banega; 22-Ezequiel Lavezzi (18-Erik Lamela, 67), 9-Gonzalo Higuain, 10-Lionel Messi (capt.)
Subs not used: 2-Jonathan Maidana, 3-Facundo Roncaglia, 5-Matias Kranevitter, 7-Angel Di Maria, 11-Sergio Aguero, 12-Nahuel Guzman, 21-Javier Pastore, 23-Mariano Andujar
Not available: 20-Nicolas Gaitan
Head coach: Gerardo Martino

Scoring Summary
ARG – Ezequiel Lavezzi (Lionel Messi) 3′
ARG – Lionel Messi 32′
ARG – Gonzalo Higuain 50′
ARG – Gonzalo Higuain (Lionel Messi) 86′

Disciplinary Summary
USA – Chris Wondolowski (caution) 31′

Stats Summary (USA / ARG)
Shots: 0 / 14
Shots on Goal: 0 / 9
Saves: 5 / 0
Corner Kicks: 1 / 4
Fouls: 12 / 7
Offside: 2 / 9

Officials
Referee: Enrique Caceres (PAR)
Assistant Referee 1: Eduardo Cardozo (PAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Milciades Saldivar (PAR)
4th Official: Roddy Zambrano (ECU)

NRG Stadium; Houston, Texas
Attendance: 70,858

78 Comments

  1. Lucky Striker says:

    Wonderful night. Want to thank the Argentine MNT for taking time out of their busy schedule to kick American ass for just cause……just ’cause they needed it.
    Coaching masterclass by “Save the” Tatas Martino reminds the USA that their place on the world stage is pretty much that crusty gum spot that nobody can ever manage to scrape off with a razor-so they just cover it over with a flagpole.
    All American player grades =Joseph Blutarski’s GPA
    Used to be the one position America was decent at producing was keeper, which made sense for innate athletic reasons. Evidence of how far they’ve slipped that now they just line up a scared crow. Messi felt sorry for him. Told him where to stand for his FK-then told him it didn’t matter anyway…….
    Leo should be especially commended for showing up big all evening. Might be the first time he hasn’t tried to evade his responsibilities in any contest played in the state of Taxes….
    Hell; even Federico’s less talented sibling chipped in a brace.
    All the great leagues represented tonight:
    Siri Ah.
    Preemie League
    lol liga
    Bundles League A
    and ML less.
    Now that the preliminaries are over we can all move on to the main course when the Paun Stars face the Curtin Calls on Wed.
    Speaking of which:
    He might be a total scrub, but I think Philly could use that Ever Banega character. All they need is some Garber bucks to gazump (is that a word?) Inter. Guy looks good in blue at least. Get on it Stewie……….

    • el Pachyderm says:

      This is a masterclass. Perfect tone and rhythm. Thank you.
      .
      Five words to all those who think the outcome would have been different or even closer this means you Dear Author… if Jones, Wood and Bedoya were there…..and thereby allow for excuses that do not remotely hold as true…. Please see below.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Loved the “proper and realistic” renderings of the various leagues names! Genuine envy of the creativity. Most excellent, most excellent.
      .
      Paun Stars and Curtin Calls are equally well done, also, very well.

  2. Brooks looked like a pro. That was an impressive, dominating performance. Time to rebuild. Trust the process.

    • Except for goal #3, where he completely lost his man and then stopped playing hoping the off-sides flag would come up.
      .
      This game was so disappointing. Argentina didn’t even have to try that hard to score on us–we just gifted them all 4 goals. At least we tried to get the ball from them in the 2nd half…the 1st half was a complete embarrassment.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Five Words:
    .
    Angel DiMaria didn’t even play.

  4. The lineup we didn’t want. When every comment on Twitter with the word “Bradley” is bashing him… oh man.
    Wondo. Why?
    Just shy of embarrassing.
    The only thing the team had was heart. And futility. And…
    I’m going to bed

    – p.s. That goal by Messi

  5. Euro Snob says:

    Find a real goalkeeper, America – Messi’s free kick was not all that irresistible to any decent first division goalkeeper with even just an average amount of range. So much for your so-called “Euro Snob” crap, Jim Curtin. American goalkeepers have always been little more than cardboard cutouts and always will be, too. See you jokers at the next World Cup – IF you are lucky enough to qualify, that is.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      Your comments are welcome, Euro Snob (aka “der Fussballzuschauer aka Patagonia Pride,” aka “In Your Face America,” aka “Patagonian Pride,” aka “Valery Kharlamov,”). All we ask is that you have the decency to stick with one name when commenting.

    • No one saves that free kick. Messi put it exactly in the right spot. It was a phenomenal strike.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I did not see it.
        .
        Truly not even De Gea? (Or Blake? Just a little misplaced local pride!)
        .
        A home improvement project had me asleep in bed before tap.

      • I wish I had been involved in a home improvement project that made me miss that match. You’re so lucky.

      • I would say Guzan himself might have saved it, if he were more fundamentally sound. He hopped to the wall side of goal on approach and had to dive back. Of course, the key word is might. I certainly think there are keepers in the world who would have got a hand to it.

      • Let’s agree that Messi put that ball in what was the best possible place he could have. It was within inches of the top corner. Saving that kick would have been remarkable. It would have been the save of the tournament.

      • Agreed. That kick was delivered to the absolute perfect spot.

      • That hop is Guzan trying to cheat a little bit.
        .
        It is a necessary evil for keepers to cheat one way or the other sometimes to be able to cover the ground.
        .
        It is also a sort of example of a player giving another player too much respect. Guzan knows Messi is a great free kick taker and so, consciously or unconsciously, feels he needs to cheat to cover the goal behind the wall.

  6. Zizouisgod says:

    This match just further highlights that even at the highest professional level, how uncomfortable generally most American players are with the ball at their feet. Sure, we can play one touch and cycle the ball around, but when faced with defensive pressure, our default mode is to quickly get rid of the ball and run away from the player now in possession into open space. In other countries and cultures like Argentina, you play the ball to a teammate and you stay or even step towards the ball into tighter space. You’re saying to your teammate, “I’m here if you want to play it back” and many times they do in order to further draw the defense in. Very few American players have this trait and dare I say, it’s a cultural thing which is rarely cultivated at the youth level

    In the past, many US coaches have been able to work around this by making sure that their team is set up well tactically and to not worry about possession. From a results standpoint, we don’t have that option any more as Klinsmann is not that astute tactically and doesn’t really coach his team in the manner that’s needed at this level (and he didn’t have his best line up out there for his type of approach…whatever that is). So we get spanked 4-0 by a superior team.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I’m am totally dismayed this morning. People – the media are going to spin’ oh but if Jones what if Wood- the author of this piece even presents it as if that would have mattered..
      .
      None of it matters… you are dead correct- we were incapable of find two passes. Argentina picked spots to pressure but generally backed off and there’s Michael Bradley feeding a 40 yard ball to Zardes under 4 man pressure with no outlet.
      .
      We couldn’t even complete 2 passes. An UTTER failure of this so called Fanboy supported capped professional league.
      .
      I’m pulling no punches…. Total failure of US Soccer last night. Total failure of CONCACAF when u include MEX.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Not disagreeing at all. Did not see the game.
        .
        Sounds like the Argentines deserve some credit, though. When Kasey Keller saved Romario point blank however many years ago, Romario shook his hand spontaneously immediately.
        .
        UEFA and ConMeBol are the best. The rest of us are wannabes.
        .
        Long-term? USSF leaves ConCaLaugh and joins UEFA. Less corruption and a better competitive milieu for the national team. Some jet lag issues, so what? Set up a special biennial cup with Mexico and Canada for the Supremacy of North America. Play regular friendlies against Jamaica, Costa Rica and Honduras to try out new players.

        Regularly scheduled games that count against the top European national sides? Think about the developmental advantages over the long term, for both coaches and players.
        .
        Shorter travel distances than joining Conmebol. The potential money in the US market will attract either one, as long as ticket price do not epitomize greed.

      • Mexico failed. Brazil failed. The U.S. did not. A failure would indicate that last night’s result in some way wasn’t expected. The Argentine Football Association was founded in 1893, approximately 100 years before the U.S. began giving a semi-serious shit about the sport before the ’94 World Cup. It’s not as if this USMNT allowed the great gap in talent to happen in the last few years. We lost to the best national team in the world. That we could reasonably even be expected to compete on the same pitch is an honor.
        .
        Winning is going to take a lot of patience. Even in 10 years when Pulisic and Nagbe are veterans of the team, with more young promising talent coming up behind them, we won’t be at Argentina’s level.Catching up to Argentina is going to take at the very least a generation of development.
        .
        That does not mean we should be satisfied with the current state of affairs. We should not pound our chests proudly — a la Don Garber — a proclaim MLS to be one of the world’s elite leagues. But we should do what does not come naturally to Americans — have patience, work hard and not be frustrated with losing small international football battles. We are as a nation getting better. I believe it.

      • This is NOT about catching up to Argentina.
        .
        This is about catching up to America.
        .
        There is the America that should be and the America that is… we are chasing the highest expression of ourselves- which we short circuit.
        .
        Repeat…this is NOT about catching up to Argentina ……. Chile Germany Spain.
        .
        They become secondary rewards to catching up to ourselves. This is the essence of what i’ve argued for years here.

      • Three words: Not one shot. We needed Lin-Manuel Miranda.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I wouldn’t say it was a complete failure for CONCACAF. The US beat a middle of the pack team in Ecuador. Mexico beat another middle of the pack team in Uruguay. Panama, a lower level CONCACAF team beat Bolivia. So I think we see that the top of CONCACAF is around the same level as the middle of CONMEBAL.

  7. Flatter than a pancake, more timid than a turkey.

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    My wife summed it up best after the game when she said “I can’t believe I just wasted 2 hours.”
    .
    Regardless of whether Guzan should have played it better, it was a well taken free kick by Messi. Congratulations to him for breaking the national record of one of my favorite players, Gabriel Batistuta. (Of course it took Messi almost 50% more matches to score that many goals.)
    .
    Speaking of Guzan, last night he pretty much reminded the world that he just finished a season where his team finished last with only half as many points as the next to last team.

  9. Completely expected result. I was laughing at the Fox coverage team all picking USA except Fiore and the others were giving him crap for it. It’s a prediction NOT a wishful thinking exercise. I was disappointed in the team’s play (not the result per se). The lineup and subs were all pretty conservative, which was frustrating given all of JK talk of “going for it”. This was clearly NOT “going for it”. Just a poor performance all around, though really our backline wasn’t horrendous, just didn’t look good with Bradley and Beckerman coughing it up 20 yards from goal over and over. Team was pressing haphazardly and there was so much space in midfield in front of the back four, you could seriously place a aircraft carrier in there and not touch a single US player. Wondo…ugh I mean I didn’t really have a grudge against him, but that was just a bad bad game from him, unable to hold up play or even win headers. Dempsey…don’t have anything to say, not sure he was even on the field. Zusi seemed determined to kick the ball out of play every touch. Overall just a completely opposite performance from what JK was talking up, aka “fearless”. That team was so full of fear they could have been actors in a horror film.

    • I laughed at the predictions too. I tend to be a homer with “my teams” but not to an irrational level. Everyone and their mothers knew our odds of winning were crap.
      .
      Agreed with much of the other comments too. Lineup was not “going for it”. Too many turnovers in the middle from B&B. Too much aimless booting of the ball.
      .
      Wondo’s night was seriously as follows: 1) Light warm-up jogging for 30mins 2) take a minute to tackle Messi 3) Light cool-down jogging for 14minns.
      .
      .
      Really, this is not a “setback”, not a “disappointment”, not a “reality check”, not even really a “failure” – it simply is what it is – Argentina is ranked #1 in the world for a reason and the US is not even in the top 25 for a reason.
      .
      Still an opportunity to exceed the stated, pre-tourney goal on Saturday.

      • I don’t know if we get a result on Saturday either. The defensive weakness (really midfield weakness) has been there the whole tournament, we’ve just not faced a team capable of punishing us for it until Argentina and because Brooks played out of his mind in the past few games. Chile/Colombia are definitely capable enough of doing the same. What I really want to see it a true fearlessness. Screw the old guard, play the youth and see what happens.

      • Agreed, would be underdogs against both, but it still is an opportunity.
        .
        I would love to see the team get another crack at Colombia. Regardless of actually winning/losing the game it would be a good sign to see the team put in a better performance then when they played them in the first game.

      • dear god, if Chile were to lose to Colombia, it’d be last night all over again. our only shot at 3rd is a rematch

  10. How can a coach tell his players he wants them to be brave and go at the other team and put that line-up out? How can a coach prepare his team so badly that their press in the first half looked liked the Union’s last year? The press didn’t even seem to come together until Nagbe came in. I’m tired of having a cheerleader for a coach. There’s really no point in watching this team until JK is gone. Sunny boy, do the right thing and get a real tactician.
    .
    Please don’t misunderstand me. Argentina was, is, and will be for some time, the better team. Granted. Accepted. Understood. Oh and yes, the players played badly. So bad, that there are more than a few that shouldn’t see the field again. Guzan I’m looking at you. But a coach is supposed to put his players in a position to succeed, not hinder them before the match even starts.
    .
    I expected them to lose. I expected them to lose as a team. I didn’t expect to see a group of guys playing a game like a bunch of individuals. A bunch of individuals that seem to have never played together before. Call me when JK is gone. It’ll be fruitless until he is.

    • I couldn’t agree more. We no longer need to see Wondo or Beckerman, period. Great guys and work hard, still playing well in MLS. But they are not needed at the national level. Bad bad decision. Even so we would have lost

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      The other responsibility a coach has in this situation is to nurture young psyches not destroy them. Pulisic got 45 minutes on the pitch with the best team in the world o learn what it means to be there and what it takes to compete with them. Nagbe? Same.
      .
      And do not forget the diagnostic value of having your players tested against the very best.
      .
      Kilnsmann knew, privately, his side had no chance. The Argentina game was lost before tap. None of us like to admit that, but come on. The purpose of the Argentina game was to create the best possible environment to identify national team players for 2018 World Cup Qualifying, not to win. (Yes, saying it feels treasonous, even though it does not meet the Constitutional standard. [The legal definition of treason is actually in the Constitution itself.]). It may have found some candidates. It clearly winnowed others.

      • I can understand wanting to protect a young psyche. I don’t agree with it. But I can understand the idea behind it. If Pulisic can’t handle a Copa America semi final after playing in the Bundesliga, then there’s something wrong. And please don’t group Nagbe in there. He’s 25. Not a child, or a teenager.
        .
        I can also understand looking towards the future. But not in the middle of a tournament while you are in a semi-final. Reflection, contemplation, and evaluation should come after. All effort should be made to win what you are involved with at that moment.
        .
        And if planning for the future was truly the purpose then don’t claim you want your players to go at them and be brave when you as a coach start scared.
        .
        Sorry OSC, I can’t agree with you at all in this.

  11. pragmatist says:

    I wake up this morning with a great sense of hope for the USMNT. I honestly feel good.
    .
    Why, you ask? Because the status quo is not good enough, and any result that fortified that thinking would have been unacceptable.
    .
    We all know they aren’t good enough. Now we have proof on the international stage, and we are a laughingstock after that embarrassment.
    .
    Change. Do something different. Find a better style. Find better players. Do not play 35-year-old immobile poachers in one of the most important games in the program’s history. (Why was he even on the roster? Who cares…he was not the cause, just an example.)
    .
    The other truth that we should take away from this little tournament is that the US and Mexico both have a long way to go to matter outside of our little group. Neither is close to a world power, and both should stop pretending they are. We’ll both continue to beat up our CONCACAF little fish and feel good about ourselves every now and then. But we are reminded of our glaring inabilities on a regular basis in these games.
    .
    Yes, I know we’ve won a few big ones. But each time they won, or came close to winning, it was due to either a Herculean performance (Howard against Belgium), or multiple players having one of their best-ever games at the same time (against Spain, who also helped us by their performance).
    .
    Do better. Let’s go the Etch-a-Sketch route. Shake it up, clear it off and start over. This is not good enough.

    • Echoing your positive thoughts, you get better by challenging yourself and competing against the best.
      .
      Getting the opportunity to compete in this tournament, and potentially on a regular basis if the Gold Cup – Copa merger skuttlebutt is to be believe, will only be a good thing in the larger picture. In the short term though, it will suck because of the difference in the level of play.
      .
      Kind of like graduating middle school and starting high school sort of thing.

      • pragmatist says:

        Agreed. You may have been a big deal in your middle school where you had 30 kids in your class. But now you’re in a school with 2000 kids who are all just as good or better than you.
        .
        I’d like to think we’re up to the challenge. The painful part is that it will another 5-10 years before we see real change. We need a new generation with a new mindset. They’re not here yet.
        .
        But with Pulisic, Nagbe, as well as some of the younger players here and abroad (Gil, Greene, Hyndman, Carter-Vickers, Morris, etc.) there is hope. But I’ll hold off before practicing the folly of putting too many eggs in the basket of the team that couldn’t even qualify for the Olympics.
        .
        Damn…now I’m depressed again…

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      As I suggest above it the thread, leave Concalaugh [sic], join UEFA. Play Europeans regularly, in games that count not friendlies.
      .
      UEFA is a better choice than Conmebol because of shorter travel times and a greater number of strong teams, five to eight instead of two or three.
      .
      Australia joining the Asian federation sets the precedent.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I don’t think UEFA would have the US. Australia was in a situation where they were significantly better than everyone else in their confederation and it was a confederation where the best they could hope for was to get to a playoff against another confederation for a spot in the World Cup. They are now one of the best teams in AFC.
        .
        If the US was the best in CONCACAF or would be in the top tier in UEFA there might be an argument here, but their not either, so I don’t think there is a case for this change.

  12. Darth Harvey says:

    Only minor mentions on here of, in IMHO, the worst player on the field last night….Michael Bradley.

    He goes into cardiac arrest the second he is asked to be the team’s heartbeat, and this dates back to the last world cup. He didn’t complete a pass more than 10 yards until past the 60th minute when Argentina took the foot off the gas. I would love to see his passing %…I think it may have been negative through the first 30 minutes. He looks great when he dumps the ball to Giovinco to run on to and score but so would Keon Daniel. Choke artist.

    Speaking of choke artists…Wondo…He seems determined to find new and inventive ways to display his ineptitude. Dude couldn’t trap a deflated balloon with no one around him. “Oh no. I coughed up another ball directly to Messi…Guess I might as well give the best player in the world a free kick from the perfect distance from goal!” This should be the last time he plays meaningful minutes for the RW&B.

    JK…thank you for the experiments…it truly has been …uhhh fun????-ish???…but its time to retire to your home in Malibu…Beckerman=out…Bradley=go try out for the Canadian team…Wondo=we have a sun rocket here in Philly for you…Dempsey=thank you for your service, live off those sponsor deals now bro…Jermaine=display some emotional intelligence on your way out…Guzan=completely lost his edge…

    I expected us to lose…I expected Argentina to look way better than we did…I did not expect us to look like a group of spastic bipolar puppies on the field that love to ball watch and be in complete amazement of every touch Argentina had…

    If you need me…I’ll be on my rock at the Cliff of Endless Waiting for the US to improve

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I am 67. For the statistical majority of my life I did not know there was a USMNT, and I grew up a sports fan and aware of soccer’s existence as my father had played in high school in the 30s.
      .
      We have been making world cups only since 1990.
      .
      Instant gratification has its place, but so does historical perspective, don’t you think?

      • We’ve been playing the game for over 100 years in this country… how much longer do we have to wait to not be inept OSC?
        .
        — inept is the only proper word for last night.

      • I’ve said for years that my grandchildren will see beautiful American soccer. I’m 24.

    • Round of applause*

    • Hard to argue with anything you’ve written here, Darth. Bradley and Wondo, in particular, were terrible last night. It’s well past time for the next generation of USMNT players to step up and take over.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I get the arguments that Bradley didn’t play well this tournament. In fact he has been poor for awhile. However I do not get the people who say he is to old or get a different generation a 28 year old CDM should still have a place on the team if his skill level is up to par. Granted his hasn’t been, but its better then bringing out Dempsey Jones Beckermen etc all past the age of 34. I mean I can’t see any of them being on the 2018 World Cup team even if they US qualify. I mean in two years this team would be
        guzan 33
        yedlin 24 Cameron 32,Brooks 25 Johnson 30
        Bradley 30 Beckerman or Jones 36
        bedoya 31 Zardes 26
        Dempsey 35 wood 25
        Thats a lot of players getting up there in age. To me Dempsey Beckermen Jones and maybe even Cameron and Bedoya may not be worth putting on this team at that point. Although granted it will depend on Cameron and Bedoya’s play and fitness.

  13. I think it is worth mentioning because he is given so much flak usually, but Zardes was one of the, if not only, stater who looked up for the game.

    • I actually had the same thought.

    • I agree. I’m usually the first person to lob criticism at Zardes. I thought he was the only player to really show up.

    • Yes, he was definitely the best player on the US side.

    • Absolutely. He was the only one who looked like he was trying to play the same game that the guys in blue were playing.

      • Dr. Union says:

        He may have been trying to play the game, but if you noticed he was the first place Argentina attacked all day down that wing knowing him and Yedlin couldn’t handle the defensive responsibility.

      • All the more reason why Zardes should have started in his natural position up top with Dempsey.

      • I saw Zardes getting back on D plenty. And if he shaded upfield I could scarcely blame him anyway, since nobody else seemed interested in offense.

  14. lastguyoffthebench says:

    This game reminded me of U-9’s playing 5 v 2 for the first time in practice. Terrible touches, sloppy passing and too many hospital balls. They were outplayed and lost more than enough 50/50s.
    ————-
    The line-up was shite, tactics were shite, and that’s on JK. Wondo should not have stepped foot on the pitch.
    ————-
    Tired of the analysts praising USA. Anyone who really thought they had a chance to win this one with that XI was delusional. Lalas is just a smug bastard.

    • Great stuff…..CH-RIS. WON-DO-LOW-SKI. Arguably one of the finest america born , bred and homegrown first tier professional soccer players this country has produced…. and also….
      .
      The poster boy for MLS ineptitude at this level who strangely really only is called upon in the MOST important games we play…..LAUGHABLE… see and I wouldn’t brow beat the league SO bad were it not for this one statement……
      .
      “One of the best leagues in the world by 2022” —– and ‘you’re’ buying it. the “we’ve come so far”…blah blah blah….diving right in…. fanboys and fanboy media —- ummm that’s some tasty fruit punch……..

      • In fairness, even the 5 non-MLS defensive starters last night looked way out of their league and all were guilty of bad passes, mistakes, and mental lapses.

      • lastguyoffthebench says:

        I don’t think you can give anyone last night a player rating over a 5.0

    • I was watching the game with my son who plays in College. He was so frustrated by Bradley and his poor passes and the team’s inability to put 3 passes together consistently. Made me think where it all goes wrong and why the team is probably worse than Bradley’s team was 5 years ago.
      .
      There are plenty of good kids being developed up to age 15. Thereafter all seems to go wrong. Just look how Pfeffer was miss-managed. I saw Pfeffer play when he played for FC-Delco as a U16 player; he was brilliant. Soon after the Union gave him the contract and he became a bench warmer. He was lucky to play in Germany for a year but seemed to play a year up and sat on the bench again most of the time. Wish he had stayed in Germany longer and worked himself up (like Pulisic did). We need more players who get developed abroad. The development of the Academies here is just hopeless or let’s say hit-and-miss. They still mostly recruit big kids and do not spend enough time developing the technical smaller kids. They just do not get it that you may be better off developing a smaller kid than one who is 6’3″ or taller. I have some hope with the U17 National team that recently won a big competition but I am holding my breath and can see that most of these kids will get miss-managed (remember Pfeffer once played on that team and had a lot of success there….).

      • lastguyoffthebench says:

        I also think the problem is that some of these great athletes move on to other sports. I played with two kids that were in the regional and national pool. One was a forward with great speed that was converted a marking back, the other was a target player. They gave soccer up to play football in HS and were both MVPs of the league as RBs…
        ———————————-
        USA will never get to that next tier when soccer isn’t taken seriously. A country’s best and strongest sport is the one that is played in the poorest of areas… In this case basketball. All those hours on the court; now imagine if that were replaced with “on the field” or how many touches did I get today?

  15. Did I think that the USMNT was going to be able to beat Argentina? NO, however I was expecting the US to at least compete to show that they can go toe to toe with the “Big” sides. Honestly, I was hoping that the US gave Argentina a real shock by playing them tight and really not allowing them a lot of breathing room for the first 45 minutes with the score deadlocked at 0-0. Then at around the 60th minute, Aguero and Di Maria get subbed in and the US loses 2-0. We could have all been upset, but could at least have the pride that for long stretches of that game the US really showed how far they have come.

    Instead the US looked like they did not even belong in the conversation. Pretty much two hours of grown men indiscriminately blasting the ball around or out of play. There were times that I swore I was watching a Monty Python sketch…the Ministry of Silly Walks comes to mind by how our mid-field passed and dribbled the ball.

    Not having Wood, Bedoya, and Jones hurt the continuity that this team had built coming in and succeeding in this tournament. However with that being said, even with them the US still lose, though I think not 4 to nil.

    On a more positive note, it was great to see Pulisic trying and on occasion taking the ball with confidence, beating his man, and trying to spark some sort of attack instead of just swallowing the shit sandwich that the rest of the squad seemed to want to eat the entire match.

  16. The main problem last night is that the US simply could not keep the damn ball. The main culprit in that regard was Bradley, with Wondolowski being a close second. Of course, this is only because Dempsey couldn’t get near the ball in the first place.
    —-
    We don’t make CAMs in this country. I don’t know why exactly, but the US will never get to the next level until we do.

  17. OneManWolfpack says:

    By far the best free kick I have ever witnessed live (meaning on TV while watching a game). The balls to even think to put it there, are only outweighed by the balls to actually pull it off.
    .
    Bradley was the worst player on the field. Period. Did Toronto / MLS ruin him? He has regressed.
    .
    If Nagbe, Pulisic, and other young, future USMNT players don’t start the 3rd place game, then JK must be fired.
    .
    I never want to see Wondolowski in a US jersey again.
    .
    How many times were the US going to win possession, and then immediately give it back at like the 35-40 yard line. 10 minutes into the game I was already losing my mind about the giveaways… they continued all night. Awful.
    .
    I mean… I’m trying not to over react. Argentina is the #1 team in the world – literally. They should have won. And were going to even if we did have Jones, Bedoya, and Wood… BUT man… we got walloped. It shows just how far we have to go as a national team to truly compete at the highest level. I have faith we will approach it, for real, in my lifetime – I am 34 now.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      My last thought – sorry, couldn’t get it in before my edit window closed – JK says GO FOR IT! And then starts that lineup. WOW. It was a scared lineup. Just bad.

  18. Watching the game and observing only a few of the youngest (substituted) players hardly even make an impression into the match shows me that Klinsman ‘AGAIN’ did not even have a single player prepared properly for a world class opponent. (Coach’s grade = ‘F’). To watch some of the best players on the team not only under-perform the ENTIRE time, but to almost look COMPLETELY CLUELESS during the entire match, shows how totally intimidated they were to even be on the field, again coaching, or ‘the lack of’. To my dismay I still can not believe I witnessed our Captain (UN-CONTESTED) actually make more connecting passes to the opposing team instead of fellow team mates, and actually made more connecting passes to DEAD SPACE than he did to other team mates as well, is too much to believe, but I witnessed it ALL NIGHT LONG… When any professional team in ANY sport performs that bad collectively, as we all just witnessed, can only be attributed to the coach, esp for the selection of players actually playing in the game. Since Klinsman’s arrival I had some serious hopes of our team stepping up a level in their play… I WAS DEAD WRONG !!! There has been ZERO improvement since his arrival. Jurgen, TAKE YOUR MLS hating, germans are perfect pompous attitude and STICK IT UP YOUR ARSCHLOCH !!! DO OUR TEAM AND COUNTRY A FAVOR, GO BACK TO GERMANY…where you CAN’T & won’t find a job as a coach @ any level !!!

    • lastguyoffthebench says:

      4-4-2 wide diamond vs a fast paced technically gifted, high pressing 4-3-3 squad on a 78-80 yd wide field… smart decision on that one, JK (and literally jk).
      —————————
      With Wondo out there, USA could have really just kept him on the damn bench played a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1/5-1-3-1 to eliminate some of the damage.
      Why not have Beckerman and Bradley completely deep with no responsibility going forward… Zusi and Zardes wide with Nagbe in the hole and Dempsey up top (or switch of Dempsey and Nagbe)
      —————————-
      The communication and loss of runners passing through the defensive was just pathetic. Whether you are man marking or going zonal, get your shit together and get on the same page. They weren’t even in the same book, or same subject and left Guzan out to dry every single time. I don’t blame him for the non-save as he really couldn’t have done anything. Even if he charged he “probably” would have been late to Lavezzi and the result the same (GOAL), with a chance of getting carded after contact. If he stays on his line, Lavezzi brings it off his chest or foot because he was that wide open, and still slots it in (most likely). Leaving Messi wide open and not following Lavezzi didn’t really help the cause either.

      • lastguyoffthebench says:

        Technically they were deep the whole time and on their heels, because USA couldn’t sniff Argentina’s defensive third. The spacing was just terrible and tactics were out to lunch.

        How does Lalas keep getting work? ESPN, FS1… That arrogant, condescending sniveling putz is not tolerable for pre and post game talk.

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