RICH FIDLER - Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The United States went to Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday night and escaped with a one goal victory and the full three points thanks to a spectacular second half strike from Ricardo Clark.

Head coach Bob Bradley only made two changes from the starting eleven that beat El Salvador 2-1 on Saturday evening. Defender Oguchi Onyewu returned from his yellow card suspension to replace Chad Marshall while Aarhus' Benny Feilhaber was replaced in the midfield by Clark.

The home team nearly put the first goal on the score board in the 27th minute but goalkeeper Tim Howard came up with the save after Kenwyne Jones powerful header over Gooch was stopped on the doorstop.

San Jose Earthquake striker Cornell Glenn chipped Howard two minutes later after turning captain Carlos Bocanegra but his shot bounced off the crossbar.

Trinidad continued to push forward with the better opportunities, and Howard once again had to come to the rescue in the 37th minute. A free-kick from Trent Noel cleared the wall and forced Howard to dive to his right to save the shot destined for the back of the net, though the free kick would not have counted since it was indirect.

The US nearly scored in stoppage time when Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan played a fantastic "one-two" before Donovan's left-footed strike from inside the penalty area was saved by 'keeper Clayton Ince.

The US would score in the 62nd minute when Donovan played a ball to Clark 25 yards from goal. The Houston Dynamo midfielder took one touch to the top of the arc and slammed the ball past Ince with the outside of his right foot.

Immediately after the goal Bradley went to the bench and brought in Feilhaber for Altidore, pushing Clint Dempsey up top with Charlie Davies. Just 13 minutes later Brian Ching would replace Davies for the second change of the evening at Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Stuart Holden would join his two other Houston Dynamo teammates, Clark and Ching, in the 81st minute was the Americans' final substitute replacing Dempsey.

The late sub played a cross to Donovan just minutes before the full-time whistle that Donovan just skipped high of Ince's goal, in what would have been the visitors' second goal.

The Americans will convene for the final two games of the hexagonal at Honduras on Saturday, October 10th before finishing the qualification round at home on October 13th against Costa Rica with a birth to South Africa on the line.
Thursday September 10, 2009 5:22 pm
I think everyone is overrating bornstein's performance. how do you sit dolo and start that loser. he has no touch and panics on the ball. he played better, but let's be honest, t&t is a weak team.

The whole team looked tired. good to get the three points though. we still need to possess in the midfield and stop with the long balls.

nice outfit bob. wow.
i like tuesday
Thursday September 10, 2009 4:41 pm
Well, I was one player away from nailing the starting line-up in my sarcastic comment on the game preview post, but we didn't see Ching starting. 3 points is 3 points but the performance was atrocious. I think Dempsey's indifferent performances for this team are a symptom of an attitude problem that starts at the top with Bob "Sweatpants" Bradley. They just don't want to want to play for the guy. To me Bob Bradley's unwillingness to try any midfield pairing that doesn't include his out-of-form son is beginning to seem like a problem that will be exacerbated if J. Jones transfer is approved.

To me, Junior is just one of several young players at about the same level - why is he guaranteed 90 tactically challenged minutes every match? Is this really what's best for the team? How would we even know when we only see Bradley + 1 in midfield? Hoping Russia doesn't qualify and we can offer Hiddink a boatload of money. Then I think Bob should acknowledge conflicts of interest and resign, ironically citing a need to spend more time with his family.
Know Nothing
Thursday September 10, 2009 3:06 pm
Ron: A top 10 team, wow that one really boggles the mind. The FIFA rankings are a joke. To be a top 10 team to me means that you should routinely beat all the teams underneath you. There are at least 10 teams in Europe we would struggle to beat on a routine level.

That being said, this group does have a knack for rising to the occasssion against top opposition, like Spain, but takes for granted the fact they are not good enough to sleepwalk through matches and still expect a result, no matter the opposition.

Now if the US had players like Subotic, Jermaine Jones, and Guiseppe Rossi we would be greatly improved.
Thursday September 10, 2009 2:25 pm
I've seen a few people disparage the lack of individual talent among US players as one potential apology for Bradley's weak managerial skills. I have to wholeheartedly disagree for 2 reasons:

1) After a certain level of competency on the ball, team tactics and team play will dictate a game more than any individual player. Evidence: CONMEBOL qualifying. Our players (except for a couple that Bradley routinely calls up), have sufficient touch to play a different tactical game.

2) There is a wealth of talent that is percolating up in US Soccer. Anybody involved with high level youth clubs around the country knows this. We even have a few coaches at the youth level who understand the game enough to teach these kids compact possession futbol in the midfield. To be such a coach, you have to have played this style to understand its potency and how to engineer it through player selection. To be such a player, you have to have a coach who facilitates this style of play.

We are fit, strong, fast, and have enough touch on the ball. We just need coaches who nurture our creativity.
The Beagle
Thursday September 10, 2009 2:16 pm
Agreed that Bornstein had a solid game. He wasn't the reason for Team USA's mostly listless performance.

Someone who did NOT have a solid game: Dempsey. The case for Stuart Holden as starter is not a weak one, and is getting stronger.
Thursday September 10, 2009 2:15 pm
I used to defend Bradley Jr. as a player with reasonable touch, grit, and a decent shot. He seems like he is in a serious funk. Is he getting playing time in Germany? If not, Bradley Sr. needs to stand by his statement: if you are not getting regular playing time, you sit.

Bornstein's biggest problem is his decision making. This may stem from his youth or his lack of creativity. His touch is not actually that bad. His speed is decent for an outside back. In the El Salvador game, short of his wickedly-stupid shanked overhead "pass" and one bad give away across the middle under no pressure, he actually had a decent game. The same is true of the T&T game. The problem with this statement is that a defender who gives up the ball in danger on a regular basis, is not a defender you want on the field. Period.

As for Bradley Sr. being given his papers, Gulati has no idea how to identify quality or tactical vision. He doesn't know what US players are capable of. He has never played at a competitive level so he can't formulate an independent vision of the game. He's an economics professor at Columbia who loves the sport.

I like movies a lot, but that doesn't mean I should head a Hollywood studio. The real failure here might be at the level of the USSF.
Thursday September 10, 2009 1:13 pm
Another less than stellar performance. Did anyone see Bornstein's centering pass towards the end? Unreal. I loved how ESPN showed Bob Bradley in his short sweat pants that are too tight on the side line. If I put on a pair of sweat pants like that my wife would not let me leave the house. When you are the coach of the US Soccer team, a top ten team in the world you need to dress like it. It is so clear to me that none of the players identify with this loser of a coach.

Another huge problem is the lack of calls we get, or bad calls against us. Having a real Euro coach would also help in that area as the refs, especially the refs at the WC, would have to respect our coach. Can you imagine Capello, or Fergie wearing sweat pants at a must win world cup qualifying match?

We need to go with Howard between the pipes (how many great games can this guy play), Spector, Gooch, Demerrit and Boca in the back (Dolo and Wynne and fill in), Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley and Clark in the MF, and Davies and Altidore up top. This is the team that gives us the best chance to win. Ching, Altidore, and Casey Conner have no business wearing the RED, WHITE and BLUE.

Feilhaber is right behind Clark, but right now, Clark is ahead based on that shot. That shot may be out ticket to South Africa.

I hate the coach, but I still love this team.
Know Nothing
Thursday September 10, 2009 1:04 pm
So you all want Bradley gone...who would you want as a replacement?

Personally, given his record with national teams in the same situation as ours, Guus Hiddink would be a good choice. He could be available if Russia fail to qualify for the WC.
Thursday September 10, 2009 11:21 am
I agree with TH. We can't realistically dump Bradley right now. Unless Jose Mourinho or someone like that gives Gulati a call there's too much risk for the potential reward.

Feilhaber was the best thing to come out of this for me. He played with some bite for once and brought his usual fluid passing and control. Granted, the goal changed things but we looked like a different team as soon as he came on. He's getting stronger and deserves to be starting in the center of the park. Especially if Bradley junior doesn't sort it out.

I hate to admit it but Bornstein had a solid game. He's still not good enough but he came through tonight.
Thursday September 10, 2009 11:16 am
don't care who says what. Howard is the best you can ask for in a keeper ask any opposing team and they will tell you. there is a saying that america produces only keepers..
people i have read people wishing for arena back.. what do we want to develop or stand still.. we need to move forward guys we have come a long way and since 2002, we have been flat and haven't improve 1bit... the USMNT is like the washington redskins... everyyear u expect some good performance and then they jus out rite suck.. we can't settle for just a meek 1 goal win against T&T. that is how you make everybody look as you as weak.. this is a game of rating other teams... every to comments i read there is that element of luck. Demp is tired of BB and don't think he needs to world any harder for what. they have no style of play, he jus hasn't hard the balls to call BB out yet jus as Henry did over the weekend. but when we lose to Hunduras people will know what i have been saying all this while and it will be @ least 3 goals to zero and i'll gladly bet anybody... im a fan who will not settle for nothing less than a good football game. thats the fun in it all.
Hunduras and Costa Rica are now looking at our films and its easy from the beginning pressure on the left and it is the weakest leak.. its that simple and will win.. T&T did the same they were jus not lucky enough..
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