It's been almost 24 hours since the defeat in Azteca and I've had just enough time to simmer down to the point where I can type out a few coherent thoughts.
It's way too easy to blame this one of the poor officiating we're exposed to in the CONCACAF. I'll save that topic for another day! At the same time, it's way too easy to say that we don't have enough world class players after our latest "big game" defeat. It is true that fringe guys like Brian Ching would have trouble cracking Andorra's national team starting XI, but this is a game that we should have won. Many argue that we were simply beaten by a good team in a hostile environment. I'm not buying that one, sorry apologists...
Coach Bob Bradley was completely lost from the time he filled out the lineup card. Starting Ching up front as the target man was questionable. Also, can anyone explain to me why Jonathan Spector was dropped for Steve Churundolo? Spector had been solid on defense and provided us with a spark up the left side in the Confederations Cup. Churundolo struggled in the Gold Cup against inferior competition. Again we played the two-deep or two-in-the-hole system and had no midfield presence with Donovan and Dempsey out wide. We made it way too easy for the Mexicans to control the midfield and dominate possession. Keep in mind, it didn't help that on the odd occasion where Bradley Jr. or Ricardo Clark won a ball they gave it right back. We had absolutely no form as guys ran around trying to keep up with the more creative El Tri attack.
It was only a matter of time until we conceded a goal. You just cannot defend for that long under those conditions and expect to shut down a determined squad. We grew tired and frustrated while the Mexicans gained more and more confidence as the game dragged on. The same thing happened in the second half of both the Gold Cup final and the Confederations Cup final vs. Brazil.
I guess we'll just have to tolerate these tactics through the 2010 World Cup and additional disappointment as it seems his job is secure. Maybe then the USSF will realize that he is just not the guy who's going to take us to the next level. Sigi Schmid anyone?