Monday, April 24, 2017

A MONTH OF MAYHEM: Can Bob Bradley Lead U.S. to the Next Round?

By Mark Vincent Lincir

The best midfield that U.S. Coach Bob Bradley can field against Algeria would be to have Maurice Edu holding in behind Benny Feilhaber. That would give the U.S. a strong, consistent deep lying center mid in Edu and a crafty player who loves to get the ball and can hold it under pressure in Feilhaber.

But we all know how much US Soccer loves crafty players who crave the ball, and yes, are prone to the random give-away (it’s because they have the ball so much stupid!)…so needless to say, we won’t see that central midfield pairing. Instead we’ll see of course Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu or Ricardo Clark.

It’s not an offensive strategy if the U.S. plans on putting an pressure on Algeria. And the U.S. cannot play for a tie (they wouldn’t know how to anyway). The U.S. simply goes out and plays and that’s an indication of the coaching. The U.S. doesn’t kill off games…the U.S. doesn’t come in going for the jugular…they just come in and play soccer. That does not bode well going into a game like Wednesday’s against Algeria.
Algeria will be playing with a ton of confidence after sharing points with England the other day…and they have players that can play and showed the ability to move the ball around the field.

It will be a tough game and it should be Bob Bradley’s last should the U.S. lose. Everyone says he is a master of calculating and preparing…but all that doesn’t matter if you can’t make adjustments during the game…which, more often that not, Bob has proven he can’t.

I think the U.S. will go down early like always and will run out of time to act out another one of their miraculous comebacks. Falling behind early is a trademark of this national team under Coach Bob and if that isn’t enough to get him canned, I don’t know what is.

U.S. lineup the way it should be….Howard, Cherundolo, DeMerit, Gooch, Boca, Dempsey, Edu, Feilhaber, Landon, Altidore and BUDDLE.

TODAY’S GAMES cemented some interesting second round match ups…but it was France’s failure to even earn a point against the hosts that made the most noise. What an embarrassment, what a shame, what a joke the French team has become. It’s good to see them go home and this World Cup couldn’t have sent them home quickly enough. They were gifted their entrance into this tournament and now must go home being known as the BIGGEST UNDERACHIEVERS OF ALL TIME! They shouldn’t even enter the tournament next time around if they don’t want to play, because there are certainly plenty of countries that do want to be involved and would take the responsibility and privilege seriously.

A former champ takes their group and needs to be reckoned with in the knock out stages. It’s great to see Uruguay doing well and I love watching Diego Forlan. They’ll have a great chance at the quarterfinals even though South Korea will give them a rough go.

Mexico has no chance against Argentina, but we all know that Mexico doesn’t have a whole lot this time around…at least they got out of the first round though. Argentina looks really good and put away Greece with no problem 2-0. Can Maradona win a World Cup as a coach now too??? With that much talent he should.

Ethan Zohn is a great friend of 90:00 and a former pro keeper and the co-founder of Grassrootsoccer (www.grassrootsoccer.org). He’s in South Africa enjoying the sights and sounds and also making a difference in the lives of young people there. Check out my interview with him below and the cool pictures he sent along (Ethan, I don’t hate you for being there without me, but don’t be afraid to offer an invitation next time buddy!).

Why are you in South Africa?

I’m on a quest to find the birth place of the Vuvuzela, and I’m also here to volunteer with Grassroot Soccer and help out some World Cup action. Schools will be closed for nearly 6 weeks during the World Cup tournament, putting youth at great risk and families under pressure. GRS relieves this burden by running Holiday Programs in each of our programmatic sites across South Africa during the June/July school break. Designed to keep kids healthy, safe, and learning during the long break, Skillz Holiday Programs include GRS interventions, football matches, and a safe place for kids to watch World Cup games. With support from Castrol and (RED)GRS is currently planning to run 57 Skillz Holiday Programs for 5,700 youth in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, and Soweto.

How bad does England look and why?

I was actually at the England Algeria match. If I was not eating Biltong (South African beef jerky) I would have thought I was in Wembley. The entire place was English and should have made the team feel at home. They were crap. No fighting spirit. Rooney and Heskey were not communicating and their touch was off. Bringing in Philips provided a spark, but it was too late. The whole team looked to be chasing the ball a bit. Capello makes 9 million a year, he should have made a better coaching decision in the 2nd half to beat Algeria. Good teams find a way to win. Brazil were obviously having a nightmare, but found a way to get some goals. Next game please. Having said that, England played bad and Algeria played good. You must give them credit for defending like champions. England needed a retired soccer star with a bum Achilles tendon to step on the field….know anyone?

Should people, especially soccer fans, stop wishing that they were English?

Completely! Why do people do that? You can root for English teams and maybe enjoy the EPL as a league because its exciting…but I’m confused why so many people root for England. I also think some US Soccer Camps should stop importing average British coaches for their kids…just because they come from England and have a cool accent, doesn’t mean they are good players or good coaches. It’s all Beckhams fault.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in South Africa?

Nothing too crazy. Funneled a beer through a Vuvuzela decorated with France colors…what a mistake that was.
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