Yanks' lack of depth is a problem 

June, 26, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- With a full year to go before the United States begins its quest to qualify for a seventh straight World Cup, there is no need to panic about the way the Americans were manhandled by Mexico in Saturday's Gold Cup final here.

Still, the 4-2 loss to El Tri exposed a worrying lack of depth in a squad still in transition in too many positions.

Much of the post-match focus was on the unlucky ankle injury that forced steady veteran Steve Cherundolo from the field just 11 minutes into the game, and rightly so. The U.S. was essentially finished at that point despite holding a 1-0 advantage that would become 2-0 when Landon Donovan scored in the 23rd minute. The switch to Jonathan Bornstein -- a heck of a nice guy but a limited player who hardly got on the field for his middling Mexican club for much of the past six months -- revealed just how little coach Bob Bradley had in reserve.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.
Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.