Posts Tagged ‘Slovakia’

Group F Game 2 – New Zealand versus Slovakia

Did they do the Haka before their game?

A point for both teams. Slovakia were marginally better than New Zealand for 92 minutes but in the last minute, Reid scores and all is square in Group F…Slovakia will be kicking themselves!

GOOOOOOOOOOALLLLL… FANTASTIC…REID with an open header and he makes Slovakia pay for very slack defending. Slovakia were lulled to sleep by an anemic attacking display from the all whites…but at the end they were made to pay!


88:00 -Hopefully the ref will be kind and not have any extra time. OHHH. and as I write New Zealand has a decent effort from a cross from Lochhead but Smeltz’s header flashes wide.

85:00 – In other news Drogba is starting on the bench in the upcoming match against Portugal. That doesn’t make sense to me. If you plan on using him, use him from the beginning and then take him off.

83:00 – Holosko takes over from where Sestak left off and attacks down the right side. He wins a corner. Nothing comes from it…Luckily the sun is up and am fully awake.

81:00 – Slovakia take off Sestak and Holosko comes on. I think Sestak has been their best player, constantly making open runs down the wing. He also set up the only goal. Most importantly for the viewing public he’s been exciting!

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Bratislava…More Like Bore-islava (SVK 1, US 0)

Marek Hamšík

Guzan guessed left, Marek Hamšík went right and that was the game.

The 1-0 Slovakia win was not the most exciting match and the lack of fans, dreary weather and field conditions made the game seem entirely unimportant. With injuries, MLS playoffs and roster decisions it was a toss-up heading into the game whether the US would really learn anything in Bratislava. It ended up being what we didn’t see that was the most telling.

We didn’t see:

…the US disorganized as a result of the patchwork line-up…however, as the second half progressed and subs came on the attack came apart a bit

…Altidore and Casey get involved in the first half…a direct result of lack of Lando?

…the ball go in the back of the net for the Yanks…with Davies and Donovan it was challenging at times…without them it was a constant struggle

…the backline in disarray without Gooch…and surprise central defense starter Spector added a different dimension as the ball was played back to him routinely

…Rogers give the ball away all day like he did during the Gold Cup..nice to see the maturation process continue

…Dempsey checking his watch to see how much time was left…Clint did some work today, but still expect more

…Guzan channel his PK heroics from last week to stop the Marek Hamšík effort in the first half

…One second of stoppage time…in fact the first half came in under 45 minutes on FSC’s game clock

Coach Bradley’s strategy was clear. Play the best players you have and let the newcomers and re-comers sub in late. The first half saw the US play more down the right side with Rogers getting off some good crosses, the best of which came in the 2nd minute. The duo of Junior and Feilhaber played well for about the first 50 minutes or so and the US was able to maintain a sizeable possession advantage for the duration of the game.

Again, however, it was the USMNT’s inability to find the back of the net despite a number of chances was glaring. (At TSG that is now referred to as USMNTitis.)


In good hands with Guzan.


Best Play of the Game — Guzan’s point blank stop in the 74th minute: Coming off a free kick for Slovakia, Dax McCarty’s poor clearance led to strike on goal that was deflected right to a waiting Satislav Sestak about 10 yards from goal. Sestak walked in on Guzan who challenged and then made a terrific kick save with his left boot.

Most Unheralded Play Cherundolo’s hustle in the 60th minute: Only Dolo’s hustle prevented a certain breakaway after a US set piece deep in Slovak territory. The ball was kicked out to a sprinting attacker, but Dolo got there just in time to poke it over to Johnny B.

The Golden Shin Guard Jonathan Spector: Playing out of position at center back, the recently shaky Spector seemed confident and provided great support to the front six

Preview Follow-up

Mr. Robbie Rogers, please report to the starting line-up. Claim your ticket to South Africa now.

Rogers is clearly a Bradley favorite at this point and added a strong game to his resume for South Africa. He provided good service including a moon ball from the deep right corner on a set piece that dropped right at the back post and the 6-yard line

Eddie Johnson vs. Cunningham: Let’s get it on.

Eddie Johnson came on for Casey at the start of the second half. The US changed tactics slightly to see if he could be a Charlie Davies-light by serving up a few longer balls to Altidore and hoping EJ could run off him. The US found a little more room to work in the offensive zone when EJ came in and Johnson even got a few shots, but overall his speed was neutralized by the soggy turf.

Cuningham entered late for Casey and you could immediately see why he’ll remain a long shot for the World Cup roster. Unfortunately, Cunningham’s slight frame allows him to get knocked off the ball with a pinkie-check. Eight minutes in Bratislava may be all the run Cunningham gets.

Can the Bradley-Benny! pairing recapture Gold Cup (’07) magic?

Wonder of wonders, the US was able to play up the middle for the first time since in well…let’s just say its been a long time. Bradley and Benny seemed more comfortable with each other and seemed to remember where each other was on the pitch this time which helped to make some room in the middle and not leave the back line exposed. We didn’t see a dynamic duo in the middle, but the pairing made progress today.

Does Clint Dempsey shine or sputter in Donovan’s absence?

There was much more shine than sputter for Deuce today including a cracker of shot on goal from thirty yards out on a free kick. Some of Dempsey’s creativity was on display and he seemed more active overall. But as Matthew mentioned in game observations Dempsey seemed a little visibly frustrated at times when he didn’t think the right play was made by his teammates.

Conor Casey

Float like a rhino...stink like a...

Make us believe Conor Casey

We are closer to believing…that Casey may have been a one-game wonder in Honduras. He had more opportunities than Altidore with the ball, but didn’t really do anything with them. Came off at the half, but that was probably planned to give EJ and JC some run in the second half.

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Observations From The Couch: USA vs. SVK (1-0, Final)


Fact: Bratislava is sunny one day a year

Matthew and I are going to being adding some commentary on the game this morning (instead of just insulting each other over Google chat as we are doing now).

(New updates on top)

Second Half

  • What time is it? Bornstein time!!!…let see some energy here in the last two minutes.
  • More chances down the stretch, more balls into the hands of the Slovak keeper who is playing a strong game.
  • Bradley clearing the bench with Kljestan and Cunningham coming in for Rogers and Altidore
  • To quote Marv Albert…Feilhaber “serves up a facial” to Martin Skrtel on a wicked rip from 25-yards (“YES!!!”)
  • First cap for Dax McCarty who comes in for Dempsey. Goodson on for Boca.
  • US building some offensive tempo again….I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the one person who reached our publication this morning by searching for “vertically challenged stars”
  • JB said to foul the offender on the counter; no call and the 1 vocal fan for Slovakia objected.
  • Sestak for Stoch: Sestak has some speed. Let’s see how our 60-mins-in d performs.
  • US losing possession a bit; a little flat to start the half. Battle going on with EJ and Altidore and ‘vakia’s central backs — get more aggressive US.
  • Is that one, single guy on the vuvuzela making all that noise? I think that is one lone horn….nope two — but certainly no more.
  • FSC announces are good, not great — but a welcome departure from ESPN announcers who seem to think that our injured CB is named Onyewu Oguchi….WHO?!
  • Rogers having a solid game without youngster mistakes. He’s looked good being drawn in and linking with the midfield. Reminds me a bit of the second game against Honduras in the Gold Cup.
  • EJ on for Casey — it’s your time big guy.

Half Time Comments Brought to You Courtesy of Guinness and John McCann Steel Cut Oatmeal

Jonathan Bornstein not having the stongest game at left back, but let’s look at the positive as both he and Cherundolo are getting up the pitch wide.

Benny and Junior starting to play better in the center of the pitch. If Mike Bradley’s first touch was stronger, he could switch fields faster instead his unsteadiness is forcing him to play the ball back rather than across too much.

Loved how Benny called for the ball at the 41st minute after he got fouled and then drove up the middle of the pitch. Need to see more aggressive play from my BF in the 2nd.

US is playing conservative, better offensively — that’s a positive too

Observation in the back: Spector-Cherundolo communication much better than Gooch-Spector communication. Did Coach USA see that too?

Dempsey has had a few bouts of bad body language, but looks otherwise enthused. An absolutely perfect free kick take that nearly found the netting. C’mon Demps

Two words not to use yet in the Altidore-Dempsey interplay up top: “Natural chemistry”

I would expect at least one sub out of halftime for the Bobster.

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Starting XI: USMNT vs. Slovakia

new_usa_Bradley seems to be going with who he knows. Looks like someone is going to be playing out of their natural position in the back four as a result.

So much for using this friendly to see what the newcomers can do.

GK: Guzan

DEF: Spector, Bornstein, Bocanegra, Cherundolo

MID: Rogers, Bradley, Dempsey, Feilhaber! (Matthew, the ! after Benny’s name is required now, right?)

ST: Casey, Altidore

BEN: Conrad, Kljestan, Goodson, McCarty, Cunningham, Hahnemann, Eddie Johnson

Orange Wedges: Breakfast In Bratislava

Orange Wedges is TSG’s game day post that will be updated until the start of the match. Due to the early start for us left coasters for USMNT – Slovakia, we thought we’d kick it off a day early.


All this talk of Friendlys makes me want a Fribble. (East Coasters understand.)

The USMNT will play Slovakia at 10am EST / 7am PST on Saturday (11/14). The match can be viewed on Fox Soccer Channel which will also replay the game at 8:30pm EST / 5:30pmEST for those too hungover to catch the game live.

(Updates added at the top.)

  • Who are you most looking forward to seeing out on the pitch tomorrow? Cunningham and Johnson hold some allure due to the vacancy at striker, and its going to be nice to get a look at Guzan with Timmy back in the UK. However, I am most looking forward to seeing Clint Dempsey, no matter where he lines up. TSG was critical of Deuce in the September round of qualifying and then he was unfit for the October clincher in Honduras. Now Dempsey is fit and in the midst of a goal-scoring binge for Fulham. More importantly, the US needs him to make his presence felt with Donovan and Davies out of the lineup.
  • Not much news coming out of the squad today…probably because Twitter fiends Holden, Ching and Davies are absent and Altidore’s tweeting has been a little less frequent (and less about soccer) since he got his hand slapped by Hull City following his suspension. So, we’ll just leave you with this recent video from Studio 90 to get you reacquainted with Marcus Hahnemann and his transportation preferences.
  • The match will be played in Tehelné pole stadium which translates into “brickfield” according to I hope something was lost in the translation there because playing on a field made of bricks can’t be good on the knees. Considering the place is on tap to be demolished, I don’t think the USMNT is walking into Slovakia’s version of the Home Depot Center.
  • Despite the training weather, the forecast for tomorrow is cool (high of 50) and likely rainless (20% chance)
  • It’s been a rainy and cold training week over in Bratislava for the USMNT. For pictures in the slop, head over to
  • For TSG’s full preview, check out USMNT Battles Slovakia. As an American of Polish (and Ukrainian) descent I would be remiss if I didn’t add that I am looking forward to the USMNT avenging Poland’s 1-0 defeat to Slovakia in the October round of World Cup qualifying. (Our Ukrainian brethren took care of business versus the Slovaks, 3-2, earlier in the year.)
    • Poll follow-up:
      • 57% of TSG readers says that Sacha Kljestan’s onfield behavior makes a difference in extending a USMNT spot to him. Let’s see how SK plays and behaves this Saturday–he’s probably a 2nd half sub.
      • 76% of you are more excited to see Eddie Johnson over Jeff Cunningham. Grant Wahl suggested that if EJ scores this will lead to over-hype–TSG says this is 2010, not 2006.
  • One note on the upcoming friendly with Denmark (11/18)…Look for the roster to be released sometime on Sunday morning as US Soccer communicated that they are waiting until after the  Saturday MLS and Mexican league playoffs games. Ching, Holden, Rolfe, Donovan, Findley, Castillo and Torres are all in play for a Denmark call-up depending upon the club results (and Bob Bradley’s discretion).

24 Slovaks for the 14th

Today, US Soccer published a roster for the friendly on November 14th. Unfortunately for USMNT fans ready to debate and concoct exotic line-ups, it was Slovakia’s roster.

This game will appear on Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday, November 14th at 7am Pacific.

The Fighting Jondas called to camp are:

GK: John Mucha (Legia Warsaw), Ľuboš Kamenár (FC Nantes), Dušan Kuciak (FC Vaslui), Lubos Stonemason (Nantes

DEF: Marek Cech (West Bromwich Albion), Ján Ďurica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Peter Pekárik (VfL Wolfsburg), Martin Petras (AC Cesena), Kornel Saláta (Slovan Bratislava), Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Radoslav Zabavník (Terek Grozny)

MID: Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Miroslav Karhan (Mainz), Kamil Kopúnek (Spartak Trnava), Jan Kozak (Slovan Bratislava), George Kucka (Sparta Prague), Marek Sapara (Rosenborg), Miroslav Stoch (FC Twente Enschede), Zdeno Štrba (Škoda Xanthi), Dušan Švento (Red Bull Salzburg), Vladimir Weiss (Manchester City),

FWD: Robert Vittek (Lille) Erik Jendrišek (Kaiserslautern), Stanislav Sestak (VfL Bochum)


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