Joga Bo-Nothin': U.S. Assures its Fast-Track To Nowhere

A shell of my former selfCorrespondent IJune 18, 2009

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18:  Robinho of Brazil battles with Jay DeMerit of USA during the FIFA Confederations Cup match between USA and Brasil at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 18, 2009 in Pretoria, South Africa.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

At least Bill Buckner looked demorolized after the ball squirted right-on through his legs.

At least Craig Ehlo fell to the hardwood in inexpainable devastation.

After a 3-1 result—if that's what you choose to call it—against the defending World Cup champions Monday, the Stars & Stripes were supposedly supposed to rebound from what many worldwide dubbed a legitimate performance against one of the best squads around.

They fell, hard, and there were no apologies or despondency.

Thursday proved to be the wrong day, something that has become all-too-familiar with the U.S. National team, as the Americans waltzed in against arguably the most-fluid team in the world and essentially laid their last of many laid eggs.

Another goal allowed in the first 10 minutes of the match.

Another match, in which the Americans looked profoundly lost for 90 straight minutes.

Another inexcusible performance by a squad that is on a confounded highway that leads straight onto hell.

The 3-0 scoreline against the Brazilians didn't tell the story of the match. It should've been much more, discounting the always hungry Tim Howard's saves, the U.S. quit before the bell even rang. They delivered their own knockout punch without having to ask the likes of Robinho, Luis Fabiano or Kaka to politely do so.

Kaka was a ghost in this game. A ghost. The former FIFA Player of the Year made no memorable plays to think of, and yet still, the Green & Yellow put on a clinic.

Another missed mark. Another horrible trap. Another mind-boggling center. It's easy to say broken record, but it's not even worthy of deeming of something that once cost money.

Embarrassing, that sounds about right. It was cringeworthy. Almost like watching Willis Mcgahee's knee slammed 90 degrees the wrong way. Almost like Eduardo nearly have his foot and ankle separated from his leg. That bad.

Before the U.S. had a shot to get back into the game, Damarcus Beasley, historically one of the most successful two-way players in American history—yes, sad, we know—received a short corner that he just couldn't trap. A ball lazily laid off at a rate of about three miles per hour couldn't be trapped by a unmarked Beasley.

Talk about speaking volumes for a player, team and chemistry. The "mishit" led to a 0-to-60 for the Brazilians, who eventually saw Jonathan Spector and Sacha Kjlestan huff-and-puff their way to watching to a Samba-esque one-two that eventually led to Robinho smoothly tucking away the 2-0 lead.

Once that nightmare became a reality, no self-respecting U.S. fan thought the Stars, nor even the Stripes had a chance of leveling.

After the match, head coach Bob Bradley, who continues to baffle the soccer world with his formations, substitutions and all and in between, said that, "Tentative start, goal on the set piece. Just an awfully difficult way to start vs. Brazil."

Yeah, no s***, Sherlock. The start wasn't tentative, it was awful, Bob. Awful.

With Beasley and Kjlestan in, who know's why, the U.S. looked less like a J.V. squad and more like a club team featuring the kinda-good players that featured the age range of 12-to-14.

The Brazilian offense played better defense than Jonathan Bornstein and Jonathan Spector combined. Kjlestan's passes were seemingly right to the feet of Kaka and Jozy Altidore's size and speed didn't intimidate the backline of Brazil as it did against the Italians.

A few flops, unforgivable giveaways and a horrible trap-and-shoot on one of the literally three legit opportunities the Americans had, that seemed about right for Jozy's night.

One can't fault the youngster, his talents and skill is beyond many who are currently donning the white jersey, but when you have a 19-year-old kid running up top against the world's best, he needs coaching. Bradley obviously hasn't done much of that lately.

Landon Donovan, the apparent "star" of this now broken-mirror national team was himself. Hustled, hustled and tried to do something, but was overmatched by the speed and size of the more-talented Brazilians. Can't fault the poster boy for the effort, he's brought it with him lately.

Clint Dempsey can't seem to find the motivation or the legs to keep up with this squad. He hasn't for the past couple years and many should begin to wonder if the Fulham starter should have his starter seat heat up a little bit.

There's no questioning his skill or heart, even considering he just finished a complete season in the rough-and-tumble EPL, but still. National team duty should come No. 1 with a bullet on anyone's list.

The rest of the team, who knows?

Kjlestan pulled a Ricardo Clark—never thought that would sound fun to say—and put the ultimate thwart on what could've been if the U.S. watched "Miracle" at halftime and had a stern pep talking to from a Minnesotan version of Kurt Russell.

Didn't happen. Another stupid, reckless tackle from a inexperienced midfielder on the world's biggest stage. Now, that sounds familiar. All too, actually.

Not counting Brazil's third goal, which was a stringed-play of beauty in-of-itself, the Americans were simply nowhere to be found. A gun to their head, the U.S. still couldn't have strung together a piece of honorable play.

It's a testament to talent, style and confidence. Three things Sam's Army hasn't seen in, um, ever?

It's a testament to the coaching style—if that's what you wish to call it—of the forbearing Bradley. Sunil Gulati and Co. have their guy. He's what they want, apparently. Good, not great. Comfortable enought to best the Mexicans and win a CONCACAF title or two, but aside from that, where's the music coming from?

Spain. Italy. Brazil. Winning teams with winning coaches, coaching winning players.

Bradley's substitutions made those watching wonder if he was slipped something. Conor Casey. Hold on, I'm sorry, I must say it again. Conor Casey. The Americans' night in shining armor? And for Beasley for that matter?

Hell, I'd never thought I'd see the day when I was begging for Freddy Adu to unleash his bag of putative tricks, but if it were any day, it was a down 2-0, playing like utter horse (blank) against literally one of the world's best kinda day.

Bradley and his staff have said that Adu will not receive that much time unless he starts playing regular minutes for his club team. Really, Bob? Really?

And since Conor Casey, the stocky linebacker looker is the answer against Brazil.

Same as Benny Feilhaber, aside from the wonderous strike two years ago against Mexico, and a half-decent showing in the second-half against Honduras, where's this kid been? Where's he playing at?

Jose Francisco Torres plays for one of the best squads in Mexico at age 21. Where was he on this night? Spot the kid a break in Saprissa Stadium.

Beasley, Feilhaber, Kjlestan, Clark, these guys have had their shot. It's not working out too great, Bobby.

More than anything, the 3-0 drubbing proves that American soccer has made no strides. None. If anything, they've taken a step back. Folks will say that Bradley is safe until the World Cup, that we cannot really judge his tactics or performances until he coaches a World Cup.

Hey, this Confederations Cup was supposed to be batting practice for next summer in South Africa. So far, swing and a miss. Six goals allowed, one goal (a penalty, mind you) and two straight reds.

That's not progress, that's continually falling flat on your face.

The Brazilians didn't even view the Americans as a threat—Egypt made the Brazilians tremble, Egypt. Robinho, Lucio, Kaka, and Co. continually helped the U.S. players up. After they were fouled. They smiled, they danced, they spoke into the camera and they won.

That's what good teams do.

Luckily, the team has players that seem dedicated to the task. Tim Howard wants it. Oguchi Onyewu wants it. Donovan and Dempsey want it. But what else? Who else?

This tournament, a dry run if you may as to what dreams may come next summer, has become somewhat of a Freddy (not Adu) meets Jason horror film.

This is worst than 2006, much worse and with the World Cup now 358 days away, the countdown begins. To what exactly? No one can honestly say.


    Ranking Every World Cup Team After Epic Round Two

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ranking Every World Cup Team After Epic Round Two

    Sam Tighe
    via Bleacher Report

    Quintero Emerging as Star Colombian Alongside James

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Quintero Emerging as Star Colombian Alongside James

    Gill Clark
    via Bleacher Report

    Kane Has England Looking Like World Cup Dark Horses

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Kane Has England Looking Like World Cup Dark Horses

    Matt Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    'Tortillas That Taste Like Glory' — the Secret of Mexico's World Cup Diet

    World Football logo
    World Football

    'Tortillas That Taste Like Glory' — the Secret of Mexico's World Cup Diet

    Martin Belam
    via the Guardian