Perhaps Colombia should have brought the other product with them.
TSG writer Tuesday will be along with our review of the last night’s paint-drying match between USA and Colombia. Sorry Tuesday, I’m sure you’re struggling right now.
In the meantime, some random observations for yours truly–whose SF Black Sox notched ten more than the natties on the evening–on a match that looked at times like a bunch of 3rd graders gyrating to the ball, screaming “Give it to me!”
• “Germany Jones?!”
You’re kidding me, right? That can’t be his nickname, can it? I’ve never heard that. I’ll take Indy Jones for Jermaine over Germany because he’s a little more adventurous. Okay, that’s bad too. It’s not as bad as “Germany Jones.”
Seriously, I will be championing Jeff Cunningham for another runout for the national team before you hear me utter that moniker.
• Just a dreadful time on offense for the Yanks in the 1st half and well into the 2nd. A few sub-hitters on this one:
» You could tell that those who through the American development program (or nearly the entire team except Jermaine Jones) were highly challenged in adapting to new teammates and their roles in what sorted out to be a 4-1-4-1 in the first half.
Both Stu Holden and Brek Shea moving very centrally to locate the ball. That would be mildly acceptable if the fullbacks were overlapping, which they were not.
» In the absence of an on-the-ball beat-your-man creator (Clint) in the 1st half, the Yanks struggled to find any offense and rather then get patient or, more simply, overload a side with crossing runs, overlapping runs or hitches, the Yanks forced the play, specifically Michael Bradley.
I don’t really fault Junior as he was trying to make something happen, but let’s also say Junior should have the Chris Paul or Jason Kidd’s keys to the attack so to speak.
» As a note, part of that frustration was acceptable as Colombia rarely looked to push their own attack and sat back, disciplined and absorbed the Yanks “pressure.” I use that word lightly.
Hopefully, U.S. Soccer won’t fawn over their first clean sheet since Algeria in this one. The Coffee Growers’ attack was more anemic than the Yanks.
» Ironically the club tandem of Brek Shea and Heath Pearce looked they had just met. Pearce, as we tweeted, has a really poor habit–which we commented on from January camp practice this year–of squaring his hips to the center of the field and hugging the touchline.
On the former it is darn near impossible to make an accurate pass down the line in a swift manner.
How are you supposed to advance the ball on your strong foot if you have to open your hips, move the ball and watch for a defender from your stance.
On the latter, must like they teach wide receivers in football, give yourself some space so in case the pass coming to you is not precise. That space obviously puts less stress on reception.
And one more thing on Pearce: How quickly his look changed from a questionable character hanging around outside elementary schools to an American princess Giovanni Dos Santos. Just saying.
Despite not being able to contain a gnat on the right flank, Jonathan Spector had better body positioning for the few passes he made.
• Felt confident with Guzan between the sticks. Just saying. If he was tested beyond once…
• Is it me or is this team already deferring to Jermaine Jones as the midfield quarterback. A statement on the Yanks’ youth in central midfield as much as Jones’ quality.
• Speaking of central midfield…
Look Spain doesn’t play Cesc, unfortunately, in the midfield with Xavi and Iniesta. Decidedly more defensive, three central midfielders that are all used to having the same responsibility is probably not going to work. Applause again to Coach Sweats for trying.
• Jozy Altidore again struggled. For me, the worst part was Jozy’s body language when he didn’t get a call or didn’t get service delivered properly.
Look at someone like Fernando Torres (and this I love about the Spanish striker): if someone makes a bad pass to Fernando, he doesn’t sulk. He usually points to himself for being in the wrong position (which isn’t true) or he just smiles.
A striker–whether they are the captain or team’s leader on the pitch–helps to set the tone with his or her mannerisms and the way they carry themselves on the pitch.
I’ll say it again. I could care less if Altidore scores, I just want metered improvement and focus from Jozy. The focus will come with reps and aging; the improvement is all Jozy.
• It’s funny because I haven’t seen it written anywhere (except now here), but this game–with Colombia’s defensive posture and not-super-stern challenges and tackling–screamed for Jose Torres to man the midfield hub and, gulp, Robbie Findley (can’t go Davies right now) to sprint up and down like a chicken with its head cut off. It needed unlocking and stretching.
• An lest we don’t add: a solid if uneventful debut for Eric Lichaj. Very good balance and tenaciousness. Thought it was “funny” that Lichaj–who seemed pumped for his first cap–was paired on the right with Benny Feilhaber–who looked like he couldn’t wait to don his Skull Candy and jump on the Greyhound. Anyone else see a little visibly off chemistry there?
Might have been nice to throw out Bedoya’s attacking on the right there with Lichaj who darted in well.
• “A lot of Red Sox fans are hoping they’ll see more Liverpool games at Fenway.” Ladies and gentleman, former American star midfielder John Harkes adds one to his Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
Do you think ESPN prays it’s a close game or an up-and-down one so that Harkes doesn’t start riffing? Can you imagine the looks in the studio as Harkes starts meandering: “Oh no, here goes John again. Hurry up, send Foudy out to the hot dog stand to get some fan reaction. Oh good, she found Sunil.”
• Eddie Johnson. On the pitch at the 45 minute mark walking around the pitch bewildered by 75 minutes. I’m not a fan of over-running (Conor Casey). I’m a fan of something at least above a stroll.
• Even the refs acted like they didn’t want to be here for this one.
• The official tally has 4 shots on goal for the Yanks. Did I miss something?
Oh and some foreshadowing: TSG sent the Ansel Adams of the East Coast, Matt Mathai to the game. If you remember, Matt did up some killer shots of the USA-Brazil match.
One to whet your appetite. Mathai does add, “PPL Park is dark as a freaking tomb.” Somehow, I think Matt will still come out on top here.