Last night, the United States national team lost their first ever match in the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup to Panama (ranked 67th in FIFA's World Rankings as of May 2011).
From the beginning of the match, Panama were the stronger side and did deserve to win this match to all but secure the top spot in Group C.
But for a nation such as the United States that should breeze through this tournament with ease, this match showed some massive problems with the squad.
For starters, this US squad went with too much inexperience in the back. In the future, Tim Ream will be a full-time starter for the US national team. But tonight Ream reminded us that he is still a 24-year-old who lacks international experience.
Ream's foul of Blas Pérez in the 34th minute that caused a Panamanian penalty and the winning goal of the match was a clear indication of how far Ream still needs to go.
Instead of having a player with more international experience such as Jonathan Spector start in place for Ream in a big match such as this or move Steve Cherundolo out to the wing and start Oguchi Onyewu in this match, Ream got the start and did not play a strong match.
But besides Ream's mistake, there were instances where it was obvious that this American squad lacked team chemistry. When the United States attacked, there wasn't a true urgency to win the match.
After this loss, there is only one thing that can be said for this sad performance: Bob Bradley must be sacked as US manager.
After seeing the United States fall to a Ghana squad in last year's World Cup in a match that they could have won, US Soccer has continued to weaken in terms of play.
Yes there have been instances of new players coming in to play and the phasing out of older players, but some of the soccer that is being played is terrible.
A perfect example of this terrible play came last weekend in Foxboro where the US got creamed 4-0 by Spain.
The US did not look anywhere near the team that they were just a year before and did deserve to lose by that score.
But besides these bad performances, some of the players that were selected for this Gold Cup need to be put under a deeper microscope.
Why were players such as Freddy Adu, Jonathan Bornstein, Robbie Rogers and Chris Wondolowski included in this Gold Cup squad? These players did not warrant to get called up to a tournament like this, especially with a spot in the Confederations Cup on the line.
Now one can absolutely say that US Soccer needs to replace Bradley right now after this loss, but that is a move I do not fully agree with.
Even though Bradley is a lame duck manager, firing him in the middle of a tournament is the wrong move to make. Firing Bradley now would cause further problems with this US squad and will remove the United States from having an even remote chance of winning the Gold Cup.
Instead, this should be a time where Sunil Gulati should decide to start interviewing managers such as Guus Hiddink, Jurgen Klinsmann and Marco van Basten for the US job.
Even though Bradley has put the US into a deep rut, he has won this tournament before and does have a knack with inspiring the US squad back whenever they have a massive blow happen to them (2009 Confederations Cup).
But Bradley must be let go as US manager as soon as this tournament ends for the US, should it be in the semifinal to Mexico or in the final should the US reach it.
This loss has showed us that Bob Bradley has grown too comfortable with his job and US Soccer needs to get a replacement in before World Cup qualifying starts next year.
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