Gold Cup 2011: Where Does the United States Go from Here?

Zach McClellandContributor IIIJune 26, 2011

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:   Landon Donovan #10 of the United States waits for the award ceremony after the game with Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California. Mexico won 4-2.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It's a building process, it's going to take patience, baby steps...

My patience clock is wearing thin right about now. It's a fantastic accomplishment to reach the Gold Cup Final, but if you want to be the King Of CONCACAF and you want to make some noise in the summer of 2014 down in Brazil, the United States better win this sucker.

And they didn't.

Not only that, but the inconsistencies are growing annoying to me. Sure, they beat Panama when it counted, but if you want to make a deep run in the World Cup, you shouldn't be losing to them at all, even though it wasn't a do-or-die situation.

I won't get too upset over the 1-0 wins against Guadeloupe and Panama. A win is a win.

But the kids need to grow up and changes need to be made. I love Bob Bradley, but if you can find a better coach, go for it.

Jozy Altidore made flashes during this Gold Cup, breaking out of his slump. But we still need to see more goals and consistency out of him.

Juan Agudelo is still very young, so he gets a pass. Clint Dempsey sometimes tries too hard to be the man, and sometimes Landon Donovan fades away.

This Gold Cup was a sign of the future. It wouldn't shock me if Donovan started heading towards the bench more often. Michael Bradley has been okay, but not great. Jermaine Jones was the same. Ehh. Not great, but not bad.

The defense needs some serious help, though. It was a liability in South Africa and it still is now. Some players are young, but it's time to grow up. Steve Chuerundolo has almost solidified himself as the U.S.'s best defender.

Carlos Bocanegra is aging and was outrun quite a bit in the match against Mexico. Clarence Goodson is coming along but still has room for improvement, and Eric Lichaj really stepped up well in this tournament.

I don't buy Tim Ream being the next star back for the USMNT any time soon. He's a great passer back there, but Bob Bradley needs him to defend first.

There are a few good things that can be taken out of this tournament, though. Freddy Adu has arrived. Played fantastic in matches against Mexico and Panama. Hopefully, he continues to improve into the player we all thought he would be.

As said above, Lichaj and Goodson are coming along but still need to improve. The United States will not have the benefit of preparing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the Confederations Cup in 2013 as they did the year before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which will hurt.

But all in all, even when the USMNT loses, America wins. I'm very excited to see the rating the Gold Cup Final gets in the United States. There were a few Gold Cup references/names/allegiances on twitter worldwide, but more importantly, NATIONwide.

This sport is growing and becoming more and more popular, game by game. Whether you like it or not, saying "Americans don't care about soccer" is becoming moronic. As long as this sport keeps coming along in this country I love, I'm more than happy!