|Dos Santos and Chicharito were world class.|
The first thing to take away from the game was the United State’s bucking their trend of slow starts. Despite failing to control the play, the US jumped ahead 2-0 in the first 25 minutes. In the 8th minute corner kick found the head of Michael Bradley who redirected the ball in the Mexican goal to put the US up. Fifteen minutes later, Landon Donovan found himself in on goal and fired a shot home giving the United States hope of once again asserting dominance over the southern neighbors. It was for naught though as the Mexicans found the US weak points and exploited them with class.
In the opening minutes of the game, the normally stalwart Steve Cherundolo went down with an ankle injury. Bradley elected to replace him with Jonathan Bornstein, a decision that proved extremely costly. Eric Lichaj, something of a revelation this tournament, was moved to the right side of the back line while Bornstein slotted in at left. Quickly though, Bornstein was exploited and by the speed and pace of Gio Dos Santos.
The Cherundolo injury changed the game. The backline fell into disarray and Tim Howard was put under more pressure than he’s seen all tournament. Lichaj was playing a position he hasn’t played all tournament and Bornstein was simply outgunned. Mexico struck in the 29th, 36th, 50th and the 76th.
Count that, four unanswered goals for the Mexicans following a promising United States start. The US had its chances but the ball just didn’t fall for them. Clint Dempsey, largely ineffective on the night, rattled the crossbar. Michael Bradley had a fantastic shot that curved just wide. Clarence Goodson had a to poke that just didn’t cross the line. With that, the United States fell by a final score of 4-2 and the Mexican national team booked their ticket to the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Initial reactions from many in the social media community were to damn Bornstein from the national team forever. While it seems he just isn’t national team caliber, he did not lose this game, the United States team did. That should remain in the minds of all US fans.
Questions and Points of Interest
There were some interesting things to note. Yes, Bob Bradley was out coached and out gunned in the Gold Cup final. One wonders several things about his Gold Cup decisions. Why was Bedoya not initially selected in the 23, only to start every match? Why was the national team unable to secure the services of Timmy Chandler when depth is so much an issue? Why put Johnathan Spector on the roster at all if the plan was always to play Bornstein as a backup, someone who is consistently beaten on the international level?
Additionally why as Freddy Adu not used sooner in the tournament? We’ve written this before and it’s been discussed ad nauseum. Adu was a revelation in his last two games, coming on as a sub versus Panama and then earning a START in the Gold Cup final vs. Mexico. Regardless of injuries to Altidore or anyone else, that is something to note.
Freddy Adu, who has struggled mightily in his young career, has revitalized himself. He was the best player on the field for the United States against Mexico. Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, Howard… all veterans who failed to perform to their ability while Adu reminded us all of his. At present, Freddy Adu should have secured another opportunity for the national team as they rebuild. And they do need to rebuild.
Fans who are calling for Bob Bradley’s head I ask you this, and if you have answers please share them, who can the United States legitimately secure as a viable replacement who will improve the program?