Bob Bradley, its been great coasting along in the CONCACAF on decaf but for the big leagues you need something stronger.
Unfortunately, this is what happens when you play in a region that creates a set of inflated expectations akin to playing the grandiosely named World Series. The US baseball team always gets found out in the World Baseball Classic just like the US team today against Italy.
One thing must be clear if we are to make meaningful progress.
There is no place for the Greg Lalas woe is us attitude. Those are just a grab bag of ill advised victimizations.
If only, but only if Ricardo Clark was on the pitch. See it happened last time too with Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope, otherwise we would have won. We never catch a break. The big teams always get away with it. If it was Gattuso who had fouled, he would have been let off with a warning.
At the same time, we also proudly say, we were the only team to go undefeated against Italy. Which is it? And if we are saying that everything goes swimmingly for teams like Italy, spare a thought for Cristian Zaccardo who gave us the gift of an own goal that allows us that pride. The game is full of ups and downs.The Italians also had Calciopoli and Gianluca Pessotto's attempted suicide to deal with. They managed to pull through to win the World Cup.
We can say that it took an American of Italian heritage to sink us. But Giuseppe Rossi is part of the game's delicious ironies. Argentina's 6-1 historic lambasting to a Bolivian team was sparked by Marcelo Martins and Alex Da Rosa, two players with Argentinian roots.
It is noteworthy that Ricardo Clark, Pablo Mastroeni, and Eddie Pope who received red cards have spent their careers in the MLS. This might be a coincidence but it could suggest the league is on the average less disciplined or that players are ill prepared to deal with the pace of these international matches. These are structural issues Bob Bradley needs to deal with and come up with solutions.
Lets put it this way. We rarely get to play quality opposition and when we get beaten, it leads to the same sort of hand wringing. The Confederation Cup is a good way to find out where we actually are. 2002 was an aberration and from some of the reactions, still induces a hangover.
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