Getting the Ball Rolling on Honduras

We are less than 20 days away to the next US qualifier in Honduras. Thought it would a good time for TSG to take a few minutes to re-watch the June 6th USA-Honduras match on June 6th in Chitown and re-ignite the fervor and dialogue among the USMNT fanbase.

Did I mention I love ESPN360.com? What a great product.

It’s always fun to go back and watch USMNT tape months later to see the player changes and play progressions.

First Bob Bradley came out with an even more defensive on his home turf starting Ricardo Clark and Pablo Mastroeni in the midfield with Connor Casey pairing Altidore upfront.

Wow, seems a tad warmer and less friendly this time around

Wow, seems a tad warmer and less friendly this time around

The backline is probably what you should see on 10/10: Bornstein, Boca, Gooch and Spector. However, Cherundolo’s name, with his experience and continued playing time overseas might see him back in the line-up at the expense of Spector.

Some observations in retrospect:

- I loved the aggression the US came out with at the whistle. The Yanks really looked to link and score. Actually come to think of it, they may just have been only mildy aggressive however holding that June 6 match up against the light with the T&T one, the aggression is magnified that much more.

- That aggression was helped by Honduras playing defense to the U.S.’s strengths. Honduras played an extremely narrow midfield with their wing defenders collapsing inward. This allowed Pablo Mastroeni, of all players, to just keep milking the easy pass to the wing for the US to migrate (with Landon and Clint) nearly unchallenged up the pitch. Will Honduras stay as narrow in the rematch? Mastroeni literally looked like a qb hitting the running back out of the backfield for dump-and-swing passes all day long.

- Gooch and Spector had communication issues — didn’t we see this in the USMNT’s last match against T&T.

- Dempsey got dispossessed dribbling in the midfield for early first score for Los Catrachos, however Dempsey was extremely active in both offense and defense. On the attack, Dempsey was largely in control and consistently fighting for headers in the box. The good ol’ Deuce — nice to see you again.

- Jonathan Spector was at Confederation Cup-levels against Honduras, pushing up on attack and defending expertly. He had about three crosses that were absolute money even though they didn’t hit pay dirt.

Casey: ESPN360, I'm begging you, take this game off replay...

Casey: ESPN360, I'm begging you, take this game off replay...

- Conor Casey fans won’t want to watch this game.

- I must say it again. The US is shockingly aggressive on offense in this game compared to game past. I counted at least 4 times an overlap by a defender or center middie produced a chance or a chance at a chance. You are going to want to watch the game to see just what the US can do when they’re confident and in control of the tempo.

- On defense, the center d’s of Gooch and Boca came up very high–with the narrow offensive play by Honduras. With Honduras resorting to long looping run-ons from the wings, it left a low probability of a through ball on the US central defense in a position where it could be used. Well done on strategy Bob Bradley. Yes, you just heard me correctly.

- A few moments of hollering from Dempsey and Altidore on where they want the ball on a lead pass from Spector and Clark respectively. Can we not just have a little water cooler session before the next game on this one?

Now, let’s get inside the heads of Bob Bradley, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and others less than 3 weeks before the match and in advance of our preview piece on the 10/10 showdown.

USMNT National Team Coach Bob Bradley:

- Are these guys going to play that 4-2-2-2 that we saw again? If so, I have to make sure Dempsey is ready and I counsel my middies on getting that ball to possession on the outside quickly. Damn, Pablo did such a great job with the little outside flares in the first game, it’s too bad he’s at the Majong tournament for his 87th birthday. I really should have Stu ready to go as soon as needed also.

- Turcios and Guevara are out. Kind of mixed feeling on that one since we did a good job against Guevara last time. We’ll definitely see Leon and they’ll maybe have Suazo push back a little. That’ll give them more offense, but we should be able to exploit that midfield even more.

- Conor had a rough go against these guys — maybe RFK for him.

- Rico is going to be fired up after that shot down in the islands. Whew, I’m glad he nailed that one. He played a good first game in Chitown too. Oh, what the hell I’ll throw Mikey back in there too–my boy does need some pitch time. I mean Mikey was the U.S. Soccer.com man of the match against Trinidad & Tobago. (scroll to bottom)

- Anybody know the weather forecast? I can wear shorts right? We have official hiking shorts, right? Sunil?

- Benny! Oops, how did that drift in there?

USMNT Captain Landon Donovan:

Donovan, pondering

Donovan, pondering

- Someone has to refresh Rico’s and Mikey’s memory as to where JZA, Clint and I need passes. Maybe I’ll do that for this game. (Thanks TSG :>)

- Who’s got some extra Airborne–wait they did away with that stuff?

- I want to get some offense going, please but me in front of Bornstein this time and behind Charlie and we’ll get some serious counterattack going on with our speed.

USMNT Goalkeeper extraordinaire Tim Howard:

- Anyone healthy & fit in front of me right now? I’ll take Conrad, where’s Jimmy? I’ll take Jimmy and Boca.

- Damn, Central America….please no kick in the head this time out. Oh wait, Ruiz plays across the border.

USMNT center back Oguchi Onyewu:

- Man it feels good to run around again. Don’t remember the pitch being this big….but man it feels good to run around again.

- Wow, look at all the new guys on the corners. No Frankie, no Califf, no DaMarcus, no Marvell.

USMNT striker Charlie Davies:

- Stanky Leg! Stanky Leg! Stanky Leg!

- Stay aggressive and demand the ball. You can run these guys.

USMNT center midfielder Mike Bradley:

- Finally a coach who truly understands me.

USMNT midfielders Stu Holden and Benny Feilhaber:

- That’s like 5 Entourage reruns we can catch up.  Bob, we’ll be in the dressing room getting “treatment.” Just give us a buzz.

“USMNT midfielder” Jose Francisco Torres: (from TSG reader and Constantly Offsides’ Biggy)

Hi Bob, I know you don’t like Mexico, but I only play there for my club. I’m in good form, just turn the TV on mute, you will be fine. Just watch me please Bob? Please Bob? Please?

TSG note: At what point of if you are Jose Francisco Torres do you just say, “Thanks for the invite Bob, but I’d really rather watch from the comfort of my home this time?”

More to follow in the coming week…take a moment to rewatch the game and then we’ll start the preview piece early and roll through the commentary.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. Jose Francisco Torres: Hi Bob, I know you don’t like Mexico, but I only play there for my club. I’m in good form, just turn the TV on mute, you will be fine. Just watch me please Bob? Please Bob? Please?

    Reply

  2. US Soccer Phone Transcript – 9/17/2009 9:34 AM

    Bob Bradley: Morning Sunil
    Sunil Gulati: Did you see this morning’s player memo?
    Bob: No. I was watching the tapes of Michael in U-17 again. He’s so awesome.
    Sunil: Says here that Official USMNT Feeder Club, Houston Dynamo, was beaten 2-0 by some Mexican club fielding Paco Torres.
    Bob: Who’s he?
    Sunil: He’s been on the last couple rosters as part of the HMI.
    Bob: HMI?
    Sunil: Hispanic Marketing Initiative. At the last meeting we decided to give him a few minutes against El Salvadore.
    Bob: Are you saying we should rethink the Houston strategy? We should look at some of the players down in Mexico? Are you suggesting we start him?
    Sunil Gulati: No way, he plays in Mexico. There’s no way professional athletes in a country with a per capita GDP so much lower than ours could possibly compete with the professional league in the world’s largest economy.
    Bob Bradley: Good, I hate going down there, I always come back smelling of urine.
    Sunil Gulati: Oh, the urine bombs?
    Bob Bradley: No, it’s just that Azteca is so intimidating. 100,000 people who really want to kill me, sometimes I wet myself a little.
    Sunil Gulati: It’ll be fine Bob, just stick with the sweat pants.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/22 at 8:17 AM

      By executive privledge I’m waving the 5-day waiting period on HOF candidacy — hysterical.
      USMNT feeder club, ha — and to think Chivas could have won that one.

      Reply

  3. Jonathon Bornstein: Dad, I mean Bob, did you see me on Fox Football Fone-In? Wasn’t I great; clean cut and spewing cliches. Did you see me on the weekend playing Center D? Huh? Huh? If Gooch, ‘Los, Marshall, Goodson, and Captain Sideburns (Califf) can’t go, I can fill in.

    His Inner monologue: Note to self, put icy hot in all of the CD’s shorts and jock straps.

    USMNT Captain Carlos Bocanegra: I wonder if I should start talking a little more during the game to fire up my squad. Talking is so hard though, I didn’t think that wearing this armband would require so much responsibility…

    I hope Bob plays me outside again, I think that works better for everyone because I’ve got plenty of back up in the center in case I get toasted. MMMMM Toast, with butter and jelly. Plus I hate that little shit Bornstein. Always sucking up to Bob and begging for playing time. I wonder if Bob knows that about the Shrine to Bob that he has…

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/22 at 8:24 AM

      You just got me thinking with your Bornstein commentary:

      Kljestan: “You think the coach will notice I have uniform down here on the bench. Coach, I can be like Pablo this time around — I promise. I’ll connect passes and get a few yellows. C’mon my international career needs a little boost here.”

      Reply

  4. Gooch: (stares with no emotion regarding all these impersonations)

    Reply

  5. Posted by Kevin U. on 2009/09/22 at 8:43 PM

    so i went and re-watched the game the last time i had seen it i was actually at the game in Chicago which was awesome..but it was so weird to actually see hustle out of deuce but just like in this game he gets himself and the team in trouble when he takes all those touches in the midfield..also it was nice to see the growth of altidore this game was about 3 months ago or w/e but he’s grown so much since than..I also liked the agressive play of Spector and I still think he’s a great option for an outside back

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/22 at 8:52 PM

      When Deuce did the back heel in this game I was totally ok with it — if he had tried it in the El Sal and T&T game I would have broken the TV….and it wouldn’t have worked.

      Must have been a fun game to be at.

      Reply

  6. Posted by Kevin U. on 2009/09/22 at 10:10 PM

    Ya I agree if deuce did that now i would flip out of course unless it works…I just hope that when he rejoins the USMNT he comes back with that heart and passion through a full 90 minutes…Great defensive work in this game from both spector and bornstein also a good game from Rico which was good to see cuz lately his performances have been nothing more than just ehh but he did show in this game that he has the potential to be a good midfielder for us even though i’m sure most of us are waiting for bob to give holden his chance

    Reply

  7. [...] face a different looking Honduras than the one they encountered in Chicago in June. A few weeks ago, TSG gave you a primer piece with a link to the replay of the match on the 360. If you had a moment to take in that game, you [...]

    Reply

  8. [...] Getting the Ball Rolling on Honduras – (09/21) [...]

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