The Yanks Hold Tight And Draw The Lion

Howard, stretching his abilities to the maximum on the day....

(Note, TSG will be doing multiple reviews of this game)

All week long The Shin Guardian labeled today’s USA vs. England match as “The Rumble In Rustenburg.”

A rumble it wasn’t, this was an all-out up-and-down sprint.

Bob Bradley deployed his speed team early and the Yanks consistently played the ball up the pitch looking to generate a score and relieve pressure on a defensive ship that took hits in the bow and the stern but managed to remain afloat at the final whistle.

The Yanks certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves. Not more than five minutes into the game, an errant pass found its way to England’s Emile Heskey–who had his way for most of the days in post-up plays with Yanks defenders.

Heskey quickly chipped a pass forward to an incising Steven Gerrard who left a flat-footed, ball-watching Ricardo Clark in his wake.

Gerrard tallied, but also had a part in the give-up...

Tim Howard tried to cut the angle, but Gerrard himself chipped a nifty low liner into the right of the goal. A well-taken goal on the States’ first mistake of the day.

Deflation, for the Yanks and their fans with just minutes expired.

Beyond that moment though, the Yanks looked downright ornery in the first frame displaying some of the best offensive movement seen from the team in a first half in quite some time.

Not only were the Yanks able to consistently get open on the right side of the flank, but on multiple occasions, the midfielders and defenders found themselves in the unfamiliar position of linking passes and attempting to dissect a reserved England defense. The United States was imposing their will on the Three Lions.

The continued offensive pressure was rewarded in the 40th minute, not with a moment of brilliance, but with a moment of folly.

As Clint Dempsey danced above the center of the 18-yard box he worked to square a shot on goal. Dempsey lashed what seemed like a harmless ball that skipped dutifully to England goalkeeper Robert Green, playing in his first World Cup game. Green attempted to handle the ball on one knee and….well…he just didn’t as the ball seemed to defy physics and dribble into the goal.

The Yanks were buoyed.

Here’s TSG goalkeeper friend Jon Kart with insight on the critical gaffe.

Green, an image he would rather forget...

“Green’s not moving aggressively to his right on the play, he has no reason to spill that shot. The thing is–and I’m not sure how Green plays his net at West Ham–that’s the type of shot that you want to just fall and curl up on in a big game.

This is the World Cup!

If you make an emphatic save gesture of falling and curling on the ball as oppose to going to one knee–it gives your defenders confidence that you’re in the game and focused. That’s the play I thought he should have made.

The way that Green handled it was like he was expecting England would break back on the play–and they were in now way positioned for counter.”

Wow–nice analysis Kart–printing it verbatim here.

To the second 45…

The Yanks opened the 2nd frame as the game swung back to a more even tempo between the teams.

The opportunities were fewer for the Yanks in the 2nd, despite a gorgeous locomotive move by Jozy Altidore passed Jamie Carragher that found Green’s mitts, the post, but not the net.

England had the better of the Yanks in the 2nd frame though as the States backline and midfielders both tired and got stretched. Opportunities for Rooney–who was straight-on muzzled most of the day–and Emile Heskey found a lot of Tim Howard, but no pay dirt.

As the final minutes ticked away both teams seemed content to right out a draw.

We’ll mix up our customary preview this time and go with the following:

Key Points

Awards

Player Ratings

Key Points:

• Bob Bradley’s team came out prepared, executed well and outplayed the favored Three Lions in the 1st half. The tactics for Coach Sweatpants were spot-on.

As soon as the starting line-up was announced, you knew that Bob Bradley was going kitchen sink on the Capellos. The Findley-Donovan-Cherundolo trifecta was affixed to the right side of the pitch. With both Findley and Jozy Altidore clearing space, the Yanks consistently challenged the Lions over-the-top and on the through ball.

That England didn’t play Michael Carrick on a holding midfield role only played into Bob Bradley’s game plan and created more space.

More chances should have been converted, but the Yanks had opportunities early on and clearly were the better team in most facets of the game, not named “on-the-ball-defense”- in the opening 45 minutes.

Elsewhere, Bradley left Bocanegra to stymie Aarron Lennon (see below) and compressed Dempsey into the midfield to take advantage of gaps as the game wore on.

Bob Bradley may push his team to play “ugly football” but his game call today was beautiful.

Milner to Cherundolo: "When did you step in the phone booth and where's your cape?"

• Steve Cherundolo goes big time.

TSG selected Steve Cherundolo, who touched the ball more than any other player on the field on the day, as a pivotal figure in this match-up. Just how impactful and effective was the diminutive right fullback.

Fabio Capello substituted an overmatched James Milner on England’s left flank early in the first half and Ashley Cole was silent on the day and not a threat for England on the attack.

• The Yanks bent and nearly broke–but didn’t–in their left corner.

I did not expect Carlos Bocanegra being on an island with Aaron Lennon for most of the match, but that’s exactly what happened. Bradley, in true battlefield strategy, elected to play Lennon straight-up with Bocanegra for most of the night and keep the States’ interior protected. Bocanegra would be left, on most plays, to fend for himself against the speedy man from Tottenham Hotspur.

Make no mistake Bocanegra was overmatched and beaten most of the day on that left corner, but rarely egregiously so. And that was the gameplan.

The Yanks decided to clean up on Lennon-created opportunities after the ball left his foot and it worked…. but boy were there some tense moments.

England in Roo-ins?

• Wayne Rooney was shackled for most of the day.

Yes, Ricardo Clark will be castigated in the ratings section. That’s unavoidable. But consider this. Wayne Rooney didn’t touch the ball until after seventeen minutes had gone in the game; he didn’t get the ball in the 18-yard box until the 70th minute.

The Yanks always tracked the England striker wherever he went and it was only when they tired that Rooney started getting chances.

• It wasn’t just the left corner that nearly broke–the central defense was shaky but showed resolve.

You can not tell this writer that Oguchi Onyewu is playing at full fitness or “is back to his old self.” Onyewu looked slow, was bewildered on the England score, and was often overmatched in the air….until the end.

Jay DeMerit who won the war, but lost many battles against Emile Heskey and Oguchi Onyewu seemed to improve in positioning and defense as the game went on.

Hell of a gambit there by Bob Bradley to play Onyewu and with the helpful of yeoman work by Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark (and England flat midfield), it worked.

Awards

Snapshot: Best play of the game

Best Play Of The Game: (Tim Howard)

Twenty-eight minute, low-lined cross into the Yanks’ kitchen. Tim Howard comes out decisively, landing awkwardly and taking a pounding from Emile Heskey to parry away the opportunity. Mettle.

Most Unheralded Play Of The Game: (Robbie Findley)

Somewhere around the 35th minute the Yanks were absorbing pressure on their right flank in the back. As service came in again, Robbie Findley tracking back all the way to his own endline headed the ball away from serious trouble.

Golden Shinguard: (Tim Howard)

Is there anyone else in contention for this one? Maybe Steve Cherundolo, Landon Donovan for the Yanks, and that’s all.

Anyone think that Howard leaves his line too early now? (Sorry couldn’t resist that last question).

The pitches of South Africa seem to be home turf for Tim Howard who wasn’t only the last resort for the Yanks in net today. He was the difference maker coming out before the final ball. Well played today by the New Jersey man.

Player Ratings

Tim Howard – 8

Tim Howard was prescient on the day despite playing in obvious pain from the 25th minute on. Howard’s positioning was near impeccable and he “made himself big” all day long.

I’ve been a demoter of Howard’s on-field hollering, but it was needed today to keep the defense tight. One of Howard’s best games in Yankee blue.

Steve Cherundolo – 7.5

The best field player for the Yanks on the day. Cherundolo was a one man wrecking on the right side, clean up most runs coming his ways and pushing forward to create opportunities.

James Milner couldn’t handle him and was subbed. Shaun Wright Phillips came in and save one shot straight to Tim Howard’s paws was non-existent on what could be considered “Cherundolo’s side of the pitch” today.

It wasn't always pretty...

Oguchi Onyewu – 5.5

Failed to get in the passing lane on the first England goal and shaky on many occasions. However, Gooch came on like a power pitcher in baseball getting stronger as the game wore on. No one can tell me he’s 100%. No one….so to perform for his team in the most critical game of 2010 as he did is a testament not only to Onyewu’s ability, but to his character.

Jay DeMerit – 6

Typical Jay DeMerit game. Challenged in hold-up play and on aerials, downright vacuuming in one-on-one with Wayne Rooney. DeMerit lost the Heskey battle, but won the Wayne Rooney war…and that latter was more important.

Carlos Bocanegra – You Tell Us?
This is a really tough rating to author. Bocanegra was abused by Aaron Lennon the entire day. He was not a factor on offense. But Boca adhered to the team game plan and was never egregiously out of position. What rating do you give him?

Landon Donovan – 7.5

A quiet defensive cog with excellent set pieces on the day…but that’s not all. Was Landon Donovan–17 more goals in international competition than Wayne Rooney–the scariest attacker on the field? Yes. He was.

Can you have a quieter more impressive game than Donovan had today?

Michael Bradley – 7

Bradley was excellent in the 1st half today and better on his linking passes. As the minutes ticked on Bradley fatigued and you could sense the defensive cohesion of the midfield falter in parallel. Got a way with a few missed tackles, but a very strong performance on the day for Bradley who kept pressing.

Ricardo Clark – 4.5

That Clark was out of position on the England goal is not out of character for him or not something Yanks’ fans haven’t seen before.

What’s perhaps more incredulous is that this writer caught Clark ball-watching on a few more occasions during the day. Finally, on contested headers Clark usually lost the battle. Maybe this midfield in it’s entirety functions well together as a group, but individually Clark didn’t do it any favors on the day.

The cries for Maurice Edu will and should get louder now. Clark’s speed was a factor on the day however.

Redeemed...

Clint Dempsey – 7

I liked a lot of Dempsey’s game on the day. He, more than Donovan, appeared to be pushing the tempo and opportunities for the Yanks. Dempsey is at home sizing up the attack from the midfield and he did this well today issuing a number of shots and trying to force the issue.

Dempsey also tracked back effectively today and did not get caught out. Well played for the man from Nachodelicious.

Oh and did anyone find it ironic that Clint’s pirouetting on his goal came at the expense of England captain Steven Gerrard who he could possibly be paired with in club ball next year.

Jozy Altidore – 5.5

I didn’t like Altidore’s game on the day. I felt too often he just didn’t want it. Sure there was the stunning run that showcased his potential around the creeky Jamie Carragher, but Altidore was huff-and-puffing early and I wanted more out of the Yanks’ most experienced striker.

Robbie Findley – 6.5

Too high? Findley’s presence on the field in my opinion went beyond some of the chances he should have done better on. Findley was often played to in tight quarters and made the right call of either pushing the ball back or turning and running.

Findley went all out for the 80 minutes he was in there and played back on defense.

When the ball was launched up so frequently to relieve pressure or on a break, I was hoping it was going to Findley’s side not Altidore’s.

Edson Buddle, Stu Holden, Herc… – Inc.

Buddle and Holden entered when Bradley took his foot off the pedal and went for the draw. Herculez Gomez name was about to be called–perhaps just to slow the game further, but he didn’t get in there.

Lingering Questions / Concerns:

• 77th minute for your first sub Bob?

I’m racking my brain and I can’t figure out why. Good thing it worked.

• Um, Bornstein or Beasley please.

I am going to get raked over the coals for this one. This author wanted a Bornstein or Beasley -for-Altidore or Findley sub and the Yanks to regress to a 5-4-1 at the 80th minute.

Aaron Lennon kept jackrabbiting around Bocanegra I’m not sure why the Yanks didn’t man-mark him with a better match-up late in the game.

• Cards for Findley, DeMerit & Cherundolo

Three of the best players on the day for the Yanks leave the game with a stain and concern if they pick up another.

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66 responses to this post.

  1. I’d give Blackmouth a 6.5. I think he performed better than was expected from him. EVERYONE knew he’d get torched by Lennon…but also thought that his ashes would christen a USA defeat. He bent…like a palm tree in a hurricane, but didn’t break. I honestly feel that HIS matchup was the decisive one on the day. (Although if ENG wins, I think it’s Gerrard/Clark, and an epic fail on Bob’s part by letting him sniff the field.)

    Reply

  2. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/12 at 10:15 PM

    “Oh and did anyone find it ironic that Clint’s pirouetting on his goal came at the expense of England captain Steven Gerrard who he could possibly be paired with in club ball next year.”

    Clint’s going to Real Madrid?
    ;)

    Reply

  3. Some quick impressions.

    The US came out nervous and unsettled. Passes were under-hit and misdirected, opponents weren’t being covered, and frankly, we looked scared. The greatest blessing about England’s goal, and it was beautifully taken by Gerard, was that it came so early. Almost immediately the US settled down as if to say “Right, now we need to get to work.” They calmed down and clawed their way back into the game.

    The game wasn’t as one-sided for England as I thought it might be. There were some puzzling lineup choices for England, but it just shows we don’t know what’s going on in any team’s camp. The most puzzling choice for me was Milner. Did I hear that he was sick for three days this week? Why would you put a sick, weakened man a position where he has to stay with some of the hardest-working midfielders in the sport? That move betrayed a little arrogance to me, and that’s all on Capello. He’s going to get roasted in the English press, and rightly so.

    It was a disastrous day for Don Fabio. He was exposed, I believe, for planning past the US. King was not ready. Milner was not ready. Green was just not good enough. You can’t give up a Peewee league goal in the World Cup if you want to be treated like a contender for the Cup.

    I never understood why Clark was being considered for the start, and I’ve seen enough of him to last this tournament. His lack of awareness cost us the first goal and nearly cost us the game. He let Gerard roam free at the 18 while he stood there ball-watching. He needs to sit. Put Edu in there. He’s not as fast, but he’s not as irresponsible either. Actually, given the next two opponents, put Torres in there. We could use another calm distributor in our midfield.

    Howard was huge. He was exactly what we want a team leader to be. Fiery, brave, and burning with a will to win. There wasn’t a lot he could do on the goal, but he made great save after great save to keep England frustrated. He bailed out our defense any number of times and showed why he’s our #1 and one of the best in the world.

    Despite Howard’s great game, I’d give the Man of the Match award to Steve Cherundolo. His work rate is unbelievable, and he broke up many wing forays early and worked inside to snuff out several promising England attacks. He exposed SWP as a one-trick pony, and made enough runs forward and sent in enough promising crosses to give England serious worries.

    I thought Findley did exceedingly well. I thought he’d serve mostly as a rabbit to stretch the somewhat ponderous English back line, and he did that effectively, but also did a whole lot more. He was everywhere – sticking a foot in, bringing a long ball down, dropping off a pass. A very good game, esp. considering it was his first big game.

    Donovan wasn’t flashy, but he was quietly very important in his reading of the game. He managed to pop up wherever he was needed and he made some beautiful passes. A casual fan might think he didn’t do much, but I think he was huge.

    Dempsey – man, I like how he plays. He’s fearless and he’s hard-working. Oh, and he has just a little bit of skill too. I always applaud when a US player takes a shot. At the very least it lets the opposing keeper know that the ball might come his way at any time, even if the shot is taken from 25 yards out.

    I didn’t think Bradley had his strongest game attacking, but he did everything he had to on defense and that was, perhaps, more important in this match. He reads the game very well, and understands the movement of his teammates.

    Onyewu made a few mistakes, but the Gerard goal was not one of them. It is not Gooch’s responsibility to shift over to cover Gerard when his own man is also making a run into the box. That goal was all on Clark. On Howard’s save of Heskey’s breakaway, the opportunity arose because Gooch went too far forward. He has to pick his moments better, Still, he moved around better than I’d seen recently, and he got up in the air very well. Even when he was beaten to headers he was up there making a nuisance of himself.

    I thought Demerit was right behind Cherundolo for Man of the Match. His marking was stellar all day. He worked very hard to defend, and made the right outlet passes most of the time. Between him and Gooch, I think we’re fine at CB.

    Bocanegra clearly doesn’t have the speed to keep up with someone like a Lennon. However, very few players in the world do. What Bocanegra does bring is a scary calmness, excellent understanding of the game, and huge desire, and so long as his limitations are understood, his teammates should be able to cover for him as they did today. I would have no problems putting him out there the rest of the tournament, esp. if it means that Bornstein stays on the bench.

    Jozy still has a lot to learn about managing his game. He has breathtaking ability – that run to goal exposed Carragher badly, and it showed power, speed, and desire. He needs to show more of that more often. He often looks casual and sometimes looks lazy. That’s probably unfair, but there it is.

    Green has to be deeply wounded. That was a shocking mistake. Tell me why he got the nod over James again? I feel bad for him – he’s in for a shelling when he gets home, esp. if England doesn’t do well the rest of the tournament – but not too bad, to tell the truth. I’d be very surprised if James doesn’t start the rest of the tournament.

    BTW, I disagree totally with your wish for a 5-4-1 towards the end of the game. That invites pressure on our goal and that’s exactly where we don’t want it. We needed to keep making wide runs forward to keep England preoccupied. I’m fine with bringing fresh legs on, but not with withdrawing into a shell. I would have liked to see Buddle come on about 10 minutes earlier than he did.

    In summary: My heart sank when we gave up that early goal. I felt better after about ten minutes as we fought our way back into the game. I love the resilience we showed today, though. That might have been the most heartening memory for me. To give up an easy goal in the fourth minute had to be very deflating, and it says a lot to me about the mental toughness of the squad that they were able to fight through it. We even had our chances to steal a victory.

    Now we can rest up for a week, and figure out how to beat a team that will bunker against us. That’s the kind of opponent we usually don’t handle well, so I’m curious to see how Bob plans for that.

    Reply

    • Posted by Brian on 2010/06/13 at 9:20 AM

      I agree with most everything you just said. I also disagree with the author’s call for a 5-4-1 for the exact reason you stated. All it does is invite them into your box and against an attacking force like England (and especially with Crouch up there) we couldn’t afford to do that. We had just as much chance to win that game as England did so there is no reason we shouldn’t have gone for that next goal

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      • Posted by LMontanez on 2010/06/13 at 10:54 AM

        I used to think jozy was lazy, but i think he just looks like it because he’s always tired. after 15 mins., he was already breathing with his mouth open, and he stopped sprinting until that one chance he had, which showed why he’s on the field. i liked bringing in buddle, because our forwards were too tired to defend high, but i think jozy looked a lot more tired than findley did. and taking dempsey out was good, too, but a bit late. deuce may a nice defensive play in the box in the 2nd half, but that was on a set piece; he lost it a lot earlier. You could see bradley asking the players if they wanted a change, but a player will always wait longer than he should to say he’s gassed; it’s bradley’s responsibility to notice it. BUT, watching BB asking players if they wanted a change, with a very sincere look on his face kinda warmed my heart, and if i was dempsey or jozy who was too tired to run, it might have coaxed a little more out of me.

        about clark, i found myself constantly yelling at the TV that he’s a few yards too high up the pitch — either even with or just above the ball — so that actually neutralizes his speed; basically, he needs his speed to make up for the extra 3-4 yards he’s behind the play. and just like in the australia game, he was at times very indecisive with the ball, which means it’s now a pattern. against a slower team like slovenia, edu would allow Mbradley to use his speed to add to the attack, but we’ll see what bradley decides.

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  4. Posted by Shane_K83 on 2010/06/12 at 10:25 PM

    6 for Boca… Name a LB that don’t get smoked by Lennon?

    Boca was never Beat, just made to look silly at times..

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  5. Posted by Americanadian on 2010/06/12 at 10:27 PM

    Damn right I’m raking you over the coals for wanting Jonathan Bornstein on the field at any point. His slip-ups against the Dutch were just as bad as Clark’s, although they won’t be remembered because it was just a friendly. Beasley would have been fine once Bradley decided he wanted the draw, although I don’t think he should have let off the pressure. After Green put himself on the front page of every English tabloid the traditional English existential angst took over and there’s no knowing what another 15-odd minutes of pressure might have gotten the Americans.

    That said, a damn fine performance by the U.S., and if anyone had offered them a 1-all draw before the match they would have jumped on it with both feet. Proof that we can run with anyone in the world on a good day, and a good confidence builder for the rest of the Cup.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/12 at 10:33 PM

      I think I just wanted help for Boca…and a sub…for crissakes.

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      • Posted by Americanadian on 2010/06/12 at 10:45 PM

        I’m not disagreeing with you on the need to get help for Boca – just saying that I’ve lost all faith in Bornstein for this Cup after watching that friendly against the Dutch. And I certainly don’t want to imply that you don’t know what your saying, because most of what you posted is spot-on. I just hope to not see Bornstein on the field this Cup.

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      • Posted by pckilgore on 2010/06/13 at 7:03 AM

        I’d accept Beasley, but only as a midfield sub with instructions to help out Boca, not to replace him.

        Christ, the idea of Bornstein against Lennon would have had me shitting my pants and England wetting theirs.

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        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/13 at 7:05 AM

          I think I threw out bornstein to get a rise.

          I would have liked speedy help at the back or I even would have taken torres as a holder.

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  6. Boca was quietly solid, tucking in to keep things tight-6. The goal was technically Onyewu’s fault, but stepping out to deal w Roo was the game plan.. I would still rate him higher. Clark was quietly immense, getting close to Lampard to keep him quiet as well as Roo. Clark deserves a 7, I’d say. They won the midfield battle which says s lot.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/12 at 10:39 PM

      That goal was both Onyewu’s and Clark’s fault.

      England have possession and Clark should be goal side of his man. It’s that simple.

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      • Posted by pckilgore on 2010/06/13 at 7:06 AM

        If I was in the US goal, I’d have screamed just as hard at clark for not being goalside with his hip on his man. True, it take a village to concede, but the primary responsibility on that goal falls on Rico for being out of position.

        Rico and Bradley were almost surely instructed to defend whoever (or both) lampard or gerrard if they went forward, and there is no reason to be caught upfield of your man, especially that early in the game.

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    • Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/12 at 10:54 PM

      Watch the goal again starting with Johnson’s throw in. Right in front of Johnson, watch Clark standing a yard off Gerrard and pointing at him saying that Gerrard is his man.

      The throw is a bit of a drop so it comes in in front of Clark. Clark steps out past Gerrard, his man, not goalside but instead a yard or so behind him. His little step up was completely useless, he basically stepped into no-man’s land, not close enough to support the man on the ball and the only way he will deny Gerrard of the ball is if Gerrard doesn’t move and the ball is played right to his feet. But shockingly, Gerrard moves.

      The midfielder plays the ball up to Rooney and it ticks off to Heskey, Clark is on his heels, ball-watching as the ball gets to Heskey has not moved since he stepped up, meanwhile, the play is at least even with him on the field probably actually past him. So he just watched as the ball passes him on the field. In the meantime his man, (this is not 20 seconds after he pointed to Gerrard and said, I’m on him) is running in behind him to the space that Onyewu left open. It is only as Gerrard is running in behind him that he realizes, oh that’s my man, and then it’s too late.

      Yes, Onyewu’s step was bad, mostly because it was indecisive. But Torres ball-watched as the entire play developed all while his man ran right past him and right on net.

      Honestly, the same exact thing would have happened to me if I was in Clark’s spot. But honestly, it’s because I’m a pretty terrible man-marker.

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      • Torres?

        If only we could be so lucky.

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      • Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/12 at 11:01 PM

        All of which is to say, that alone is enough to drop him below a 7, but if you keep a close eye on him throughout the game you will see numerous times where he is watching the ball while men around him run right past into space. There had to have been at least 3 where the play went right past him as he watched.

        He was bad. Plus, I don’t know how you can say we won the battle of the midfield. Our midfield consistently gave away possession and theirs had all the space they wanted until they got about 30 yards out.

        I don’t think our midfield was terrible as a whole, and honestly I don’t think England’s did a great job exploiting what we gave them, but we certainly didn’t win the battle of the midfield. And really Clark was the weakspot.

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  7. Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/12 at 10:37 PM

    I think we had a good defensive gameplan. But other than the bit of time Donovan took over the game, I think Jozy’s run was the only time we ever threatened the goal.

    Boca I guess did just enough, but man it was awful watching him today. Credit for not just getting outright beaten to goal when he was so overmatched, but how many free crosses did Lennon have just because Boca knew he couldn’t step any closer to him. It was terrifying.

    Clark and Bradley had more handoffs in the middle than they had passes. Almost every pass they actually completed was maybe 7 yards or less, which is fine, except that they weren’t creative, they were “I have no ideas here you take it” kind of balls that leave a teammate in roughly the same situation.

    Maybe it was a result of the lack of possession, but our offense from everyone but Landon, Dempsey and Dolo consisted of bomb the ball and hope Findley can run onto it.

    Maybe Findley didn’t get a fair shake because of the general lack of service, but I didn’t see much from him at all.

    Maybe I just need to rewatch it, because you all are definitely better analysts than I am, but I just didn’t see it from him. Is there something I’m not getting.

    I mean, I guess maybe he kept their defense from pushing forward on our midfield, but is that worth a 6.5? I only saw him dribble past one man all game, he had a breakaway from it for half a second until he got hawked down and knocked off the ball pretty easily. And I still can’t help but wonder what will happen if he ever does get a shot, but my bet is not “cool collect finish” that’s for sure.

    Reply

    • Posted by Americanadian on 2010/06/12 at 10:49 PM

      I think Findley did fine, and I definitely think he’s going to find the back of the net before this tournament is over. Speed kills, and hopefully both he and the midfielders will go over the film and maybe figure out a better way to set up for the next two matches. Seeing how God has some kind of beef with Davies, Findley is definitely the next best option out of 300 million Americans.

      Reply

      • Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/12 at 11:18 PM

        Do you really think he’s clearly better than Buddle. I really don’t know having seen so little of them, especially on this level.

        I think speed helps, but finishing kills, and from the very very little of them that I’ve seen, Buddle finishes, Findley hasn’t.

        Plus I liked the little I saw from Buddle when he came in. I mean, he wasn’t amazing in the two or three touches, but I just specifically remember one ball that came up to him, where he was pushed up against their back line. He had a man on his back and very strongly received the ball and laid it off. It was a direct contrast to me to Findley’s one run that I though he might get to goal when I think it was Carragher caught him from behind and nudged him right off the ball.

        I will say, Findley did a pretty good job playing a relatively complete game, I just didn’t ever see him as dangerous.

        My basic theory coming into these games is, these new forwards all have something good to get to this point, but we have no idea what they can bring against this level of competition and pressure. So basically, at this point to me they are trial and error, and I didn’t see anything in Findley that made me think, oh that’s better than Buddle.

        So my main question is, other than “he’s fast” which certainly is helpful, but also isn’t everything, what makes you so sure of him? And really this isn’t some kind of challenge, I’m just interested to hear what you see in him relative to his competition.

        Reply

        • Posted by Americanadian on 2010/06/13 at 12:15 AM

          Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, but what was a smoke run turned into two beers at the local watering hole. Anyway, my case for Findley over Buddle:

          Buddle has been finishing quite well, and he is on a hot streak, but it’s all been in MLS and not against World Cup-class competition. Findley hasn’t yet picked up a killer instinct, true, but I think that he’ll improve after scoring against Algeria or Slovenia. Granted that there’s no guarantee he’ll do that, but I think it’s more likely than not he will.

          Findley’s finishing can improve, whilst Buddle’s speed can’t. I can understand the case for Buddle, and if he comes through during the next two matches and Findley doesn’t I’ll be happy to admit I was wrong. But Findley’s ceiling is definitely higher, thanks to his speed, and whatever finishing problems he might have will decrease with a goal on the world’s biggest stage.

          Reply

        • Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/13 at 1:32 PM

          Buddle is fast enough though, it isn’t game changing, but it’s certainly not a weakness, at least didn’t seem to be in the games I’ve seen.

          The same you’ve said about Buddle not being proven on the big stage still applies to Findley as well as yesterday is his only game at this level and while adequate given the situation, I don’t think you could say he’s a proven option, especially when it comes to goal scoring.

          Again I wouldn’t say his failure to score yesterday proved anything other than that he had no service and can’t do it all by himself, but obviously we still haven’t seen if he can contribute to the scoreline at this level.

          I think he certainly is a good piece especially considering where we were after Charlie got hurt, but I don’t think he’s definitely over Buddle. I’d say it’s more a game-to-game tactical choice.

          I think Buddle might be a better choice for Slovenia since as a team their defensive emphasis will be on strength so I think we’d benefit from having a stronger option than Findley. Plus will probably play a lot of men behind the ball so there won’t be much space to exploit. Plus, if Slovenia plays their best game, we won’t have a lot of chances to work on our finishing. I’d say you go with the more sure option.

          Reply

  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/12 at 10:40 PM

    I think we all need to rewatch — don’t worry — multiple reviews.

    TSG–and the community–just taking our best shot this evening.

    Reply

  9. Agreed on those that thought Boca was solid, I’d give him a 6. I expected to be saying “Lennon smoked him again” a whole lot but due to his good positional play and good coverage on his side there were only one or two occasions where Lennon was roaming free.

    Mad props to DeMerit for his work on Rooney. He had a few silly fouls and was out of position a few times, but to be able to nullify the effect of one of the best strikers in the world says a whole lot. Good job Jay.

    Dolo was HUGE. Effectively shut down his side of the field and pushed up nicely where he was able, just a fantastic match. MoM for me were Howard not so huge in goal.

    I also haven’t seen much mention of the defensive shifts that Dempsey and Donovan put in. They did a great job tracking back and we contained (and even controlled?) the wings MUCH better than I expected us to.

    Reply

    • Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/12 at 11:05 PM

      Loved Dolo, and loved Dempsey and Donovan playing defense. Especially Deuce since I honestly never expected to get much help from him on that end. Clint wants it bad and he’s playing like it.

      Also, sure the goalkeeper made the shot a goal, but the work Clint did just to get his shot off was impressive. He got lucky, but he was also good just to get that shot.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Harry on 2010/06/12 at 11:13 PM

    6.5 for Blackmouth, never much of a chance matching up with Lennon 1v1. That said, thought CBN was able to unsettle Lennon just enough to produce some off balance crosses and allow Clark/Gooch to concentrate on Rooney.

    As to England, once again thought Stevie and Lamps looked all 6′s and 7′s in midfield. Shocking how average England’s ‘golden generation’ can be made to look without wing support from defense.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Soccernst on 2010/06/12 at 11:26 PM

    Who’s glad this game didn’t have to go into overtime? There is no way we win or hang on. The end could not come soon enough (except for poor Herc).

    Two thoughts:
    1. Lack of midfield distribution caused massive pressure on the defense all night long.
    2. There was a counter that sprung down the left side at full tilt (i think donovan? second half?). Anyhoo, I leaped up and I started screaming at my tv “THE COUNTERATTACK HEARD ROUND THE WORLD!!!!!!!” … sadly it fizzled.

    Loving the effort from the team.

    Reply

  12. Posted by Gino on 2010/06/12 at 11:35 PM

    I can’t begin without congratulating Matthew on another excellent analysis. Please don’t shut down this website unless you move on to write somewhere else.

    I gotta say that I proudly wore my #3 today. None of us expected Carlos to keep up with with Lennon but his play exemplified why he was/is the best choice at LB. Apologies to Johnny Bornstein, but no way he gets on the pitch in this match, not even as a late game extra defender. Hopefully Spector sorts out his recent difficulties because there’s a good chance he plays in the group stage at either outside back position. I really hope ‘Dolo manages to not pick up another yellow.

    I never thought I’d say this but methinks Bob outsmarted Fabio today. I would have preferred to see Edu start or at least replace Rico in the 2nd half and I DEFINITELY thought Bob waited too long (again) to introduce subs but he seemed to get everything else right. Bravo Bob!

    I think Jozy’s rating was a little harsh. He didn’t appear to get many balls played to his feet. Maybe that was part of the game plan but I don’t think he can be faulted for not being able to run onto to every ball launched into his vicinity.

    Reply

    • Posted by B-Mac on 2010/06/13 at 12:23 AM

      Totally agree on Spector. Like it or not, he has plenty of experience at LB and we need substitutions at the position, as Boca has neither the speed or the endurance to do an effective job for the full 90. If I’m Bradley, around the 70-75′ I’d sub in Spector for either DeMerit or Bocanegra, as whichever looks worse out of the duo will likely be at a point where Spector can do a better job.

      Reply

  13. Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/12 at 11:38 PM

    Sorry for dominating the board so far. I’m just awake and excited. This game was the perfect for discussion. Just enough good, and a good enough result to keep the pressure from getting too doomsday, but also enough questions to keep it from being all exultation.

    But now I’m off to bed. Interested to hear what others have to say.

    But I’ve talked up my questions a lot. (My biggest being what the heck was up with the lack of subbing.)

    But it was a good result, time to give some props:

    Cherundolo was awesome. I think he could be like the Tony Sanneh of this cup if he keeps it up. Just a veteran presence that seemed to lift the team with every touch.

    Loved the way Donovan took over the game in the middle part of the 1st half. He had some touches and some runs that really put some confidence in our team and took the pressure off the D at the time we really could have fallen apart. He was certainly the veteran leader today.

    Dempsey worked his butt off and I love that he played defense. Donovan may be the most stable force on the field for us, but Dempsey’s drive is awesome. He plays to win the game.

    Bradley was shockingly disciplined and a couple of times played some contain defense of Gerrard and Lampard that really allowed everyone else to recover.

    Onyewu was much better than I expected. I thought he looked physically pretty well. I thought he looked a bit out of form in terms of positioning and decision making, but he worked hard to make up for it.

    Demerit is not perfect, but he just refuses to get beat. It’s impressive. From all indications he isn’t really that amazingly talented, but give him a cap and he just locks on no matter who he’s matched with.

    And also Tim is amazing. I imagine he won’t be able to lift his arms over his head with that bruise when he wakes up in the morning, but he still somehow brought it just the same after he got hit. And BTW, I’m a fan of the Tim yelling. He’s kind of like I wish Americans were in general with the team. He loves them, but he wants the best from them. He expects his defense to get the job done. To me he’s like the conscience of the team. I feel like when a defender thinks to himself, “You’re losing your marker” the voice he hears is Tim, yelling.

    Anyway, let’s get ready for Slovenia!

    Reply

  14. Posted by Gino on 2010/06/12 at 11:59 PM

    I have to add that Tim Howard was HUGE today. I would dread waking up to read that his injury will force him to miss a game(s).

    I was pleasantly surprised by Onyewu today. Yeah, he had a hand in giving up the early goal and it took him a while to gel with Demerit. And while he played shorter than his 6’4 frame, I anticipate he’ll grow more confident in the air, especially now that he’s played a full 90 and his knee didn’t explode. I’m looking for him to revert to his Gooch during WC qualifying form.

    Demerit did what few others have done in the past year, contain Wayne Rooney. Despite his limitations, Jay overcomes better plays through sheer will. In fact, the entire backline deserve plaudits for stifling England’s attack. We might be able to nitpick here and there about a few specific misplays, but overall they were extremely resiliant . I’m certain the English fans and press are railing about their lack of offense today but our defenders were a big reason for their shortcomings.

    Reply

    • Posted by Gino on 2010/06/13 at 12:28 AM

      One last thing before I turn in. Hats off not just to the defenders but to the entire team for their impression of the Jabulani after giving up the early goal. They could have deflated after allowing that quick score but they bounced back big. There was blood in the water after just four minutes but instead of panicking, the US controlled the rest of the half. I started to wonder who the guys in the blue shirts were because instead of bunkering in, they dominated possession and actually had England pinned in their half for large chunks of time. Plus, they neutralized some great players in this game besides Rooney. Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard rarely graced the TV screen. All in all, a very good team performance.

      Reply

    • Posted by Americanadian on 2010/06/13 at 12:32 AM

      I wouldn’t be too worried about Howard. The performance he turned in after that collision is proof enough that he’s fine.

      I agree with you that Onyewu’s performance was a godsend to our side. After watching the Dutch friendly I was concerned about our back line, but watching him, DeMerit, Bocanegra and Cherendolo today I feel much better about our D. Their chemistry will only improve over the course of the group stage, and if they can contain Rooney they can do the same to the Algerians and Slovenes, as well as any top-end goalscorers who might await us in the group stages*.

      The English press would find something to rail about even if they had won 3-0. That said, I feel bad for Green, who will appear on the cover of every paper in the UK tomorrow. No matter what else he does in the course of his career, today’s goal will appear as a caveat in every article that mentions him.

      Reply

      • Posted by Americanadian on 2010/06/13 at 12:34 AM

        *not to imply that we’re getting out of the group stage. You hear that, Karma? We’re not taking anything for granted, thank you, the end.

        Reply

  15. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/13 at 12:28 AM

    Matt, I think you were too harsh on Bocanegra in your rating for (I think it was) Turkey, too. My impression is that he played an intelligent match up with Lennon where he ceded ground outside because he had to, but was pretty efficient at minimizing the effective passing lanes. You can’t really afford to risk making runs up the field when that’s the strategy you’re playing.
    I also think we were playing for the draw far earlier than the 80th minute. The few offensive efforts we put in were hardly commited ones.
    So now Bob’s the Special Sweatpants, huh?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/13 at 5:15 AM

      Kaya, I didn’t rate Boca this game.

      Reply

      • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/13 at 9:18 AM

        Yes, I know, but you wanted to rate him poorly, I sensed ;) I just meant in general you seem to see Boca’s performances much worse than i do. But maybe I’m just blinded by the hawt factor. LOL.

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  16. Posted by dude on 2010/06/13 at 1:39 AM

    I will concede that the US lost a little spacial dominance when Findley left, but that’s about it. I can forgive forwards a lot of things, but when they are Just fast or Just strong (see Findley, Ching, Casey) then I take issue. The one exception being Gomez’ tendency to Just score, always a good thing. We missed shots, ball control for most of the match.

    Clark must go. We don’t play better with him on the field, we just never see him off the field. Bob can be so infuriating, either he stays the course or he takes any positive result as complete justification for his personnel choices (name one good thing Clark did entire second half).

    Lastly, I am sad for Torres/Holden/Edu. This should be a breakout tournament for them, but I’m having a hard time seeing them on the pitch the way things are playing out.

    Reply

    • Posted by dude on 2010/06/13 at 1:43 AM

      Positive: Even with all of this, we still managed to tie England 1-1, and showed alarming mental toughness and cohesion, despite not fielding our most dangerous lineup.

      Reply

  17. Posted by Bob on 2010/06/13 at 3:43 AM

    “Anyone think that Howard leaves his line too early now?” I can do one better: Anyone think that Howard is not World Class now? If he wasn’t so loyal to Everton, he would be on his way to a CL club by July.

    Reply

  18. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/06/13 at 4:59 AM

    I have to ask this:

    How can you say that Bradley got his tactics spot on, and then simultaneously say that Howard was the man of the match?

    To me, by definition, it says that a match-up was off, as the last line of defence bailed you out.

    Anyway, I still think England should have won given the chances we had and because we got behind you more often. Our downfall was poor finishing and a terrible final ball. But you guys will probably disagree.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/13 at 5:14 AM

      Easy question GeorgeCross…”Because England have better overall individual talent”

      Great example here. Michael Bradley man-marking Steven Gerrard late in the first half in the box.

      Gerrard owned him…yet Bradley was exactly where he should have been in defense before Gerrard turned him.

      England has better individual talent to the man.

      Reply

    • Posted by John on 2010/06/13 at 6:45 AM

      There is no “should” have won. You either win or you dont. Just because a team has a ton of talent doesnt mean you get to win. Just because you get behind the backline doesnt mean you get a goal. The USA keepers are better than englands and they protect the goal.

      Reply

  19. Posted by Jennifer on 2010/06/13 at 5:26 AM

    Matthew great analysis once again.

    First, thank you USMNT for getting a point out of this game, let’s keep it up. And I love how during the anthem all the players, both on the field and bench, had their hands on the person in front of them. It was like they were saying we’re all in this together. I’ve seen other teams do that, but can’t remember a time when the US did that.

    I was totally rocking my ’06 Dolo jersey (and am waiting on my new one) and was proud to wear it. The man was great today. I’ve been reading other reviews, websites, comments, etc and a lot of fans seem overly surprised by his play today. He had a great last few games with Hannover when they were battling regulation and is riding that high. In regards to his yellow, if he doesn’t get one against Slovenia and depending on how the group looks after game 2, I could see BB playing Spector to avoid Dolo getting a 2nd card and missing the round of 16 game.

    Boca deserves about a 5/6. Everyone knew he wouldn’t be able to keep up with Lennon’s speed. He didn’t make any glaring mistakes and did what he was asked to do.

    While Clark doesn’t deserve to start the next 2 games, and is not excused from the first goal, at least he improved as the game went on and didn’t make anymore mistakes.

    I’m with you on making a sub earlier but not Bornstein or Beasley. If Buddle was going to come in it needed to be sooner than when it was. I understand BB not wanting to mess with what’s going on and we saw how long it took Carragher to get into the flow of the game. If BB was going to wait till that late to sub then I would’ve liked to see Holden on instead of Buddle. Put fresh legs in the middle of the park, where we were having trouble keeping possession. You could see Dempsey and BB communicating before Holden came in. BB was making the sub gesture and Dempsey was, I think, pointing to the forward position.

    Howard was a BEAST and hopefully his chest will be better by Friday. We did learn for sure that Marcus is the # 2, as he was the one warming up in case.

    Although Findley didn’t wow his speed did help. Wasn’t overly impressed with Jozy. He had a few bright moments, but needs to step it up the next game or he should sit out game 3. Anyone notice when he was being subbed off and taking his time the he pointed down to ankle for the ref’s benefit, saying I can’t run off because of my ankle.

    While Gooch is not at 100%, he did step-up and that’s what we needed. I could see Goodson getting a start in one of the next 2 games.

    p.s. sorry it’s long and ramblingly.

    Reply

    • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/13 at 9:25 AM

      OMG, I thought the hands on the shoulder thing was a Barry Glendennig (UK Guardian’s minute by minute) imagination. (I was making guacamole during the anthems.) The normally hilarious Glendennig (who albeit was overcocky in the pregame analysis like it seems like every Britton), made some funny comment about the Yanks looking nervous in the tunnel and gave a 1-0 lead to England after they left the tunnel… and then after the national anthems declared the score 1-1.

      Reply

  20. I agree with the commentary above.

    But I have to disagree with “Bob Bradley may push his team to play “ugly football” but his game call today was beautiful.” Now I get that what you are referring to is the starting line-up and BB’s gameplan. I think he made a good choice with Findley, but not Rico.

    Yes Rico sometimes gets out of position because of his similar tendency as MB to go to the ball. But I think that really Rico is in those positions many times because that is where BB wants him to be. I feel MB and Rico are trained to collapse onto the man with the ball to try to apply gang pressure, with the assumption that they can quickly make up for the positioning if needed. This is BB gameplan. Thus the blame is on him just as much as Rico. Rico is to blame for getting caught ball watching on the goal but part of that was he forgot where they were on the field and switched his mindset quickly into the gang pressure mode. Rico was to blame.

    As has been discussed before these are the other reasons for Edu over Rico:
    1) if MB is pushed higher up the pitch his passes will get better. He tends to put too much pace on his long range, over the top passes but mid-range is not as much of a problem. Bradley actually showed good calmness on the ball in the 1st half when he dribbled with the ball in the England half instead of making an errant pressured pass. He will do well up the pitch we if he continues this as we already know what he can do on the run.
    2) Edu is more solid in defensive positioning and yes I think he is calmer on the ball (i.e. unlike Rico he won’t either pass it immediately to Boca or pass it back to the CB). Our possesion slows or goes backward when the ball gets to Rico. We just can’t keep the offensive pressure on.
    3) Rico at times did not pressure close enough to his man 25-30 yards out and gave England way too much time on the ball. (This was not just Rico many others players did this). He did play well at times.

    The most aggregous error by BB in this game was poor subbing. Buddle should have come on at least 10 min earlier. Edu should have come on at 65-70min. And Holden maybe should have come on 10 min earlier (on a night when Altidore looked a step slow BB needs to recognize this and switch out whomever isn’t playing up to snuff). The worst preformance on the day was from BB. Capello made early subs when necessary. Yes Capello’s starting line-up was somewhat ill advised but he made changes without hesitation. This team will go as far as BB he allows it to. I respect our coach and that is why I hope Howard and Donovan talk to him about what they saw in this game (they know where the problems are, and have been frustrated for a long time). He needs to hear some honest criticism. Also the media feeds into his closed in view by not asking any tough questions. BB is not a bad manger but like anyone else has shortcomings.

    BB strategy of MB/Rico should be our second defensive option after Edu (holding) /MB. We were lucky it didn’t cost us in this game.

    I think BB will start Torres rightfully against Slovenia but if we get out of the group and play Germany or other quality teams. The MB/Clark pairing and BB stubbornness/ slow adaptability will be our undoing.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/13 at 6:35 AM

      Eric. Speaking about tactics not lineup.

      Rico selection and gooch are open to debate
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      Reply

      • Yeah, I am just a little frustrated.
        But my major problem with BB in this game was his late game tactics. Cappello chose a line-up that was suspect in a few places and he had to use two of his subs to rectify that. BB did not capitalize on this as a good tactical coach would. Though I don’t prefer the MB/Rico tactic I don’t think it is horrible (just not my first choice). I have no problem with the “play for the draw strategy.” But if we were to be fully proficient at that strategy fresh legs should have come on for the midfield far sooner. If you look back at the last 20 minutes we weren’t playing for the draw (i.e. pressuring and bunkering in), we were simply bunkering in and “trying to play not to lose”. We could have easily lost. BB was slow to adapt and did not take advantage of the sub situation. He held on stoically to his trust in MB and Rico for too long. It is not that this trust is misplaced but I think at times the way BB views the field is “I should only take players out that are a) not playing well at all or b) completely gased c) I see that player a little gased but I will give him a few more mins.” There is a time to take a player out who is playing ok and still has some in the tank but could yield to a fresher player, and in this respect BB is a little too slow to adapt to the game. It is not that he doesn’t see what is happening. If anything he is too focused/over-analyzing certain areas (“how is my LB and CB doing. Are the strikers still moving effectively”) that he doesn’t quite react soon enough to other areas (CM) that would improve the overall complexion of the game. I am not saying he doesn’t see these issues but he tries to get a full grasp of the situation for a little too long (consider all of the options) to make a overly well informed decision. I am similar in that respect of not making decisions quite fast enough. It is just a personality trait but if he could make a decision just a few minutes sooner he would be good.

        Here’s a quote that BB should take to heart:
        “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense” – Winston Churchill

        BB could use some more “good sense” coming from his assistant coaches at times when a change might be needed. I think they have as much to do with this as anybody else.

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  21. Posted by Jared on 2010/06/13 at 6:33 AM

    It’s funny how the pressure of a real game can make a coach so indecisive. In the Turkey game, Coach Sweats went all out in the second half with substitutions but against England waits until the game is almost over before making any changes. I disliked his use of the subs especially since I think that if you are going to throw on a striker at that point it has to be Gomez who is on this team because of his ability to score as a sub.

    Goes without saying that Clark just isn’t good enough and doesn’t even understand the most basic tactics of the game. He ball watches all the time and is usually able to make up for it in the middle of the field because of his speed but when it’s on the 18 he doesn’t have that luxury. Should’ve been Edu to start but it seems that everybody but Coach Sweats realizes that.

    Torres to start in our next two games please. We will need his distribution to break down teams that aren’t going to attack the US.

    Reply

  22. Posted by bmill2 on 2010/06/13 at 7:06 AM

    Boca absolutely proved why he has the Captain armband on. He’s a self-aware enough player to know that Lennon will have the drop on him, but he is one of the most composed defenders I have ever seen. He held his own on the man-to-man sprint match with Lennon but most importantly, you never see him stab at the ball. He is a patient defender who allows the offensive player to make the mistake. He battled all game and took up pretty much an entirely isolated defensive role and did it well. I’d give him a 7 for the match

    Reply

  23. Posted by Smitty on 2010/06/13 at 7:47 AM

    Both Edu and Torres in the starting lineup? Sorry, nah gah happen.

    We all know of Coach Sweatpant’s voracious appetite for videotape. He’ll break this match down 6 different ways to Tuesday. When that’s done, I think we’ll see Goodson for Gooch, and Edu for Clark, in the starting XI against Slovenia. I think Findlay and Boca did enough to stay in the lineup – we can’t be making wholesale changes from the lineup that just bested the Lions. Harkes ths morning reports that Howard may have broken ribs…still I think he’ll tough it out vs Slovenia, don’t you? Hopefully we keep the pressure off Timmy in the next match and he can recoup whilst watching a decisive offensive display..

    Reply

  24. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/13 at 9:48 AM

    Don’t worry George, if you look at his match in the context of the task at hand, it really means nothing(well not nothing, but you know what i mean, especially with the talent and skill you have). And Gareth will be fit as well(?) IMO you’ll be tied with us on points going through to the next round(as I believe we’ll win these next two…and we have to, but your Engers will be 1st off GD because of the thrashing you put on Algeria this Friday. People are overrating Slovenia wayyyy too much, I’m sure we can break them down even if they park the bus).
    :)

    But on another note, Fabio lost this match for you.
    1)he started Milner(given he was still stick from previous days) over SWP and JOE COLE
    2) Joe Cole did not play, and I see him as the equivalent of our Clint Dempsey over Damarcus Beasely on the left when you compare him to Milner/SWP: He might not be a speed demon, but he just has that quality and Footballing IQ to go with creativity that you just need on the pitch
    3)I won’t say choosing Robert Green was a mistake because I mean,… it’s really a 33/33/33 toss up between your 3 keeps which is really unfortunate
    4) He wasted a sub on Ledley that couldve been used to get in Joe Cole
    5)I dont think the Gerrard/Lampard pairing worked(as usual)

    Conclusion: I think Jcole couldve made a difference, but then again, Cherundolo owned his side of the field, who knows..

    Reply

    • Posted by Jennifer on 2010/06/13 at 11:19 AM

      I think King might’ve had a groin problem. I saw a picture of Terry pointing to his groin and King at the same time. The caption said something about King having a groin injury. Could be totally off base though.

      Reply

  25. Posted by Alex on 2010/06/13 at 10:32 AM

    Great post and website.

    I find some of the responses both here and throughout the American soccer blogosphere to be amusing. If Kinsman had been coach or some other “big-name” coach, he would have been deemed to be brilliant for somehow getting a point out of this game.

    In the end, I thought Bradley lined up the US lineup that had the best chance to win. I probably would have started Edu over Clark, simply because of his tactical awareness, but Clark really didn’t have a bad game outside of one or two moments of ball-watching.

    The right side of the field was pretty dominant, crushing the trio of SWP/Milner and Cole.

    The other brilliant stroke I thought was how tight Dempsey and Donovan were playing. Cherundulo took advantage of this and went forward often, providing width. Boca stayed farther back, just because of the threat of Lennon. But anyway, that resulted in a lot of balls going to Dempsey and Donovan in the center. Dempsey was particularly adventurous going through the center. I thought this was also smart, just because you saw the main risk of Rooney (who resorted to dropping to the midfield at the end to see the ball), as well as the runs by Gerrard and Lampard. With Bradley and Clark playing that deep, both of those treats were neutralized.

    My only grip was the lateness of substitutions. I don’t think they were incorrect. I probably would have taken out a clearly slipping Clark at 60 or 65 for Edu.

    Overall, great game. Fantastic point. Hopefully Howard is healthy though.

    Reply

  26. Posted by Jennifer on 2010/06/13 at 11:25 AM

    So, according to the Daily Mail, Cherundolo (who most people thought was our best field player) got the lowest player rating, a 4. Said he struggled with SWP. No mention of his roasting of the, albeit sick, Milner. The rest of the D got 6s and Clark a 5.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/worldcup2010/article-1286208/England-1-United-States-1-How-players-rated.html

    Reply

    • Posted by The Goche on 2010/06/13 at 2:17 PM

      I’ve seen two ratings by English sources and neither was very good. I’m not so sure the English know as much as a whole as they’d have us believe (which is not to say they don’t have many more knowledgeable people and certainly better player development, but their media is questionable at best).

      Some highlights of the Daily Report:

      For one, unless Donovan stinks, I imagine he will be the man of the match anytime we play. I mean, he was good last night for sure, but not our best. Still because the English realize he is legit, but deny that our non-Premier league guys could play at that level Donovan MUST be the reason we do well. Landon was really good though.

      Probably the most ridiculous was rating Dolo our worst. Did they even watch the game?

      But my favorite: Clark 5: “Showed great distribution skills”

      Reply

  27. Posted by Dougs on 2010/06/13 at 3:36 PM

    Coach Bradley deserves the most credit of any team member for what was a fantastic result. He got the team to play together and make a total effort for 90 minutes. To criticize him despite this result reveals a stubborn refusal to appreciate the guy in spite of the facts. Coach Bradley has taken a mid-level talent team, thrashed the African Champions Egypt in a must-win game, beat Spain at the height of their powers, almost beat Brazil and now pulled off a very respectable draw against England in a world cup where no one can say that England took us for granted. And Green did not “gift” us the result despite what English or American media say — it takes 11 players to win in soccer and Green’s mistake was not that different (perhaps only in degree) than Clark’s mental lapse. England could not get it done and that is because Bradley had the US team ready and got them to buy into and implement his strategy. He did all this against one of the best coaches in the world.

    Come on folks, give credit where credit is due. You can complain about him subbing late or starting Clark, but the results don’t lie. He is largely responsible from bringing the US from the fringes of the world game to a genuine player (and by player I don’t mean contender for the whole enchilada but a team that can beat anyone on a given day).

    If we choke the next two games and fail to advance I will reconsider this opinion, but I am confident that Bradley, as he had consistently done when it counts, will continue to put us in the best position to win.

    Reply

    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/06/14 at 8:48 AM

      Your logic is just a bit flawed here on Bradley. The Clark start leads to the two biggest challenges the team had to overcome. His ever present poor positioning and lack of game awareness leads to the goal and his lack of ability to provide composed distribution leads to unnecessary turnovers and lack of counterattacking opps which is the teams strength. Ball hawking is just one aspect of the covering midfielders role at this level. He is below avg in 3 of the 4 key attributes needed. Both Edu AND Torres have shown what composed, well positioned play means to this squad.
      And BB’s ridiculous subbing habits are so well entrenched as to almost be ridiculous. An amateur coach knows that your MF is badly stretch by 65 mins and Torres would have made a huge difference in energy and possession in riding out the game.
      lots of decisions went his way but that game had a win in it if the right lineup decisions are made at the right times.
      looking forward to whether he learns lessons vs Slovenia.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/14 at 9:11 AM

        Have to disagree on your 2nd point emphatically. While not tasked with creating opportunities clark completed over 70 percent of his passes on the day, good for 4th best on the field.

        I’ve called out clark for his ball watching rightfully but he was splendid one on one with rooney.

        My apologies but the call on torres is incorrect as well. Offensively he would have had no time on the ball to work his magic. Defensively he would not have fared well against rooney and both gerrard and lampard would have been able to keep him on their hip.

        If you’re looking for a sub there its edu. .

        Reply

        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/06/14 at 10:48 AM

          I appreciate your gentlemanly approach to disagreement. But 70% completed is a bit misleading in Clarks case. 70% completed backwards or too heavily weighted to control is what I just saw when I rewatched. My point being that OK is not good enough in that role when he is guaranteed a brain lapse a few times a game that leads to goals or significant possession loss. He doesn’t make the team better and the minuses outweigh the OK’s.

          The point on subs is that SOMEONE in the midfield needed to be subbed out to provide cover in the mid to last third. I should have written/Torres/Edu but stopped short I guess. The point I was making overall is that BB’s habit of delaying subs till well past their useful point has been an achilles heel for the last yrs. And it affected their ability to defend and counter in the last 20 mins.
          Excellent analysis and looking forward to more.
          Peace and good football.

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/14 at 10:55 AM

            We agree to disagree — but as you know TSG has been lamenting Clark’s first touch since 1987 so we’re on the same page….

            I thought he was fine in this game.

            Reply

  28. Posted by kd on 2010/06/13 at 8:10 PM

    The goal happened because…
    minutes earlier Green covered a weak shot by the US far too cautiously. Smothering the ball.
    It seemed overly safe for a top class keeper.
    Minutes later, he over compensated, to appear more confident Green went soft stopping Dempsey’s slightly faster ball.

    I have not watched the replay, I watched it at a bar. This was a blink observation. I really need to watch it over again. It may not seem the same watching it over, but definitely seemed that this was the case on saturday.

    PS. my current favorite “All Hail the Green”

    Reply

  29. [...] Posted by matthewsf in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment If you missed our official review piece, go here. [...]

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