Three More Points: US 1, Trinidad & Tobago 0

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TSG: Check back for the full review first thing in the morning if not sooner.

As Matthew excellently pointed out at half, the US wasn’t playing as a team in the first half and couldn’t figure out what style they were supposed to play — possession through the middle or a boomer-and-prayer.

The US did play dramatically different in the second half (but “dramatically” can only be used since the first half was so poor). Thankfully, one of Rico Clark’s two good touches all night was a wicked blast that bent away from keeper and found the back of the net. Then the US held on for another close victory against a supposedly inferior opponent.

In the second half, we did see the USMNT link some passes and hold possession. However, with the generally uneven and sloppy play versus El Salvador and again today, I kept thinking back to that Seinfeld episode where Jerry is at the rental car place and they ran out of cars.

Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?

Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.

Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.

Agent: I know why we have reservations.

Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

But can you put all the fault on the players? If your defense is struggling do you start a mid-field that is possessionally-challenged? (yes, I made that word up) The biggest thing I am left wondering is how this game would have been different if Feilhaber started. (And that isn’t coming from any undue adoration for guy, rather from the seemingly unique skill set he brings the team.)

On to the defense…perhaps I was a little harsh on the defense in the first half. Regardless, they did play better in the 2nd. Gooch seemed to play his way into the flow, was strong on headers and held-up well in his tough match-up versus Jones. Boca rebounded nicely. Meanwhile the wingbacks didn’t get any worse…which at this point, is a positive.

I’m leaving the full critique of Bob and Friends (Lando, Howard, Holden, etc.) to Matthew in the review, but I’ll just finish with this…

For at least the next 75 minutes or so, the US is at the top of the CONCACAF standings (yeah!), but this game is another in a disturbing trend of making things harder than they should have been. Or, on the other hand, this may be exactly what the USMNT is…a squad that is only marginally better than others in the top six of CONCACAF.

Which do you think?

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/09 at 6:43 PM

    Lots of content and analysis coming here folks — I just need to take a moment and step back and go over the play of the game.

    Certainly a good result for the US if an unnecessary poor performance.


  2. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/09 at 9:34 PM

    one of the most frustrating wins ive ever seen in my life. this is a re:shoulda coulda woulda.

    donovan shoulda done better with services and nailed that lay-up.

    bradley coulda subbed earlier

    had iceman relieved dempster wayyyy earlier or even started in his place, we woulda beasted.

    i also noticed that BB let clint roam like he does at Fulham. . but to no avail, his heart and his mind is in England. you can see it in his face and his lagging motion and allllll the give aways. THE GIVEAWAYS DAMNIT


    • Posted by Berg on 2009/09/09 at 9:53 PM

      I just can’t get away from the contrast between Dempsey against Holden regarding their current form. There were quite a few “what the heck” moments for me in this game regarding Dempsey but the one that comes to mind was when T&T attacked down the flank and Dempsey didn’t provide cover support for the wingback. He just kind of stood there in no man’s land, doing nothing.

      It just frustrates me to no end to watch Deuce, an appropriate nickname considering there seems to be two possible Dempseys that may show up for a game, not translate his obvious skill to the national team.

      And cheers to Landon, who has the most intense work rate I’ve seen in a long while. It’s much easier to forgive a poor corner today since he absolutely ran his tail off.


      • Posted by Mark T on 2009/09/09 at 10:01 PM

        Donovan is leading by example.

        To be honest, aside from PKs, I don’t think Lando provides the best service on set pieces. However, he’s had a nice run from the Egypt game in the Confed Cup through El Salvador on them. I wouldn’t mind seeing Holden take a few when he is in. He was pretty spot on during the Gold Cup.

        Only thing I can think of is that Dempsey is a striker at heart and is discouraged due to the emergence of the Davies / Altidore combo as he knows the likelihood of starting up top in the WC is slim. That is why I have officially stared my campaign for him to be the first striker off the bench with Holden slotting into his spot.


        • Posted by Pck on 2009/09/10 at 4:42 AM

          Best. Idea. Ever.
          Damn at least he might try harder if he knew he had to earn his place (like at fulham). I was watching on telefutura along with espn360 because I always enjoy hearing what their commentators have to say, and I’m pretty sure they said stu holdens name more in 15 minutes than dempseys for the first 75. The only reason that’s not true for espn was because they kept using his name in a negative context. A lot.
          I know Dempsey has a lot of class – i see it almost every Saturday morning – I just don’t know what bb needs to do to bring it out of him, and at this point benching him might be in his own best interest.

          I also agree that Donovan’s more objective measures of performance don’t do justice to his phenomenal work rate on both offense and defense.


        • Posted by Berg on 2009/09/10 at 8:02 AM

          The Dempsey to forward move has to be considered. The dearth of talent at forward beyond Davies, Altidore, Ching as well as the surplus of possible midfielders makes the move even more sensible than it would be if it were based on Dempsey’s performance alone.

          Move Dempsey up into the forward rotation, slot Holden in and look to someone like Torres to come off the bench in the midfield.


  3. Posted by Kevin U. on 2009/09/09 at 9:48 PM

    The game was extremely frustrating…there seemed to not be as much desire or that heart from the U.S players. I think Feilhaber could of came in 62 minutes earlier than he did. And Antonio you call him dempster well i’m going to call him dumpster because he was trash this game it kills me to see someone walking back on defense making lazy runs and just having terrible touches and seeming to not have a care in the world, he’s been a primadona looking for calls that he doesnt deserve to get. I would like to see him start on the bench when in Honduras maybe than he’ll get that fight and passion back seeing his spot is deffinately up for grabs. But enough about dumpster. I still like what Altidore and Davies give us up top they still had dangerous moments and Davies has done nothing but impress me since his time with USMNT. From Donovan’s great game against El Salvador, if they wouldnt of shown me the starting line-up for our team I woulda thought he wasnt playing he did tally another assist though. But when it all comes down to it we got the 3 points in an away game which is crucial especially since Costa Rica lost again and we are officially on top of CONCACAF. The next game isn’t till October so DeMerrit should be healthy and it will give us plenty of time to look back at what needs to be changed so we can stay atop the CONCACAF standings and get our spot in South Africa


  4. Posted by garbogas on 2009/09/10 at 7:23 AM

    I have to admit I didn’t think Holden was ready for the ‘A’ international level, at least not to be an impact player. But it’s hard to argue with 3 games of evidence. Mexico, Salvador and now T&T, Holden has come off the bench and looked like one of the most threatening players on the field. It’s a delightful surprise and one that gives us lineup flexibility we would never have imagined earlier in the summer…

    …like say benching clint dempsey (I’m on board)


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