I respect Bruce Arena. I hope he can figure it out in time- the US team that is...
At least they're going to have a month to practice together.
And they'll need it. The Jamaica game shows how far we have to go.
The one key point I got from the game is that Arena is going to use Landon Donovan as the midfield playmaker- in case Reyna isn't ready. This is not a bad move at all. Donovan will be put through the paces and I believe he'll emerge as a midfield general.
If Reyna does get back, then the US have two solid people in midfield. That's where games are won, and in the case of the US. most often lost.
I hope Arena has enough time and talent. Here's the straight-talk:
"In all honesty, I don't want to be critical of (MLS)," Arena said after the match. "Some of our guys have lost fitness and sharpness since we saw them in February. We are going to look at the next three (weeks of) MLS games before we finalize the roster. Some players haven't played much recently. Unfortunately for us, our domestic players need more time."
No duh. Maybe Freddy Adu should've gone to Chelsea - at least he'd get better there.
Finally, the mainstream press did a lousy job covering the game. For them the story was Meola's 100th cap. The real story was the US team's dismal showing. And who reported that? Not the press, it was the bloggers:
- Bob from WorldCupBlog: " The more I watch the US the more I think they are screwed if Claudio Reyna isn’t able to play at the World Cup..." and "For those just joining us it is 1-1. You are lucky you missed the first 35 minutes of this one."
- a comment on the WaPo blog: "Who looked good? Hardly anybody. Our backline is a disgrace. Allbright was miserable (though he was better when shifted to his normal side for the 2nd half). Hejduk roams the field like a buffalo on the great plains; its a miracle that he didn't at least get a yellow for a brutal 2-foot, studs up tackle in the first half. Obrien was understandably rusty. Noonan was not really impressive. Ralston performed about usual before leaving with a groin tweak. Twellman and Wolff did marginally with what little service they got. Ching teased a little and Eddie Johnson's touch seemed just off."
Oh well. Disappointed is too nice a word.