The U.S. crashed out quite easily of the Toulon tournament in France. Is this yet another case of the U.S. not taking advantage of an opportunity to bring the right players to a tournament?
The U.S. brought a sub par group of players when Copa America took place in Venezuela last summer. Though you could say Bob Bradley gave a ton of players a boost of confidence and that confidence was a shot in the arm for the MLS--as all of these players came back to the MLS with a new sense of the highest level of play. They got the chance to play against the best teams in the world, shelled by Argentina for instance. Is it all worth it though? What’s the goal for the team? Don’t you have to start building a core group?
And though I only caught bits and pieces of the Toulon tournament, what I did see was a ton of quality from the Ivory Coast and Italy. The Italian’s even brought over Osvaldo, the bicycle kick scoring, taking his team into the Champions League four, knocking out AC Milan, youngster. Want to talk about youngsters, look at Italy.
You hear the same refrain from U.S. coaches – they’re all always evaluating. This quote from Nowak by way of Soccer America:
"We came to this tournament to make sure that we had all of our bases covered, and to evaluate as many players in the Olympic pool as possible," said Nowak. "There were many positive things to take out of the tournament, and we will use a lot of what we saw here in our decision making in the next couple months as we move toward Beijing."
Sure, you can really only decide upon players once you’ve seen them play in a high level pressure type of tournament, and some players showed their worth-- Kamani Hill and Chris Seitz for example. But aren’t there other players that should be playing in this tournament who helped the team qualify for the Olympics and need to continue to build up their international experience.
Yeah, the MLS season is going on, so that was probably a factor in not bring some players over, but I’d just like to see the U.S. show their worth and not fail flat on their face in some of these tournaments.
Italy Versus the U.S.A
Below is the talented Italian team showing their class.
Extra: A few of the players' names for the Ivory Coast are genius. Two jump out, as the announcer called the game in one instance: ‘Up comes Bamba along with Wawa’, the two central midfielders for the Ivory Coast.
Then there was the player with the red shoes and the red socks—genius.