USA has little to smile about as Ukraine dominate

Kyle Rivas

To say the U.S. struggled against Ukraine would be an understatement.

If the United States thought having to play a match in Cyprus against a Ukraine team with its minds elsewhere was their biggest problem, they were sorely mistaken. Their biggest problem was all of their missing players and the terrible showing that the players they had put on in a 2-0 loss to the Ukrainians.

The U.S. defense was expected to be sub-par with Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Clarence Goodson, Brad Evans and DaMarcus Beasley all back with their clubs, but nobody expected the back line to be as much of a mess as it was. Oguchi Onyewu looked far too slow for the match -- not that anyone was surprised by this -- and John Brooks looked every bit the part of a teenager, while Geoff Cameron couldn't complete a pass and Edgar Castillo might as well have been playing on ice.

The midfield wasn't much better, although Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya had good moments, but they were the Americans' two best field players. No other starter could claim to have had a good match, although Jozy Altidore had a good view of the match going on behind him.

Both of Ukraine's goals came on defensive mistakes and the U.S. could consider themselves fortunate that they didn't concede two or three more with all of their defensive breakdowns. They failed to mark, track back and on both goals, multiple U.S. players had been standing and watching the play from afar for several seconds by the time the ball found the net.

If this match was an opportunity for fringe players to make their case for inclusion on the World Cup team, it wasn't a very successful day. Only Bedoya can claim to have done so, but Jurgen Klinsmann did get confirmation that some players do not have what it takes to cut it at the international level right now and there is value in that.

If there was a lesson to be learned today, it's that the U.S. desperately needs its MLS contingent. Thankfully, they will all be there in late May when training camp commences and in Brazil so fear not, the sky is not falling on the U.S. no matter how bad today went.

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