Archive for the ‘Gold Cup '09’ Category

Really? Mones Cheri?!

Ah, mon petite cheri...

Ah, mon petite cheri...

Watching the reply of the U.S. – Haiti game on Saturday.

I still cannot believe that that the go ahead goal was scored by a guy named Mones Cheri. I mean were his parents giggling when they were filling out the birth certificate.

Disappointed…And Not Just By The Result

The US isn’t good enough to throw away games even if they are assured of advancement into the next round of a tournament. But that is just what they did yesterday.

Yes, a confident blast from Stuart Holden in the dying minutes salvaged a tie. Yes, six guys got their first cap. Yes, a number of players gained international experience. But you have to question the mindset going into and coming out of the game.

We caught a glimpse of overconfidence in the pre-game comments by Brian Ching. The striker was asked what aspects of their game the team needed to work on following their wins over Grenada and Honduras. His response, “Nothing.” Really, Brian?

Then there is Bob Bradley after the game. “When you begin the tournament, the goal is to win your group and advance. So the first thing that we said after the game is, ‘We’ve accomplished that goal.”

Where’s the hunger to get better? Where’s the determination to fulfill the higher expectations following the miracle finish at the Confederation’s Cup? Where’s the desire to defend the home turf?

The US should have beaten Haiti. Period. I believe the poor result came from a combination of a coach looking past a seemingly inferior opponent along with a squad that thought they could turn it on whenever they wanted following an early goal. And that’s dangerous, especially for a team who consistently struggles finishing inside the opponents eighteen.

Am I reading too much into one game that was about getting experience for the kids? Perhaps, but I also believe that for the US to be a consistent factor on the international stage they have to fight for every inch, every game with an unyielding focus on winning every contest. They didn’t do that yesterday.

I haven’t forgotten how pathetic this team looked a few weeks ago against world class competition in the first round of the Confederations Cup, but it seems like the team and its coach may have.

It’s the U.S….It’s Haiti…uh, not exactly Spain

U.S.

U.S.

Haiti

Haiti

The U.S. is just a quick 180 around the clock from tipping off against Haiti in Foxboro this evening. With the group stage virtually wrapped up for the U.S.–the U.S. had double the points of any team in their group–this game should see the end of the bench emptied.

USMNT fans should expect a big win. 1-0, 2-1 really is not impressive for a team that easily handled Grenada and finally poured it on Wednesday against Honduras.

Game notes will follow below here.

The starting line-up sees Bradley employ the full roster. Sam Cronin, Colin Clark, and finally Luis Robles-pulling-out-splinters are in there.

Here it is:

G: Luis Robles

D: Jay Heaps – Michael Parkhurst – Jimmy Conrad (JIMMY CONRAD) – Brad Evans

M: Colin Clark – Sam Cronin – Stu Holden – Santino Quaranta (though he’ll probably push forward a lot)

S: Davy Arnaud – Kenny Coops

For me, I’m looking to see the following against this lower level competition:

Cooper play a nice combo role of holding striker and hit man up front

Parkhurst to show me something and Stu Holden to really make an impression.

Wake Forest alum Sam Cronin to show he’s got the chops. He certainly made the past few NCAA tourneys eventful.

I would have liked t0 have seen Robbie Rogers get one more run out there and show some domination, but we’ll have to wait on that.

Feel free to comment below. I’ll be adding notes and analysis, not a running commentary:

(4 min) – Colin Clark you gotta hustle that shot out. Arnaud set the table and Clark took just a little bit too long, inviting a defensive bump and sent his shot shot high and tight.

(6 min) – 1-0! Well played – Cronin to Holden slotting through to Arnaud…nice linkage for unfamiliar teammates.

(9 min) – U.S. still looking for someone beyond Feilhaber, Spector and Donovan to deliver consistently good set pieces. A short corner by Stu Holden, but U.S. maintains possession.

- We just got another look at the Arnaud goal — wonderful composure.

(18 min) – Holden doing a nice job of maintaining offensive pace and direction, though he’s been dispossessed a few times.

(21 min) – Kenny Cooper can’t be handled in the box — just got brought down — we need to order up some more wing services for him.

(30 min) – Our backline is looking a bit disorganized…on a separate note, Stu Holden just missed Lamparding it into the top left — a boomer of a shot. Shear mustard!

(32 min) – Conrad and Parkhurst are a bit challenged in partnership; Parkhurst takes a yellow that narrowly could have been a red with a kick.

- Jimmy Conrad and William Dafoe were separated at birth, anywho…

(37 min) Colin Clark needs a map out there….he’s having a tough time getting settled.

1st half observations:

- The team is a bit disorganized but that’s to be expected with a lot of new players in new places.

- Our defense is just not positioning itself well and is not physical enough, the Haitian forwards are putting some pressure.

- Stuart Holden is playing the Tom Brady roll in Foxboro. He’s maintaining possession, controlling the pace, and communicating well to teammates.

- Cooper and Arnaud up front are playing a scrappy solid game, service their way has been a bit inconsistent, but they are not making many mistakes.

- It’s possible that the line judges refs are looking into the stands instead of on the field.

- Jimmy Conrad is playing like a man who knows his spot is on the line, and unfortunately he’s pressing a bit too much.

2nd Half:

(46min) The ghost of Luis Fabiano strikes, 1-1 as Luis Robles and the backline fail to contend with a cross. The U.S. should have defended that one.

(48min) WOW! 2-1 HAITI! As the U.S. looks like jv squad taking on some allstars right now.

- You have to wonder what Bob Bradley said at halftime since the U.S. came out flat and without and improvement where they needed it.

(58min) Well done U.S. — no chances yet, but settling down and maintaining possession for about 2mins here.

(60min) However, the Americans are making no offense runs. Bob Ross couldn’t paint it any better.

(61min) Davies and Beckerman for Cooper and Quaranta. You can’t find any question with bringing in Davies; let’s see if Berckerman can make some entry passes.

- You got question Cooper out instead of Arnaud. You got the burner in Davies, you need Kenny Noggin’ for the service.

- Dare I say Freddy Adu would have been perfect for this game.

- Nearing the 70th, going to be an exciting half hour.

(72min) U.S. linking some passes together now, no solid chance but you can feel the confidence building

- Charlie Davies is class, class, class — phenomenal on the ball composure and possession and good decision making. I can see him earning the equalizer — either assisting on or burying it.

- There is a good chance that you can replace the Haitian kit with an Italian kit, because the Haitians are diving more than Del Piero right now.

(75min) Ching for Clark, yes Adu would have been nice to have around. Let’s hope the Big Aloha has another lash in him.

(85min) U.S. pressing as the Haitains pack it in. It’ll be a numbers game now of quality chances to hopefully earn at least 1 goal.

- Evans is lost in the wingback position — not his fault he’s a middie by nature.

(91min) AND THERE IT IS! STUART HOLDEN IS A BEAST! 2-2 equalizer – right-footed rocket! Welcome to South Africa Stuart, you’ve earned it.

(92min) …and that’s it. The nets were still rippling from the Holden’s blast and that’s time, more analysis to come shortly.


When does Kenny Cooper get some serious run!

You must have been thinking the same thing when you saw Brian Ching trot out to the lone striker position to start yesterday’s game against Honduras…wait you must have thought the following few things:

- Don’t we know what Ching is and is not capable of

- Adu to Ching back to Adu just doesn’t roll off your lips

- Don’t we need somebody in the front 6 that really knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.

While Bradley opted for experience, and Ching of course did score, it was a bit disconcerting not to see him put Kenny Cooper up for some trial-by-fire against some legitimate competition.

Kenny Cooper, the U.S. Peter Crouch?

Kenny Cooper, the U.S. Peter Crouch?

Look I don’t think Kenny Cooper may be the answer to anything up front for the USMNT, but let’s find out so we can get on with it.

Good bet we’ll see the Dallas target man up against Haiti, and if he has a good performance then people will doubt the competition.

The guy can’t win.

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