You are likely playing CB for Cass Tech, see past UM recruiting....
6/22/2014 – USA 2, Portugal 2 – 1-0-1, Group G
I had an internship in Austin when I was in college, and fell in with some guys who played roller hockey in the parking lot. We were a motley crew; I was near but not quite at the bottom in terms of skill. This is always my critical point: I have to be obviously not the worst guy. I was at least fourth from the bottom here, which marks my personal athletic best.
We would take breaks because it was summer in Texas. During those breaks we would discuss how close we were to dying at that very moment, because we were engineers playing roller hockey in summer in Texas. But there was this guy. He had a ponytail and did not look like an engineer. He was not skilled either. When we took our breaks to pound water in our faces and discuss how narrowly we had avoided catastrophic death, this guy would be flying around the parking lot at top speed. He did nothing except take laps.
We looked at him like he was out of his mind. He kept skating. Endurance is rarely spectacular, but when it is, it really is.
Jermaine Jones probably doesn't know what hockey is, let alone the variety that comes on fake ice skates. He is nonetheless that guy, running and running and running even after he should fall over and expire. This has always been more or less true, but now that he's been well and truly released by the presence of Beckerman, he is something to marvel at. He's probably taking laps at halftime.
And then this gets into what it is to America. I read one of the pile of articles about how Klinsmann was or was not making American soccer more or less American and got irritated at various assertions but particularly this one…
"Largely due to an influx of continental players, the U.S. team has options now and is reaching beyond its previous identity, the way a toddler goes from a crawl to a walk. "
…because it just couldn't be more incorrect. The Influx Of Continental Players is basically Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones and the occasional substitute appearance, hardly unusual world-wide. Spain (Spain!) started a recently naturalized Brazilian striker. The US lost Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic to Italy and Serbia, respectively. Meanwhile, the United States has long been on the lookout for anyone technically American, no matter how vague the connection. Having the son of a soldier stationed overseas on the team dates back to at least Earnie Stewart. The teams that won't poach a dubiously authentic Insert Nationality Here if given the opportunity start and end with Brazil.
But anyway I bristled at this assertion that the USA's surging fortunes were due to some unprecedented wave of educated foreigners to the point that I left a snotty comment, which was this:
There are all of two dual-nationals who are projected to start, and one of them is the most stereotypically American player in the 11: Jermaine Jones, a physical and endurance marvel who's about as creative as a brick.
And he is! You could not carve a more American defensive midfielder out of apple pie. He may as well be running around the field in a stovepipe hat, all industry and impossible running 80 minutes into a game played in a convection oven.
It's not often that you can see a guy playing sports and go "whoah" just because he's running in a straight line faster than the other guys around him. Those moments are usually reserved for the Denard Robinsons and Usain Bolts of the world. Even next to the indefatigable Bradley, though, Jones makes you marvel. When US shirts had descended into sheer, soaked clingfilm, Jones was still roaring around.
The US got their grip on the game, and this time it was Portugal dropping out exhausted as the US kept coming on. I said after the Ghana game that I had seen this before, and it does remain a real thing about this team: they will never stop coming.
Then friggin' Ronaldo had to go and do his Ronaldo thing—actually his un-Ronaldo thing—to spoil the party. If you had given me any odds that Ronaldo was going to doodle around and then fire in a shot from a bad angle that was still scary I would have taken it. Ronaldo doesn't cross. Are we rubbing off on people? I certainly hope not.
After it was over I collapsed on a stool, wrung out. I had not been there, but my legs, stomach, and assorted other vaguely aching bits would disagree with this assertion. Jones had fired in a piledriver of a goal that felt like it was coming as he and Bradley took turns calibrating their rifles in the first half; I had done a series of involuntary squats at chances squandered on both sides.
Thirty seconds from freedom; instead another lap. Okay. We have legs yet.
It happens. Stray into a comments section today and you'll get some dude screaming about how Bradley should be deported for overall suck, and I'm just like… no. Bradley managed to put a ball from two yards on to a defender's knee, sure. Here is The Best Player In The World afforded a chance from not quite the same range but not much further:
juuuuuust a bit outside
The number one rule of soccer is that it is hard and you mostly look dumb trying to do it.
The late turnover is also a thing that happens; Bradley had a poor first touch, then set up to wall off the Portugal player who was trying to get the ball off him. he found misfortune when that guy happened to be Eder, who is about 30 pounds heavier than anyone else on the field and made a play that was seemingly way out of his wheelhouse by deftly stripping the ball without fouling.
It still took three subsequent major errors and a perfect cross for anything to come of it.
If the above still had been the goal instead of the sad thing that transpired in the 95th minute people would be bitching about Dempsey and Beckerman, who conspired to turn it over and create a break. When you complain about something that happened after six more touches, none of which had anything to do with the initial turnover, you are just venting irrationally.
Bradley was much, much better in this game than against Ghana, opening up the Portugal defense with accurately placed balls down the wing and harrassing Moutino into a performance that lacked impact. A turnover well on the Portugal side of the field is just that: a turnover. Which happens.
The real question. What is even the point of Omar Gonzalez? Specifically brought in to deal with crosses late, Gonzalez ends up higher up the field than four other American players on the fatal break.
Gonzalez dead center, higher than Jones
If he is even with Besler in the center of a three-man back line he cuts that cross out well before it gets anywhere near Varela and everyone goes home happy. Instead he's somehow gotten dragged into the midfield. When Bradley loses the ball he is literally at the halfway stripe!
I don't get it. It makes sense to bring the guy in to clog up the box with about three minutes left. So why isn't he doing it?
Tactical shift, quicktime. The official lineup released by the US had Zusi on the left and Bedoya on the right, presumably because Bedoya's higher work rate and defensive ability would come in handy against Ronaldo. The fifth minute goal seemed to change that:
Bedoya left, Zusi right, after 5 minutes. Before that they were flipped.
After the US went down Zusi moved over to a spot where his right foot was better situated to have an impact. Note Zusi's tendency to stay tucked in so Fabian Johnson could bomb down the right, exploiting the space that Ronaldo refuses to track back on. For 94 minutes he was a liability.
Zusi then flipped back to the left when Yedlin came on, which is where the assist on Dempsey's goal came from, a sweetly hit short cross from his left foot.
Immense. Matt Besler just turned in one of the finest performances I've seen from a US center back in… ever? Possibly ever. Oguchi Onyewu has to get a mention here for battering out approximately a mole of crosses from Spain in the Confed Cup (oh man now I just thought about having Gooch in this game instead of Gonzalez and now sadness reins).
Other than that, Besler's high up there. Besler's positioning and instincts were impeccable here. The high point was probably the break he snuffed out at midfield just as everyone was getting their Ronaldo panic on. He was near flawless.
Immensely variable. Cameron, Besler's partner, had a major hand in shutting down Ronaldo all night. He also scuffed a clearance right to Nani for the opener and got beaten in the last minute. I don't know, man. Obviously both those things are very bad. But outside of those very bad things Cameron has been consistently good for the US, anywhere you put him. I think he'll put an admittedly game-wrecking performance behind him.
I mean, there's a poor clearance and there's a poor clearance that happens to be the absolute perfect ball to Nani. As with Bradley, I'm trying to chalk up Cameron's error on what it was instead of the result.
Are you five-foot-eight and fast as a guy with flaming pants? If so, stop playing basketball. Stop playing football unless you are Dennis Norfleet. You aren't making it big in either of those sports. Best-case scenario, the one in 300 million scenario, is that you are a role-playing freak show for a few years. It's not bad if you can get it, but you probably can't.
Soccer, though: DaMarcus Beasley is 5'8". DeAndre Yedlin is 5'8". All those terrifying buggers like Christian Atsu and various other Ghana midges are 5'8". Brazil brings on a 5'5" guy(!).If you can run all day and change directions quickly but tend to disintegrate on contact because you are a wee thing, get thee to the soccer field. For America.
The US wins the group with a win over Germany and finishes second with a tie. The prospect of a wink-wink draw with the Germans is there, as it would guarantee both teams advance and Germany would avoid (presumably) Belgium in the first knockout round. At the very least expect both teams to play defensively.
If the US loses things get into goal differential with the winner of the Ghana-Portugal game. Portugal would have to make up their 4-0 loss in the opener; Ghana just has to make up a one-goal loss. The US is out if they lose 1-0 and:
- Ghana wins by two goals, or
- Ghana wins by one in a goal blizzard (3-2 at least)
- Portugal wins by five
So root for Portugal in the other game. Barring unlikely outcomes, the US enters the final match with a two-and-a-half goal cushion on Ghana and a five-and-a-half goal cushion on Portugal.
That's still a pretty good situation.
The Germans are close to healthy. Right back Jerome Boateng was lifted at halftime of the Ghana game with a hip injury of some variety and may or may not be available. Thomas Muller took a nasty collision right at the end of the Ghana game but is not seriously damaged and should be fine for Thursday. Everyone else is good to go.
After a German walkover of Portugal, they struggled against Ghana. The 2-2 draw was closer to a Ghana win than vice-versa as the Germany D struggled to keep pace with Ghana on counters. Germany's outside backs were particularly poor at both ends, and not unexpectedly: both the starting right back, Benedikt Howedes, and Boateng's replacement, Shkodran Mustafi, are center backs at club level. Boateng is a bit more versatile but is still primarily a center back. (Germany's using Phillip Lahm as a holding midfielder for some reason—really makes you wonder if Germany would have both Jones and Johnson on their roster if they had not switched to the US.)
It's the offense bit that's worrying. Germany has about a half-dozen world-class attackers, and even though one's out with a pre-World Cup injury they've still got a pile of dudes more talented than anyone the USA's got.
Knowing they only need a draw, The US is likely to reprise their 4-2-3-1 from the Germany game in an attempt to keep possession for long stretches and remain compact at the back.
This is exactly what I thought of the other day! I bet Terry Richardson, Delonte Hollowell, and sans-pellet gun Boubacar could've been pretty good soccer players.
So we should convert Cass Tech from a largely disappointing football factory to America's #1 school for awesome soccer buggers? I am in favor of this
If Jones gets a yellow against Germany, should the US advance is he out of the first game in the knockout stage?
Yellow cards don't reset until after the quarterfinals.
The 3rd central defender is our team's version of the American football prevent defense - it usually causes the other team to score. JK did the same vs Nigeria late with the 3rd central defender and we promptly crapped the bed. Seems to put the players out of sorts when we go to this formation.
Is he supposed to be positioned as if he were a 3rd center back, making the back line 5 guys? Or is he coming on as completely defensive midfielder?
From what Brian wrote it sounded like they had it up way up on the pitch. Which sort of defeats the purpose. I think it might be better to put a Timmy Chandler in (not that I am a fan of his) as another defensive midfielder rather than a pure defender who is drifing up to the midfield line.
This allows Beasley and Johnson to press their wingers and allows the US to still maintain an extra defender at the back (Besler, Cameron, Gonzalez) against Portugal (Eder and Bruno Alves who left his CB role to play striker).
I put the blame for the goal on Gonzalez (way too far forward, he should be the deepest player) and Beasley who let Ronaldo pick up his head and wait...wait...wait and then cross to a flying in Eder. If Beasley made him pass that sooner (by pressing) Eder doesn't get to that or if he does he hits it 2-3 yards deeper giving Howard time on the ball. I understand Beasley doesn't want to get burned by CR and let CR walk into the box but 1) CR is clearly hurt and making 2-3 cuts (that CR wouldn't normally have an issue with) and then hitting a good shot seemed unlikely and 2) that's not his job. If he gets beat and then there's nobody there that's on Gonzalez and Beckerman and Jones. I do however think Jones would have gotten there, he wasn't going to lose if he had any say in that matter.
I agree with the Gonzalez criticism, if he is indeed supposed to be the deep CB. Given his positioning, I think that's highly unlikely. I think he's supposed to be in front of the other two, taking away anything in "the hole."
That said, whether Gonzalez was supposed to be there or not, Cameron could have and should have gotten to that ball.
Don't misunderstand me: other than the poor clearance and that play, Cameron had another great game. But he missed his mark on the decisive goal, and the criticism is deserved.
In that situation, is there any reason why the defenders wouldn't stay further back (say closer to the goal line) than they were in the picture Brian posted above - the one with Gonzalez further down the field than Jones? This isn't a criticism, I'm just wondering if there's a downside to doing so.
negate just about any chance of Portugal being offsides in a counter situation. Renaldo could cheat all he wanted down the field.
That makes perfect sense. Thanks.
CR7 found himself offside on a number of occasions, and on at least one, he basically just stood there, knowing he was so far offside he'd never get back. On another, he had 3-4 of his teammates with him. Nothing like timing the offside trap so that the entire attacking section of your opponent is offside.
Contrast that with Dempsey's goal, where IIRC the Portuguese defender is sliding to prevent a cross, but by his presence also preventing anyone from being offside.
There's some value in staying behind the midfield line in the stoppage time situation, but not too far. I think the downside in camping out atop the penalty area is you have just allowed the opposition to move down 80% of the length of the pitch without challenge, and let them get there more quickly. With or without the ball, as you've moved the offsides line back with the last defender (not counting the keeper).
I have no problem with the defenders not falling farther back. My problem is with them ball-watching as Ronaldo made his break. The problem was between the defender's ears (no doubt contributed to by the physical and mental exhaustion of the game in Manaus).
That being, just like ... my opinion, man.
My initial reaction was the same as yours. Cameron was watching the ball rather than the man, and it caused him to slow down a step which gave Portugal's man the opportunity in the box. But as you said, at that point the physicial/mental toll of the game probably led to that. I don't see any reason to blame anyone for the draw. Bradley had a tough play to make, especially surrounded by 4 POR players, and Ronaldo just made a play that great players make.
I agree with the sentiment that "blame" is probably the wrong approach. But Cameron (in particular) not marking is about as teachable a moment as Klinsmann is going to find, and is very correctable.
People blaming Bradley for the goal seems way off to me - you lose possession sometimes, and you've got defense behind you just for that reason. I thought Bradley played poorly against Ghana, but a lot of folks are unduly harsh on him following Portugal, IMO.
And we can't forget that the game ended on an exceptional play. Ronaldo put the ball right where it needed to be, and Varela made a fantastic play too. All at full speed and under immense pressure.
I dont think people are being unreasonable with Bradley. He did the same thing in the final minute with Ghana. He knows there are about 90-120 seconds at most at that moment; and he knows there is Wondo and nothing else in front of him up the pitch to play kickball with. Kick the ball 40 yards down the field into a sideline if you feel ANY pressure. Kick it out of bounds if you feel ANY pressure.
You dont do that with 6 minutes left in the game, or 10 or 15. But with 45-60-90 seconds - you do it. He also could have dribbled into the corner versus Ghana in the closing 60 seconds and instead drove towards the middle of the field, coughing it up, and giving Ghana one more chance- it's situation awareness.
Of course there was a TREMENDOUS play by Portugal right after and more mistakes by our guys but none of that would transpire if Bradley played simple.
p.s. I think Brian is being too kind with Cameron. He was shaky in other moments in clearances vs Portugal aside from the egregious stuff we all see. He played very sound vs Ghana.
In that situation, kick the damn ball as far as possible in the direction away from your goal as soon as you have the opportunity.
I agree it would have been optimal if Bradley had kicked the ball to safety, given the clock situation. But it seemed that he had difficulty with his first touch, and then got muscled off the ball as he tried to gather the ball. I'm not seeing the clear opportunity for him to just clear the ball.
(At one point in the first half Ian Darke mentioned that the players were prevented from practicing on certain portions of the pitch to preserve the field, and that the bounces were different at those points. Maybe that contributed to Bradley not getting better control of the ball.)
But my core point is that many folks are blaming Bradley as if he's solely, or even primarily to blame for the late goal. I think Cameron losing track of Varela was the biggest contributing factor (in addition to tremendous play by Portugal, as you note).
Agreed completely alum. It's not that Bradley gave the ball away and it indirectly led to the goal. It's that he had multiple options in that situation a player of his level should have known to exercise that would have given Portgual no hope.
Bradley overall played much better than he did against Ghana, but his gaffe opened a window for Portugal that was entirely within his control to shut completely.
It's tough to absolve Cameron from blame either. It's like praising a defensive back who played great the entire game but then gave up two crucial touchdowns and your team ended up losing by a few points...those were big plays. That clearance has to be made and is expected to be made. Even though screwing that up happens to everyone (just like goalies letting an easy save through their grasp for a goal) it's still their fault. His mistakes were huge ones and cost us dearly even if overall his play was good.
Back in his ManU days you would see some nice crosses to Rooney, etc. I'd like to lay blame on a U.S. player for the result, but I think it was just a great play. I think we played very well overall and there were a few world class performances by our players.
Wasn't it Bo that said "a tie is like kissing your sister"? Pucker-up schwester!
there is dispute over who coined the phrase, but it certainly started well before Bo.
That said, Bo was known to say it as well.
I had $50 on a USA victory at +350 (placed it early before the odds came down).
Literally had the money taken from my hand. The tie wasn't like kissing my sister, it was like my sister fucking me in the ass.
His passing is underrated because of his scoring rate and it doesn't fit with the image of him being super selfish. It's amazing he could make that pass in the 95th minute in a ridiculous heat and with a knee that probably needs knee surgery before La Liga season starts up.
We absolutely track points off turnovers in American football. No matter the number of plays that had to go poorly on defense after - it is still a stat every announcer and analyst touts as important.
So yes. Bradley messed up. And the ensuing result was a point off the turnover.
there are literally hundreds of turnovers in soccer. almost all goals in the history of goals are caused because one team turned over the ball somewhere on the pitch. football turnovers are rare - thats why its tracked.
But how many of those occur with your team compressed up the field and result in a huge run where a guy goes ten strides without coming close to a defender? That is rare.
We were so far upfield I made an audible oh noes at the bar where we were watching. This was not a typical turnover like you are implying
at that screenschot posted above. there are 6 american defenders level with 3 portugal attackers. and, without rewatching the goal (because i cant bring myself to do that), i think there was only one portugal attacker in the box to our 3 or 4 defenders.
we were not compressed up the field, we had numbers back to defend. your audible oh noes was probably more a result of the time on the clock as opposed to any serious threat. bradley shouldnt have turned it over - he shoulders a % of the blame, sure - but this is a play that could have and shoud have easily been defended.
That screenshot was well after the turnover obviously - based off where the turnover occurred, enough time for the ball to travel about 45 yards.
Brian even mentioned how out of place a certain member of our defense was, " When Bradley loses the ball he is literally at the halfway stripe!" So his defenders weren't in the right spot and they shoulder some blame. Poor awareness on everyone's part.
Did a lot have to go right for Portugal after? Yes. Their passing was on point. But that's the same thing as American football. Good teams are opportunistic.
are tracked--as they are in every sport where there are turnovers
for your optimistic take on our chances, brian, but i cant but help feeling a bit nervous at the prospect that portugal has all but given up (see their lack of emotion on the tying goal). with portugal having effectively nothing to play for and ghana needing a big win, i can see gahana steamrolling a team that is well-known as being mentally weak.
This is my worry aswell. Portugal seems very fragile emotionally to me. If Ghana goes up I could see Portugal just packing it in and it getting ugly as Ghana knows it needs goals. Portugal has shown nothing in either of these first two games to suggest they are going to go off - and you can throw inthe 3 games in South Africe too even though it's obviously not the exact same set of players. They just seem like a paper tiger to me.
Obviously if Portugal gets the first goal maybe their spirits rise but after they scored the 2nd goal vs US they barely even seemed happy.
I too thought it was pretty interesting how little Portugal seemed to celebrate the tying goal. They were less then a minute away from being eliminated from the knockout stage. You'd think they would have been thrilled to keep their slim hopes alive, but there was very little emotion. Renaldo walked off the field immediately after the final whistle blew and just by looking at him, you would have thought they had been eliminated from the knockout stage.
the extra day of rest, not to mention playing in manaus, is going to make ghana much more fresh. that, along with portugals predisposition of being mentally weak, i dont see us getting the result from ghana that we want -- which means we HAVE to at least tie...one of the best teams in the tournament...
i dont think it can be understated what that last goal may have cost us.
Yeah, the Manaus effect seems pretty big. England and Italy seemed a lot more flat-footed in their second games after the jungle experience.
That FIFA also gave the U.S./Portgual one less day of rest after playing in that steambath is ridiculous.
hey- they gave them a 3 min H2O break, what more could you want?
Yucky state from Yeoman in another thread:
The Ghana game was only the second time in two years anybody's held them (Germany) to less than 3 in a competitive match. Nobody's held them to less than 2 since Italy in the Euros two years ago, 12 straight matches.
The same thing happened in qualifying for the Euros, they scored at least 3 in nine straight matches. They also, occasionally, give up a crapload of goals. They beat Sweden in qualifying 5:3, drew them 4:4 blowing a 4-goal lead.
The US is out if they lose 1-0 and:
Ghana wins by two goals, or
Ghana wins by one in a goal blizzard (3-2 at least)
Portugal wins by five
Unfortunately, this is incorrect. If we lose 1-0 and Ghana wins 2-1, we're out based on total goals scored (tiebreaker after goal differential).
No, we would each have scored 5 goals in that scenario (US: 2, 2, 1; Ghana: 1, 2, 2), so it goes to the next tiebreaker which we win (points obtained in matches among tied teams).
When you lose a game 1-0, you are not awarded a goal scored in the post-match results (US: 2, 2, 0; Ghana: 1, 2, 2)
I can't help but wonder if half the minds of the team were in the clouds thinking they had come back to beat Portugal. That was the suckiest tie ever, even worse than the great Ohio State 'victory' we suffered through a while back in american football. Reflecting back though, I felt our response to the tie was an indication of far American soccer has come. Instead of 'Ooh! we almost had them', with a heartfelt 'moral victory' twinge in our hearts there was a genuine disappointment of losing a win. Hopefully we advance to the next round but just watching how the fellas played made me feel that Jurgen has had a positive impact on the MNT, it just seems like the kind of soccer I expect in a successful team.
it should be Klinsman. . .
Yeah, but I heard he left himself off the team with Donovan.
But I think Fabian Johnson might be one of the best RBs this World Cup which is crazy. The fullback play has been pretty terrible this WC (Dani Alves, Baines, no Coentrao, no Lahm, Boateng, Lichensteiner, etc.) and the US seems to really have lucked out with how well Fabian is playing.
Still disagree on Bradley.
1) In addition to the terrible attempt at net (which was far closer to the net than that Ronaldo attempt, directly in front of the net, and without a keeper in net),
2) and the disastrous turnover (which was far worse than you make it out to be)
3) he also laid a pass to a streaking Dempsey a full yard behind him, squandering one of America's first good opportunities
4) (while better than against Ghana) he was still sloppy with the ball, having a meager pass success percentage
5) and had much less of an impact on creating opportunites than Moutihno (whoscored.com credited Moutihno with 5 key passes to Bradley's 1)
EDIT: I forgot about how he fumbled the ball at the top of the box on what eventually became Dempsey's goal.
Ultimately, he took a step up from Ghana, and he still ranked as the weakest midfielder, at least behind Jones, Beckerman, and Bedoya (Zusi couldn't really find his range).
Moutinho is one of the best playmakers in Europe. He's a better player than Bradley, who is a very good player at that.
Other than that though, I hate the turnover Bradley gave up. Already been said by everyone else why.
are the people that only give a damn about soccer for the World Cup.
You can both say that bradley is incredibly important to the team, acknowledge that US plays its best when he plays well and still say he has been bad at the world cup so far. We obviously can't bench him but the rest of our midfield has picked up the slack of Bradley playing poorly to this point. He played better yesterday than he did against Ghana but he still didn't play well and that turnover wasn't just another turnover in a game. His decision making would be like a team trying to run out the clock and the running back only putting one arm on the ball as he goes through the line. It was just dumb.
I also disagree with Brians optimism. Yeah 4 points is where we wanted to be but Portugal look done. Ronaldo is clearly not at 100% and they didn't even celebrate the goal yesterday that saved their world cup. I don't see a situation where Ghana doesn't score at least 2 on that defense. That means we have to tie germany or we are at. I think there is like a 30% we go through, if Ghana scores first its like a 15% chance.