Four years ago, the MLS was the reason the US did well in the World Cup, but this time around the MLS is somehow to blame.
Arena: "And the way for us to get our players to get better is: We do need to get more of our younger talented players in Europe..."
Ok, lets remember how some of our stars who play in Europe faired.
Team Captain Cladio Reyna: Manchester City
The Ghana loss falls squarely on his shoulders. Any other player would have played the ball back to keeper or at least knocked down the Ghana striker. Reyna fell down, pretended to be hurt real bad and left the game to save face. The odd part is that Cladio is better than that - but he didn't play well with the exception of the Italy game. He was forced back to defensive midfield which may be part of the US scoring problems.
Demarcus Beasley: PSV (NED)
When he played for the Fire he looked good in the World cup, and this year he did pull out an assist but did not play well over all. He spent more time running backwards away from defenders than forward.
Brian McBride: Fullham
He did manage to hit the post once, and was bloodied vs. Italy but we didn't see much out of McBride. I will have to say it's not really his fault, he was the only striker forward and had two men crawling on his jersey for most of the cup.
Kasey Keller: Borussia Moenchengladbach
I did not see many important saves from Keller. You could say the strikes were out of his reach, or you might say he was out of position. In the end of the Italy game just kicking the ball out of bounds returning possesion almost cost them that match.
Now let's look at our soft MLS stars:
Clint Demsey: New England Revolution
He made runs, even at defenders (not so much, Beasley), scored the US's only goal, and managed the 2 shots on goal. Isn't that 50% of the teams offense?
Landan Donovan: LA Galaxy (but has played with Bayer Leverkusen over the years)
Sometimes I forgot he was even on the field. Stood with his back to the net 2 feet from 2 defenders most of time. MLS to blame? Bayer Lev to blame? No! Bald head to blame! He just doesn't feel as pretty as he used to, and it's hurting his confidence. I know how you feel brother... "who's that old man with Beasley and Brian?"
Pablo Mastroeni: Colorado Rapids
Sat out the last game, replaced by Cladio - we know how well Cladio filled his shoes.
So who's to blame, I think it's simlpe. It's Bruce. Just watch any interview he gave during the cup, his demeaner, tone of voice, and statements were flacid, just like the US performance. Uninspired coach, unispired team. Was he doing a Ben Stein impression? Beasley...Beasley...Donovan...anyone seen Donovan.....
And to clarify, I didn't expect the US to make it out of this group, and the Checks falling flat on thier ass after the first match was a big surprise (the check bloggers must be furious!) that opened the door for the US and Ghana. Ghana played with intensity the entire match and never looked defeated, I can't say that for the US. Then Brazil crushed them. Poor Ghana, the risky offside trap defense almost worked, but the officals made beating it a tad easier.