Lack of Quality
Commentor Kenobi in my "Post Tease" post almost had the right answer. He quessed,
"The ability to serve in a decent ball off a free kick/corner kick?"Actually, I was going to say just the opposite.
In the USA v Costa Rica match, Landon Donovan couldn't get his corner kicks over the 1st defender, and yet he continued to take them. If I had been Bob Bradley, I would have yanked LD from set piece duty immediately. That is unacceptable from a supposed world-class player. He did a bit better in the Honduras match.
Gomez has an ongoing similar problem. His service from the corner is often low and short. It is almost as if he is more concerned about the location of the advertising signage than accurately striking the ball. Tino and Pontius are doing a better job, I think.
And then I watched the SJE @ FCD match yesterday and witnessed two of the most atrocious set pieces I've seen in awhile. DvdB just straight up put the ball into the 14th row. I only put an asterisk next to A.A.'s name because shortly after a botched set piece, he scored a golazo in the run of play.
These are SET pieces. The minimum result should be a ball on frame or into the mixer that necessitates a clearance or a save or a ball that bounces in the box. If you can't do that, if you can't get the ball past the first defender or over/through the wall or if you can keep your attempt from just going into touch - after practicing it all week - then I, as the coach, will find someone who can. There are 9 other field players out there.