In the hopes of spurring extremely fresh and real time commentary, TSG hustled our game review piece out yesterday.
Also hustling it out because in the tiny Bundes Tinysanfranciscoliga last evening–as I promised my teammates I would do report today–the San Francisco Black Sox emerged victorious with a 2-1 championship win. The Golden Shinguard to Brown alum Derek Metzger for a bending free kick strike, while Stanford alum keeper Jon Kart was positively Tim Howardish in goal.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
With a moment of reflection here, we’re going to take a look at a few more bullets and pointers that emerged yesterday:
• On Bob Bradley straying from the tried and true 4-4-2….
Bob Bradley’s introduction of Alejandro Bedoya for Robbie Findley at the 65 minute mark was less about seeing what Landon Donovan could do in the CAM role and more about looking at a formation that supports Jozy Altidore and recognizes the lack of a World Cup-level striker on the United States.
That should and likely will be both Dempsey and perhaps some of Benny’s role if the United States decides to go that route in deployment.
• An applaud-able performance…
Coach USA was missing as many as four starters from our Confederation’s Cup games, though Ricardo Clark–pardon–comes at a discount. In the face of two days of training and questionable in game tactics, the States acquitted themselves “okay” in my book.
• Qualifier: Bornstein, Bornstein, Bornstein
TSG has, and frankly still is, somewhat a fan….but we’re probably a fan of Bornstein as many people were say a fan of Darko Milicic coming into the NBA. The reason for Bornstein’s continued selection? He’s got the all those tantalizing tools.
But much like Darko, you need to produce and that’s where Bornstein is not at the highest of levels.
We’ll go with TSG commenter GeorgeCross on where this leaves the USMNT’s leftback plight:
»So, the question remains, who starts at left back for USA? Bocanegra seems the sensible, and perhaps, the only realistic candidate. From an England point of view this is good news – he is not the quickest of players: I cannot see him bombing up your left wing to support the offense, or overlap the midfield, which is good because Brown is a liability at right back (see previous comment about a centre back playing as full back).
• Qualifier: Michael Bradley is poor defensively.
TSG commentor “DanPa” voiced some of our argument the best in this statement:
»Defensively, I think he generally reacts very well to loose balls and when the other teams attacker is dribbling at him, this game included. But turns into a ball-watcher when the attack is coming from quick passes (see his non-reaction on the Huntleear goal and when he + Torres got caught watching Sneijder run around them to receive the ball on the penalty).
That’s our qualifier. Bradley is a decent ball winner when the marble strays. However his team defense and one-on-one prowess is below average.
There are many other observations both from yesterday’s game, from the October Costa Rica game and others.
• Lost & Found: Left out those pesky ratings on Bob Bradley and the announcers.
We’ll start with the latter.
As my Black Sox teammate Nathaniel wrote to me on the commentators:
Nathaniel: John Harkes knows soccer. But when Bradley makes a tactical switch, taking off a forward, bringing on Bedoya, moving him to the right flank, switching Beas to the left, and pushing Donovan up top, it is Harkes’ job to tell us that. It was a glaring omission and not the first time he’s missed this sort of thing. Will somebody at ESPN please call John Motson.
Matthew, TSG: I tried not to pay too much attention to the announcers yesterday. Harkes did a decent job showcasing Elia and Bedoya (two players I like) so I was fine with that….however both guys were very late on the Stu Holden injury, treating the moment too lightly in my opinion.
Bob Bradley: 5
I applaud Bob Bradley’s preparation for this game, his instilling of defensive focus and keeping-shape discipline, and his willingness to try a new set-up in the 2nd.
Steroetypical of Bradley, he’s late to make in game adjustments and his team lacks a cohesive offensive plan. The comment from yesterday where Bradley referred to his team as “they” still irks me. (see yesterday’s review piece)
Bob, did you instruct the team to attack in the first half or not? Was it a case of mutiny to the game plan or lack of execution?
Nothing in the post-match quote sheet illuminated this for me.
• Hartford scheduled: The Czech Republic, May 25th
• Be well and speedy in return Stu Holden
We discussed Stu in today’s first piece. As well, the news broke that Holden’s contract was extended. So a hearty get well and congratulations are both ironically in order.
It’s worth noting that Bolton manager is using Coyle in the role that Stu inhabited in Houston, the CAMish role. Obviously for the nationals, Stu plays wing. We made a note in this piece a few weeks ago that we wanted David Beckham to provide just a little tutoring for Stu. It sure looks like Holden’s versatility and abilities are starting to resemble the former Manchester United stalwart.
• Weekend: Don’t forget Everton v. Hull coming this Sunday