I suppose it’s not a uniquely American trait, the intensive self-analysis and self-criticism. I suppose that the Mexican capacity for self-criticism – and any country where soccer is king, really – is more than even that of the United States. But there’s something about US soccer writers.
Take this story, for example. Once again, it boils down to the US taking that mythical next step. I’ve been reading that since 2006, though it probably existed before that. The argument is simple: the US is, and has been, the best team in CONCACAF for a number of years. Therefore, it should show that by, for example, qualifying easily for the 2010 World Cup. Except the problem is that Mexico has the best players.
This article blames inconsistency. I can respect that even though it offers no solutions. We need to be pro-active at this point. Why is the team so inconsistent? What’s the key factor that allows a team to get blown out by Costa Rica yet lead Brazil at half-time?
The easy excuse is fitness: this player or that player isn’t fully fit, something I heard a lot on Wednesday on Mun2. I don’t think it’s that. Every player on both teams was coming off a full summer of soccer. Another easy excuse is the coach. Bob Bradley’s job is safe; he won’t be fired. What someone needs to do it convince him to employ tactics similar to those of the first 15 minutes against Mexico for a longer period of time.
I think, at this point, the US needs to push the envelope. I’d like to see them come out in September and take the game to their opponents. I don’t want to see the passivity that led to early goals in the last 3 World Cup Qualifiers (I’m including Wednesday, when Castro scored at 19 minutes).
Above all, the team can’t get complacent. Instilling an attacking, aggressive mentality will prevent that.