The World Cup

Discussion in 'San Jose Earthquakes' started by The Wee Man, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. The Wee Man

    The Wee Man New Member

    Jul 11, 2003
    San Jose
    This was really a tough pill to swallow and we are all left wondering
    Should we have seen it coming?
    How could it have been prevented?
    How big a setback is it?
    Where do we go from here?

    Like all soccer fans I have my own opinions but I am so pissed it is hard to think with a clear mind right now.

    There are a lot of people blasting Bruce, guys who were kissing his ass a month ago. Some of the TV “experts” who have never Coached and were cut by Bruce suddenly turn on him. These guys are the MLS poster boys who are part of the problem. I believe Bruce made mistakes, as all Coaches do and I said so before the World Cup started, but the Players have a huge role to play in this debacle. Sampson was blasted after France, but the players who stabbed him in the back did not take blame, they just became experts. Players who were put on a pedestal, babied, where given big contracts rolled over and under performed yet again this World Cup. MLS needs Names so they, at times, over hype players. Agents need more money so they move players around from team to team for bigger contracts regardless of what is best for the players game or career. USSF does what they are told by MLS and money drives the fact that we play most of our games in the US instead of the toughest areas to play in and learn.

    I am pissed at the lack of effort in the Chech game. Players standing around when they should have been running though walls. To be selected to play in that jersey should be motivation enough. I am pissed at FIFA’s “new way of refereeing” just before the World Cup started and the ridiculous refereeing decision that have resulted because of this change. Good Ref’s completely confused. A top world class Ref giving three yellow cards to the same player for example and another Ref giving a game winning, team eliminating, penalty with almost no contact on the play.

    I think Bruce played the wrong system as I think he needed two strikers at all times.
    None of the experts where calling for Ching although the kid leads MLS in goals per game average. We needed Twellman there as well. Reyna, Pope and Masteroni are not hard enough at this level (we should have had Clark there as well) and they where missing when the first whistle and the final whistle blew. LD is not a captain.

    I did not answer my own questions but that is what happens when you can’t sleep at three in the morning as you think about a chance missed. Shit!
     
  2. Jay Hipps

    Jay Hipps Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Northern California
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Wee Man, I agree that a big part of the team's problem was the "big fish in a small pond" syndrome we see with the guys who are stars in MLS who think that accomplishing that makes them world soccer stars and not, essentially, talented up-and-comers. I think the combination of media exposure, endorsements, and other forms of ego-stroking affected the team's mental attitude much more than they realized. This World Cup should be a wakeup call for guys like Donovan and Eddie Johnson.

    I have to lay some of the blame at Arena's feet, though. The team only played with any hunger or urgency during the Italy match. Arena is responsible for the team's mental preparation and I can make no excuse for the team coming out without that same fire against Ghana. I am also perplexed as to Arena's love affair with the 4-5-1.

    That said, if we can't get Dom or Frank for the re-born Earthquakes, Arena would be at the top of my list. He still has a lot to offer and will do better out of the national spotlight.
     
  3. Olson50

    Olson50 New Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    Durham, England
    Much of the rest of the world is glad that we're now out of the World Cup, for reasons that have little to do with The Beautiful Game.

    According to the ethical standards set by the World Development Movement at their World Cup website www.whoshouldicheerfor.com, we were 30th out of 30 in terms of teams deserving support at Germany 2006.

    There was also this from The Guardian earlier in the week. An attack piece for sure - kind of a national character assassination - but a pretty good reflection of what many people outside the US think of us right now.

    Football-wise, Germany 2006 has been a setback for the USA but overall we're still a team/nation on the way up. By almost every non-football measure available, however, our international standing is at an all-time low and there are billions who were very happy to see us go. As an American - and, more specifically, an American abroad - it gives me no pleasure to report that but it's the way things are at the moment.
     
  4. Honore de Ballsac

    Oct 28, 2005
    France.
    Random reply

    Bruce is the sword. Live by it...

    Remember the US team Bruce coached that was so frustrating to watch, because it was all built upon Reyna and McBride? Remember how that team struggled, because we had no attack? It took an injury to Reyna and an injury to McBride to get Josh Wolff and Clint Mathis on the field together against Mexico -- and many US fans feel our fate changed forever that night.

    Now Mathis and Wolff have come and gone and we're back to that stultified team, Reyna and McBride and early crosses from the wings, and a goal a game at best. Guys like Donovan and Beasely have lost their presumption and become good soldiers, defenders, more role players for Arena. That's what he wants reliability, coachability, esprit de corps above all else. I don't want to knock a guy who overall has done an amazing job for the US, but I'd like to move on from Arenaball.

    Whether or not Bruce stays, I hope the time has finally arrived for Reyna and McBride to pass along the baton. Wee Man, about the only thing I'd disagree with you on is Mastroeni. He's our best player: toughness, real class and he shines when we need him most. This World Cup gave him seasoning and confidence I'd hope. I hope he will be the hungry leader looking to recify this performance in four years.

    Finally, many are comparing this to our '98 showing, but is anyone considering the eerie similarities to Italia 90?
     
  5. Honore de Ballsac

    Oct 28, 2005
    France.
    Oh yeah... and unsurprisingly, Conrad was terrific.
     
  6. Olson50

    Olson50 New Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    Durham, England
  7. tedwar

    tedwar Member

    Jun 24, 1999
    Richmond, CA-EastBay
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    http://www.ussoccerplayers.com/blog/

    No, J's comments make sense and are a must-read, Ratto is wrong.

    J's comments on 'Where Bruce Went Wrong' also resonate.

    And I rarely disagree with Jay Hipps, but I believe Bruce's strengths are in motivating, not in tactics. And that doesn't cut it at the highest level or in even in MLS. Why does the US go into Saprissa or Azteca and play for a draw? Why did we, even when we needed a win, not play more than one striker, and play long balls over our best player's head?

    Yeah, Landon didn't play well in two of the three games, but watching balls fly over his head and trying to win the second ball isn't exactly playing into his strengths.

    Bruce is about the last guy I want to see on the Quakes sideline.

    Roster: Why was J O'B on the team? Why was Josh Wolff on the team if he wasn't going to be played? And no offense to Ben Olsen or Jimmy Conrad (Conrad played really well), but why not Ricardo Clark or Todd Dunivant or someone who is going to possibly contribute in 2010.

    Bruce should be fired by Gulati as soon as the World Cup ends.

    The USSF needs to stop thinking in CONCACAF terms and start thinking in World Cup terms. This means overhauling the National Team and making MLS much more meaningful.

    Tony
     
  8. markmcf8

    markmcf8 Member+

    Oct 18, 1999
    Vancouver, WA, USA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Another great post from the Wee Man!

    Before the cup, I thought that it would be hard for us to advance. I was hoping for our guys to play well, to play with heart, and urgency, and to play clean. Instead, we played slow, out of sync, and with little or no effort. We did not bring our A games.

    I blame Bruce for the 4-5-1. I blame Bruce for not having better subs on the bench. If Pablo is your d-mid, who replaces him should he get hurt or suspended?! Surely there are several d-mids in MLS who would have been better than Olsen? And was Donovan supposed to be our attacking midfielder?

    I put the blame for Narcissus's horrible performance entirely on Landon. He knows that he needs to step up in big games, and instead he completely disappeared.

    But I blame Arena for not subbing Landon out at half-time in the first match. I blame Arena for starting Narcissus in the second and third matches.

    The players get the blame for poor execution, but Bruce gets the blame for a poor roster, changing the formation the guys were comfortable with, not benching guys who weren't performing, not preparing our guys adequately for each match, and making crappy sub choices during the matches.

    Similarly, I blame DMB for his lazy play. Most of the guys should come in for some grief concerning their passing, their lack of hustle, and their pathetic whining at the refs. Geez! You'd think these guys had never had a bad ref in a CONCACAF qualifier. We should have known long before we got to Germany that we would not be getting any slack from the refs nor the benefit of the doubt on any calls. That means that you have to play carefully. Don't commit fouls where the ref could give you a yellow, because he will. What was Pablo thinking with that studs up tackle against Italy?!

    So yeah, we should have seen it coming.

    I don't know that it could have been prevented except by Arena and Reyna trying to get the team fired up emotionally before each match. Also, a younger faster set of players on the bench, better backups, and more flexibility in thinking than Bruce was willing to show. After the first match he should have gone back to the 4-4-2. He should have benched Donovan or even sent him home after that first game. Play McB for the first half and tell him to go all out every play, then sub Ching at the half. Wolff on for Narcissus. Olson should have come on for Reyna earlier. Pope should have been benched after the first match for Conrad. Hell, JC should have started the first game.

    It's a big setback. Soccer in general is getting ripped in the US media right now. We'll lose some young soccer players to other sports now that they've seen their heroes crash and burn.

    Where we go from here is a new head coach (Klinsman?) and a dramatically expanded player pool. We also need to play tougher competition than CONCACAF and we need to play some matches in Europe and Africa. How about a tour of South Africa?! You know, in advance of the next World Cup?

    Keller, Reyna, Pope, and McBride have all pretty much said that they are retiring from the US Nats. So at least we'll get some new faces on the pitch. Hopefully, The Bruce will go or be relieved of command. I swear, had I been the USSF, I'd have put Wrongen on the next plane to Germany after the first match and sacked Arena during the tournament. It couldn't have panned out any worse.

    QUAKES FOREVER!!
    GO SSV!!
    GO WOLFF!!

    - Mark
     
  9. JazzyJ

    JazzyJ BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 25, 2003
    IMO Ratto ("the players aren't very good") is wrong and the "it's all Bruce's fault" crowd is wrong too. In terms of World Cup competition, the players are not great but pretty good (yes the team was over-hyped and the expectations were too high), and the team is not great but pretty good. But CR, Italy, and Ghana are also at least pretty good if not good or very good. With the exception of the first match, the team played fair (Ghana match) to good (Italy match).

    But the competition is tough. They were going to have to play consistently well and have some good fortune to make it through. Neither of those things happened. But this is what happens in the World Cup. You have just a few games to state your case, and some combination of bad fortune or ill-timed mistakes can doom good teams. How else can we explain the 1st round exits in recent cups of teams like Portugal, Spain, Italy, and France?

    As far as the 4-5-1 goes, I don't think that was the problem. Hmm, could part of the problem be that the U.S. was playing against good defenses? If Landon is a forward I think it makes sense to play him in a withdrawn role. He's needs space to run into. That's his game, not playing deep and heading in crosses. But for some reason the through balls on the ground that Donovan could run into were not really happening. The attack wasn't flowing well through the middle of the field. Again I would attribute a lot of that to good defending. But if the successful attack routes were going to be down the flanks it would have been interesting to see Ching paired up with McBride.

    So IMO, no, the sky is not falling. The players are not bad, the coach is not incompetent, soccer in the U.S. is not doomed. You've got tough competition and, in a small sample size like 3 games, you need some good fortune to get through. But that doesn't make a good story. Who wants to read about small sample sizes and the role of chance in the outcome of a soccer match, and that relatively small countries like Ghana and CR have very skilled players? It's got to be that the players are inferior, or that the coach is incompetent, or whatever, to explain why the team didn't make it out of the first round.
     
  10. tedwar

    tedwar Member

    Jun 24, 1999
    Richmond, CA-EastBay
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I wouldn't disagree with Jazzy on these comments, normally, but this is a results-driven business, with a lot of money on the line. We can all make cases, either way, that with a little luck (Reyna's shot goes in against CR, Reyna plays faster against Ghana, etc) things go differently. But, things didn't go differently. Who pays? The manager.

    Too bad. Is it fair? Probably not, but we as fans have to start demanding more; Sunil Gulati has to demand more.

    The players are not excused from their share of the blame, but it's time we start taking this seriously and demanding more from the well-paid and too comfortable people who are running the show.

    I know it isn't a perfect comparison, but one of the many things Yallop then Kinnear did well is to expect a level of professionalism and had people on the field who expected it also. Ekelund, Dayak, Agoos, Cannon, Mulrooney, etc. These are guys who expected to win and to play the right way.

    That starts with the coach (ok, it actually starts higher than the coach), then gets taken onto the field by the leaders. I didn't see that level of expectation generated by the coach.

    I also saw a level of tactical naivety that would have been appalling at a club level. It makes me wonder how much Etcheverry/Moreno/Harkes/Agoos were responsible for those great DCU teams.

    Tony
     
  11. yalpstel

    yalpstel Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Bay Area, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm both very sad and pissed off today.

    This WC presents a quagmire now when it comes to defending the worthiness or caliber of MLS (at least for me it does).

    I absolutely despise MLS for what happened to my Quakes but I want soccer in the US to succeed and MLS is it. And so I bite the bullet.

    For at least the next four years I will not be able to say in conversation - well, the US Men's National Team is largely rostered from players who play in MLS.

    Of course I know it's much more complicated than that.
     
  12. DotMPP

    DotMPP 'Quakes fan in Stumptown

    San Jose Earthquakes
    United States
    Jun 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Gotta look at positives...

    Conrad and Dempsy
     
  13. JazzyJ

    JazzyJ BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 25, 2003
    In terms of "demanding more" I think the question is, how wide is the window through which we are "demanding more"? Evaluating the Bruce over his tenure as USMNT coach, I think you could fairly say that he "delivered more". Everyone was singing his praises until this not-so-successful WC, and really only one truly bad game, and now many of those same people are calling for his head. It's just a knee-jerk reaction IMO.

    If I'm Sunil Gulati I would want to be smarter than to just react based on the last result. My job is to get the best coach for the job. Look beyond sample sizes of one, two, or three games and see where the USMNT program has come in the last 8 years. By the knee-jerk logic, Frank Yallop should have been fired after the 2002 MLS playoffs.

    Of course Gulati may well decide that, yeah, the program has advanced well under the Bruce but it's time for a change. That might be a fair and reasonable assessment. But I hope he's basing that on the body of work, not the last result. It may well be that the Bruce is ready to do something else as well.

    I don't have the soccer knowledge to fairly evaluate Bruce as a tactician. But seems like he was considered a competent tactician until this WC. My only real gripe with him would be his tendency to call out players in the media. I don't think Yallop or Dom would do that. I guess he figures it's a motivator or maybe he just can't help but be honest and open at all times, but I don't think it's helpful to a team's morale overall.
     
  14. yalpstel

    yalpstel Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Bay Area, CA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Absolutely. I see these guys in a whole new light.

    Loved 'em before, they are my heroes now.
     
  15. tedwar

    tedwar Member

    Jun 24, 1999
    Richmond, CA-EastBay
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Again, I wouldn't normally disagree with Jazzy, who makes some good points, but given the scale of events (the World Cup vs the MLS playoffs to use your example), given the US' inability to get a result outside of the US (honestly, did Bruce win in Saprissa? did he win in Azteca? did he win in Europe other than Poland?), I think the 'window' to demand more is actually quite wide, if we are ever going to be serious world cup contenders, and not just wanna-be's who hope for a good run.

    I am not saying Bruce hasn't been good for the program, but as he got the praise for 2002, he deserves the blame for this year. I don't think that's a knee-jerk reaction, I think it is how you send the message that we're in this to win, not to just rake in our dough from FIFA and be happy with an obviously bogus top 10 ranking. Which apparently US Soccer is, or at least has been under Dr Bob. I am not saying US soccer hasn't made strides, but I see a lack of accountability and an 'ol boys' network.

    Look, Glenn Myernick knows a lot more about soccer than I ever will, but that doesn't mean his reward for not qualifying for Athens should be sitting next to Bruce in Germany. I'm just using him as an example of how US Soccer has been run.

    It might be that Gulati goes with a development coach for a couple of years to bring along new players and strengthen the core, then goes to a Hiddinck-type for qualification and 2010. I don't know. But I do think US Soccer needs a shake-up, a reorganization, a mindset that rewards results, not just being 'in the family.'

    Tony
     
  16. JazzyJ

    JazzyJ BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 25, 2003
    If you are judging Bruce on a sufficiently wide window of work, and it's not good enough in your opinion, that's a fair assessment. I would just be cognizant of the fact that when you make a change it can be for the better or it can be for the worse. Alexi Lalas once said "change is good!" when rationalizing something or the other (don't remember what - maybe taking his 3rd different GM job within one year or whatever he's done). Well, no. Good change is good, bad change is bad.

    I think we have to realize how far behind soccer still is in this country relative to the traditional "soccer powers" and that you can't easily make up the difference in 8, 10, or even 20 years. We have to be patient and reasonable with our expectations, and willing to appreciate incremental improvements. If you are making changes too frequently, expecting something magical to happen overnight, and then throwing it all away when it doesn't happen, you are just going into thrash mode and not making progress.
     
  17. billward

    billward Member

    Oct 22, 2002
    El Cerrito, CA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    There was a story on the top-of-the-hour news update on NPR yesterday evening about how there was dancing in the streets in Ghana after the USA game. Cars were driving up and down the streets of the capital honking horns and waving flags, people cheering and celebrating, etc. This made me think of two things:

    1. There was a story on the top-of-the-hour news update on NPR about soccer! When was the last time you heard that before this World Cup? Look around - instead of having to hunt down an English pub to try to view games in, we can watch all 64 games in HD, and every sports bar in the country is showing WC games. Soccer is making great strides in this country

    ...but...

    2. Had the USA beat Ghana do you think cars would cruise up and down Pennsylvania Ave. in DC honking their horns, waving USA flags? That kind of celebration wouldn't happen here even if we won the entire World Cup. Based on this, I'd say Ghana deserves this win more than we do. Go Ghana!

    To be determined: Can some of that attention be funneled into MLS, Gold Cup, next round of WCQ, and South Africa 2010? Will Fox Soccer Channel get better penetration and finally be able to improve their production values and get better commentators? Or would the USA's flame-out cancel out all the attention?
     
  18. Albany58

    Albany58 Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Concord, CA USA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I could sense those feelings even through the portal of the boob-tube. George W. Bush for next national soccer team manager.
     
  19. pwave

    pwave Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    ValleyOfHeartsDelite
    You might as well just toss world peace in there while you are at it.
     
  20. DotMPP

    DotMPP 'Quakes fan in Stumptown

    San Jose Earthquakes
    United States
    Jun 29, 2004
    Portland, OR
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    He got a 0-0 tie his first time in and he scored on them in a 2-1 loss his second time in.

    No he didn't win but in two visits, he improved. (Some may argue that a loss is not an improvement over a tie, but we were never attacking in that tie, even before Agoos got himself ejected and we were knocking on the door nearly the entire second half of that second visit)

    We have very little experience playing in Europe and No coach is going to get results there without getting in more visits.

    So Beas should never have been put on the right and LD is NOT an international level forward, (he's just too damn small and it is too easy to disappear from a game). These are just symptoms of the real problem.

    These guys all have the talent but most lack the character to play at this level.

    MLS, as it is currently run and structured, develops conditioning & talent but not character. (Guys like Dempsy, Boccanegra and Conrad seemed to have it before they got in MLS).

    US Soccer, with it's continued obsession with all opponents CONCACAF or feeble Euro teams (Scotland, Wales, Norway), is not helping either.

    We need to play games that we may or should not win more often because that was the way CONCACAF games were 10 years ago.

    I predict a much better showing in 2010 (No one will be at home, just like 2002) and another first round exit in 2014 (assuming another European country hosting) if the current state of MLS and US Soccer does not change...
     
  21. Albany58

    Albany58 Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Concord, CA USA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Good article with the exception of some total bullshit: "This 11-day period indicates that they are still closer in talent and confidence to the '98 team than the '02 team."
    Sorry, can't buy that, Ray.
     
  22. Albany58

    Albany58 Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Concord, CA USA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    To me, The Bruce's problem is one of loyalty--overweaning loyalty. He plays his old vets when he should have turned them out to pasture.

    Most important of all is that no one should be allowed to stay in a position like that for eight years. That is just too damned long for anyone. There is too much pressure and stress and it makes the person stale and conformist.
     
  23. Albany58

    Albany58 Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Concord, CA USA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Both of whom are MLS players (although maybe not for long).
     
  24. KMJvet

    KMJvet Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 26, 2001
    Quake Country
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Re: The World Cup [R] [R]

    [R] [R]

    don't read if you haven't watched today and care....

    I'm changing my mind completely based on the World Cup...

    The USA and all teams that aren't incredibly skilled (like Argentina or Brazil) will not win until we embrace picardia . Cheating is a good way to win. If you aren't willing to play to deceive refs, waste time, etc, you'll fail against evenly matched teams. Until the USA figures this out, we'll fail.

    Tunisia lost to Ukr today because of a successful cheat by one of the greatest players in the world. Most people will say his success in pulling that off makes him all the better a player. He did what he needed to do to get his team through so he got a loud ovation. He'll be adored in Ukraine for being such a successful diver. He'll be adored at Chelsea no doubt too by the so-called anti-diving Brits.

    And the Tunisia supporters and neutral groups will divide into their groups....those that complain about cheating, how it ruined the game, how refs are bad, and who will be untimately be labelled as nothing but the "embarrassing whiners."

    And there will be the other group who will blame their coach, their players, their tactics and claim in a way from which they'll never be disuaded that the PK happened because they suck and didn't deserve any better than they got.

    And in the end of the day, the only thing that will matter is the dive resulted in a win. Cheaters prosper in international soccer when teams are pretty even.

    I've been a fool for many years thinking that sportsmansip mattered. Sportsmanship is for losers. Soccer is the world's game. The world is okay with picardia . If the USA wants to "compete" in the World Cup it needs to be as well. We have to learn the weaknesses of each ref (there aren't that many) and how to exploit them. We need to be better at flopping and at diving. We have to be willing to fake an injury to help kill off time if we're up or tied and that's the only result we need.

    This quote There was no diving, no play-acting, no flopping about, no pretending like you just got shot, etc... from the Americans. No, there was none of that. Instead the Americans displayed determination, guts, valor and class. Bruce's boys went down fighting not faking.

    Andrew Giffen
    gave me pride in 2002.

    In 2006, all it says, is you sucker . Shep Messing is right. All that matters is getting to the next round.
     
  25. Albany58

    Albany58 Member+

    Sep 14, 1999
    Concord, CA USA
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

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