This Monday was so heartbreaking in many ways. The loss to Italy, although in many people's eyes a hidden victory for the United States, was anything but that. What we are looking at is a team of players where no one has the ambition to step up and play the ball on defense.
I've watched US soccer now for 17 years. The US team has never had a player that wants to take the ball. For those of you who may not be familiar with this term, I will explain it. When an offender collects the ball in a defender's area, we need to defend that area. This is called putting pressure on the ball. This will create mistakes by the offense and eventually create a turnover.
Instead of the US team creating pressure on the ball, we offer space to the world's elite players in hopes they will make the mistake on their own. I do understand you put yourself out there to look like a fool when the offender puts a well practiced move on you and gets by, but we must get over that fear!
In fact we must study the players and understand the moves before we play. Just like a hitter watches film on a pitcher, we as defenders must watch and study those who we will be defending. Teams have been playing in the midfield with no pressure now for years! It is ridiculous. Long balls from the defense does not create a blitzkrieg attack, breaking someone in the mid field will. Pressure the ball all the time, create a blanket, and don't allow your man out from underneath.