Archive for June, 2010

Homeward Bound: Ghana Sends States Packing

A little late, but “quick reaction” on the United States 2-1 loss to Ghana today:

The States with promise...

• The Yanks Tempt Fate One Too Many Times with Fatal First Frame Error

While a lot “went wrong” for the States on the first goal, the root of the goal comes down to a failure to protect the ball in the midfield by starter Ricardo Clark.

As soon as Clark made the giveaway and before the result, my mind immediately harkened back to Clint Dempsey’s June 6, 2009 turnover against Honduras in the qualifier last June in Chicago. On that play, Deuce tried to make a move in midfield, got dispossessed by Carlos Costly and the counter was on for Honduras….and successful.

In a game dominated by a tug-of-war in midfield, the Clark’s error proved costly as Kevin Prince Boateng blew through the States’ “defense,” worked a slow Jay DeMerit and shot near-side post beyond Tim Howard who, out-of-position, looked like he was expecting a pass.

It’s the type of play that the Yanks had seemed to eradicate from their play. It’s the type of play that the Yanks defense always has difficulty contending with, but there it was again today wreaking havoc on the Yanks’ World Cup continuation plan.

• No Space Down the Flanks, The Yanks Lack of Forward Movement & Finishing Stifled the Attack

Only flashes today...

TSG posed the question in our preview, “Can the Yanks Get Loose Down the Flanks?”

The answer, a unequivicable “No.”

Whether by design or not, the Yanks’ starting forwards, Robbie Findley and Jozy Altidore, could not gain space or, perhaps more importantly, clear and open space for Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey to attack Ghana’s defense.

In fact, it appeared that both Findley and Altidore were too narrowly focused in attack, lacked sophistication in their movement, and therefore compromised opportunities from the get-go.

With John Paintsil pinching in centrally, the Yanks desperately needed to work the outside flanks with their strikers–not the interior–to push Ghana back and create chances. Didn’t happen.

Altidore, as well, appeared to be running, or not running, on half a tank from the start.

Same troubles...

Findley lack of final ball creativity and execution once again did him in.

This–and a poor time to cite this–was the game that Charlie Davies was missed sorely.

• Bob Bradley Got This One Wrong

If you credit Coach Sweats with the comeback against Slovenia and the line-up that enabled the win against Algeria, then he must be condemned for some of his selections today.

Obviously, Bradley realized his Clark error–about 20 minutes or so too late–when pulling the former Dynamo player from the pitch in a rare 1st half substitution. The claim may be made that Clark was pulled because he had earned a yellow card, however it’s in Clark’s DNA to make poor tackles after making errors. The first mistake was having Clark in the starting eleven in a match that absolutely demanded that midfielders be able to play both ways.

Bradley also erred, in my opinion, in keeping a spent Jozy Altidore on the field. While Altidore thrilled and earned chances, too often his stagnation in the front of the pitch clogged the middle and helped Ghana shutdown U.S. possession.

Finally, the Herculez Gomez selection was poor in my opinion, against a physical and disciplined defense, Gomez does not possess the 1-on-1 game to create chances for himself against superior competition. There is no doubt in my mind that Edson Buddle should have been tried.

Almost...

Bradley can be commended upon his insertion of Benny Feilhaber who–despite missing an outside-footed chip chance–played a phenomenal and calm game in possession. One can continue then with Feilhaber’s impact on the game in the midfield, that Stu Holden, able to play the middle or the outside, could have helped as well.

In fact, this game demanded Holden, however Bradley was out of substitutions.

Bob Bradley’s World Cup will be judged ad nauseum over the next few weeks, this game won’t be the highest rated.

Classy....

• Clint Dempsey Shined

The Deuce from London had a stellar game from the States today. Needing carriage in the middle of the field, needing chances and not possessing world class speed with the ball, Dempsey was a revelation for the Yanks when they were out of ideas.

His efforts kept the Yanks in the game.

Michael Bradley also continued his world beater status. Steve Cherundolo came back down to earth on his wing, but Jonathan Bornstein was solid on his.

• The Yanks Got Bossed In Central Defense

Ghana has not scored from the run-of-play in World Cup 2010 coming into the game, the Black Stars ran right up the middle of the Yanks’ defense today, once on a fatal error and another time on beautiful piece of skill by Asamoah Gyan to account for their scores.

Beyond this the Yanks’ defense was surviving, but two errors were too much on the day.

• A Lost Opportunity, But Solid Effort

The World Cup. Every four years. The States had a beatable opponent today and they let a game slip. That said–and this may be the fan in me–the Yanks controlled the game for stretches and did their country proud.

Round of 16 – Argentina versus Mexico

Higuain - Can he increase his goal tally? or were his goals just a fluke?

PEEEEEP PEEEP PEEP – Argentina look very good (minus the horrendous theatrics) and book a place in the quarters against Germany.

92:00 - Messi is just a pleasure to watch as the ball is glued to his feet. He moves across the box and sends a great shot that Perez does well to save.

89:00 – Time running out for Mexico.

80:00 – Mexico are looking dangerous as Heinze makes a great defensive header to steer it away from goal. Mexico will feel hard done by the poor refereeing in the first half.

73:00 – Sorry had to take people to the airport but have heard there have been great goals.

45:00 – After the controversial goal, Mexico’s verve has been greatly reduced and they lack the bite from earlier on in the game.

43:00 - Higuain gets a chance to make it 3-0 but his header goes wide. That was beautifully sent in from out wide. It just occurred to me that Higuain is this generations Pippo Inzaghi. Higuain doesn’t dive or play act but his strength is getting in at the right positions for easy taps ins and goals and making very intelligent runs…but his skills are not as good as his peers around him.

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Round of 16 – England versus Germany

Has never scored a World Cup goal. Will today be his first?

PEEEEEEEP PEEEEEP PEEP. Well England are sent home in emphatic style by Germany. England were never in this world cup. Best they go home.

2 minutes of added time

89:00 - Lampard tries a shot from far out that Neuer saves. Going through the motions here as England just want to get on the plane. They played well for about 20 minutes but their patchwork aged defense was finally called out against some beautiful, quality, slick, attacking from Germany.

87:00 – SWP on for Johnson. Well that shows the lack of depth in this England squad. I’m pretty sure after Joe Cole, that Crouch should have been introduced.

81:00 – Gerrard has a nice run and shot but it is very well saved by Neuer and goes out for a corner.

71:00 -Heskey on Dafoe. Not very inspiring that. England’s defense, good in the group games is obviously not up to defending against quality opponents.

70:00 – GOOOOAAAL - Terrible defending by England as their slow defense gets ripped part and Moller sends his second into the back of the net. Germany 4 – England 1

67:00 – GOOOOOAAAL. Muller with a classic counter goal as off a terrible Lampard free kick that hits the wall and its a 3 on 2 that Muller slams home. Germany 3 – England 1

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Round of 16 – USA versus Ghana

REVENGE!

*We’ll be along shortly today or tomorrow with review. As Shaun said, a little spent.

Just download wordpress app for the IPhone! Frequent updates hopefully!

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TSG is going to be watching the game at one of our satellite venues that serves alcohol. We will be at the Phoenix.

Feel free to comment and what not about the match here.

Round of 16 – Uruguay versus South Korea

Ji-Sung Park and his teammates can run all day. Will they score a last minute goal?

PEEEEEEEEP PEEEEEP PEEEP. Game over. Uruguay leave winners but South Korea played admirably. They had their chances but Uruguay’s two real attempts at goal were all they needed to progress to the quarters. Ghana or USA await.

3 minutes of stoppage time.

87:00 – Korea have a great chance through Lee Dong-Gook and his scuffled shot slips through Muslera’s legs and trickles toward goal, but in the end Lugano has all the time to clear.

86:00 - Uruguay resorting back to defensive mindset. Amazing how a team can switch back and forth so effortlessly as a unit.

80:00 – GOOOOOOOOOAAAAL. Suarez with an excellent shot from the edge of the penalty box as he curls it over the defenders and off the post and in. South Korea 1 – Uruguay 2

75:00 – Well to answer my question from a couple of minutes ago…quite easily as Uruguay shift into attacking mode with some slick one time passing and intelligent runs. Unfortunately for the South Americans, their finishing touch is left wanting.

74:00 – Suarez misses an easy header as he is found all by himself at the back post but his header is very poor.

71:00 - South Korea really going for it as they attack down the right and waltz into the penalty area, but shot is softish and straight at the keeper.

70:00 - Question is how quickly can Uruguay switch from their complete defensive mentality to one that requires some real attacking intent.

68:00 – GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL. Lee Chung Yung gets a headed goal. From a free kick, the ball ricochets up in th eair and falls to the Korea striker who nods it in the goal. South Korea 1 – Uruguay 1.

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Orange Wedges: USA vs. Ghana

Orange Wedges is TSG’s “gameday” post that  is updated until kick-off.

Will the States turn Ghana into Glass Joe? It’s knockout time World Cup 2010.

The United States faces Ghana today at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg  in South Africa at 2:30PM Eastern today on ABC and Univision. Victor faces the winner of today’s Uruguay vs. South Korea match-up

• Steve Goff at the Washington Post is reporting that a reliable source says Yanks will stick with their Battle of Algiers backline of Cherundolo, DeMerit, Bocanegra, Bornstein. Given that Grant Wahl is “predicting” this line-up and they’re both in the media caravan this sounds about right.

• All 23 US players are available to play against Ghana. Three substitutes allowed as always.

• 75F and sunny today in Rustenburg with no humidity. Temperature will drop some before kickoff. In short, perfect, non-taxing soccer weather.

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