The United States lost to Jamaica 2-1 in the Gold Cup Semi-Final. Right, that's out of he way. Let's talk about what we saw when that happened.
I don't want to exaggerate, but that was probably the biggest upset suffered by the USA in Gold Cup competition in...well, ever. Take nothing away from Jamaica, they played a strong game and they have a lot of talent. Giles Barnes' free kick was pure class. There's simply no reason the Yanks should have lost this game.
The major takeaway here is that whatever Klinsmann is trying to accomplish, it isn't working. With the exception of demolishing a Cuba team that had lost a significant portion of its roster to defections, the Nats never looked comfortable or sure of anything in this tournament, despite playing consistently inferior competition. Since the World Cup, the fundamentals have been lacking in this team - yes, even in the big friendly victories over Germany and Holland - and it hasn't gotten better.
Does this mean it's time for him to go? Well, if U.S. Soccer is going to make the change, now would be the best time. They would still have three years until the next World Cup to get a new coach in and have him make his mark. What happened tonight was definitely not due to talent. It was do to the choice of that talent, the preparation, and the position the talent was put in.
- Michael Bradley is Captain America, and one of the best players in the U.S. squad. But you know what? He doesn't have ice in his veins. He may have scored the U.S.'s goal in this game, but what I will remember from this game is the simple but important passes that were under and over-hit, the poor first touch around the box, and the dribble runs straight into defenders. When the stakes are highest, Bradley can't be trusted to play his best.
- Gyasi Zardes was completely overwhelmed by the moment. Once Jamaica scored their first goal, he retreated within himself and started playing scared. All of his decisions, touches, and passes were moments late, or off the mark.
- Ventura Alvarado wasn't totally at fault for the first goal, but he looked shaky in every danger situation for Jamaica, and even some where they weren't.
- Aron Johannsson needs to improve his vision. In every other regard he played well, but he needs to be able to pick his head up and play the right pass when in space
The U.S. will now face a play-off with the next Gold Cup champion to determine who goes to the Confederations Cup.