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Sunday, June 28, 2009

US wilts under Brazillian heat, lets championship slip away

I’ll be the first to step up to the plate when I’m wrong and I called the US Soccer team out after the first to disgraceful losses to Italy and Brazil by a combined score of 6-1. Fortunately the ‘1’ allowed them to advance to the semi-finals under the tie-braking system and given that chance played a game and a half of the best soccer in the countries history. However, the time for “moral victories” came and went after we hosted the world cup in 94’, now we need to evaluate our national soccer team as harshly as we do hoop and baseball. That said, the US collapsed underneath the Brazilian storm after taking a 2-0 lead at half time only to give up 3 goals in the second half to lose in the final of the Confederations Cup 3-2. This game showed exactly how far we need to go to really be competitive when the chips are on the table. It exploited three major weaknesses that will have to change if the US has any hopes of getting out of the group stage next year. First, our inability to withstand constant pressure, the kind we’ll see all during the World Cup next year, as Brazil played with a sense of desperation immediately out of the locker room to start the second half, scoring in the first two minutes and changing the complexity of the game. After that, even though we had the lead it felt as if it was only a matter of time until we succumbed to the heat. Secondly, Brazil exposed our inefficiency in controlling the ball. Even when behind they held a passion lead of 69% to 31% which will get you killed against the Canary Islands let alone the best in the world. Lastly, our inability to take away a teams strength. We knew going in that Brazil scored 75% of their goals on set pieces yet allowed we gave them 9 corner kicks and 24 shots on goal. If this were the Dream Team we’d be saying we played 1.5 good games of soccer, got lucky to advance via a bad tie-breaking system (the team that we beat out in the group stage actually beat us 3-1 on the field), and choked away a trophy in the finals. So are we really ready for the world stage? Let us know here and in the World Soccer rooms. Confederations Cup Chat room/2010 World Cup Chat room.

1 comment:

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