The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

June 25, 2014

Soccer: Local coaches say U.S. still in good shape

DANVILLE — While local soccer coaches are disappointed in the U.S. soccer team’s last minute fumble Sunday night, resulting in a 2-2 draw with Portugal, they still believe America can continue to advance in the World Cup.

“It absolutely gutted me when they gave up the goal in the last 30 seconds,” said Brian Dressler, coach for Danville High School’s boys team. As Dressler and other coaches observed, for America to advance to the next round of the World Cup, they only need to tie in their game against Germany today.

“We don’t have to win,” Dressler said, noting that a draw would also work in Germany’s favor as well. He said there have been times in past World Cups when two teams have made a “gentleman’s agreement” to try to tie their game, though he doubts that will happen behind the scenes this time. On the current American team, many players have relatives in Germany or could have played for the German team, and Dressler doubts that either side will hold back.

The U.S. team has shown “some of the best offense we’ve had,” Dressler said. One of Dressler’s main complaints, however, is that midfielder Michael Bradley is not living up to his potential. “He needs to play much, much better.”

Tom Reber, coach of Danville’s JV team, blamed the draw game on “lackadaisical marking and bad decisions in the last 20 seconds.” He didn’t expect either the U.S. or Germany to be overly ambitious in today’s match, but he thinks the U.S. can still surprise the international soccer community.

“People look down upon (America’s Major League Soccer players), but I think there are quite a few good players,” he said. “I think the U.S. team is much better than the rest of the world wants to realize.”

Matthew Fitzpatrick, president of the Danville Soccer Club, believes the U.S. has been performing reasonably well this World Cup.

“It was nice to see the U.S. score four goals in two games so far. We’ve had trouble with that in the past. We seem to lack a little gusto,” he said. “I think we already are improving. Every World Cup we go to, we seem to improve a little more.”

Terry Gerlinski, JV coach for Lewisburg High School, called Sunday’s game a “tough tie, but we’re in a good spot.” Like Dressler, he said he was disappointed in Michael Bradley, but he believes the team played well overall.

“If we draw, that’d be great, Germany is unreal,” he said. “We definitely have a shot, you just got to believe.”

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