Unlike people in many professions, soccer players seldom sulk or mope after a disappointing game, usually because there's another one right around the corner. Except for those rare occasions when a season or cup run ends in excruciating fashion, players must get on with it.
After scraping out a 2-2 tie in El Salvador on Saturday, despite being outplayed for most of the match and falling behind 2-0, the U.S. players can't wait to rectify their reputations.
"On the one hand, we were pleased to get a point and being able to come back, but obviously we weren't satisfied with the overall way we played," midfielder
LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., hosts the third game of the Hexagonal round Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, Galavision) with the Americans on top of the six-team group with four points from a win and tie. Beating Trinidad and Tobago will keep them atop the sextet regardless of other results heading into another double-date in early June: away to Costa Rica, home against Honduras.
Lineup changes are foreseen, with one of the Jonathans, perhaps
Two players who livened up the team as substitutes,
T&T's robust, physical style will present different challenges than the sharp, clever Salvadorans. With two points in the first two games, getting at least a point is imperative for the visitors, who are braced to face a squad of Americans in a foul mood, regardless of who plays and where they line up.
"There's a bitter taste in your mouth after a game like that, so I thought it was good we could use [Sunday] and look at some things and take a good look at ourselves," Bradley said.
The U.S. didn't start slowly against El Salvador, but neither did it come out intense. After allowing the Americans a couple of half-chances in the opening quarter-hour, El Salvador struck on a superb counterattack, forcing the Americans to chase the game. Not until scoring twice in the final 13 minutes did the U.S. catch up to silence a crowd that had roared on their heroes for more than an hour.
"We want to make some improvements on the game from the other day," coach
T&T has been strengthened by the return of starting keeper
For the Americans, the game plan is simple: Get
"We need to have a better team effort, be more organized in the defensive end and keep our shape, and be more creative in the attacking third," defender