Commentary: US Needs to Hammer Guadeloupe, Move on to Knockouts

The United States men’s soccer team doesn’t earn Sam’s Army brownie points for beating Guadeloupe in Kansas City on Tuesday night.  Beating a country that no one knows is a country and holds about as many people as North Jersey is not something that keeps a manager in the most important position in US soccer or inspires confidence that 11 men who looked porous against Panama could find their winning formula against a Mexican side playing at top level.

Against Guadeloupe the United States must deliver the kind of effort superior sides deliver against inferior sides.  They must win by 2 or 3 or 4 goals.  They must keep a clean sheet and look effective doing it.  No rookie mistakes from Tim Ream.  No disappearing act from Landon Donovan.  No missed sitters from Carlos Bocanegra or Wondo.  Welcome Guadeloupe to the pitch with a quick reminder that CONCACAF belongs to the USA.

Because winning Group C will setup a match with Honduras and finishing second will pair the Americans with Jamaica.  Both of those sides have looked better through the initial seven days of this tournament.  Both of those sides have shown an ability to attack opposing back lines.  The Gold Cup does not start for the USMNT until they face elimination.  The tournament starts Sunday.

And then the pressure mounts.  Some folks are writing about Bob Bradley’s job being on the line tonight.  Does that even require journalistic space?  If Bradley loses back-to-back matches on American soil to Panama and Guadeloupe, he’d be lucky if Princeton answers the phone when he’s looking for work.  I wrote prior to this tournament that anything short of an appearance in the final is unacceptable for this American side.  If Bradley feels pressure, what hope does he have to lead this side into Brazil in 2014?

Tonight should be a formality.  Six point an on to the difficult part – looking more difficult than it did five days ago.

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