Second-string Americans make little impact

July 9, 2007

The U.S. team pose before playing Colombia in the Copa America. Jose Miguel Gomez / ReutersThe United States slunk out of the Copa America without a point to their name, and watching them play you couldn’t help but wonder if it had been worth them coming in the first place.

The U.S. lost all three games, the only team to do so apart from Ecuador who at least gave the impression they wanted to be there.

Like Mexico, the U.S. took part by invitation. Unlike the Mexicans, however, they opted to bring a second-string side of inexperienced players into the Copa America cauldron.

There are good reasons why the U.S. could not bring their best team to a tournament played just after they had won the CONCACAF Gold Cup. But the question remains, if they were not interested in competing, or were unable to do so, why did the U.S. accept the invitation?

Adam Spangler at This Is American Soccer argues that it was still the right decision to play in the tournament, but the South American authority CONMEBOL was reportedly far from impressed by the under-strength U.S. team. Jeff Carlisle at ESPNSoccernet calls the whole thing a wasted opportunity.

What do you think? Should the U.S. have skipped the tournament rather than bring a below-strength team?

Brian Homewood is covering the Copa America in Venezuela for Reuters


It may have been bad form to show up with such a poor team but it’s not like they were outclassed or anything. I thought they played pretty well against argentina for most of the match, and it’s a bloody good Argentina team.

Posted by redderthanever | Report as abusive

And what about Brazil? Where are Ronaldinho and Kaka?

Posted by redderthanever | Report as abusive

The Americans were a disgrace. They beat up on a few minnows, like Denmark’s B team, and think they’re a powerhouse. They’ve got the wrong coach. They were an embarassment at the World Cup last year too. The only bright side is that their poor showing might help them get Juergen Klinsmann as their coach sooner — rather than later.

Posted by a quiet observer | Report as abusive

Not sure they need Klinsmann. Bob Bradley has done well, hasn’t he? It’s probably not his fault that he couldn’t bring a full team.

Posted by Rafa | Report as abusive

How can you ask about Ronaldinho and Kaka when Brazil third rate players are superstars.

Posted by Jesse | Report as abusive

Yes, and it’s given a chance for Robinho to shine. And they’ll probably still win the thing, so you can hardly compare it to the U.S.

Posted by London | Report as abusive

I’d reckon using a 2nd string team allows the USA to have a convenient excuse for performing badly.C’mon… CONCACAF Gold Cup??? There’s more prestige in performing well in the Copa America.One really wonders whether the US is manufacturing how good they look on paper. I remember before FIFA changed the criteria for World Rankings, USA was like top 20? hahaBeating weak teams won’t cut it USA, Field your best against the world’s best and you’ll improve!

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

What a true lack of understanding of US Soccer. You really need to look at the big picture, which I think US Soccer is doing. Obviously, the poor showing at the last WC has led to the current state of our National team. Over 80 players have seen action since Bradley has taken over and I’m sure quite a few more will be seen in the next few years. While these regional cups seem relevant to rabid football fans, the ultimate goal for the US is to improve their WC showing. If you look at the top countries, their talent pools at the national level are very deep. The quickest way for us to get there is to expose as many potential players to the rigors of international matches and see who shines. I think Benny Feilhaber and Mike Bradley are good examples of this. The focus is and shoud be finding your best 18 to 20 playeers for 2010.

Posted by Reston, VA | Report as abusive