Seriously, the dude's got a screw loose when it comes to losing. I'm sure American fans won't need
to be reminded of the Elbow Massacre of 2002 - though, come on now, be honest, it is pretty
difficult to resist wanting to do grievous bodily harm to Cobi Jones isn't it? Then he goes and
shoves his own Barca teammate (Messi) to the ground during a scramble for the ball in Mexico's 3-0
Copa America semifinal defeat.
. . . I've had a few. Watching the knockout stages of the Copa does make me wonder what a full US
team could have done in this tournament. That said, I still think that Bradley made the right
decision in his tournament choices. Even if we swapped "A" and "B" teams, or played the "A" team in
both tournaments, preparation time for the Copa would have been what .
Well, that pretty much defines "not with a bang, but a whimper". After a simply awful first half,
the US dominates the second but can't find a finish and is lucky to escape being sliced open on the
counter. I suppose throwing out the "C" team for this match could have made that first half
predictable, but it was still a bit disappointing to say the least to see them fall for the third
time and claim the dubious distinction as the last-place finisher in the tournament.
Now I'm not saying that Mexico deliberately played for the draw in their 0-0 snoozer with Chile,
but they sure weren't trying terribly hard to win the game, were they? Now, you can say that they
ran out the reserves and played a cautious game to guarantee first place in their group, but if the
Soccer Gods are kind, they'll deliver a Paraguay-Argentina draw tomorrow night so that the Mexicans
wind up facing Argentina for their (lack of) efforts.
Despite dominating the match against Peru and a lovely goal from Moreno, the Bolivians, up a man
and up a goal with just minutes to go, fall at the final hurdle. Peru's late equalizer cut short
the Copa for Bolivia, who would have advanced as the second place team in Group A with the win.
Bolivia played some really nice stuff in this tournament, and I'm sorry to see them bow out after
being so close.
Despite all of the possession, all of the chances created, and a generally impressive outing from
the "B" squad, the US manages to lose again by a significant margin. And why? Because we seem to
have a squad-wide case of finishing-itis, with Ricardo Clark being the only one seemingly immune to
the disease. With the loss, the US is all but guaranteed another three-and-out in a major
tournament as they will have to absolutely punish Colombia by a big margin (unlikely given the
state of US shooting) and hope for favorable results elsewhere in order to advance.
Mexico and breakout star Nery Castillo were nowhere near as impressive as they were against Brazil,
but the result remained the same. The win confirms Mexico as the first team to qualify for the
knockout stages of the Copa America and they will win their group outright with either a win or
draw on the final matchday. Ecuador is virtually guaranteed to be out of the competition after
failing to gain a point in their first two matches, which is a bit of a shame as they controlled
much of the game against Mexico with a fast, athletic style of play, but surrendered goals through
defensive lapses and counterattacks.
Jaime looked pretty darn good out there, particularly his burst down the sideline, hurtling
Uruguayans until he was felled by Diogo and nearly setting up an equalizer from distance in the
late going. Though he may not be well-rested on his return to DC, at least he'll be full of
confidence following his contributions to the Bolivian cause. Unfortunately for his nation, but
fortunately for his club, he should be on a plane home before the week is out.