Skip to content

No reason for alarm around U.S. national team camp

May 31, 2012, 12:32 PM EST

Keep calm

We usually limit deployment of the Keep Calm and Carry On image for our weekly Panic Quotient. But exceptions clearly exist.

Alarm bells are clanging in some watchtowers over last night’s result, the 4-1 loss to Brazil.

Let’s see, where did we put those doggone lanterns and pitchforks?

But really? Because I couldn’t muster so much as a shot glass full of outrage.

Getting beat by three at home is never a moment to celebrate, clearly. But to look beyond the result and, more importantly, to look at the 180-minute body of work over five days for Jurgen Klinsmann’s team, I just cannot get too twisted up about it.

Are there areas of concern? Yep. Areas for tweaking and personnel adjustments? Right-o. I’ve gone over those.

But what we saw Wednesday wasn’t that outrageous; Brazil has done the same many times over.  We saw a team that eased into a game that needed a full sprint from the start, so that should and presumably will be addressed. Brazil came to play and Brazil came to be a little more “nasty” than Klinsmann’s men.

(Aside: Alarm bells are also banging over Klinsmann’s comments about his team needing to be a little “nastier.”  Me? Meh. I don’t think he’s advocating going all Giovanni Trapattoni on us, playing the old Italian way, or throwing down MMA style. The man has spent almost 10 months preaching just the opposite. I think he just wants more recognition of when to meet gamesmanship, bite and aggression with equal measures of gamesmanship, bite and aggression. So that’s that.)

Otherwise, I saw a U.S. side that rolled out an attacking formation and tried to get numbers into the final third against a five-time world champ. And isn’t that what so many have long written on their U.S. Soccer wish list? “No retreat” and “Valor in defeat” and all that?

Brazil was on the front foot right away, but the home team was pushing for goals late. In a lot of ways, the difference Wednesday was ruthless finishing on one side, and the American inability to match it.

This was a pretty good Brazilian team. Young? Yes. But it’s a worthy collection of young, motivated talent, augmented by some of the global elite. Neymar? The guy has serious skills. Hulk? There’s a reason the power suits at moneyed clubs like Chelsea are pushing each other out of the way to sign him. Marcelo? The world’s best left back, perhaps? You could make the case. Thiago Silva? Among the game’s elite center backs.

No, it wasn’t the full Brazilian treatment. But let’s not make it out like these were local mutts with day jobs at Brazilian bakeries.

All in all, I’d reckon that over 180 minutes against one unmotivated, mediocre team and one strong one, the United States men’s national team isn’t in a ditch today. Things are OK … so step away from the alarm bells, please.

Latest Posts
  1. Tim Howard runs away with U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year award

    Nov 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    tim_howard Getty Images

    Tim Howard unsurprisingly takes U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year award.

  2. Wigan Athletic shirt sponsor cuts ties with club, calls Mackay’s remarks “untenable”

    Nov 20, 2014, 5:10 PM EST

    Aston Villa v Cardiff City - Premier League Getty Images

    Wigan Athletic shirt sponsors have ended their contract with the club due to Malkay Mackay’s illicit text messages.

  3. Pepe: “It would be a scandal” if Ronaldo didn’t win Ballon d’Or

    Nov 20, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-BARCELONA FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-BARCELONA

    “It would be a scandal and a shame if they did not give [Ronaldo] the Ballon d’Or,” says Pepe.

  4. Buffon, Chiellini pledge future to Juventus with contract extensions

    Nov 20, 2014, 3:55 PM EST

    112014-Chiellini-PI.vadapt.320.medium.0 Getty Images

    Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini are set to stay at Juventus with fresh deals.

  5. Wigan owner Dave Whelan accused of anti-Semitic remarks

    Nov 20, 2014, 3:39 PM EST

    Wigan Athletic v Arsenal - FA Cup Semi-Final Wigan Athletic v Arsenal - FA Cup Semi-Final

    Whelan: “I think Jewish people do chase money more than everybody else. I don’t think that’s offensive at all.”

  6. What to expect as USA, Premier League star Geoff Cameron joins ProSoccerTalk

    Nov 20, 2014, 3:02 PM EST

    Cameron AP

    Details on Geoff Cameron’s exciting new role with ProSoccerTalk.

  7. FIFA saga takes new twist: World Cup corruption report to be reviewed

    Nov 20, 2014, 2:31 PM EST

    64th FIFA Congress 64th FIFA Congress

    Review of FIFA’s corruption report ordered, as Qatar, Russia scrutinized once again.

  8. VOTE – Best choice for MLS expansion: Las Vegas, Sacramento or Minneapolis?

    Nov 20, 2014, 1:32 PM EST

    Vikings Stadium Football AP

    You get your say. After MLS held talks with cities in California, Nevada and Minnesota, is this the right move for the league?

  9. Mix-up: Manchester United say Daley Blind out for six months, then deny it

    Nov 20, 2014, 12:02 PM EST

    Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Blind was ruled out for six months by United’s Twitter account… but there’s been a twist.

  10. Finalists for 2014 MLS awards announced: No MVP for BWP, and much more

    Nov 20, 2014, 10:54 AM EST

    Seattle Sounders v Los Angeles Galaxy - Western Conference Championship - Leg 1 Getty Images

    Here are the finalists for MLS 2014 awards. Agree? Disagree?

  11. Olivier Giroud makes shock return for Arsenal, fit for Manchester United clash

    Nov 20, 2014, 8:39 AM EST

    Olivier Giroud AP

    Giroud back a month ahead of schedule to hand Gunners massive boost.

  12. Report: Arsenal have deal in place to sign Chelsea’s Petr Cech

    Nov 20, 2014, 8:05 AM EST

    Chelsea v Paris Saint-Germain FC - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Getty Images

    Cech set for a move to the Emirates in January according to reports.

  13. MLS Expansion Draft rules released; existing teams can protect 11 players

    Nov 19, 2014, 8:59 PM EST

    MLSLogoEdit1

    Ready yourself for the MLS Expansion Draft, slated for December 10th.

Featured video

Preview: Arsenal vs. Manchester United