For hundreds of years, starting with the colonization of Massachusetts, the concept of English domination over America was a prominent world theme. America was Mother England’s whipping boy, subject to all the spoils of royal manifest.
Things seemed to change when President Woodrow Wilson decided to drop a couple of bombs to end World War II. Before too long, the United States owned the most powerful military in the world AND they were about to defeat the English at soccer for the first time. Coincidence? Probably. But while these events may not have anything in common, by the time the Yanks beat the Tommies 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, it was clear that America would no longer stand, willfully or otherwise, in England’s vast economic shadow.
And even though the United States has far surpassed England in areas concerning global industry and commerce, Mother England has won four of the six matches all-time while the U.S. has struggled to adequately compete on the pitch. To that point, it has mostly proved to be good fortune when the U.S. has won a match against the U.K., with the last coming in a 2-0 win in 1993.
This time they played at new Wembley Stadium, the beautiful game’s ritual birthplace. This time, the U.S. still looked like teenagers playing against grown men, and it’s getting hard to watch.
So starting at the top, here are my Top 5 reasons the United States lost to England.
1. LANDON DONOVAN INJURY. The team’s best playmaker sustained a groin injury in his last match with te Los Angeles Galaxy and didn’t play. The U.S. needed his pace and run-making ability and suffered greatly from his absence.
2. POOR ATTACKING. Despite a few decent chances by Eddie Johnson, the U.S. looked inept when they had the ball in the attacking third of the field. Josh Wolff never had a presence and the only quality chances came from subs in the last 30 minutes of the match.
3. BOB BRADLEY. Simply put, he’s had more time with his squad than has England newest manager, Fabio Capello, and should have been better prepared. Now more than a year at the helm, Bradley was unable to keep England from making attack after attack in the 40 minutes surrounding halftime.
4. SUBSTANDARD SET-PIECES. Can the U.S. find a player who can cross the ball to the far post or place a corner kick into the box? Please? DeMarcus Beasley did nothing, most of his services were short. Eddie Lewis came into the match and showed some skill late but it wasn’t enough.
5. NO INSPERACION (That’s Spanish for no insperation). This wasn’t just another “friendly” for the United States National Team — this match was important. Defeating England would have been the most satisfying of results, even a draw would have sufficed. Neither was to be.
In the end, it was a 2-0 loss with goals from John Terry, who actually found the net this time, and Steven Garrard leaving American soccer fans feeling much the same as after the 2006 World Cup — disappointed.
A quote, from Sports Columnist Paul Oberjuerge following that German World Cup, seems as erudite now as it was then.
“If we care to take a lesson from 2006, it is this: We are not Brazil. Not Argentine. Not Germany or Holland or France or England. Not yet, and maybe never.”