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BRENT LATHAM - Friday, June 26, 2009
Well, I owe everyone on the US team an apology. In no way, at least on this night, were they outclassed by their Spanish opponents, as I said they would be.

Last night was an amazing evening in the history of US soccer, without a doubt. The discussion of what this victory means to the game in America will go on for a while, and I'll have my chance to chime in I'm sure. For the time being, sufficed to say that the way the US played was even more impressive than the final scoreline. Spain, characteristically, had more of the possession, but the US dominated the game, and can be said to have deserved the victory. There was little luck involved, and that in itself is an amazing thing.

The Game

One of the most remarkable things about the US performance is that it was hard to pick out the best player on the US. Everyone, from Altidore and Davies up front, to Tim Howard between the pipes, had a just about perfect game. Ricardo Clark and Michael Bradley were nothing less than spectacular in the midfield, and Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey showed the top notch class that Americans know they are capable of. The Americans refused to back down, and that seemed to intimidate and frustrate the Spanish.

I said yesterday that I'd like the US to play straight up against Spain, even though they would likely take one on the chin. But the Americans managed a hybrid between bunkering down and all out attack, and it suited the US to a tee. The midfield moved forward cautiously but aggressively, and there were few giveaways that caused immediate danger.

Bob Bradley

The question I find myself asking now is, do we have a new Bob Bradley on our hands? I know there are still a lot of detractors out there, tired of almost two years of mediocrity, but as I said after the Italy game, I think the coach has evolved tactically with time. The Brazil game not withstanding, the coach has sent a team out on the field ready to win each match of the Confederations Cup. That he didn't opt to bunker down against Spain shows that evolution.

It's my opinion that the coach has been scared straight. What his detractors, including me, have complained about in the past is the downside of bunker ball a boring game with only a few chances to win each game. But the wry smile on his face after the Egypt match suggested the coach, like his players, is now liberated from the shackled mentality of looking to keep the game close and be a hard team to play against. If Bradley has realized that sort of game isn't going to take the US anywhere but home, and fast, we can expect more performances like this in the future.

Obviously there's lots more to come in the days heading up to the final, but right now I'm headed north to Johannesburg. Check in a little later!
Wow
Saturday August 15, 2009 2:13 am
Amazing! Unreal!

But has Bob evolved? Yeah, since EGYPT he has decided to play offense. In the end, his defensive paranoia was a key ingredient against Spain.

But the bucket formation won't work as well against Brazil, who get most of their buildup play out of Ramires, Robinho, Kaka, and Maicon, rather than just Xavi and Fabregas.

But, we'll see how it goes. I just hope we're in it till the end.
Ilya
Friday June 26, 2009 2:49 pm
I agree with Scarlettatl. Beas is very special player; he is only 27 and would shine again. He needs a regular club job, preferably back to Holland, and I do not understand why he wants to stay in Rangers.
Chuck
Thursday June 25, 2009 2:05 pm
It's nice to complement Donivan & Dempsey but we should expect that kind of play from them. We are definitely not Word Class in the center.

The game was won in the back. Howard was fantastic and the 4 backs were solid & consistant. Good Job Lads
Ravey
Thursday June 25, 2009 12:51 pm
You said, "That he didn't opt to bunker down against Spain shows that evolution."

Every newspaper in the world said they bunkered down. Did you watch the same game? USA had 4 shots man. I agree Bob has learned his lesson, but he has learned his lesson against Brazil, "NO OPEN GAME, MUST BUNKER DOWN."

You can't be serious and say the US technique was equal to Spain's?

He tried playing an open game against Brazil and got thrashed.

USA deserved the win, and played great, took Spain out of their game the first half. Spain wasn't expecting it. But, to say they played offensive, or didn't bunker down is not to realistic, especially since much of the foreign press are saying it was a great bunker down strategy.

so VIVA USA and their strategy, soccer is great because things like this happens in soccer. Beautiful!
Scarlett
Thursday June 25, 2009 12:26 pm
Wow Beasley only just turned 27!! He's had a bad spell of injury, poor fitness/form and broken confidence. Criticism is one thing but its unbelievable how many US fans how turned on this loyal servant so quickly and resolutely. For years this guy has been one of the US Nat's best players. I'll agree he doesn't deserve to be in the line up at the moment but unless he has a career ending injury, he still has potentially several good years left. A bit of support for this player at this time in his career would be a better than the treatment he's received recently from so-called American fans.
Tom Keene
Thursday June 25, 2009 12:10 pm
All I want to know is when does Jermaine Jones play his first match for USA. Please give Beasley a nice gold watch and thank him for his service..but he is done. And what does it say about our own league when a talent like Davies is having to play in Sweden?. The guy is busy, annoying to the defense and confident. Dad Bradley should give his boy a good whippin'...his reckless tackles are useless.
Charlie G.
Thursday June 25, 2009 10:24 am
Thanks for this column ! I have similar feelings today...hopefully, a bit of evolution in playing style, of confidence. Its spectacular to watch what seemingly small changes have on the effectiveness of the team as a whole - more trust in the D line with DeMerit (!) and Spector, and then being able to add a bit of danger up top with Davies and Jozy...think that Ching would be much more effective with Davies as well.

Maybe the style is a bit "rope-a-dope" (the King, Ali for the younger readers)...backed into corner, cover-up, tack some puches and demoralize your opponents, and then unleash a few choice blows...

I'm willing to cut Bob some slack for being willing to play more straight-up, as I know this can't work everytime, but yesterday was a great birthday present !
dude
Thursday June 25, 2009 8:52 am
Amazing! Unreal!

But has Bob evolved? Yeah, since EGYPT he has decided to play offense. In the end, his defensive paranoia was a key ingredient against Spain.

But the bucket formation won't work as well against Brazil, who get most of their buildup play out of Ramires, Robinho, Kaka, and Maicon, rather than just Xavi and Fabregas.

But, we'll see how it goes. I just hope we're in it till the end.
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