So I watched the painful US verses Ghana match this morning. I'm sure many of you don't care, but I need to get some stuff off my chest, so here are my thoughts:
- Bruce Arena will be fired. The talent level was too great for the result to be so poor. The Czech Republic actually played worse than US, because they should've won the division. But their misstep gave the team an incredible opportunity. If you had told me before the tournament that the US could go 1-1-1 and advance, I would've bet the house on them doing it. But they failed. Why? The formation they used [4-5-1] never fit the talent they had, the players weren't ready to play the first game, and there was no attacking presence until their last half of play. One goal in three games is sad. Too sad. Too bad for Bruce that had a good run there.
- The masses will want to blame poor officiating for the US's early exit, but this is just an easy excuse. True, many calls went against the Red, White, and Blue that were ridiculous, but if their level of play was at all better, they would be playing in the round of 16.
- Demarcus Beasley was the worst US player this year. Two reasons for this: 1) he found himself on the wrong side of a poor formation and 2) he wasn't as naive as he was in 2002. In Korea, he played all-out, moving like he had icy-hot in his jock strap; he was too dumb to realize how huge the games were. Four years later, he was back down to earth and played with total hesitancy. If you take his assist away [created when Ghana messed up], then he contributed nothing.
- Kasey Keller never had a chance. Too bad the best keeper in US Soccer history hung around for this.
- Claudio Reyna is the Peyton Manning of US Soccer. He has all the tools necessary to perform at the highest level but is unable to convert in the biggest games. This team will look very different in four years, and I think the US Soccer program will be better for it. In 2010 the tournament will be in South Africa and, most likely, the US will play better. Of course, that's in four years, like anyone then will care what I wrote about this now.
- I still have England to win, but it'll be tough without Michael Owen. As I reapproach what I think it will still happen but think Germany is looking more legit every match.
- In case you were wondering about my World Cup picks, with one day of games remaining, the worst I can do is 12 of 16, the best I can do is 14 of 16.