Saturday, June 26, 2010


After having lived through the agony of another match with the Cardiac Kids on the pitch, I am not sure whether to feel upset that they will go no further in this World Cup or relieved that I will not have to suffer a potential heart attack from watching them concede an early goal and wondering if they will be resurrected again by the heroics of Landon Donovan. When they went down by a goal in the 5', I was pounding the floor with my fist in frustration. How could they possibly give up ANOTHER early goal and be forced to play harder to come from beind?!

But the blame here goes squarely with Bill Bradley who must have believed that tweaking the lineup that delivered a victory in their previous match against Algeria would confuse Ghana enough to allow the US a win. His two changes, involving the over-awed Robbie Findley (who could not finish a sandwich let alone a scoring opportunity) and Ricardo Clark (who was directly responsible for the early goals in both the England and the Ghana matches) were incomprehensible to me. The players he had brought in off the bench had been far more effective than those two starters - and they were again today. To his credit, at least Bradley took Clark out before the first half was done; but that meant that another substitution was not available for later. Findley did not come on for the second half but that meant another substitution was also gone (read: wasted). The net effect was that he had only one other sub for the remainder of the game and, when it went to extra time and they gave up another inexplicable goal, there was no energy to get possession and opportunities for a matching goal.

It's still early and the repercussions of these decisions will likely take time before they are made public. This may well have been the last World Cup for stars Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey - and more is the pity that their efforts and heroics (particularly in Donovan's case) will have been for naught. While getting past the first round was their oft-stated goal, to have then been knocked out in this manner must have been maddening and a sad epitaph on their World Cup ambitions. Perhaps those who follow them will make them proud in the future. We can only hope...

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