So, here were are with about a year to go until the World Cup and the US looks nothing like a team likely to progress out of the group stage.
As an American and an avid fan of the world's game, I'm sick and tired of hearing the excuses from coaches and the media. The bottom line is this: the United States lacks the brilliance from both coaches and players to take us to the next level.
In my eyes the coaches are the bigger of the two problems. However, I will address the players first. While there are some American players who can compete at the International level, there are only a few.
In the matches against Italy and Brazil, Jozy Altidore seemed to be the only man who could create dangerous offensive chances for the United States. Landon Donovan is very pacy and can create opportunities when he gets the ball and is going straight ahead.
Yet, therein lies the problem. How many times in soccer do you have the time to get the ball and dribble straight ahead? Not many.
Quite simply, Landon Donovan lacks the creativity to be the United States' play-maker. This is the same reason why his career has been limited to MLS and the same reason why he continues to be a failure every time he gets an opportunity overseas (I have no clue why he keeps getting them). Which brings me to my next point.
While the money may seem appealing, if they actually want to get better, the American players need to stop going to Europe so young and sitting on the bench (Jozy Altidore, Freddy Adu, DaMarcus Beasley, etc...). These players would benefit more from playing in MLS.
I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but how else are these players going to get better? Not by sitting on the bench and watching.
The players can watch all the European Club games they want on TV here, while getting game experience in the MLS. I'm not talking about players like Brian McBride, or older guys who have clearly developed into players that can compete at European clubs, those guys (like McBride) should be there (I know he's back at MLS but he had a successful career at Fulham).
Thus, the American players should stay here in MLS until they are sure they will be in the mix for playing time in Europe. Then they can make the leap to Europe and continue to develop.
Having said that, the MLS needs to do a better job developing players and increasing the level of competition. However, this is a matter for another article.
Now, as for American coaching there is one word to describe it, atrocious. Every time the cameras zoom over to Bob Bradley he looks confused and helpless. The last two things you ever want to see a coach looking like.
The fact is Bob Bradley is not helpless, more like clueless. He has put DaMarcus Beasley at left-back, which was a disastrous decision in qualifying.
Then he moved him back to a more natural position and he makes a mistake that leads to Brazil's second goal. Enough is enough for Beasley.
Not to mention two of the three Brazilian goals were easily preventable. Losing a mark on a freekick is unacceptable, especially when it leads to a goal.
This is something that proper preparation before the game should prevent. And, as I mentioned before, selecting Beasley in the starting lineup further shows Bob Bradley's ineptitude.
Its about time the USSF fires Bradley and brings in an experienced international coach. If you don't think this is the answer, look what Guus Hiddink has done for Korea and Russia.
We certainly have the money to lure a great coach here. Why not gun for Juergen Klinsmann? He may be the breath of fresh air we need to get to the next level.
If something is not done in the next year the United States will be likely headed down a familiar path... Kings of CONCACAF, jesters of the World Cup.