Can’t call them “snap judgments” because they took way too long. TSG’s Tuesday will be along shortly with the official review.
Here are some thoughts that I want to spill out on the screen. We’ll give it the “Good, Bad, Ugly” treatment because it works well here.
• Bunker?! Take horse, go to barn….
I’ve read a few places that the United States came out and bunkered yesterday. If that phrase graced your notebook yesterday for the game review, you should be led out to pasture and put out of your misery or at least give me some of what you’re having because the street value must be absolutely tremendous.
For a positive from the United States yesterday, look at the first 45 minutes of the match.
The United States pressed up the pitch on the defense. They deployed a a 4-4-2 from dead ball situations in France’s end.
Brek Shea and Jozy Altidore chased down defenders looking to manage possession and multiple times both Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu made “sprinting jabs” to meet either M’Vila or Diarra who were providing the link to up the pitch.
(Were you watching? Well if you weren’t or called it “bunkering”–just take a look at the heat maps of US backline here OR the defensive tackling of Shea and Altidore here or the origination passing of Bocanegra and Goodson here. You get the picture.)
With the US advanced, they did a fantastic job of keeping cohesion.
Tim Howard was not forced into making a save until the 22-minute mark against attackers from Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and PSG. He made two “plays” in the first half–though speedy PSG winger Jeremy Menez–who had a terrible haircut and whose game reminded me of Theo Walcott–skied a ball badly on a pivot in the box that a striker would have more than likely deposited in the mesh behind Howard.
That’s three legitimate opportunities. Two of those came after the 37-minute mark and were due to fatigue by Tim Chandler and Steve Cherundolo respectively.
Yes, US didn’t generate chances. We’ll get to that.
For the first 45 minutes however, they forced France to work hard to move the ball out of their own end. France struggled from dead ball positions; they needed quick transitions up Franck Ribery’s flank that put pressure on Clarence Goodson and Steve Cherundolo.
(*Note, you don’t go to Loic Remy in the 2nd half to stretch the defense if you’re not facing pressure in your defensive kitchen and need the opportunity that the over-the-top or the long ball presents….and as the US succumbed to.)
• Without getting hyperbolic, quality from the Dutch man
Jozy Altidore looked like a man focused for a full game for the first time in his international career on Friday or rather perhaps since Rustenburg and with Three Lions running around.
That’s a huge positive for the player TSG refers to as “The Drifter”….in and out of games that is.
Even better? Altidore, in-control, but somewhat manic on defense chasing down defenders in possession. When was the last time you saw Altidore actively look to win possession–consistently? Maybe the Charlie Davies RFK match from October 2009?