June 28, 2009

US Loses 3-2 to Brazil in Confederations Cup Final: After taking a stunning 2-0 lead at halftime to Brazil on goals by Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, the US were punished by FIFA's policy of playing two halves of soccer in its matches and were defeated 3-2. Brazilians scored all three goals for their country. Americans Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard won individual awards for their play during the tournament. Dempsey cried all over his trophy at the end. I know how he feels.

posted by rcade to soccer at 05:50 PM - 41 comments

Really wish I could have seen this. Heard the US were up but Footiefox was already updated showing the 3-2 scoreline.

Hell of a fight from the yanks. Kudos!

Brazilians scored all three goals for their country.

No idea if that was intentional but I nearly choked on what I was drinking when I read that...

posted by Drood at 06:00 PM on June 28

And a big FUCK YOU to ESPN who broadcast fucking poker when they advertised the final. I tried to record it. Instead, 3 fucking hours of rednecks in NASCAR outfits playing fucking cards. Fucking fuckity fuck fuck fuck. So pissed. I wanted to come home from my shift at work and relax while watching this match. But noooooo. Bloody hell. How do they spend all week actually paying attention after the US upsets Spain and then fucking blow it? I'll assume they moved it to ESPN -- and not ESPN2--but did so too late for my DVR or me to know. Damn. So mad.

*storms off in a huff*

Sorry for this, but I needed to vent somewhere.

posted by scully at 06:03 PM on June 28

No idea if that was intentional but I nearly choked on what I was drinking when I read that...

I was going to go back and edit it, but I liked how it sounded. Damn Brazilians.

That was an amazing first half. If we hadn't let Brazil score 45 seconds into the second half -- a strong reminder to them that they are Brazil -- I wonder if we could've held them off.

Normally I'd play the moral victory card here, but the U.S. was good enough to win this game. A freaking FIFA final! When you have that chance, you have to grab it and must take nothing positive from the loss.

posted by rcade at 06:16 PM on June 28

And a big FUCK YOU to ESPN who broadcast fucking poker when they advertised the final.

As you say, they moved the coverage from ESPN Bumblefuck to ESPN when the US reached the final. Fortunately I got to see the game, but I have three hours of snap on my dvr too.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:31 PM on June 28

Alyssa Milano tweeted about the loss:


The knowledge that Eva Savealot is a soccer fan is a serious threat to my marriage.

posted by rcade at 06:42 PM on June 28

Instead, 3 fucking hours of rednecks in NASCAR outfits playing fucking cards

Now you done went and pissed off 200 race car drivers....

posted by outonleave at 07:24 PM on June 28

It's a shame to see the US lose. Not to disparage them at all, but were other nations fielding under strength sides? Just curious. I don't have cable and haven't actually seen a footie match since I dumped Setanta Broadband last year.

Wonder if this could be the turning point where the US starts to take it seriously and stops making jokes? (Or at least the informed will, the uninformed will always be fuckwits.)

As for Poker... I love Poker. I enjoy watching it sometimes, but IT'S NOT A FUCKING SPORT! WHY IN THE BLUE FUCK IS IT ON ESPN? If you're going to air something on a sports network that requires no athletic ability, at least make it fucking Chess which requires skills other than lying and luck.

posted by Drood at 07:26 PM on June 28

outonleave: He may have pissed of 200 race car drivers, but all he has to do is turn right to lose them.

posted by Drood at 08:11 PM on June 28

were other nations fielding under strength sides?

Not really, although there's a question as to how much the tournament means to the bigger teams. I'm sure they all wanted to win, but the other side of the coin, the fear of defeat, was possibly missing. The Spanish will probably return to not too much fuss at all, compared to their fate if they go home next summer after a loss to the US.

The tournament format helped a bit too - the US were close to winning it despite going home with a record of two wins and three defeats... They needed a combination of unlikely events on the final day of the groups too, as they had to beat Egypt 3-0 and have Italy lose 3-0 to face Spain.

Not to take anything away from the Yanks though - they were very good value for their halftime lead and showed a lot of the fighting spirit here and in the last-ditched defending against Spain that was completely lacking in 2006.

Lord knows what would have happened if they'd won though - I remember spring 06 and how the internet was filled with "fans" fixated on being the fifth ranked team in the world! and how that worked out.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:03 PM on June 28

ESPN were announcing the channel change from at least Thursday and probably Wednesday, not sure how much more notice they could have given.

I was convinced as anyone last Thursday that USA were going home after Sunday but was screaming Sunday afternoon and even more Wednesday. At half time today I was completely gone. Then the first minute after the restart happened and I woke up :)

Bradley was missed though I think Feilhaber did a good job--the problem was we were left with Sasha Kleschen as midfield sub. Bradley the Gaffer could have done a better job in the locker room at the half because letting in three second half goals after pitching first half shutouts once is on the players but twice is on the boss.

Can't think of any players Brazil left home that would have made the side stronger. Spain missed Iniesta and Senna to injury and I think both would have helped--but who would have been sat in their place?

Let's not forget USA missed Maurice Edu, who earned his way into Rangers' starters, Bocanegra missed the group stage, plus Steve Cherundulo, Brian Ching and Frankie Hedjuk. Bradley missed the final due to a completely crap referee, one who has done us dirty before.

Next Summer should be fun!

posted by billsaysthis at 09:19 PM on June 28

I remember at the last World Cup, thinking that Clint Dempsey was the type of player that the US needed in order to do well against the top sides. As the Brazilians say - someone has got to carry the piano.

He is now more important than ever for you guys after this tournament. I hope he's getting the recognition he deserves, for someone who isn't a flashy player.

posted by owlhouse at 09:23 PM on June 28

I was perplexed by Bradley's second half sub - he got Kljestan up when his team were winning 2-1 and then when Brazil scored the equaliser he still sent Kljestan on for Altidore. It looked a lot like he'd ignored the change in the game situation and gone ahead with his decision regardless.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:25 PM on June 28

I was perplexed by Bradley's second half sub . . . he still sent Kljestan on for Altidore.

I shouted at the TV about the same thing. Then my girlfriend observed, "Maybe he's tired."

Donovan said. "We are in the position where we don't want respect, we want to win."

Dempsey cried all over his trophy at the end.

I like reading this. I'm sick of moral victories. The announcers sounded almost happy when Brazil came back, telling us that the USA should not be ashamed to go down this way. Where else should fans be happy their team blew a 2-0 lead?

posted by Aardhart at 10:47 PM on June 28

Thank you Aardhart.

America cannot and will not fully embrace the game if when aren't good enough to win, we cant just call a spade a spade, and instead resort to moral platitudes. It seems to me that Americans, generally speaking, like competitiveness, ownership of failures, and determination to do better. Then when we succeed, it is even sweeter. And further, it is belittling to our team to say this crap after we came so close. You undermine are love for the game while telling us should be excited by our failures.

If you want us to like this game, then call it out, dont speak condescendingly about our team, and continue to be brutally honest until we scale the mountain.

Wake up coddlers. We should be pissed. We should be unhappy. We should expect to win, not merely to avoid embarassment. Hopefully we will come out with a vengance next year and shut these kind of people up.

posted by brainofdtrain at 12:23 AM on June 29

I like the cut of your jib, brainofdtrain.

posted by igottheblues at 02:08 AM on June 29

In fairness, no, you shouldn't EXPECT to win going up against Brazil. To do as well as the US did is fairly epic.

posted by Drood at 02:49 AM on June 29

I don't know, Drood. I think I prefer Aardhart's and brainofdtrain's attitude.

When Guus Hiddink took over the Australia job before the 2006 World Cup, he said he admired the fact that the Australians, on any given day, felt they could beat anyone, including Brazil. Hiddink's psychological preparation was already done.

Donovan acts and plays like a man with severe confidence issues, especially when it's time to dig in and fight. A few others also went missing in the second half. Sure, losing to Brazil is not a bad result, but if the administration, the fans and the media are satisfied with losing, then things won't change.

posted by owlhouse at 03:02 AM on June 29

I agree. We should leave moral victories to countries like England.

posted by Hugh Janus at 08:53 AM on June 29

Moral victories are our national sport.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:03 AM on June 29

In fairness, no, you shouldn't EXPECT to win going up against Brazil.

You should when you lead 2-0 at halftime. Hell, you should regardless of the situation.

In 2006, the US tied Italy for their only point of the tournament (in the only game that Italy did not win), losing their other two games. In 2002, the US beat Portugal and Mexico, but got blown out by (otherwise winless) Poland and almost did not advance out of the first round. The US has obtained some excellent results, but they are usually acompanied with some awful results. Each time, the soccer media fawns over the "epic" efforts, accepting that the US is just too something to actually excel. After all, the US should not EXPECT to win.

posted by Aardhart at 10:15 AM on June 29

They backed into the semifinal, where they played a completely gassed Spain side. Their first goal against Brazil yesterday was a complete fluke and Brazil was robbed of a goal.

They're good- not great. They still have yet to beat Mexico away from home in a qualifier (they're 0-12-1). I don't see anything very impressive coming out of South Africa.

posted by The_Special_Juan at 11:03 AM on June 29

I agree. I didn't necessarily expect to win at the whistle, but once halftime arrived with the 2-0 scoreline, I was fully prepared to celebrate.

As for the moral victory question, I think I fall somewhere in between. I am glad we played a good game of soccer and made the Brazilians work for the trophy, but was definitely a little heart broken over the whole affair.

It did give me a little hope for next year.

Not quite sure why we're sending an understrength team to the Gold Cup though. This seems like pretty poor timing on Bradleys part. I want to see the team that beat Spain and nearly won the trophy to compete a little ahead of next year.

Couldn't figure out why Torres didn't get a look either. I've liked his play every time I've seen him.

posted by Ricardo at 11:07 AM on June 29

Their first goal against Brazil yesterday was a complete fluke and Brazil was robbed of a goal.

I disagree with this. While Dempsey's touch may have been fluky, it was an excellent ball into the box from Spector and Dempsey was well-positioned to get a touch. Complete fluke is a massive redirection of a shot off of a defender or the goalie kicking the ball off the back of a retreating forward and having the ball rebound into his own net, among others.

posted by holden at 11:13 AM on June 29

You're right holden. It looked like it was exactly what Dempsey was attempting to do to me. Many goals take a little luck to reach their final destination. Fabianos first goal was luck to have nutmegged Spector. His second was lucky to have hit the post and rebounded right to him 2 feet out. Lucio's was lucky to hit the post and still go in ... and yes Dempsey's was lucky to have gone in from that kind of attempt.

posted by Ricardo at 11:22 AM on June 29

This tournament proved to me that the U.S. is too good to accept moral victories any more. Dempsey's goal was not a fluke -- he took a brilliant pass and showed the form he had in the Premiership last season, where he scored 7 goals. Donovan's goal was also amazing.

We need to join the nations that go to the World Cup believing they can win it. How many other countries would get into a FIFA final a year before the cup and not think they'd be winning it all in a year? Our inferiority complex ought to have died when we established that two-goal lead.

Am I saying we should be among the favorites? No. But this is a good team that went on a great run and found itself in a FIFA final. We can't go to South Africa believing it's not possible to do it again.

The thing I liked best about the match was the despondency on the U.S. side. They knew they should have left that pitch as champions and let the opportunity slip away.

posted by rcade at 11:22 AM on June 29

... and yes Dempsey's was lucky to have gone in from that kind of attempt.

I hate the use of the word luck there, given everything else you've said. The shot went exactly where he was trying to direct it. It didn't deflect off anybody else and the goalie could have made a play to stop it.

If that's luck, how many goals could not be described as luck?

posted by rcade at 11:25 AM on June 29

I just mean lucky in that it could have gone straight to Cesar instead of just out of his reach.

posted by Ricardo at 11:33 AM on June 29

My big hope is that this tournament and a good showing next Summer, at least last eight and preferably last four, will change the minds of the next Rossis and Subotics. Think where the US would be with those two youngsters in the squad.

Now I know we have players born in other countries playing for us, and may soon have another in Jermaine Jones, but the difference is that, for example, Freddie Adu came to the US with his parents as a small child while Rossi was not only born here but lived in the US through high school (give or take). He plays for Italy based on his father's birth certificate.

In any case I'm not saying players should be prevented from choosing to play elsewhere, rather that US Soccer should be their choice.

I also think the attitude question is subject to generational change. A generation ago we didn't even think to qualify for the World Cup, nor did we have a serious professional league. This generation expects to qualify, and regularly win our regional tournaments, and MLS is seen as a place to start before hopping to a European club.

Next generation, the kids who are 8-12 now, will expect to win. Against anyone.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:54 AM on June 29

Maybe bill,

but have had equal success to this recent tournament at different points over the last 20-30 years. A new generation is fully grown and many are still spouting this moral victory stuff.

The next generation (8-12 yr olds) are watching now, are growing up hearing that if they can kiss the ground Brazil walks on, they should consider themselves fortunate. They should just be happy they played well. This is not the mindset of people who expect to win. It is more than a talent problem, it is a systemic mindset problem. I understand that at some point you have to think this way to not give up, but we are past that now. You have to believe you deserve to be there before you can prove it to everyone else. How can the next generation believe that when most of what they heard a couple days ago was moral platitudes, not expecting to win?

posted by brainofdtrain at 12:01 PM on June 29

Watch that goal again. Even HE was shocked it went in.

He whiffed at it and made incidental contact with the ball.

posted by The_Special_Juan at 01:06 PM on June 29

However, he was in the right position to make a difference. That isn't luck, or if it is, it falls under the umbrella of "skilled players make their own luck." Good players do good things which make better things happen. That some perceive this as pure luck is a testament to ignorance.

Goals come rarely enough that most every player is shocked when his shot beats the goalie. Hence the ridiculous celebrations.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:12 PM on June 29

Watch that goal again. Even HE was shocked it went in.

I just watched it again. I don't see any shock and I don't see a whiff.

posted by rcade at 01:21 PM on June 29

And if you watch Brazil's third goal again, Lucio is so surprised his header went in, he did a pretty good Gilbert Godfried impression (face, not voice) as he ran to the sideline.

posted by Ricardo at 01:36 PM on June 29

How was Spain completely gassed for the semis? They rolled through the group stage 8-0 on aggregate.

I don't mind the US sending the B squad to the Gold Cup. You've got to keep developing and don't want to run down your guys while you're only halfway through WC2010 qualifying. Plus it got my guy Jay Heaps a callup and a chance to get his first cap.

posted by mbd1 at 01:59 PM on June 29

"Spain was completely gassed" only in hindsight, due to consumption of sour grapes following the doubtlessly humiliating defeat at the hands of the US, and you can be sure Clint Dempsey's "luck" against Brazil had something to with those same grapes.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:27 PM on June 29

Here is the aforementioned Gilbert Godfried impression

posted by Ricardo at 02:27 PM on June 29

I'm not part of the moral victory camp. I was unhappy with the second half, period.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:26 PM on June 29

ESPN were announcing the channel change from at least Thursday and probably Wednesday, not sure how much more notice they could have given.

As of 11AM that morning it was still showing up on my DVR schedule as on ESPN2 at 2pm. That is all I had to go on before I left for work. I don't watch television most of the time and I auto tune out commercials so I had no other way. My DVR updates its schedule manually via telephone overnight, so ESPN didn't send that information to Dish Network. So I still say fuck them.

posted by scully at 10:32 AM on June 30

Do you have a Tivo, Terrapin? Mine was acting weird that day. It first showed soccer on ESPN2, but a few seconds later updated the schedule and it was gone, which is why I looked on ESPN.

posted by rcade at 01:44 PM on June 30

As of 11AM that morning it was still showing up on my DVR schedule as on ESPN2 at 2pm.

Here too. In fact I'm told that when the poker started, the DVR schedule still said "Soccer."

Luckily I caught it live, but was recording it for posterity. Instead I got three hours of Phil Helmet, who I hate.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:14 PM on June 30

I have Dish Network. And I set it before I went to work, so I could watch when I got home. I didn't have a way to look on ESPN. Heck, even if I had a DVR that supported the ability to update my recorder via the web, I still would have been working and unable to do so.

The recording still said "soccer" -- like Mr B points out -- even after recording.

posted by scully at 08:36 AM on July 01

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