The USMNT's defense was total crap all tournament. They need better defenders with more defined roles.
Tim Howard made many impressive saves, but he shouldn't have had to face so many shots, often left all alone, facing pointblank attackers. It's unfortunate for this team that Howard is nearing the end of his career.
On the offensive attack, they always stopped and passed around trying to set up a play, rather than taking shots, giving the opposing defense and goalie too much time to set up. It seemed like no one knew what to do, or who should shoot.
Losing Jozy Altidore messed up their offensive game plan, simply because they didn't bring anyone else who plays his position in the same way. That also forced Clint Dempsey to play out of position, which took away some effectiveness from their best player. His pure talent is what allowed him to score the goals he did.
I congratulate U.S. Soccer on their success, and making it to the Knockout Round, but this team had the talent and potential to make it further. Yes, we must look forward to the future, but it's time for US Soccer to take another step forward. And unfortunately, they are entering a rebuilding stage, due to the ages of many of their key players. Hopefully the next Tim Howard, Landon Donovan, and Clint Dempsey will come along in the next 4 years.