Nigerian Nightmare

So you guys all thought I was kidding about the whole Chalupny thing.

Now it's of course true that she's really not anywhere near as fast and quick as, say, Solomon Okoronkwo, so she would have had a ton of trouble covering him up that line.

On the other hand, it's highly doubtful whether she would have thrown an elbow at Mr. Okoronkwo's sternum in the third minute of the match and gotten her ass tossed out, either.

So while she would have been sorely tested all game long, at least she would have BEEN THERE all game long.

Which is, of course, more than we can say about Mensa candidate Michael Orozco.

At the same time, at least Orozco showed up for the opening whistle wearing a USA uniform, which is, in turn, more than you can say about Michael Bradley and Freddy Adu.

All three players were absent for essentially the same reason: an appalling lack of team discipline, and for that I'm afraid we really have to look at the man in charge.

You can question some - perhaps a lot - of his decisions in this game, not least of all his removal of Altidore in favor of Feilhaber at the start of the second half.

Yes, the US was having all kinds of problems keeping possession in the midfield but it wasn't hurting much because most of the time Nigeria couldn't hit water from a beach let alone a teammate with the ball.

And yes, Altidore looked like he was mentally over on the bench with the other 2/3 of the Holy Trinity of Great Young American Soccer Talent which, we are repeatedly assured, is going to lead us into the Promised Land, Bradley and Adu.

But while putting in Benny the Petulant - who contributed to the overall tone by getting a caution for arguing with the referee when he himself had gotten the call - did indeed shore up the midfield, it also created the exact scenario which has been sinking US, MLS and even EPL teams for 15 years or so, ie: leaving Brian McBride up top on an island.

Finally, with about 15 minutes left, Nowak decided that having another actual forward in the game might not be a bad thing considering that we were losing and all, and put in Charlie Davies, who managed to look more dangerous than much of anyone the US played up front all tournament.

If there's a silver lining to all of this it's that we won't be spending any more time this month listening to the inane mewlings of Marcelo Balboa. My God, could this really be the same guy who actually used to play this game?

Maybe it's just me, but I think the US had a team that could have - should have - gone farther, and I'm certain that in the wake of the inglorious egg they laid out there today a lot of fingers are going to be pointed at Peter Nowak.

And while I'm not normally a "hang the coach" kind of a fan, still I have to say that if the US women had ended up the week with the same results the US men had, PiaSundhage would be posting her resume on monster.com even as we speak.