Thursday, June 22, 2006

Expectations Unfulfilled

The 2006 United States World Cup squad not only had higher expectations than any previous American team but also more interest in the team back home in the United States. Today's devastating (and controversial) loss to Ghana was just the final chapter in a failed world cup for Team USA, just four years after a less heralded American side was unlucky to not play in the Seminfinals. The regression in positive World Cup results for United States soccer since 2002 has many foundations and many questions loom for the future of US Soccer. I will have a full analysis of what went wrong and how we rebuild in the upcoming hours. Keep checking the blog for updates and a full analysis.


USA06 said...

I'm disgusted!

The players were flat (again). Needing goals Arena starts five defenders. Why not more forwards?
Donovan continually passes up shots.

This happens to USA all the time, but that was the worst calls by the referee I've ever seen at this level. That call could only be made against USA. SHAMEFUL!

That said, USA continually cleared the ball into the middle of the field and gave the opponents a goal every time.

There are few positives to take from this whole tournament. Some of the young players like Beasley and Donovan aren't as good as they think they are. Veterans like Pope, Keller, McBride, and Reyna have played in their last WC. Even if USA could field a competitve team, the referee would make sure they can't win with some bullshit calls. And the rest of the world wonders why USA can't be more competitive in the World Cup. My answer to that is Hugh Dallas and Markus Merck!

Anonymous said...

The foreign press is going to have a field day!

I never knew they kept track of who came in last place at the World Cup. Teams don't play everyone so there really is no such thing - it's not an overall classifiaction, it's group play. Who comes in last in the Champions League?

That is, until 1998. Then everyone couldn't resist - USA came in LAST PLACE in the World Cup. Whatever.

Then leading up to today's game, the foreign media was all focused on how USA had the LEAST SHOTS! They don't even keep track of assists in Europen football but now thev're all interested in USA's shots (or lack of).

Anything to keep the focus off underachiever England.

Another article claims USA is among the World Cup minnows who always cry when the referee's calls don't go their way.

Then they trot out that bullshit today.


Bora said...

I really have to question some of Arena's moves leading up to and including today's game.

O'Brien even being included on the roster was a tremendous mistake. The Bruce indicated that any player on this roster could play and have an impact yet Ching never even played, and Wolff got limited minutes. Anyone not think Twellman could have helped?

So USA needs to score goals today (You knew Ghana was going to score at least once) and the line-up has Bocanegra, Lewis, Conrad, Onyewu, Cherundolo. I know Lewis got up the field, but it's basically 5 defenders. Where's Johnson? (not much impact is his limited minutes).

Olsen came on and played well so what was he being saved for? Why didn't he start to free up some attackers?

If USA was to try something different why not a 4-3-3? How about 3 or 4 forwards?

What was Arena thinking? 1-0 USA?

Sams Army said...

What a disgrace. What a total disgrace. Even though the calls went against us, our guys didn't play hard enough to earn passage ahead.

Bruce Arena is a top class international coach and he is someone that has done so much good for US Soccer. The issue now is that we have players who haven't developed well in the MLS and players who don't understand the intensity of World Cup competetion. That cannot be blamed on Bruce Arena. You can plan how to defend a punch so well, but if your guy goes out and flinches and then falls down rather than taking a punch getting back up and punching back that's the players.

Arena is the best soccer coach this nation has ever produced. I'm sure this website will be filled with Arena bashers but I am going to point the finger elsewhere.

USA06 said...


I agree with everything you said about Bruce Arena except your opening statement. While the performance of the players is ultimately to blame, Arena demonstrated he is far from a top class international coach.

Federico said...

where was o'brien?

the penalty was a terrible call?

donovan is awful. he is scared or something out there?

claudio reyna plays well too deep in the midfield to be an effective central midfielder. find another #10 USA.

arena is history.

go mexico! usa will have better days and better officials as well.

Colin said...

You guys drew with Jamaica and lost to Morroco in the run up to the World Cup. What did you expect? You guys peaked in the 2000-2002 time frame when Reyna and O'Brien were in their prime. Both are now broken down and injured, and you don't have suitable replacements.

Colin said...

You guys drew with Jamaica and lost to Morrocco in the run up to this World Cup.

Face it your team peaked in 2002 when Reyna and O'Brien were fit and in their prime. Now both are injured and broken down. Your results since 2003 or so have only been mediocre against top flight competetion anyhow.

Sams Army said...


Donovan is scared. It's obvious. I cannot hide my disdain for his play. This was going to be HIS WORLD CUP and instead we now know why he can't ever play abroad. He's small, scared to take defenders on and also totally clueless aboiut the speed and work rate required in the international game.

He's a first rate waste in my mind.

Don't blame Arena. Our player pool isn't that deep and we plain and simple don't have finishers. Arena just picks and coaches the players, he doesn't develop them. If you have issues with our players blame the USSF and the bush league MLS who fails to prepare our players for the speed of the international game.

USA06 said...


I find it a little hard to give Arena all of the credit when things are going good and none of the blame when things tank.

You say the player pool is not that deep. Are you kidding me? We've been led to believe that there were infinate options for this team - with Arena capping 40+ players.

The fact is Arena couldn't have done worse with a team of "bush league" MLSers.

Arena's player selection was crap, his tactics sucked, and he obviously couldn't motivate his players (or put ones in that would RUN).

Xavier said...

Arena is known throughout the soccer world to have the simplist tactics going of any major international coach. He doesn't teach players how to space themselves and doesn't have a stayle of play he adopts, which forces players to ad-lib on the field. While players have lots of freedom, they shirk some of their responsibilities and forget to cover for one another.

I'll have more on Arena really soon, and look forward to Kartik's thoughts as well, because I know he is one pissed off mood from talking to him this afternoon!

Federico said...

Where do I begin about Arena's failures.

1. Player Selection

This has been a joke throughout the qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Guys who performed well often times weren't called back. This is unlike 2002 when Arena took his best 23. Several good players were left off this time and Arena clearly played favorites with his selection.

2. Tactics

How do you score goals with 4 defenders, 2 defensive midfielders and only one forward?

3. Attitude

Arena was cocky to the point where his team believed they wer emuch better than they were. Both he and Landon Donovan mouthed off in the press here in the USA before the World Cup and raised expectations way way way beyond reason.

He will be fired really soon I hope. At least I still have the Mexico side to cheer for. I feel horrible for the rest of you that went down with this ship that should have sailed easily into round 2.

Gregg said...

It's very disapppointing to think about how this World Cup unfolded for team U.S.A.

1) Where was the hustle, energy and emotion today?

2)Where does the vocal leadership come from on this team. Certainly not from the two captains today.

3) Reyna has been a major disappointment on the international level. Look back at all of our big wins and you'll notice he wasn't in the lineup.

4) I was a HUGE Landon Donovan fan coming into the World Cup. Now I realize why he's afraid to challenge himself to get better and play overseas. He's mentally weak. Instead he takes the easy way out and settles for the MLS. You want to be Great, play with Great players.

Gregg said...

USA Soccer Media,

SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!! About how Kasey Keller is one of the best Goal Keepers in the World.

Lalas, Wynalda (I do enjoy his commentary), Balboa, continually say he's a top 5 keeper in the world. Reality, struggling to stay in the top 5 in the USA.

Friedel, Howard, Hanneman, possibly Meola then Keller.

He's simply not that good, which is why no major Eorupean team has ever signed him to play.

Gregg said...


This USA team was never a shoe in to get to the 2nd round. Reality is they had an above average team in a tough group.

Kartik said...

Why did Arena include John O'Brien on the 23 man roster?????

That's a big question we will examine later on the blog.

Hernandez said...

arena is finished as the usa coach. where was o'brien today? why was adu not selected? what about taylor twellman one of the great young attackers in the concacaf region? donovan looked uncomfortable at midfield. he should be playing up in the attack.

I am the future of american soccer said...

Hernandez, O'Brien as always was not fit! He's a total waste of space. I don't care how talented you are, if you cannot stay fit we can't use you!

Where's Waldo????? said...

Okay I realize he now works for ESPN, but we need finishers! He probably is still better than any forward we have on this team.

Today's game was a humiliating experience. To be beaten by a nation that had never previously qualfied for a World Cup and thus they advance instead of us is not acceptable.

Arena is to blame. Look at his player selection! He's never even looked at Jay DeMerit and didn't give real looks to Freddy Adu or Jonathan Specter. Arena should know better than anyone else that the way you play at your club has a minimal affect on your national team play. He needs to go!

Matt said...

A totally listless performance. Now we Americans can go back to paying attention to our sports, real sports like Football and Baseball!

See you in four years.

Xavier said...

Donovan is too small to play an attacking position in a World Cup, Hernandez. Quite frankly we were fortunate with our draw in 2002 which allowed Landon to ad lib a little more up front. After the Czechs took him out of his game in the first match he was never the same. I feel with Reyna retired and O'Brien laid up constantly you need to put the #10 shirt on Donovan, put him deeper in the midfield and let him attack the defender with the ball at his feet.

The idea of playing DeMarcus Beasley as a central midfielder yesterday was crazy, although when he drifted right he was potent as he showed on the great ball to Dempsey.

I'll have more thoughts in a post of my own in a little bit.