Los Angeles Soccer: Mixx Diskerud
March, 30, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The U.S. national team was hit and miss during the friendlies against Argentina on Saturday and Paraguay on Tuesday, and it has nothing to do with the scorelines.
The Americans rallied to tie Lionel Messi-led Argentina, 1-1, in East Rutherford, N.J., a flattering result that provides no suggestion of how dominant were the Albiceleste. The U.S. was much better against Paraguay in Nashville, dictating large swaths of action, but couldn't overcome an early deficit in a 1-0 defeat.
Bob Bradley's team, 1-2-4 since the World Cup, is preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where there are weighty expectations (the U.S. must make it to the June 25 final at the Rose Bowl, likely against Mexico) and a big prize (the winner heads to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil).
The bigger picture, of course, is 2014, the next World Cup, and Bradley has blooded more than two dozen players, with a handful demonstrating that they might have a real future at the international level. The U.S. coach already has had 58 players in camp since August and used 51 in the games against Brazil (2-0 loss, Aug. 10 in East Rutherford), Poland (2-2 draw, Oct. 9 in Chicago), Colombia (0-0 draw, Oct. 12 in Chester, Pa.), South Africa (1-0 win, Nov. 17 in Cape Town), Chile (1-1 draw, Jan. 22 at Home Depot Center), Argentina and Paraguay.
Here are five things we learned, or saw confirmed, in the games the past week:
1. IT'S WISE TO KEEP THE BORDERS OPEN
U.S. Soccer once scrambled for every U.S.-eligible player that could be found in Europe -- every serviceman's son (Thomas Dooley, Earnie Stewart, David Wagner, etc.), every player married to a Yank (Roy Wegerle, David Regis -- too bad we missed out on Juergen Klinsmann!), every U.S.-born, foreign-raised talent (can't think of any off hand, sorry).