Key admission; I am a casual soccer fan and know little to nothing about tactics, formations, player responsibilities, etc. Following the World Cup and Gold Cup it seems as though the consistent downfall is defense. How much of this has to do with individual defenders not being good enough or team defense not being good enough is way over my head. During the Gold Cup Final broadcast there seemed to be a lot of discussion of how Bradley and Jones needed to be more involved on the ball. My best guess (again, not a terribly educated one) is that the Americans' inability to maintain possession consistantly and keep pressure off the back line was a major problem.
Granted, Mexico has, what appeared to me, to be tremendous attacking talent. The USMNT also has very good talent up front as well. Adu's emergence (granted the sample size is extremely small but damn did he look good to me) and of course guys like Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Agudelo, etc makes me think that the USMNT is a good national team with the potential to be very good/great if the defensive issues can be ironed out.
What I'm wondering from the more informed fans here is, is there reason to be hopeful that some of the younger defenders can develop into legit international players or are we left to hope that guys like Cherundolo, Bocanegra and Gooch can maintain good enough form by 2014 to be a viable candidate to make a decent knock out round run in Brazil?
Again, I'm a novice fan who has managed to stay into the game since the previous World Cup and I see a lot of positives about the US team but the glaring weaknesses seem to be the same as they were in S. Africa. Thanks in advance for your input.