Ching Shines, Kljestan Strikes: US 2, SLV 1

Brian Ching collected his 43rd cap, 1 goal and 1 assist to lead the USMNT to the win.

The USMNT, featuring nearly all MLS players, notched its first win since early October with a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over El Salvador in Tampa Bay.

Following a familiar script against lesser foes, the US controlled most of the game, struggled in the offensive third, conceded a goal against the run of play and then came to life.

When the US last faced El Salvador in Rio Tinto Stadium in September it was a Jonathan Bornstein miscue that led to a goal by Los Cuscatlecos with the US dominating. Tonight it was Brad Evan’s defensive gaffe that produced the lone Salvadoran goal in one of the few forays into the box for the visiting team.

Though this match could be better called an audition for a few remaining World Cup spots, it was nice to see the US finally finish strong behind second half substitute Brian Ching. The Big Aloha’s head produced the equalizer off a Heath Pearce cross while his feet provided a one-touch assist to Sacha Kljestan who put home the game winner in stoppage time.

The win will play well on Sportcenter (hopefully) and is a good thing for a program coming off three lackluster performances. However, it should be noted that the Salvadorans play made one wonder if they stayed out late last night at the infamous Tampa Ballet. Well that, or maybe they just didn’t care.

Some players added to their resume for selection while others did not.

The more significant story for the USMNT is whose performance got them one step closer to packing their US Soccer duffel for South Africa. Of the 13 World Cup hopefuls Matthew mentioned in the preview

5 boosted their stock…Brian Ching, Robbie Findley, Sacha Kljestan, Clarence Goodson and Heath Pearce

2 held their spot…new Captain Jonathan Bornstein and versatile Robbie Rogers

2 didn’t help or hurt their chances…Kyle Beckerman and Jeff Cunningham

1 took (another) step backwards…Conor Casey

3 never saw the pitch (which probably isn’t a good thing)…Chad Marshall, Troy Perkins and Chris Pontius.

Before jumping to conclusions, it’s worth remembering the level of competition in this match and reading Bob Bradley’s post-match comments about Ching-Casey, the Netherlands roster selection and the World Cup roster.


» Best Play of the Game: The  Sacha Kljestan game-winner. El Sal’s Gonzalez mental mistake combined with Kljestan’s effort led to an odd-man rush by the USMNT. Mr. Victoria’s Secret then laid off a pass to Ching who dropped a nice one-touch back to Klestan for the finish.

One question: Was it me or did Montes (SLV’s keeper) look like he got shot in the back? He started to challenge SK, then dropped to his knees prematurely and fell down. Either way…it was a great give-and-go.

» Most Unheralded Play: Conor Casey struggled on offense playing the first 45 minutes, but his defensive effort kept El Salvador off the scoreboard midway through the first half. The visitors sent a free kick deep into the box that look destined to allude the defense in favor of an on-rushing Custcatleco. Just before the ball dropped at the far post, Casey rose up and used his noggin to get the US out of danger.

» Golden Shinguard: A number of candidates, but TSG is going with The Big Aloha. Ching scored and assisted on the two US goals and was a consistent target for the attack in the second half. Granted he could have been marked better, but that’s not his fault.

What We Were Looking For

» Getting close to closing time: Who’s going? Goodson or Marshall…

Goodson was flown in from across the pond for the start and had a solid game. He looks to have the edge over Marshall who rode the pine for the duration.

» Is Kyle Beckerman, beyond Sacha Kljestan, in play for a World Cup roster spot?

Not anymore after Bobbo singled-out Kljestan at half-time and then Mr. Victoria Secret followed it up with the game winner. Kyle Beckerman was steady, but you have to wonder if he can contribute at a World Class level or if he peaks at Gold Cup / CONCACAF friendly competition.

» The Striker Spot?

The Ching-Cunningham pairing was on the field for both of the USMNT goals, but it was the Ching-Findley combo that proved the most dangerous. As for Casey, the herculean Honduran effort is fading further and further into the rear-view mirror.


Gaven came on strong in the second half.

» Who’s our sleeper? The guy who goes starting line-up or makes a move in the pecking order?

TSG picked Pontius in the preview, but the obvious post-game choice is midfielder Eddie Gaven. He asserted himself in a big way throughout the second half drawing a number of fouls and wreaking havoc down the right flank.

Player Ratings


C: Bob Bradley – 6.5

This grade could be entirely based on the fact that the team didn’t come out flat to start the second half for the first time in forever. Bobbo was clearly looking at specific players in arranging the line-up and substituting, but he orchestrated some different tactics in the midfield almost playing Beckerman as CDM and Kljestan as CAM.

GK: Nick Rimando – 5

The 30-year-old took time to brush up on U.S. labor law as he was rarely tested and couldn’t do much on the lone El Salvador goal due to the defensive lapse.

CB Jonathan Bornstein – 6

Bornstein sported the captain’s armband and held his own playing out of position in the middle of the defense. There was another over-the-head kick again, but  this time it worked…sometimes you just don’t learn.

CB: Clarence Goodson – 6.5

Goodson was confident and showed a good understanding of when to challenge and when to lay back (a la Jay DeMerit).  His early first half tackle at the top of the area was a high-risk, high-reward maneuver that he pulled off well. He certainly helped his case to make it on the plane to South Africa.

CB: Heath Pearce: 6

Pearce provided excellent support to the attack on the overlap down the wing. His laser cross to the head of Ching produced the first goal. One has to wonder how he might have looked if he had to actually play defense at all during the game.

With the start you have to stay he is still in the conversation for the World Cup, but his lack of consistency will make it tough to put him in the 23.

RB: Brad Evans: 5

He is getting an olympic like deduction for whatever-it-is-he-was-trying-to-do when he inadvertently centered the ball for the Salvdorans’ only goal.

LM: Robbie Rogers: 6.5

Despite Rogers’ brainlock that led to him take a tough shot instead of passing off to a waiting and open Ching or Gaven, Roger made the right decisions most of the evening. A double team coming..he’s goes one-on-one quickly. With time..he waits….etc.

Rogers definitely endeared himself to Coach Bradley playing effectively on both sides of the field and dropping dimes on a number of set pieces.

CM: Kyle Beckerman: 5

No need to reinvent the wheel…here is Beckerman’s Honduras grade that seems just as appropriate for his SLV performance. “An average one for the RSL man. Created nothing on offense and didn’t destroy the middle on defense….Showed for outlet passes and didn’t make dumb mistakes.”

CM: Sascha Kljestan: 6

An improvement over his recent work. Kljestan put himself in some good positions but went only 1-for-3 on high quality chances inside the 18. Given the conditions, the low shots were a plus, but he was aiming instead of shooting in the first half.

TSG would have liked to see Klestan link better with Beckerman and the wings.

RM: Brad Davis: 5

With the first half attacked focus down the right flank, Davis wasn’t heavily involved in his 45 minutes of work. However, he showed excellent reception of the ball when the team switched fields before exiting at the half due to a hammy.

STR: Robbie Findley: 5

Showed good burst and some inexperience. What looked like a collision early in the second half limited his effectiveness until he was ultimately subbed for Cunningham.

He’ll need to show well versus the Netherlands (assuming he gets the opportunity) to earn a spot in Bradley’s 23.

STR: Conor Casey: 4

One nice hold-and-dish was about the only positive for Casey tonight. He won a few balls in the air near the goal, but they were against much smaller defenders. His complete lack of acceleration and struggles with his back to the goal will makes it tough for Bradley trot him out there in June.


Cap numero uno for the Dynamo man.


Brian Ching (46th minute) – 7

Came in with his customary work-rate to change the game on the offensive end for the US. He was a big reason the US started out well and finished strong in the second half.

Eddie Gaven (46th minute) – 7

Gave the Salvadorans all they could handle the entire second half…tackling balls away, drawing fouls, distributing from the wing and creating some scoring chances.

Jeff Cunningham (68th minute) – 4.5

Didn’t assert himself at all and whiffed on a nice Rogers free kick into the area. Hard to think he is the answer up top for the US heading into the World Cup.

Dax McCarty (79th minute) – INC

According to US Soccer he was inserted into the game to count the crowd from his vantage point in the center of the field. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4….

Geoff Cameron (86th minute) – Congratulations

Cap #1 for the Houston Dynamo. He almost made it “magical” with a shot from the top of the area that sailed just over the cross bar.

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57 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mark T on 2010/02/25 at 12:02 AM

    We may have to award a Platinum Shinguard to ESPN as Sportscenter anchor Neil Everett made it through the entire US – El Salvador highlight without making a joke about soccer or the pronunciation of a player’s name.


  2. Posted by kaya on 2010/02/25 at 12:03 AM

    Hey, where’d that Ching post go that I commented on?
    Not to rain on Ching’s parade or anything, but man was that a terrible match. Good lord were El Sal a team of zombies. I want to like Ching, I really do, but I find his touches on the ball to be dreadful. Did an airplane write “Congrats Sasha, you’re going to RSA!” in the sky or something? I didn’t get the exuberant celebration after his (mostly) uncontested goal poach. Frankly, I haven’t seen a lot of Kljestan and I thought he did fine, but since El Sal’s effort even made almost every US player look “technical”, I didn’t see what there was to get all excited about.
    I thought that Gaven and Rogers brought a lot of energy to the game… it’s a little hard to take much more away from a match played at that level. Robbie made some big wtf were you thinking mistakes down the stretch, but one look at that pretty face and I forgave him.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/02/25 at 12:06 AM

      Sorry Kaya, that post moved back to its original spot in the cue when this recap went up.

      The level of competition is a big thing. If a player can’t shine in a game like this than he has no business on the big boy squad for the World Cup.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/02/25 at 12:09 AM

      Here is the link to the Ching piece:

      (Also, I added a note about the level of competition to the post…thanks for the reminder.)


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/25 at 3:49 PM

      I have never, except for the game at Azteca, found Ching’s touches to be that bad. I just don’t get your reasoning because he keeps close control and holds up defenders as a faster forward runs on. He doesn’t run with the ball, and if you expect him to that explains your reasoning. Please explain what makes his touches bad.


  3. I have to disagree with your rating on Heath Pearce. For me he was the best player on the field in the game and even though he got a yellow for it, he absolutely destroyed Benedict Arnold……….I mean Arturo Alvarez. I thought it was a clean tackle and he didn’t put a foot wrong the entire game. Man of the match for me.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2010/02/25 at 1:12 AM

      Evan, I didn’t think that was a yellow either. Pearce was in the discussion for the Golden Shinguard.


    • Posted by Modesto on 2010/02/25 at 2:55 PM

      I agree Heath Pearce did look like the best player on the pitch. Sure El Salv were garbage but Bornstien and Evan were crap in letting that weak goal in. Why do people like Bornstien so much? He is fast but his distribution and decision making is piss poor. I think Spector, Gooch, Bocanegra, and Pearce would be our best back four.


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/25 at 3:47 PM

        Okay, now that I gave up on convincing people on Pearce, people switch in my direction? Same goes with Ching. Is Cameron next?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! or will it be Coops?!?!?!?!?!?!


  4. Posted by B-Mac on 2010/02/25 at 1:00 AM

    Sorry Mark, but you got to be kidding me on Rogers tonight. He was absolutely dreadful. Every possible chance he flubbed completely. While he did find himself in good spots, his execution was just terrible. Everyone I spoke to after the game targeted him as the biggest disappointment on the day. His performance seems to knocked him out of consideration for the Netherlands, or at least taken away his chance for playing time.


    • I would agree that Rogers looked dreadful tonight. I think he was out partying with the Salvadorians…

      Sure he brings some interesting elements to the table but he only showed that he can deliver a dead-ball last night; his decision making in the offensive third was suspect and his passes looked like Jim Carey taking a leak in Me, Myself, and Irene. He looked like he was trying way to hard on most plays, I’d love to see his pass completion % statistic.


    • Posted by Shane on 2010/02/25 at 11:07 AM

      I agree Rogers was horrible.. EG played well in the second though..


  5. Posted by bw on 2010/02/25 at 1:25 AM

    i agree with the above – pearce was best on pitch, rodgers was bad until the last few mins when he put a couple towards the net.


  6. Posted by Ryan R. on 2010/02/25 at 2:24 AM

    I don’t rate Rogers nearly as highly as you did tonight. Rogers was active and played some good balls in on set pieces, but in the run of play, I thought his touch was pretty poor. He was active, ran a ton and put himself in good positions, but he’s always been able to do that. A fringe World Cup player needs to show that he’s improved on his weaknesses and his many wasted crosses tonight showed me that he hasn’t done that. Rogers’ performance tonight force me to bring up the John Wooden quotes, “don’t mistake activity for achievement.”


    • Posted by B-Mac on 2010/02/25 at 2:42 AM

      I love that quote to describe Rogers night. It was not as if he was putting in a half-hearted performance, he was very active and did a good job setting himself up in good situations. His touch and finish were just terribly off though. It’s because of that he will need a very strong MLS season to get back onto the plane, because his class is just not consistently there. I look at him opposed to a guy like Benny, who might lack the skill of Rogers but is much, much more consistent.


  7. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 3:46 AM

    I have to go with my brother on Rogers here. And have to disagree as well on “activity for achievement”…while Rogers should have certainly laid that one ball off to either Gaven or Ching….activity, specifically beating a man one-on-one, is “good,” though not achievement.

    Rogers has a very solid arsenal of ways to help the team both in the run of play and set pieces. He also is a very smart player, knowing “how” to move the ball.

    While he didn’t finish, you can’t say he was off, ringing the side of the goal after only getting a glimpse to get off a shot in the 2nd half as well.

    I think Rogers “loping” style of play is deceptive on the screen….and reminds me a little bit of how…and not putting him in this realm…how Clint D is singled out sometimes for movement with or without the ball.

    Also Rogers takes a hit well and keeps going with the ball….not a lot of US wingers can do that.

    Quick, name the last outside player to score for the United States on shot outside the 18 and in the run of play?…. …. ….


    (oh gosh, this is harder than I thought)….


    after a little research, I’m going with Landon Donovan against Equador in March 2007….there were many set piece strikes, Mike Bradley strikes from the middle of the pitch….that should put at least some of Rogers efforts in perspective.


    • Posted by KMac on 2010/02/25 at 5:10 AM

      Benny! Gold cup final -ripper! Oh you said outside player. Still a great goal, just had to post it.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 5:13 AM

        It’s always fine to post The Original Flying Hovestad! as many times as you want on this site:

        See the glossary if you’re not sure what a Flying Hovestad is: :>

        That being said…many set piece strikes in between 03/07 and now from Donovan Kljestan and even Eddie Lewis.

        Many outside rippers from the middle Benny above…Mikey B with many….none from the wings outside the box though (understandably)…just pointing out the difficulty of it…that’s all.


      • Great commentary, I don’t care that I didn’t understand half of it. Though I think he said something about Jesus in there.


    • “Quick, name the last outside player to score for the United States on shot outside the 18 and in the run of play?”

      Holden in the Gold Cup last summer?

      I also have to disagree with you on Rogers, I want to like the guy but he’s just not there yet. He’s got amazing physical skills but his touch and/or decision making are too inconsistent for me to consider him an international quality player yet. I do think he’ll get there, I think he could be a critical component of the 2014.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 9:01 AM

        Agree to disagree on Rogers. :>

        Holden was playing centrally against Haiti…I’m pretty sure.
        But worth it to show that clip too


        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/25 at 3:57 PM

          Dang I didn’t even notice you two beat me to that, but I’m pretty sure he was on the wing.


    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/25 at 3:55 PM

      My best guess is Holden in the Gold Cup. Am I right?


  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 3:51 AM

    On Heath Pearce, what an up-and-down player…he’s shockingly bad one moment, and deceptively good the next.

    While it may be rote, he does come forward and move very well up the field not only for himself, but to make space for who he is overlapping. Both in this game, on TV, and in the Honduras game he is audible in demanding the ball…not so much to get it, but to move the defense into place.

    Tonight he was aggressive against a team that may have been drunk or hungover or something (have you seen worse fundamentals)….I think Pearce has got some big tourneys (Confed Cup) and some big game (England Friendly) under his belt.

    The struggle I have with him is….are you going to get his best for that game that he does get in?


  9. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 4:02 AM

    I thought it was telling that I believe Rob Stone said during the match that Bradley only have 16-18 guys locked in to South Africa at this point.

    Probably part a motivational factor….but still would have thought that number higher.

    If I was getting quotes out Coach USA tonight I definitely would have asked a follow-up on the defense from Pearce’s status to Chad Marshall not playing and what that means.

    Given Bradley’s comments that Goodson has been away from his club for awhile…you may not see him in the Netherlands, but Bradley at least by his quote says that shouldn’t be telling.

    TSG should have went to this one for the follow-ups ironically.


  10. Posted by Sam on 2010/02/25 at 6:34 AM

    Yeah! We won the game! …Nobody had said that in a comment yet, so I wanted to be the first.

    I think if we were a little better at finishing we would have won by a much larger deficit. We had 10 shots on against the El Salvadoran school for the blind which was running a 9-0-1 formation, so that’s cool.

    I think Findley looked really pacey and could be up there with Charlie in terms of speed and delivery if he had some more time to refine his game, I could see him definitely being a tenable option for Brazil.

    It seems that a lot of guys were taking touches a little heavy and just trying to blow past opponents with sheer speed, which isn’t good in terms of seeing how they’d play against better opponents. I couldn’t imagine Pearce being able to hold up the ball on the wing so effectively against England, but I was happy to see him back.

    Cheers to the El Salvadorans for not taking a single sub.


    • Sam – While we did win the game, and I’m happy about the guys finding a way to finish at least two chances. I still feel a little dirty. The true-blue, fan in me wants to be happy about this victory; a win’s a win, right? However, knowing that this is merely a stage for some players to show their wares and earn another look, I come away wishing the game had ended 1-1. Kljestan’s goal might overshaddow some of his sloppy distribution in the middle of the park, and poor finishing in the first half; the first shot he had (I think) where Casey played him in and he side footed it right to the keeper should’ve been touched into the box with the right and shoot with the left. That’s the kind of mistake Deuce, ‘Cakes, Jozy, et al don’t make on such beautiful set ups. Though, I think Sweatpants is shrewd enough to look at the entire body of work)

      My final thought: If you switch out the US with Mexico, England, Holland, Germany, etc. I think we would’ve seen a better, more professional (in terms of concentration and the simple things) performance out of a ‘B’ squad. I can’t recall how many times during the game I was frustrated with the lack of support the team gave the central midfield pairing, and how many of their simpler passes were half-hearted hospital balls or blatantly given to the other team. Where’s GeorgeCross to back me up on England when I need him?


      • Posted by Sam on 2010/02/25 at 8:05 AM

        Nick- I think it says a lot about a player’s skill just to be at the right place and the right time. Even if they don’t necessarily finish 100% of their chances it shows a certain level of contribution just to be there and take them.

        Montes was my personal man of the match and aside from the bizarre icing down incident in the second half (causing my girlfriend to make fun of soccer as a Rapid Wound Recovery Contest, yet again) he had a pretty heroic effort.

        Overall Chingy and Sacha have demonstrated time and time again that they can score and lift up the team in these B team scenarios. Hopefully they can get some quality time against Holland, if that is in fact the “real” test.


        • Agree that being in the right place at the right time is a skill, and you’re never going to be perfect with your finishing. To make amends in the 90+ was excellent for his confidence. However, I maintain that Eddie Johnson and Freddy Adu, who aren’t currently in the picture for the WC 23 would’ve put a better effort on frame given that chance. We can go back and forth about whether they would’ve been in the same position (forwards vs. midfield and on and on) but the point remains that given that opportunity come June 12th, you cannot let the ball run across you and soft-shoe that one to the far post corner with your right foot; Calamity James will make the save if John Terry hasn’t already broken your ankles for getting near his penalty area.

          The fact that Kljestan didn’t score it against El Salvador may be a “learning opportunity” for him and he’ll take the first touch with the right and shoot with the left next time, but…it’s also a little disheartening. Similar to when my indoor team of has beens loses or plays poorly against a team we know we’re technically and tactically better than.


  11. Posted by fropa98 on 2010/02/25 at 7:11 AM

    I think another disappointment I took away was Davis’ service off the corner. Most of those corners in the first half were a defensive victory for the opponent because he just was not putting the ball on anyone’s head and sent plenty so close to the keeper.


  12. Posted by Bob on 2010/02/25 at 7:32 AM

    I think man-of-the-match may have to go to Gaven. When he got near the ball, he took off like a rocket and headed to the box almost every time he got the chance in the second half. I really liked Ching last night and I think he should go to the Netherlands next week.

    I think what the game really showed is that Adu and EJ and Edu and maybe Cooper (and Grella?) should get call ups for next week. The game showed, imo, that many of these MLS players are just not ready yet, including Findley. Bob is really going to have to dig deep with the secondary Euro players to fill the remaining four or five spots that are still up for grabs.


  13. Posted by Timmy on 2010/02/25 at 7:48 AM

    I just didn’t see it from Findley. His runs were non-existent and his first touch was awful. He made some bad decisions when facing goal. I see the kid has pace, but his awareness and playmaking abilities were lacking.
    I thought Ching showed well against weak competition, and I agree with Man of the match. Although we have seen some poor performances from Ching over the past few years, I think his good awareness in box is something he does not get enough credit for.
    I think Goodson has locked in his spot for SA. He is improving every game and you can see his confidence.


  14. Posted by Dylan on 2010/02/25 at 8:01 AM

    Ok, just a couple quick comments:

    Findley- I thought he looked very dangerous, his speed is exactly the kind of x-factor that I want from one of my strikers. We need that speed up front, and I think if Donovan is feeding passes to him, he gets more opportunity. Really hoping to see him next week.

    Casey- While I do not like him or Ching, I think that Casey actually can do more for our team, his touch was off and he absolutely can not take on a defender one on one, but his vision is decent and he set up a couple chances for other players that should have been finished.

    Ching- Came in aganist a tired defense that really never showed much life all game. He scored and that is good, but he didn’t add anything to our attack, Jozy can head the ball so can Casey, so can Dempsey, I see nothing that he adds to our team.

    Sacha- He had a decent game, took his chances, however, terrible finishing, if you get those kinds of chances during games against top tier opponents (World Cup). You HAVE to finish them, because you will not get many like it.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/02/25 at 9:34 AM

      Ching adds nothing to our team? Did he not add activity up top? Was our midfield & backline more willing to feed the ball to him? Did he not show himself to let the ball be played into him better than Casey? Did Cc even sprint? Did CC play any defense or run at a defender to try to get him caught in posession. At one point in the match Case did not move more than 4 feet in his then position for 17 seconds. SEVENTEEN SECONDS OF STANDING AROUND IN THE SAME PLACE. I wanna know what was going through CC’s mind. Was he trying to save his energy? Did he really think he was going more than 50? He should’ve busted his ass out there as if he was in Sacha’s Current position: on the outside looking in.


      • Posted by Dylan on 2010/02/25 at 2:30 PM

        “Did he not add activity up top?” No, he did not, we were active all night as evident from our 18 Shots, Ching did not have 18 shots, nor anything close to that.

        “Was our midfield & Backline more willing to feed the ball to him?” No, To think that the players on the field want to pass the ball to some strikers but not others is naive and childish. Casey was getting passes even when not in postition to receive them.

        “Did he not show himself to let the ball be played into him better than Casey? No, he didn’t Casey was constantly reciveing the ball also he distributed alot, quite a few opportunites were created from a pass, I’m not saying he was effcient with the ball, but he received the ball quite a bit.

        “Did Casey even sprint?” Yes he’s just very slow.

        “Did Casey play any defense?” Yes, See Most Unheralded play in the above article.

        Point being, don’t be a dick, these were my personal observations and opinions which are based on what I saw, not what I wanted to see.


    • Posted by Wilson on 2010/02/25 at 12:31 PM

      Ching I don’t consider a B team player. Before injury he was a starter next to Donavon up top. Ching is not tall, or fast for a stroker but he has a good consistent first touch. He can use his head or any other part of his body to put the ball in net or a great pass to a team for an attempt on goal. No other striker we have can do that. Not Casey, Altidore, and neither Kenny Cooper


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 12:51 PM

        Wilson, welcome back.


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/02/25 at 4:14 PM

        First, not tall? Trust me the TV shrinks him because when you see him on the field or stand next to him he is huge.

        Second, thanks for agreeing he can pass. If I can only find a youtube video with an assist he made to Holden in CCL. That might shut people up (atleast if I remember it right)


  15. Posted by KL on 2010/02/25 at 8:04 AM

    I have to agree with Sam about Robbie Findley. He certainly displayed that “Charlie in a bottle” possibility. Specifically, I point to the one on one run he had in the second half where he was able to completely blow by the defense. My discussion with friends last night consisted of excitement that he was displaying his speedy athleticism, but disappointments in his “efficiency”. As has been reiterated several times on this site Robbie just needs to work on timing his runs and making them in the right direction (as far as staying on sides and angling his runs). Anyway what do you guys think?

    On one last note, I thought Sasha was completely overrated last night in every aspect. His two huge misses in the first half were indicative of the form he has shown the last 9 months.

    Finally, CHING! so excited to see the Big Aloha get some solid minutes and put in a great performance. By the way, would love some opinions on a new nickname for him. How about, CHINGCHILLA? Imagine commentators screaming that nickname as he nets one.


  16. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 8:23 AM

    The best move to me for Findley was the “reverse Capdevila”–when he held off the defender and let the ball come over him–he pulled to almost get a goal in the 2nd half.

    Cunningham would have been flattened there. If healthy, that moves earns him a trip to to Heineken land.


  17. Posted by Joe on 2010/02/25 at 10:11 AM


    The goalie got sniped in the back and turned sideways and just collapsed. Funniest attempt to stop a ball that I have ever seen! What the hell was he doing hahahaha. I must have replayed that goal about 10 times to figure it out.

    Go to the 35th second and just watch the goalie.


  18. Posted by Matt B on 2010/02/25 at 10:15 AM

    While I’ve never been a huge Ching fan, I have always understood the need for a target striker on the roster, and he certainly showed much better than Casey last night. No, Ching has never had a game like Casey did in Honduras, but he has also been much more consistent. Plus, he has always played well with Donovan, and it seems like our attacking decisions need to be at least partly based on who complements Landon. I also liked Pearce last night, even if he didn’t have much to do defensively. I think he’s at least worked his way back into the conversation at left back. As for Sacha, he definitely played much better last night, but that’s more of a reflection of his previous lack of form than anything. He was ok yesterday, but this was a match he should have controlled.


  19. Posted by kaya on 2010/02/25 at 10:36 AM

    I haven’t had time to read through all the comments, but what I’ve read on Rogers I think isn’t fair. Some of his touches failed him later in the game, and there of course was the shot where he saw glory in front of him instead of 2 open players to his right, but overall, he looked to me a lot more likely to cause an opposing team (as opposed to a pub team) trouble than Ching or Sasha.
    I found it really hard to get any idea of the defenders since El Sal only ventured beyond the 50 yard line like twice.


  20. Posted by Jake on 2010/02/25 at 10:39 AM

    Here a few opinions I sent to my brother right after the game:
    -Rogers can’t hack it yet on the international stage…has the ability, but not there just yet

    -We cannot pass at all (Beckerman and Sacha are the worst). We pass to no one more than we pass to our team. And we pass to their team more than we pass to no one. When we do pass to our own team, either the weight of the pass is horribly wrong, or our pass takes the recipient 180 degrees away from the right direction. Which leads to….

    -We are 1000% more effective when we pressure the ball all over the field. We create turnovers and attack quickly. This strategy means we do not have to supply our own build-up, which is good because we don’t pass well enough to generate our own offense.

    -We do not move well without the ball as a whole. Some get it, most do not. Sacha made one great run, but didn’t finish. Casey thinks he runs a 4-flat 40, and has Ronaldino’s skill set. UPDATE: Sacha made a few more good runs, and finished one in stoppage time, but then celebrated as if he had scored the World Cup winner. Why?

    -We crap our pants when we have a great goal scoring chance…Gavin, Rogers, Sacha et al.

    All that said, I am still pumped to head to SA in June and watch us play in person.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/02/25 at 11:14 AM

      Jake — again disagree on Rogers….he and Davis both displayed creativity last night something the US lacks.

      Jake…good call…I was thinking the same thing on both points:

      -We do not move well without the ball as a whole. Some get it, most do not. Sacha made one great run, but didn’t finish. Casey thinks he runs a 4-flat 40, and has Ronaldino’s skill set. UPDATE: Sacha made a few more good runs, and finished one in stoppage time, but then celebrated as if he had scored the World Cup winner. Why?

      On your Sacha celebration…here are my thoughts…and I could not agree more.

      You know when third stringers are on special teams in the NFL and they run down and do what they are supposed to…which is make a tackle…and then they celebrate like a lunatic because they want the coach to notice….

      …that’s what I felt Kljestan do last night…if you are celebrating that type of goal in that way AND not circling with your teammates…well…does that speak volumes.


  21. Posted by Swa on 2010/02/25 at 10:40 AM

    Ching really complements Lando and Jozy very well, and if there is actually service unlike the two big Mexico matches this past summer when Ching’s rep took a big hit, I believe his distribution skills will go a long way towards getting chances for those two as well as Deuce, who will all most certainly finish better than Sacha. Still would much prefer even an 80% fit Charlie, but someone is going to need to come in for him if he is in fact back as there is no way he’ll be good to go 90 by any means.


  22. well, the thing i was pleased most about was the fact that in the second half the US just attacked in waves, just over and over again. there was a fifteen min period where it looked like they were playing against 5th graders, and maybe, just maybe it was the fact that the wings were making dangerous runs and serving in good balls…. I think Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers did the most for their cause, although Gaven has to be the longest shot around. Findley looked pretty good to me, something I don’t think we are considering is the fact that he is paired with an offensive lineman. Give him Jozy up top, and suddenly the runs he is making work five times better cuz his strike partner actually gets to the ball/the end of a cross/can beat a man off the dribble/doesn’t look like someone I could outrun. He showed again that he can stretch defenses, and putting that in front of Landon, well, we saw the glory of the 1-2 in the Brazil game. I desperately want to see RF start with Altidore up top vs the Capital of Speedskating/Nederland. Also, I’m crafting a lovely song about Jozy but need some help. “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s Altiiiiidooorreeeeeee” feel free to build upon, we need better us songs. although much love to AO and all the American fans who I could hear while listening yesterday.


  23. Posted by Arcticrules on 2010/02/25 at 1:20 PM

    Perhaps I strted singling him out, but Rogers was giving the ball away about 50 percent of the time he had possession. I think he had a bad game other than his nice deadballs. He fell a peg for me and I think he is unlikely to make the plane to SA


  24. Posted by Michael on 2010/02/25 at 1:23 PM

    I had extremely low expectations for this game, and I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t follow MLS too closely, but some of these guys were impressive, like Brad Davis. You guys didn’t give him such high marks, but I thought he showed some real quality out there, albeit against minimal opposition.

    I would second the comments about Rogers being unimpressive last night, and since we have no shortage of small and fast midfielders, I’d be happy to leave him aside until 2014. And Klejstan, yikes. Why don’t we have any offensively-minded central midfielders that I can feel good about? Michael Bradley — meh. Is there no one else?

    Alas, seems like Findley is not the CD9 replacement. They say you can’t coach speed, which he has, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also coach skills, which he doesn’t. Altidore/Dempsey for sure. Or Ching, who adds something with his head that could be very useful on set pieces.

    Looking forward to the Netherlands game! Will they play with wooden shoes? Stay tuned……


  25. Posted by kaya on 2010/02/25 at 1:57 PM

    Sporting Lisbon/Everton game is baaad. Landon isn’t seeing the ball at all, but of course the commentators know of the infamous Landon 4 Everton page. I don’t see what the big deal is over 4000 fans. Isn’t that approximately the number of americans who actually know who he is?


  26. Not to pre-empt you guys, but the Netherlands roster has been released and it’s lean, mean, and European… Well, it’s definitely lean and European-based. 3 US-based defenders and 1 attacker from the El Sal game included.

    Goodson, Pearce, Bornstein head to Amsterdam to meet up with Boca, DeMerit, Spector. Frankie Simek gets a look but no Castillo. Torres, Bedoya, Beasley & Edu audition to play in midfield with trio of regulars Donovan, Bradley and Holden. Up top it’s Altidore + EJ or Findley. GKs are the usual suspects: Guzan, Hahneman, Howard.

    I’m not holding my breath that Klejstan won’t be a late call in but hopefully Bob Bradley noticed that it took a stoppage time winner to defeat El Salvador.


  27. Posted by Kevin U. on 2010/02/25 at 4:21 PM

    When I see Casey I just think about how big of a threat he can be in the box on headers or just how punishing he could be to the defense with the build he has….but its just not meant to be there was one point in the game where he started attacking our own goal dribbling the length of the field to drop it off to bornstein If I had to choose a better hold up forward I would have to go with Ching at this point, Casey looks uninspired like he thinks he has the spot locked up


    • Apparently he didn’t read the Big Aloha’s interview with TSG about the 2006 squad becoming complacent…


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