BRENT LATHAM - Sunday, June 21, 2009
Well, the wins over Mexico and Portugal in 2002 were probably more important, but it's been a while since the US has had a victory like this. The team came out loose and flowing, spurred by Landon Donovan and Charlie Davies, and put three (it could have been more) on an Egyptian team that was clearly not ready for the US. It was a role reversal on what the Americans usually do in the third game of these tournaments.

The Line-up

Coach Bradley made a few tactical changes that worked well. Guzan was a surprise in goal - the rationale being to get him a high pressure game in an environment like this. That was accomplished, but I'm no sure anyone, Coach Bradley included, thought the game would end up meaning so much. But El Gusano acquitted himself well at any rate.

The other change that mattered was the insertion of Charlie Davies. The Hammarby man teamed with Josmer Altidore to torment the Egyptian back line, and he scored a nifty goal which sent the Americans on their way. While it wasn't a masterstroke to bring on Conor Casey, or to keep a substitution in hand when the midfield or defense could have used some shoring up, let's give Coach Bradley some credit tonight.

Coach Bradley, Take 2

Speaking of which, maybe we should all just back off the Bradley must go theme for a while. The arguments are out there, everyone knows them, and yet Coach Bradley is not going anywhere. Again I'm no Bradley apologist, but Sunil Gulati spoke clearly after the match, and Bradley is staying, at least for now.

The US announced its Gold Cup roster today, and the team is mostly the young guys everyone, including me, wants to see play. So we're in luck - there's a much less pressure packed tournament coming up for Torres, Adu, and Davies to really show off their stuff.

I've got to run, it's 2AM and the media center has cleared out in Rustenburg. Tomorrow we'll be on the road south to Bloemfontein, where a rested Spain awaits the upstart Yanks on Wednesday night. As always, we'll be live, this time for an unexpected semi-final date with the World's best. See you soon!
spliff city
Wednesday June 24, 2009 8:18 pm
Quit doubting... The USA took the match to Spain today in every sense of the word. Landon Donavan was impressive. Tim Howard was spectacular and the central defense combo of Onyewu & DeMerit was solid.

Nuff Said... Bring on the Brazil/So. Africa winner.
Tuesday June 23, 2009 5:56 pm
A one time victory over a flat Egypt team doesn't automatically make US a good team, and much less make Bob Bradley a good coach. USA CAN beat any team in the world, that's no doubt. Good teams are consistent, and understanding your abilities, players, strengths etc. helps make a good team. Egypt was more on the US level of play, however they underestimated the Americans, and that is NO DOUBT! The first half of the USA-Egypt game could have gone either way. USA did not overpower the Egyptians like Brazil did the US in the first halves. And US was flat against Brazil...

So everyone who is going wild in the streets need to calm down and re watch the game carefully. If you still believe because 3-0 victory over Egypt makes you a quality team, you should take some reality pills!

Donavan-Box and Mike B. did a great job and showed there needs a few NEW pieces/players on the team, to elevate the LEVEL of the team!

US can have a great team, and Bob Bradley is not the guy to do it.
Ed C.
Tuesday June 23, 2009 7:36 am
"Match"? I thought we played "games" in the USA?!?! You going limey on us Brent?

Yes Chaz, I agree with giving Rossi the sucka punch and knocking his team out of the competition. As a Jersey boy he should have had more respect for the country of his birth!
Tuesday June 23, 2009 12:14 am
I suspect this is the logic crack addicts employ, beaten wives that stay with their monster husbands, and Cubs fans employ... Italy collapsing against Brazil worse than we did and usmnt getting a strong result against a flat egypt and all of the sudden USA is top flite again? uh, sorry folks, I just don't buy it.
Monday June 22, 2009 10:39 pm
Match of 10 Years? Please. In my opinion, this victory should be expected. Until we begin to expect to win games like this we will be a third tier soccer nation. I even expect them to take the pitch on Wednesday expecting to win. ANY athlete who does NOT expect to win when in competition is not the caliber of athlete I want to watch. I expect the boys to enter that toilet Estadio Azteca and win there. I'm still P.O.ed that we lost in Costa Rica. It matters NOT any of the excuses that I've read over several different forums for why that game was lost.
So, in conclusion, every SINGLE player on the USMNT should EXPECT to win EVERY game they play or they should retire and make room for the athlete who does.
Monday June 22, 2009 3:32 pm
good to see that beasley was not playing. he is not NT deserving. i am more and more impressed by spector. he is a good defender that is a viable threat on the overlap. his cross to dempsey was perfect. beckham would be impressed. donovan ran with the ball beautifully with excellent distribution (except for his pass to altidore which should have been a strike on goal). he showed his skill and vision in this game. dempsey on the other hand, i love watching him with fulham, but with the NT, he just doesnt seem to create much. his defending has been terrible. at one point toward the end of the game when egypt was pressing and getting chances and we could not keep the ball for more than two seconds, dempsey had the ball on their end and was trying to kill time, but had the ball taken away in which he fell down and was late getting up and just walking back toward midfield while egypt was pressing for the needed goal. he seems like he has the fire, but he is a lazy defender. almost like he is too cool to defend or hussle back. he had one play where he turned the ball over at midfield which led to an egypt attack in which they almost scored, but the ball came back to dempsey in the 18 in which he again lost it which turned into more pressure. not good. i think he should sit a game to make him more hungry. he is good, but needs a kick in the butt.
Monday June 22, 2009 11:19 am
From Michael Bradley's post game comments its obvious that he was feeling the pressure- if the Egypt game is the result- I say keep up the pressure on the entire team. Since it's obvious that Sunil "superfan" Gulati is sticking with Bob no matter what, vociferous criticism may be the only type of pressure he'll ever feel. We all know how easy it is for Team USA to get complacent and overvalue their own abilities so laying off of him and his team is probably the biggest disservice we as fans can do at this point.
Furthermore while we can all delight in the Egypt result it would be foolhardy to overlook the critical mistakes that continue to dog this team: our inability to finish easy chances- what was Donovan thinking trying to pass! If that were Spain, Brazil or Italy that might be the only chance we get. Defensive lapses- you can bet that Spain will punish us where Egypt left us off the hook. Bradley's tactical handling of the game may have been sufficient to beat Egypt but it will do us no favours against Spain.
Adam Y
Monday June 22, 2009 9:24 am
"If he continues to GO FOR GOALS like he did in this game, he might actually, Eventually, be a deserving coach. But he isn't. He's going to try to out defend Spain."

Seriously? We can't "out-offense" Spain. Can we out-defend them? Can we control the midfield like we did against Egypt? "Probably not" is the best-case answer for all of those questions. Bob Bradley is not going anywhere until after the World Cup so everyone needs to let it go. Against Spain he's should and probably will try to make it difficult in all aspects of the game for Spain to get rolling, while also emphasizing no sloppy tackles or dubious cards in the process. It's an uphill battle no matter the strategy though. If our boys approach the game with the intensity and will that they displayed against Egypt then they can make a game of it. However, Spain hasn't won 15 straight matches for no reason: they might be pretty good.
Monday June 22, 2009 4:27 am
Match of the decade? That just shows how far we've regressed since '02. Aside from yesterday, we never score during the run of play. We score all our goals from set pieces against shorter Latin American players. No creativeness on the ball or Bradley just won't play those players(Adu, Torres) Hope they play in the Gold Cup. We're doomed against Spain. 2-0 would be a success.
David R.
Monday June 22, 2009 1:26 am
Until the U.S. fields a team of creative ball handlers, the U.S. will never make it out of the first round on a consistent basis. Sure, it might happen as fluke, but not because the U.S. fielded a stronger team. Win 1 lose 2 is not a reason to celebrate. 20 year old Adu should be given the same opportunity as a 19 year old Altidore, Beasley, or Donovan. The U.S. coaches are running out of excuses for not playing Freddy. Lack of defense has not hurt Bradley or Dempsey. As for not being fit, Freddy can do the professional trot for the whole game like Bradley and Dempsey. Would he get away with that? NOT!!!
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