Thoughts on the US performances versus Morocco and Venezuela

The performance of the US National Team on Tuesday night in Nashville against Morocco was nothing short of embarrassing. Morocco is without a doubt the best side the US will face in the run up to Germany 2006, but Morocco had brought basically a B team to the match and it was painfully obvious that the Americans were not playing with a great deal of passion particularly after Claudio Reyna’s injury. Reyna has spent most of the last 8 months on the shelf after starting the English season on fire with his club side, Manchester City. The health of the two most creative and possession oriented American players, Reyna and John O’Brien continue to be a concern. With the exception of Pablo Mastroeni, Eddie Pope and Oguchi Onyewu the rest of the squad looked lost. Thankfully it was a friendly and the entire team came out much sharper and focused against Venezuela. I loved the energy that Bobby Convey brought to the game, and Eddie Johnson looked valuable after having looked like he’d figure in the bottom tier of the 700 plus players in World Cup 2006 after Tuesday’s pathetic showing. DeMarcus Beasley is sloppy and inconsistent, and perhaps Convey will replace Beasley as the starting left wing player?

The loss of Cory Gibbs to injury is blow for the squad. I am disappointed because he is a Broward County native and was one of only two Floridians on the squad, and also because he provided critical depth on the back line. Frankie Hejduk’s injury is also a severe blow, because Hejduk has arguably been our best player in the last two world cups.

What this squad needs to develop is some leadership. During Japan/Korea 2002, Tony Sanneh emerged as a natural team leader and besides playing every minute of every game at a high level, Sanneh was visible in organizing his teammates on set pieces and demonstrating vocal leadership on and off the pitch. Perhaps the energetic Mastroeni or experienced Eddie Lewis will emerge as this cup Sanneh? Regardless of who emerges as a leader, we need someone to step up and fill that role.

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19 Responses to Thoughts on the US performances versus Morocco and Venezuela

  1. Joe says:

    You are really going to spend your time on this soccer site nobody will read and neglect the College Sports site? I’ll pick up the slack at Florida College Sports I guess.

  2. Gregg says:

    We need Landon Donovan to step up and become the leader.

    It’s Landon’s time right now. He’s the guy this team will turn to in the next four years. He’s hitting his prime and I expect (actually hope) he has an excellent World Cup.

    I’m not sure if the players around him are good enough especially from the forward position.

  3. Gregg says:

    The U.S. forwards are opportunistic goal scores. Some may call them goal poachers but the reality is Landon is our most creative forward when he’s actually our best midfielder.

    McBride is good in the air, Johnson can finish close to the net but none have the ability to beat a defender with their feet. Yes, Johnson posesses great speed but he’s often injured and hasn’t proven himself against good competition.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wasn’t aware the US even had a soccer team. Why the heck are you wasting your time and effort covering a European event? Good luck getting people from England and France to read this site, because Americans certainly will not.

  5. federico says:

    The USA is tough to get a handle on because the two players with the most quality on the squad always seem to be injured. O’Brien and Reyna are both world class caliber players who as a midfield combination will be potent. To be honest, I do not think much of the rest of the USA team and do believe without those two healthy they will be one of the worst sides in Germany. Americans seem to think Landon Donovan is something special but he is not able to even cut it as a reserve in Germany.

    I realize this is a USA site, and I too pull for the USA when Mexico is not playing. The best hope for USA to adavace is if the two play making midfielders are healthy.

  6. federico says:

    O’Brien is healthy my brother just told me. USA just hope Reyna comes back to health as well. The two of them together will form a great combination that can create many scoring chances for USA.

  7. Gregg says:


    You are right that Donovan could not cut it in Germany? Why can’t he??? I can’t answer that question.

    But you cannot deny that he was the best player on the pitch in that Quarterfila matchup.

  8. Kartik says:

    Federico welcome to the site! I’m glad you found us. We need some passionate Fubol types around ehre. What do you make of Mexico’s chances?

  9. Hernandez says:

    good page. i am also of mexico and do not believe we will do well in this cup.

    our idiot argentine manager has gutted the team by cutting blanco and testing borgetti. we also have run off garcia aspe due to seniortiy even though he is still in good shape. claudio suarez is back on the team only because we fans wanted him back and would have killed lavolpe otherwise. lavolpe has also brought argentines on to the team which is making us all angry.

    usa has a good shot if reyna and o’brien are fit. if they are not, they have no shot. i am a fan of chivas and hope o’brien gets well for the mls season also. o’brien is a gift to chivas, and i hope he is not just playing a year before moving back to some big club in england or italy. his skill level is unmatched in mls or mexico.

    donovan is not capable of playing at a high level consistently nor is beasley. usa really needs o’brien and reyna to lead them and not count on the young ones.

  10. Federico says:

    Blanco did not fit the team concept. I take it you are a Luis Hernandez fan? I love him too! Did you see Mexico beat USA in the revenge game with the old timers the other night? I like LaVolpe and think we will win our group and advance at least the 3RD round.

    Eddie Johnson is going to be a star that will be sold by MLS after the cup. Recall my words for it. When the big euro clubs see his speed and work rate duing the USAs games they will pay top dollar for him. Forwards with his sort of pace are tough to find particularly in German and Dutch leagues.

  11. Federico says:

    I just read Reyna will be ready for the USA opener. If he and O’brien are ready then USA will advance otherwise I think Ghana has a good shot.

  12. los tres colores says:

    La Volpe lose to USA always!!!!!

    He is the worst. I reside in Denver and most of us here want him sent back to Argentina!

    He is over thinks tactics and gets beat by simpler teams such as USA.

    Talent means nothing to lavolpe just obedience and his style of play. That is why Blanco is no more.

    Reina and Obrien are broken. talented they are yes, but always hurt. USA needs to develop more than just the two of them. you cannot count on them. I like Clint Mathis a great deal. He’s adding a flair here with the Rapids as is Kivorski. Why are they not on Arena’s squad? Mathis scored a few goals in the last cup, but like Blanco he has been dropped for this cup.

  13. Kartik says:


    Good to have you on our blog. We will be talking a great deal about Mexico also. I happen to think LaVolpe is a very good coach, and will get the most out of Mexico. Why are you upset about the naturalized Argentine players? They will help you guys win games. Surte they are not pure Mexican and maybe I don’t understand because I am not Mexican, but these two guys seem to be skilled and unlike most of your players they have played at a high level of int’l club soccer. LaVolpe wants versatile players and people who fill roles, not goal poachers and one way players like Blanco. That’s why he was cut.

    Let me ask you an honest question. This is to you and everybody else. What is it about John O’Brien that exictes everybody so much. I have been watching this guy since a sparkling debut against Austria in 1998. To be honest he isn’t much better than he was then and is always injured. I was upset Sampson did not take him to France 98, because he could have helped us, but he is now a liability, always hurt and never fit when he’s suppossedly healthy. Two of your countrymen in San Diego last year when I was visiting there told me that O’Brien is the best american player ever. I just don’t get it. I like him and agree he is without doubt a starting caliber player, but world class????? Maybe if he were ever not hurt. What is it you and everybody else love about him so much.

  14. Kartik says:

    Clint Mathis is no longer part of the US player pool. Arena has enough of his antics, and selfish attitude. However I don’t disagree with you on his talent. He is more talented than the vast majority of our current players, and scored a goal at WC02 and created another with a great ball that was easily finished by McBride. (He almost created another versus Mexico but Donovan missed a sitter) But he’s never in shape and doesn’t play a team game.

    Kirovski on the other hand is just plain useless.

  15. Hernandez says:

    lavolpe has destroyed the tems and the players hate him very much so. you may like him but opinion in mexico is very much against him. he will no longer manage los tres colores after the cup.

    o’brien is a gifted footballer. he is able to control possession and set the tempo of a match. he also has quality finishing and longballs. his defense on the man is among the best i have seen from a player in north or central america. he is a magician who has suffered many injury. i believe he is among the best ever in usa. he was with ajax one of the top euro club from aged 14 onward until a few months ago. that means he was with ajax for 15 years, developing the skills you don’t often see in american or mexican players. compare him to adu who is still in mls at 17 or the bolivian that was a kid in mls also and didn’t develop. o’brien was found at age 13 by ajax and man u both of whom wanted to take him to europe. he is a talent of unquestioned rival in the usa. all the other guys in usa develop when they are 22 or 23. he was a star already by 19, having played for ajax youth squad and won a dutch title.

    do me a favor since you are a fan of futbol. watch o’brien when he is not in the injury list and compare him to other usa players in midfield. you’ll then see why i and so many others think he is amazing.

  16. Gregg says:


    I am of the same opinion as Kartik concerning John O’Brien.

    I’ve seen him play and on those fortunate occasions he’s played well but he is not a World Class player.

    Yes, hypothetically if he was never injured he could play at a high level in one of the top leagues. But he’s not strong enough or genetically built enough to avoid the punishment of the game without injury.

    BTW Ajax was a top team 10 to 15 years ago but they have clearly fell off their mantle.

    Adu on the other hand is better suited to get playing time in the MLS than be squandered on the resrve team of some top tier European club. Look at the experience Bobby Convey got from being developed in the MLS.

  17. Federico says:

    O’Brien is often injured but if he had stayed clear of being hurt a lot he would have been the greatest futballer from the USA. I agree with Hernandez. O’Brien has the best combination of latin ball skills, European defensive skill and English long ball passing, and good shot making as well. He is one of the few complete players USA has ever produced, and he will be a force in Germany if he is fully fit.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hey anonymous, go back into your cave and pretend that USA is the world. You might run into a few other cave dwellers there!

    an anonymous non cave person!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Your are Excellent. And so is your site! Keep up the good work. Bookmarked.

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