So there we were, about twelve minutes into the Gold Cup final against Mexico at the Rose Bowl, when the TV flashed to the sidelines and showed Jonathan Bornstein ready to enter the game. I had already noted Steve Cherundolo limping around after a nice exchange with Freddy Adu upfield a few minutes earlier. Reactions from the two guys watching with me were unanimous: “Not Bornstein! Anyone but him…”
The US secured an early lead off a corner kick header and another beautiful Adu-Dempsey-Donovan combo, but Mexico roared back. With Cherundolo out, Eric Lichaj switched to his natural right side of the field, leaving Bornstein on the left. And the Mexicans exposed him as the worst player on the field. They scored the next four goals from buildup or direct breakdowns on that side – two of which were directly attributable to Bornstein getting caught out and beat. 4-2 Mex, no trophy, no Confederations Cup for the US. Not. Good. Enough.
Does this mean the end of Coach Bob Bradley’s tenure? Hard to say, but probably not. It should be the end, though. The same flaws the exhibited the last two years remain a problem. One could argue that Coach Stoneface was a victim of circumstances with his best defender going down to injury, but Mexico also had to sub two of their starting defenders for injury (Salcido and Marquez). And it was Bradley who selected this roster, who didn’t press the issue with Germany-based Timothy Chandler, who inserted Bornstein (once again). The US will not play another truly meaningful game until sometime next Spring, when they begin World Cup Qualification (and that will be against a minnow). It’s the perfect time for transition.
Five points in the final Gold Cup pentagram: Continue reading