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USA v. Argentina Wrap-Up

Well, just like after last week’s loss to Spain, I decided to wait some 48-72 odd hours before memorializing my feelings about the U.S. soccer team’s performance. While I am not quite as steamed as last week, I have to say I am still pretty darn disappointed.

Why?

Well, after signs of improvement last year, in the last three weeks the U.S. took on three of the world’s best teams, but managed merely one point. Why else? Over the three game span (270+ minutes), the U.S. never once found the back of the net.

Also, while it’s great we tied the #1 ranked squad in the world, the way we tied them was not pretty. In the first half, we were lucky Tim Howard didn’t get decapitated. Messi, Cruz & Aguero had numerous first half chances, but the keeper rose to the occasion every time. Howard had to play a heck of game for the U.S. to escape with the tie. Seven saves? It seemed like seventeen.

Sure, we looked better in the second half. It’s easier when Messi isn’t playing isn’t it? That’s like playing the U.S. without Donovan. Oh yeah, maybe that explains our drought…

Two of the bigger disappointments for me were Eddie Johnson and Pablo Mastroeni. EJ did what EJ always does in big games: waste our best opportunities, while Pablo did what Pablo always does in big games: get sent off.

Everyone else played pretty mediocre. Donovan created a little, and Dempsey played better than in the two previous matches, but overall the team looked pretty pedestrian. Let’s hope they are injected with some vigor before Barbados next week. There’s no excuse for not scoring in that matchup.

Finally, I think you can tell alot about a team by how their coach reacts to a result. Alfio Basile, Argentina’s main man, lamented his team’s “stunted performance” and “mediocre” play. Meanwhile, Bob Bradley thought his team was “improving”, “looking stronger” and “feeling very good about the result.”

One man is driving his #1 team to even newer heights, the other patting his players on the back after being shut out a third straight time.

Which team do you think will be ready for 2010?

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