by: Garret Heinrich (@GarretHeinrich)
On Tuesday Night I suffered through one of the worst sports fan experiences I’ve ever had. It was also probably the worst day of many USA players and coaches lives, so my complaints are probably a little overblown, but indulge me while I get a little off my chest.
The Players Didn’t Play Well.
Every single player on the field during that game looked like they were tired. They looked like they didn’t want to be out there (at some point, obviously many worked their asses off). But they were not their sharpest form of themselves. We see what they can do when they are clicking and it is dominating Panama and playing with Mexico and challenging Belgium. But that team wasn’t on the field on Tuesday night. It was a tired, lost bunch of boys who didn’t seem to really drive for a win from the opening whistle.
Omar Gonzalez Should Never Wear That Jersey Again.
I’m not even that mad about the own goal from Omar Gonzalez. That was a fluke. The majority of the time that sails in the air and Tim Howard calmly collects it or it goes over the bar. But this is Omar Gonzalez, who for his entire career has been terrible with any ball that is played below his shoulders. He watches balls and has never played at a level higher than the MLS. And now he can’t even cut it in the MLS. He’s out there because Bruce Arena knows him and likes him.
Where Has Michael Bradley Gone?
Someone who just started following soccer during the 2014 World Cup asked me, when was Michael Bradley good? And it took me a while to think about it. I think the 2012 Gold Cup and 2014 WC Qualifying (Taking place in 2013) was the last time. I think. I can’t remember. He was good in the 2010 World Cup. I Remember That. I can’t forget this.
But after that, when was Michael Bradley TRUELY what we have in our mind’s eye? Because of that, I think it is time for Captain America to remove his armband. He just hasn’t been good for at least the last three years.
Bruce. BRUCE! Bruce (*side eye*):
When Bruce Arena was brought in as his second run as the USMNT coach, I understood it. I got that he was comfortable. Most of the players knew him. And he could bring the Lockerroom back together after Jurgen Klinsmann wholeheartedly destroyed any sense of team the National Team had. But then he started calling his squads for games and I started to worry.
Chris Wondolowski started making it back into the USMNT Roster. As did Gonzalez. As did some other players that Arena was familiar with. I half expected to see Johnathon Bornstein get another shot at left back. He even called DaMarcus Beasley back after Beasley had retired from National Team duty.
The fear of the new and unknown seemed to drive Arena’s decision making in roster calls. Then he would just go crazy and mix up his lineups every game until he didn’t. And the time he didn’t mix anything up is the time the USA needed things to be mixed up the most. They needed some fresh blood in the lineup after a short rest, no training and rough feild conditions in T&T. But he left Geoff Cameron on the bench. He left Tim Ream on the Bench. He left Timmy Chandler, Danny Williams and Fabian Johnson in Germany. Where was Matt Hedges? Matt Miazga? Anyone who is better than Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez in the back.
The midfield was running all over the place and just didn’t have energy to do the work to win the game.
It seemed like Bruce Arena’s pep talk on Tuesday night was, “hey guys, don’t lose.”
Not a great pep talk. A terrible display by the players, the head coach and for the federation.
At least I get a year, where I won’t have to worry about call ups, injuries and how to get to Russia.