If you're a masochist and a US soccer fan, here are Jeff Carlisle and Grant Wahl on the game, as well as the player ratings from Goal.com. I have two basic thoughts on that thumping:
1. What in G-d's name was Bob Bradley doing? Generally speaking, an underdog in soccer will try to play defensively. By doing so, it will reduce the number of chances that both teams will get and therefore increase the odds of an anomalous result. (Soccer isn't the only sport in which Davids needs to reduce possessions to beat Goliaths.) A conservative strategy is especially important against Brazil because Brazil struggle mightily against defensive sides. One of the great myths in world football is that Brazil still play Jogo Bonito. Brazil haven't played that way for years. Instead, their current style is to play with two center backs shielded by two defensive midfielders. They generate offense from the wing backs while playing conservatively in the middle. Brazilians are extremely successful in the major European leagues in just about every position, but you'll have a hard time finding a great Brazilian central midfielder (and no, Gilberto Silva is not and never was a correct answer). Brazil struggle to create offense against massed defenses, but if you give them time and space to counter-attack, they'll beat you to death with their wing backs bombing forward. Their second goal yesterday is a perfect example of a modern Brazilian goal. Hell, for that matter, the first goal was a great example as well because the Brazilians have emphasized athleticism over skill in recent years, so they've become very good at out-muscling opponents on set pieces.
(An aside: Brazil-Spain would be a fascinating game on a number of levels. Spain play the Jogo Bonito game that Brazil used to play: short passing, constant movement, and total control of the ball. However, their style will also create space for Brazil to counter. The two team's styles mesh nicely, which ought to create the conditions for an outstanding game. Also, Spain are not the biggest team, so Brazil's physical power could create problems for them. Finally, Puyol will get his first chance to kick the s*** out of Kaka.)
In light of Brazil's style, which has been evident for years and is especially pronounced with the unimaginative Dunga in charge, Bob Bradley's obvious choice was to play defensively and look for a goal on a counter. Instead, he elected to play a 4-3-3 that exposed the US's vulnerable fullbacks to Maicon on the right. He played Sasha Kljestan, an attacking midfielder, in the central midfield role when the game was screaming for defensive midfielders. Does he think that we're Spain or Germany and can go toe-to-toe with Brazil? Is he mad? Bradley had an excellent record in MLS, but he doesn't seem able to manage when his players are inferior to those of the opponent (not that the list of such managers is very long).
2. The result shouldn't surprise us. As mad as I want to get about the US getting undressed by an unremarkable Brazil side, I just can't because rationally speaking, it is the expected result. American players just aren't that good. If you don't follow European soccer, here's a brief primer on the US starting XI from yesterday:
Tim Howard - successful goalie for a major club in England
Jonathan Spector - cannot find the field for West Ham, a mid-table club in England
Jay Demerit - starts for a second division side in England
Oguchi Onyewu - starts for Standard Liege in Belgium; failed on a trial at Newcastle
Jonathan Bornstein - starts for Chivas USA in MLS
Michael Bradley - starts for Borussia Mönchengladbach, a club which barely avoided relegation in Germany
Sacha Kljestan - starts for Chivas USA in MLS
DeMarcus Beasley - cannot find the field for Rangers in Scotland
Clint Dempsey - starter for Fulham, a team that just finished an impressive seventh in the EPL
Landon Donovan - failed on both forays to the Bundesliga; stars for the LA Galaxy
Jozy Altidore - couldn't get on the field for Villarreal or even second division side Xerez.
Other than Tim Howard, the US doesn't have a single player who starts for a major European club. The starting lineup is full of players who made little or no impression in Europe (Donovan, Altidore, Beasley, Onyewu, and Spector) or who are playing well for lesser European sides (Demerit, Bradley, and Dempsey) or an MLS side (Kljestan and Bornstein). Honestly, what do we think would happen when these players ran up against Kaka (2007 world player of the year; just moved between two of the biggest clubs in the world for a then-record transfer fee), Julio Cesar (arguably the best goalie in Serie A), Maicon (the best right back in Serie A), Lucio (stalwart for Bayern Munich), Luis Fabiano (star striker for Sevilla, the third place team in La Liga), and Robinho (4th leading scorer in the EPL for Manchester City)?
We want the US to do well, but can we really expect it when our players cannot make a big impact abroad? I think we're deluded by our success in CONCACAF. We think that winning the Gold Cup and qualifying with ease for the World Cup means that we can compete internationally, but it's really a miracle that we do as well as we do against Mexico. There is no American equivalent to Rafa Marquez (starter for two Barcelona sides that won the Champions League) or Ricardo Osorio (starter for the Stuttgart side who won the 2006-07 Bundesliga), not to mention the fact that the Mexican League is stronger than MLS (as evidenced by the strong performances of Mexican teams in the Copa Libertadores). The poundings that the US often gets when it leaves CONCACAF ought to be a spur to change something. I don't pretend to know what that something is.