That has to be the most brazen act of robbery since we took this land from the Indians. We owe England a couple of colonies for this one.
You know, I don't think I've ever seen a game of Russian roulette end in a tie before.
The one thing I'm disappointed about is that the potential for American soccer was squandered. An actual goal would have at least provided an American narrative. Instead, one of our biggest moments has been subsumed into the ongoing story of English disappointment and ineptitude. The Game of Our Lives became The Robert Green Game.
Yes, it's much better than The Game Where England Put Fifteen By Us, which is what it was shaping up to be in the first five minutes - don't get the idea that I'm not thankful. But the opportunity for a historic result was there, and the next time something like this comes around - second round, probably - it won't be against such a temptingly beatable team.
I have no idea what this looked like to a neutral fan interested in aesthetics - I'm sure it set the sport back a century as far as quality goes. But it was way, way too exciting for me. Green will probably get more of the credit for the scoreline than Tim Howard, but I hope American fans at least remember to put this one in the pantheon of fantastic goalkeeper performances in our history. It's been a keeper's tournament so far, with one exception.
WHAT ENGLAND DID RIGHT
They scored early, exploited our shaky defense, controlled the middle, controlled possession, and forced the US to take long range, low percentage shots. The field players earned a shutout.
WHAT ENGLAND DID WRONG
People named "Bradley" are being torched on various Internets for various decisions, but Fabio Capello started at least three of the wrong players, and made at least one of the wrong subs. Yes, goalkeeper, of course - but why keep challenging Steve Cherundolo when the guy was just killing both Milner and Wright-Phillips? England got a goal within five minutes by challenging our soft middle and Carlos Bocanegra on their right/our left.
I realize Ledley King left due to injury, but Carragher should have started. I don't think it's a coincidence that the United States had fewer opportunities in the second half.
The English dilemma at forward isn't as bad as ours, and I definitely don't want to take anything away from Tim Howard's performance...but Emile Heskey needs to score with those kind of opportunities. Nice assist though.
But then, what does Capello do? Start Peter Crouch?
By the way, why didn't Aaron Lennon play?
It's as if England needed to hire someone who was an expert in American soccer, who had spent the past several years watching American players on various levels, and who could give information and analysis about their strengths and weaknesses. I'm surprised they didn't send someone to
Okay, I see where the problem is.
The Premier League, and the glamorous and exciting foreign players who make up a significant percentage thereof, will probably take some of the blame. On a micro level, it provided aid and comfort to enemies such as, to pick a couple of examples at random, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey.
The Premiership's unwillingness to put English stiffs ahead of European stars, it might be argued, provided fewer opportunities for home-grown players to develop their skills. If Tim Howard had been forced to stay with the Metrostars, would he have had the fortitude to stare down everything Frank Lampard had to offer?
I don't think you can blame the Premiership, though. For one thing, this isn't terribly new - those great Liverpool teams of the 70's and 80's didn't rely on English players. Was England garbage at the time because Liverpool didn't use English players, or was Liverpool good because they didn't use English players? It's the same story now, only with Brazilians and Slavs instead of Scots and Welsh.
Besides, England didn't actually have to go down to League Two to fill out a roster. And the players they did pick should have been honed against all those talented internationals. English players don't dominate the Premiership for the same reason that English players didn't dominate the United States national team - they're not good enough. There are probably lots of good reasons why England can't produce players good enough for the Premiership, but I don't think it's the fault of the Premiership. They probably aren't good enough for Serie A, either.
WHAT THE US DID RIGHT
The other thing Green upstaged was the intestinal fortitude of the United States. I was expecting the worse after Gerrard filleted us, and so were you. The team, however, picked themselves up and fought for the equalizer. They didn't press or panic, either, like US teams in the past who fell behind. I wish that had carried over a little bit more into the second half, but England was just more talented than we were.
Also, it looks like Gooch was ready to go after all, so good read from the training staff.
WHAT THE US DID WRONG
Ricardo? Hi. Yes, if you wouldn't mind having a seat over here...say, for the next three weeks or so.
Yes, we'd all like to start Torres and Edu from here on in, but we can probably only have one. Michael Bradley is getting roasted right now, but I'm not sure about benching him. I think he comes back extremely strong, conveniently enough against weaker opposition. And if Germany is our date in round two, then dumping a Bundesliga veteran is sort of a Clouseau move.
Are Torres and Edu that much better than Michael? Well...either they believe in Bob Bradley, or every one of them is so amazingly focused that they won't breathe a word against either Bradley. It's a pretty harmonious little crew Bob has put together. In fact, we might want to ask why Torres and Edu couldn't have taken the job from Ricardo Clark before now.
Besides, Bob Bradley also started Robbie Findley, and I'm pretty sure they're not related. Would starting Buddle and using Findley's speed in the second half against tired and carded players have made the difference? Yes. Of course. Hm, now I'm mad at Bob Bradley, and I didn't intend to be when I started this paragraph. Buddle got on the squad based on his unreal form, and you start Robbie Findley over him?
Yes, I know, Altidore started over Buddle, and Findley started over Herculez, because the two forward positions are yeah, sure, whatever. How about we put in our best players, and design a strategy around that, rather than hope John Terry forgets how to mark fast players.
I guess I could be realistic and say that Terry would have found a way to handle Edson Buddle, but fortunately I'm a blinkered fan and don't have to accept fairly basic assumptions about the game.
You know, maybe if Major League Soccer didn't give all these spots to international players, we could develop more forwards.
I wasn't exactly in love with how Jay DeMerit played - if you're not blasting Clark for the early goal, you're probably blasting Jay. But the alternatives - Goodson as a straight up sub, or moving Boca back to the middle and starting Bornstein - give me cold sweats. Maybe we should have called in Brian Ching as a central defender.
WHAT ENGLAND DOES NEXT
Well, fortunately Algeria is next, and Algeria is looking like a meltdown ready to happen. It's going to be an unpleasant few days before then, though. English fans should be disappointed in this result, and if it were a tougher group, it would cost them. But if England can't make the adjustments necessary to rebound against Algeria, then they really should have given their spot to the Republic of Ireland.
Besides, England loves its war metaphors, and there's no earthly way any English team should be intimidated by Desert Foxes. Algeria might as well have named themselves the Fightin' Trafalgars.
WHAT THE US DOES NEXT
Guy outside the bar told me that Samior Handanovic is the best goalkeeper in the world, and that the United States will be in trouble.
Okay, but, he's not lining up against Tim Howard, is he? He's lining up against Jozy and Findley, and we only have a point at all because England has the worst goalkeepers in the World Cup. I didn't see much today that said the United States could break through a goalkeeper in good form.
The good news is, Slovenia will be looking past us.
It's fair to say that England was not looking past the United States to the big Algeria match. If Slovenia is focused on England, and overlooks the United States - well, ask Spain how that works.
Are Slovenia already overconfident? Well, there's this quote from the same article:
That was Robert Koren speaking. Robert Koren refers to himself in the third person. Who does he think he is, Hristo Stoitchkov? US, 2-0.
EDIT - oh, yeah. The tournament is still going on! And Beau Dure is going to carry me tomorrow on his Sports Myriad site, where we'll cover the Serbia-Ghana game! Who will win? YOU, THE FAN!