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.

First Half

  • Altidore not doing much, but not getting much either
  • Benny! with a fallaway three from outside the box — a little more time on the ball and I think–hope–we see a better shot there.
  • elf

    Beard of Offense!: I referenced Guz's beard making him look like a Keebler elf. Fired up the Bing-a-lator and out popped this picture that has nothing to do with soccer.

    The Guz’s beard makes him look like a Keebler elf….I don’t think that’s the right statement for US goalkeeping Brad.

  • Hey JB, that’s not Edson Buddle out there….funnel middle, funnel middle.
  • Want to know why West Brom got relegated last year….look no further than SLO’s Marek Cech’s cross to absolutely no one…huh?
  • Hamsik with an easy jog and shot in the right corner. Agree with the FSC announcers, “The mistake by Bornstein a costly one.”
    • Bornstein should have used his speed to cut the angle and give up the wide angle shot as oppose to go body and hands; let’s see how JB plays…I’ll give him that one because he’s been maturing…but not pretty.
  • Homefield PK call, but Bornstein needs to be more discreet with the arms.
  • Dempsey being assertive; I like what we’re seeing out of him. But that ball to far ahead of Altidore, but encouraging signs from the Texan in the early going.
    • And I just jinxed him; careless giveaway in the attacking 1/3.
  • Just remembered that Spector’s aerial defense is suspect…more chances to be exposed there with him playing in central defense
  • Good match-up for BB to evaluate CC: Skrtel is strong, let’s see what Casey can do. Nice job on the body there.
  • Casey is like my friend from college we nicknamed “White Lightening”…it takes a long time for him to get to top speed (which isn’t all that fast)
  • Altidore continually urging the front six to get up the pitch and forecheck. Love seeing that; assertive (Matt).
  • Altidore playing in Davies role over the left half as he did to start at RFK. Let’s see what Rogers does on the right. Interesting on Rogers with about the only truly strong left foot on the pitch beyond Bornstein.
  • Spector with a nice calm first touch in the center….I’m hyper focused on Spector in his trial role (Matt)
  • Just like you we are wondering why Marshall is getting the nod in the back four…must not be fit (Mark)
    • (Matt) – Very interesting: What does it say about the RB?
  • Bratislava looks as dreary as Syracuse, where I went to college. I thought that was a dormitory behind the field. When they played the national athem of Slovakia, I got really scared…not sure why. (Matt)
  • There is a car behind the Slovakia goal…I don’t know why…with the amount of people in the stand perhaps they let people park inside the stadium. (Mark)
  • Nice to hear the US chants (Mark)

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by i like tuesday on 2009/11/14 at 8:13 AM

    We look good so far and have provided all the danger. Dempsey getting involved early. Casey should’ve got across his defender in the 6 th minute.


  2. Posted by i like tuesday on 2009/11/14 at 8:59 AM

    It’s been a crazy week. My thoughts so far are here: Twitter.com/i_like_tuesday

    Midfield play and defending has been excellent (minus a few bad decisions from JB). I feel like Bob’s been reading our comments here. It’s official guys, he was a dark horse but Bob Bradley is alright and is bringing the side on to higher levels of play. Really like the mobility and distribution of Spector at CB.

    Strikers have hardly been involved in the attack with all the danger coming from midfield. Would like to see EJ for Casey at the half. Casey isn’t going to outmuscle Skyrtel.


  3. Posted by Dylan on 2009/11/14 at 9:05 AM

    yep, not bad from the boys in the first half. Though not great chances, we are creating more of them and It’s nice to see some possession football from the US.


  4. Posted by Dylan on 2009/11/14 at 10:01 AM

    Overall, not a bad performance. Some good possession. Bradley and Feilhaber looked pretty good together. Besides Bornstien the defense had a good showing without gooch. But absolutely nothing from the platoon of forwards. Either the Slovakia defense was incredible (and they did look solid) but nothing really created up top at all. I’d like to see Altidore and Johnson start up to top on wed. and get some serious minutes together. Oh yeah, Rogers had a great game.


  5. Posted by Thomas on 2009/11/14 at 12:12 PM

    crashed on the couch with lack of sleep and to much to drink last night I’m thinking at no one at FCS actually wanted to wake up for this game [7am PT] and left the interns to call the match. Agreed it was nice to get a break from the ESPN folk, but come on, a quick free kick 30 yards out is not a “short corner”.
    I was happy to see Spector playing SOLID in the middle – man of the match. Good energy from Benny, and Jr. played well with him but again we lost him for long periods of the match. Dempsey —– F@$K —- enough all ready. Did anyone else see him walk off the pitch when he was subbed? Visibly pissed off, muddling under his breath, and didn’t even bother to walk to the half line, shake hands, or be a teammate. He had small interjections of play but unmotivated [accept for his rant at the AR for calling a throw in the wrong way], seriously is that the moment Dempsey shows the most emotion on the pitch? Come on Bobby, be the coach, and its time for Clit to sit come Denmark. Weak call that lead to the PK. Strong possession but with the packed in defense from Slovakia the instinct to goal was stifled. Would like to see EJ and Jozy have a chance to start on Wed. where hopefully we’ll have a better pitch.
    Well played, good composure, and overall a strong performance for the friendly.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/14 at 12:18 PM

      Good comments Thomas — we’ll be out in a few moments with our review piece.

      Agree on Dempsey — I think he played more inspiring almost trying to will himself into the vet role, but I saw a visible gesture at Altidore that was completely uncalled for. JZA had a bad touch, but don’t show up your teammate on the pitch….especially in a friendly.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/11/14 at 12:19 PM

      Oh, and the announcers, they made some mistakes, but they weren’t nearly as bad as the S-Pen announcers.

      I thought they generally called a good game given that I was expecting a JV effort from them.


  6. Posted by Berg on 2009/11/14 at 12:25 PM

    My thoughts on the game

    -I’m much more hopeful for Bornstein now than I was a year ago. It’s weird to say that about a guy who got beaten a few times, but I think he’s playing smarter soccer. That PK was a bit of gift in my eyes.

    -The midfield looked decent. I saw more effort out of Dempsey than he’s exhibited for a while (and what a great free kick), Rogers looked within his class and Feilhaber injected life into the US attack. Bradley displayed his penchant for holding on to the ball too long on occasion but broke up attacks fairly well. Dax looked like he was pressing a bit to me (understandable for a sub and a guy getting his first cap).

    -Guzan looks like he won’t be the one to break the strong goalkeeping tradition of the US. Very good positioning.

    -Slovakia certainly packed in on D and relied of Weiss (who I thought looked very pacey and dangerous) to provide some offense. Skrtel is not someone I would want to meet in dark alley (and I’m a Liverpool fan).

    -Didn’t form much of an opinion on EJ. Concerns about Cunningham getting bodied of the ball look valid. If RSL is out after the weekend, I’d bring Findley in. And why no Kenny Cooper? Does Bradley simply feel he already knows what he has in Cooper and it’s not enough?

    -Give Castillo and Torres a call up. I really want to get a look at Castillo coming down the left side as a middie.


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