It seems to me that sushi lovers always have two favorite places in their home city; the Incredible Place and the Good Place.
The Incredible Place typically has a trendy interior, is packed with good looking people and requires your “going out shirt.” At the Incredible Place the fish melts in your mouth and the sushi chefs put together ingredients into rolls that don’t exist anywhere else. However, the Incredible Place is expensive and you don’t go there too often.
Then there is the Good Place. It is typically located in a strip mall five minutes from your home with a “great” happy hour. The fish is solid if unspectacular and the sushi chefs make all the traditional roles with a couple of standouts here and there. Overall, the Place is a good value and your find yourself there a couple of times a month and often with friends.
Yesterday, we all went to the Good Place; not for sushi, but for good American Soccer. There were highs and lows, much like any place and the ingredients weren’t of the highest quality. But, ultimately, the US Men’s National Team didn’t disappoint and we even received the “happy hour” specials in the form of delightful play by the US in the first extra 15-minute session. (Okay, it was a “happy quarter-hour.”) I enjoyed the game, but the play didn’t “wow” me outside of the Holden-Ching hook-up in the 8th minute.
Throughout the game, the Yanks played solid, if unspectacular soccer. They didn’t overcome the biggest issue for the US as a program – lack of quality touches inside the offensive eighteen – but kept the pressure on to wear down an evenly matched opponent for the first ninety minutes. Although I have been critical of Bob Bradley recently, he must get some credit for turning eleven guys into a team that learned how to play with each other over the course of the day.
But, like every Good Place, there were some standout rolls, some standby ones and a couple that you wouldn’t order again.
We Have to Order the…
Ching: Played like an “A” team regular. Worked tirelessly against a physical (borderline flagrant) Panamanian back line
Holden: Solid on the ball. His only real opportunity to unload the cannon on a half-volley was blocked, but provided decent service from the right side
Marshall: Patrolled the defensive zone and locked-down the Panamanian attack in the 2nd Half. (did have a poor touch on the Panamian goal)
Beckerman: Makes the obvious play; consistently confident and calm on the ball
Conrad: Fearless (glad to hear he’s going to be okay)
Can’t Go Wrong with the…
Arnaud: Increased his involvement as the game wore on; excellent contribution on the Beckerman goal
Cooper: Came in like a freight train, missed some very good chances, but came through in a big way in the end
Pearce: Good job defending, good awareness to push forward into the attack when the opportunity was there
Conrad: Fearless (glad to hear he’s going to be okay) [Edit: forgot about the early, stupid yellow card]
I’d Try the…
Perkins: Wasn’t tested all that much, didn’t make any mistakes
Pause: An unmemorable performance
Goodson: Late first half sub that contributed to a good second half by the US defense
Probably Wouldn’t Order the…
Rogers: Turnover machine; had tons of chances but struggled in beating anyone “one v. one” and providing adequate service into the box (outside of the far-post moon ball that led to the Beckerman goal)
Heaps: The desire and intelligence is there, but seemed a half-step slow (except on his devastating should barge)\
With this team, I’d be fine going to the Good Place again on Thursday and next Saturday, but I’ll be ironing my “going-out-shirt” shirt in case Bradley and the boys want to head out to the Incredible Place.