Last nights US vs. England game was a major disappointment for USA soccer fans. We never looked like threatening an England team that is full of big names. but is no longer a world power.
It was a lackluster U.S. performance with many players showing that the step up in class from beating Barbados to beating England is too much for them to take.
The lack of U.S. players playing on big stages is having an impact on the national team. As Liviu Bird at SoccerLens pointed out:
Looking at the starting eleven for each side, England had seven players that played in the Champions League Final in Moscow and one in the FA Cup Final. The US had one player who played in a cup final in Europe this season, and that same player (DaMarcus Beasley) is just coming off of a serious knee injury. Club and international football are two different things, but experience in big matches with clubs will lead to a confidence and feeling of belonging when players are called up to the national team.
When inexperienced players get pressured in a game they either try to dribble their way out of trouble or boot the forward towards the other goal. You see this all the time in MLS and is reflects the lack of composure that inexperienced players feel.
The silver lining is that U.S coach Bob Bradley seems to recognize these failings. The only way to get better and prepare for major tournaments it to play teams like England and Spain in Europe in hostile environments. The combination of these tough European games plus the game in New York against #1 team in the world Argentina will tell Bob Bradley a lot more about his players than any series against Barbados or Belize will.
When this three game scenario was announced, even the most optimistic U.S. soccer fan was thinking that a draw and two losses would be pretty good. So in that regard the loss at Wembley was to be expected. What nobody expected was the mediocre performance that the U.S put in. That is something that needs to be fixed before we play Spain.