Well that was rough. It seemed as if we had the kind of draw that comes once every three or four World Cups, a legitimate chance for the USMNT to get into the semis. It felt as if we would be able to ride the momentum of a last second goal all the way to the world’s version of the final four. Alas, it was not meant to be. The final African nation powered on by blasting plastic horns took down the Americans and we are left with our beers nearly empty and warm, or maybe that was just me. What follows are a couple of my questions for the next four years…please add yours and comment on mine.
First and foremost for me is the fact that a forward for the USMNT has not scored a goal in the World Cup since June 17, 2002. Let that settle for a minute. Brian McBride found the back of the net in the 8th minute against the Mexicans, and no other forward has been able to repeat that feat in two World Cups. That, my friends, is an issue. Say what you will about the performance of the back four or some of the roster decisions made by Bradley, but somebody up front needs to score. Plain and simple. Moving forward, who is it going to be Jozy, Herculez, Davies? We need someone up top that can score when given the opportunity, and we had plenty of opportunities. Why is this? Is the American soccer culture too structured? Do we not have the ability to play the “beautiful game”? Do we rely too much on the midfield to provide creativity? I’m asking because I don’t know, and it doesn’t seem that anyone at the US Federation knows for sure either.
Where do we go from here in terms of leadership? Is Bob Bradley going to be shown the door? I think he soon will be, but where will his replacement come from? The President of the US Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati believes that we are capable of more. I have got to agree with him. Gulati and Bradley are set to have a meeting of sorts after the conclusion of the Cup, if I were Bradley I’d be sending out resumes. Do we make another run at Jurgen Klinsmann? Would he even be interested this time around? And if Bradley gets canned where will he end up? MLS? Overseas?
Finally, can the MLS effectively produce world class talent? I believe that this may be an overlooked aspect of the make-up of quality national teams. While many of the top talents of any individual nation may play their club ball outside of the county, many of the role players and those essential pieces to solid teams play at home. Is the MLS competitive enough to produce the talent needed to assemble a top tier national team?
Clearly we are left with more questions than answers after that premature exit. At least we’re not French.
Dru Boyer is a contributing writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.