Home Recycle Center: Hondo Lays It On

TSG decided to take in last night’s game from the edge of the American Outlaws Supporter section 137.

137? AO. 138? Somewhat Honduran. 139? Extremely Honduran.

If you’re unfamiliar with the American Outlaws, they are a USMNT supporter group that started in 2007 and for last night’s friendly probably had close to 150 people eating up rows in the far corner. The American Outlaws were kind enough this past summer to reach out to The Shin Guardian saying they loved our writing (A big “Thank You!” back) and wanted to offer it via links to their constituents.

Thanks AO. We enjoyed the camaraderie and it’s a great group you’ve created to support the United States. Thanks for a memorable experience off the field!


My brother drove past the Home Depot Center earlier in the day before yesterday’s 3-1 Honduras answer to San Pedro Sula and commented, rather snidely, “They didn’t even have the game up on the broadcast board.”

Well, that might have been just as well.

What?! What! You're giving me a yellow for this?!

In a game where the U.S. wasn’t looking for a result so much as looking at the result of a few weeks of work, a 17th min sending off of  World Cupper Jimmy Conrad changed what could have been a competitive fun trial of players into a struggle for quick and precise ball movement on a narrow Home Depot Center field.

Conrad was booked for a debatable but understandable yellow on a break in the opening minutes. However his 17th minute sending off was, in this writer’s opinion, clearly not warranted without a warning. Forget that this was a friendly, a lay off pass to Carlos Pavon saw the offender’s head down as he drove a ball over the top of the crossbar…were Pavon to play the ball across the goal face or were he to even look up to make a pass….or were the tug on Jerry Palacios a clear and direct action to the Honduran stumbling…maybe a yellow would have been warranted. Not a yellow, and this writer’s analysis is not colored.

You make the call on Conrad’s yellow… did the tug warrant a yellow? Was it after the play? Check the :40 mark here:

As Bob Bradley more aptly put it afterward, the States “were forced to chase the game.”

Upon Conrad’s sending off, Carlos Pavon converted two penalties–the first called back by a line violation–and La H were up 1-0 on the way to a victory that saw them continually squirt through a now-weakened US central defense. With Conrad presumably watching from the lockeroom, the US went with a back 3.5 so to speak as Robbie Rogers often drifted back to the rear guard and did a decent job foiling the Honduran wingers.

With the back line reconstructed, the US got popped again right before halftime. Pavon streaked down the States’ left flank beyond Rogers and as Bornstein gave chase lifted a beautiful curling cross to Palacios (Wilson’s younger brother). For those of us with a great view, it was disappointing as an audible Troy Perkins called out the play and Chad Marshall, with at least a few inches on Palacios, failed to get so much as a hip on the barreling Honduran. 2-0.

Marshall: Behind the play most of the day....

Before we get to our customary review structure, let’s make a few points what we saw in the spirit of evaluation.

♦ Bob Bradley came our with a rather odd line-up and set of tactics to start this one out.

»Robbie Findley and Jeff Cunningham paired up top. While this was a coupling that many USMNT fans clamored for, it left the United States without chemistry on lead runs up top.

» In a strategy that is becoming more of the Yanks’s homemark, Bob Bradley–in a nod I’m sure to Coach USA’s fanatical focus on defense–drew Sasha Kljestan and Robbie Rogers in and pushed the fullbacks up the field. Not a bad tactic, with the exception of it left Marvell Wynne as really the only player making runs up the wing on the evening. That too would have been fine….if he wasn’t crossing it to Robbie Findley (5’9”) and Jeff Cunningham (5’8”), both of whom were outmuscle and outclassed in the air all day.

What the aforementioned strategy also did was congest the midfield, with many times both Robbie Rogers and Benny Feilhaber in possession having to go sideways or force the pass through…didn’t work.

♦ On the positive side, upon Jimmy Conrad’s absence, Jonathan Bornstein did yeoman work covering the middle and the left flank when attackers would squeak through. Sure it was not top competition–but if you can’t see Bornstein’s maturation as a player over the past year…well then you’re not watching.

♦ Something that the U.S. did extremely well was not overrun and move fluidly between position and position. Findley and Cunningham could be found on opposite sides of their lead foots to limit overrunning. Kljestan and Bedoya–a late time sub– could be found wandering appropriately around the field with other’s covering their space. Some decent team movement, if not offensive movement or ball movement, for the USMNT.

Now our customary awards and follow-up:

Best Play of the Game: (Brad Davis to Clarence Goodson) In a game where there were few standout plays, Clarence Goodson was nothing short of an animal in not being denied on Davis’s 2nd half cross and subsequent score. Goodson went at it hard, clean and high and nailed a “Get-Off-Of-Me!” header.

Johnny B Good...Very good on the day...

• Most Unheralded Play of the Game: (Jonathan Bornstein) While there were more than a handful unheralded plays in this game, nearly all of them were made by Jonathan Bornstein. In the 35th minute with the US still struggling to find their footing after the sending off, Bornstein chased an errant defender and slid, tackled and stopped what would have surely been a solid threat on the US goal. Bornstein’s slide was like pulling up for a long three on a fast break in basketball…as you could almost here the undercurrent in the stand’s of “No No No….Yes!” Just like the three, only good if you nail it. Bornstein did.

At the 74th minute, Bornstein, calmly came up on a looping clearance, was surrounded by three Honduras, deftly received the ball on his chest, controlled and squeaked a pass up to Alexander Bedoya. That one could have been trouble again.

Golden Shinguard: (Jonathan Bornstein) While many have castigated Bornstein in the press, TSG has always backed the skilled but inconsistent defender. If you couldn’t see Bornstein’s class on the day, like we said before, you were blind.

With the quarterback of the defense Conrad knocked out by red, Bornstein stepped into the communication role and could be seen chattering incessantly in the back moving his teammates into position. Bornstein also shifted comfortably between moving to the wing and staying in the center while managing the defense. That’s like asking a CEO of say Toyota, to drop down the factory floor and improve the assembly line…it’s hard to balance responsibilities.

Despite all the defensive focus, it was Bornstein at the 84th minute or so getting up the field to try to make a play on a cross on offense.

You had to like his game on the day.

With TSG focusing on potential World Cup rostered players in the game, Bornstein made one errant angle on a cross in the first 10 minutes and then at the 42nd failed to come out (with an offender on his hip though) to take away a straight on shot (and miss). Other than that, we say flawless for the Chivas man.

TSG: What We Were Looking For:

» On the forefront of everyone’s mind: Robbie Findley v. Jeff Cunningham. Who’s got Charlie-In-A-Bottle?

With both players in the starting 11, this was an opportunity for one to rise above the other in the pecking order for RSA. Both players showed their lack of international experience and while neither distinguished themselves, it was Findley who went the distance and played some admirable defense as well.

TSG says Bob Bradley is thinking, “I know what I’ve got with Cunningham…I’ll give a lot more playing time here to the younger, stronger Findley and see how he progresses before I make my choice.”

So it’s Findley’s spot to earn in our opinion.

» Eyes on the central defense pairing for both 2010 and 2014 and

» Back to the midfield, can Eddie Gaven impress the USMNT fan base?

Didn’t learn much on the first or and obviously, with Gaven inactive for the game, didn’t learn anything on the second.

Conrad was the signal caller and partnered Chad Marshall to start. What we watched after Conrad’s dismissal was Clarence Goodson warm up for the remaing 20 minutes of the 1st half and then finally enter as Cunningham gave way to begin the 2nd.

What we saw out of central defense, beyond Conrad’s 17-pack of minutes, was Chad Marshall and Clarence Goodson looking very Gold Cup Final 2009. Both wilted in the face of strong seasoned strikers. Whereas in the Gold Cup it was Vela and Dos Santos for Mexico, yesterday it was Pavon, whose cross victimized Marshall in the 1st and Espinoza in the 2nd half who befuddled Goodson.

Game ready for 2010? In a pinch for Marshall.

2014…enter Omar Gonzalez who didn’t make it out there…but we’ll leave that call open.

» There’s an opening here for the wingfulls with experience: Heath Pearce and Marvell Wynne stand up and be counted.

There was an opening….that is now likely closed. Both Wynne and Peace (in his short time) appeared to be indecisive and pressing. Wynne played the entire game and looked somewhat confident going forward and creating opportunities that he would then give back and more through his defense.

Speaking of Wynne’s defense or lack thereof, the Toronto man was unsure of himself on headers–continually it appeared he wrestled with whether to come up and challenge or let the offender receive and stay off him. Numerous times one-on-one moves or one-two’s beat him down the right flank.

That’s a problem. It’s understandable being a little hesitant and conscious of team positioning. However, on one-on-one plays when it was just Wynne against his man? Well, we’re betting Marvell is hoping the coaching staff lost the tape.

Pearce for his part, played a scant 10 minutes at the end of the game, and seemed to have the demeanor of exasperation of not getting on the pitch until that time. Pearce flubbed a cross trying to make something happen and then on a forward run at the end, through up his hands in exasperation as Brad Davis missed him with a pass.

Neither showed well on the day…but alas one observation with their squad at 10-men.

One of the few times that Alejandro Bedoya was tripped up on the day....

» The pace, the moves, the 1-on-1 ability….any chance Alejandro Bedoya is the name we’re talking about after this one.

And here’s your bright spot folks. While Bedoya had a few near giveaways in the middle of the field, the youngster from Sweden was constantly chattering on the pitch, looking for opportunities to press the issue. Bedoya also showed surprising strength in bump-and-dribble situations and created a few chances down the right flank.

Deserves another look.

Player Ratings

Summary: Compromised at the beginning by the sending off, the USMNT first half squad struggled with slow ball movement and poor spacing in doing virtually nothing in the offensive end. In the second half, as the score was upped by the Hondurans and the Coach Bob introduced subs, the energy and play by the home side rose and chances that led to one goal and few balls around the posts and crossbar seemed to come more easily.

C: Bob Bradley – 4.5

The story will likely not change on Bob Bradley. Good preparation and teams that play together with an understanding of their schemes–those are Bob’s strengths. The negative, either a line-up that didn’t work or the set of tactics accompanying that line-up didn’t work.

Why pull Sasha Kljestan in on the right where he needs to be very involved in the run of play to make anything happen? Sacha who didn’t play strong might have been more of a casualty of the system he was in.

Why play Robbie Findley and Jeff Cunningham off of one another?…Why not set them up with Conor Casey whose presence was felt when he came in?

GK: Troy Perkins – 5

Tough to give as high of a rating as a 5 for a player that gave up three goals. To be fair, only possibly the 3rd could have been prevented with a different play on the ball by Perkins. Communicated as best as possible with his defense.

Oh…where are the Tim Howard-comes-out-too-often folks out there. Perkins could…we say could have come out and perhaps prevented or disrupted two of the goals.  Howard surely would have come out on the 3rd. One strategy is not better than other, but it’s worth pointing out potential hypocrisies of the critics.

LB/CB Jonathan Bornstein – 7.5

Pressed into an unexpected situation, Bornstein in one word, shined. The Golden Shinguard outright.

CB: Jimmy Conrad – Inc.

Let’s be honest. The very direct Conrad has battled boneheaded plays his whole career. His first yellow was borderline warning vs. card in quality. The second, a bit difficult.

Being it a friendly, Conrad should have been more careful after the 1st…but it’s hard to fault him as well.

CB: Chad Marshall: 2.5

We should expect more of Marshall at this stage and we’ve said a several times he needs to play against better competition. Because when he does play against high-level competition on the national team level, he’s shaky. Marshall’s play yesterday seemed to scream something like, “They’re not going to make that play” in regards to the precision of the Honduran offense. Well, the Hondurans did.

Failing to get at least a hip on the streaking Palacios after Perkins pointed him out? Somewhere between “not cool” to inexcusable.

RB: Marvell Wynne: 1.5

Marvell gets 1.49 of that rating for his offense, because his defense was despicable. Whether he had not faced hardcore attacking in awhile is not the issue, Wynne got beat every which way and constantly put his fellow defenders in harm’s way. Not a good showing.

LM: Robbie Rogers: 5

One of the few offenders that tried to generate opportunities out of nothing on multiple occasions. Had just a gnarly dipping, and right footed we might add, shot from beyond the 18 that had the post screaming, “No mas!” as the marble clanged off.

Got beat a few times down the left, but was up for the rearguard help. That was a positive.

DM: Kyle Beckerman: 4.5

An average one for the RSL man. Created nothing on offense and didn’t destroy the middle on defense. Played a step slow against “B” level competition. Showed for outlet passes and didn’t make dumb mistakes though.

AM: Benny Feilhaber: 4.5

Feilhaber did well to possess the ball in the middle for the Yanks. However his passing was off. Forced to move laterally on many offensive situations, Feilhaber accomplished little in getting his teammates involved.

Twice on defense Feilhaber went at the offender to stop a run or for a jump ball. Came out on the wrong end both times.

RM: Sacha Kljestan: 3

This is not a horrible rating for Kljestan, but Kljestan’s game just didn’t mesh with the offensive strategy of the home side.  Kljestan, by my count, made one run down the line all game. Now maybe Bob told him to stay central, but Kljestan only attempted to get involved sporadically and created maybe one opportunity at best.

Lost his man on defense twice as well. Not a good move.

STR: Robbie Findley: 4

Just couldn’t get off. Didn’t have the service, but also didn’t create it all the times. Got eaten up by the Honduran defense on many over-the-top balls. Had a few smart runs–we think–that was on the opposite side of the field in the 1st half.

STR: Jeff Cunningham: 3.5

I think Bob Bradley knows what we has here and it’s not a first resort for South Africa. Cunningham beyond being knocked off the ball again was a little too cute in possession. Didn’t look like that same FC Dallas player that shredded defenses in 2009.


Goodson: Gave up a call, but solid on headers...

Goody: Gave up the goal, but solid in the air....

A null in the personal positive-minus game as his questionable defense led to the 3rd goal. Goodson made up for it with that “Get-Off-Of-Me!” header afterward. Did win a number of over the top balls.

Alejandro Bedoya – 5

In limited action, created a number of chances. Proved deft in one-on-one runs, passed effectively. If he didn’t have two near-death giveaways in the middle of the field, this rating is higher.

Heath Pearce – 4

We mentioned Pearce’s play above.

Brad Davis – 5

The Dynamo leftie played well in his brief time. Cracked a serious attempt on a free kick and had the gorgeous service that led to the lone USMNT goal. Created some opportunities with movement off-the-ball and on-the-ball.

Dax McCarty – 5

Did his role as the hub of the offense. MOVED THE BALL QUICKLY. Apologies, we just had to write that in caps on a day when the US squad suffered from poor, slow, and off-target passing.

Got knocked around a little, but also handled some of those physical tackles better than expected.

Conor Casey – 5 4.5 (revised)

CC lived up to all of his stereotypes tonight. His lack of dribbling prowess hurt him as he tracked back to factor in the offense, yet he also ate up more than one defender on many occasions in the center.

Should have nailed the 2nd goal for the U.S. on a pretty service from Davis I believe, but duffed it wide, like 9th minute salute wide. You got to start hitting more of those Casey.

Some other attendance notes on this one:

The announced attendance of this one? 18,000. If that was the case, then there are 27 people currently living in my bedroom. Not the case–maybe 12,000? The crowd was somewhere between 2/3 to 3/4 Honduran of which the fans were vibrant, loud, and gracious in winning. If the United States is going to share it’s “home” field with anyone, the Hondurans are a good choice. Class.

• Are ethnic dishes for the visiting team customary? Very impressed that a full concession was devoted to “authentic” (I can’t tell…apologies) Honduran food. Very nice Home Depot Center.

• For $30 for the US Supporters Club, fans after the game go to go on the field….and that is all. Hmmmm.

• FSC had a booth set-up for promotion of the Champion’s League in HD. They were giving away bag tags to South Africa, but they had no other news–I asked–on the HD channel. The guys there said they only got budget for the bagtags…just odd.

32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Erin on 2010/01/24 at 5:41 PM

    In player ratings, it should be Brad Davis instead of Brad Evans


  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/24 at 5:42 PM

    Thanks fixed…and I’m neither a Dynamo or Sounder fan… :>


  3. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/01/24 at 5:46 PM

    In a game where the phrase that was most used by other USMNT fans was “Chad what the hell were you doing?” mine was “F!@#ING MARVINHO!(my buddy’s nickname for the Wynner)” as in “MARVINHO WHAT THE F!@#” as in. .. you get it. All in all, Marvell was garbage. ‘Nuff said.

    Benny did a lot of manuevering in the midfield, but there just wasn’t enough space(and the HDC pitch does look relatively smaller than others fields to the naked eye).

    Bradley’s starting strike-pair was awkward, although I can see his train of thought. He should’ve started CC to actually give Marvinho a target for his lackluster crosses, but he wanted to see what JC could do. Robbie Findley was in the 11 no doubt in my eyes.

    Bedoya didn’t look that fast to me, and i didn’t see many 1v1 moves. maybe next month.

    Back to CC. I saw some nifty footwork from him in tight spaces. He even tried a counterclockwise stepover with two defenders about 6 inches from him which i thought was hilarious.

    I didn’t think El Pistolero had that good of a game, seeing as I’m used to him actually taking playters on 1v1 with a few stepovers & nutmegs(od i hate that term) hear & there. Nice boomboosa though.

    Evans looked VERY composed on the ball. He had a lot of swagger & presence when he came on. Looked as if he was a regular.


  4. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/01/24 at 5:49 PM

    Algeria came from 1 down to beat Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals of the ANC. 0.0


  5. Posted by Evan on 2010/01/24 at 5:56 PM

    I was at the game and although I was disappointed overall, the main thing that really got to me is how disrespectful some of the Honduran fans and for that matter some of the American fans in my section were. It all started out well, there was some playful banter just as there always is, but my brother and I got super pissed when around the middle of the first half a few Hondurans started making monkey sounds whenever Cunningham or Findley touched the ball. I didn’t understand this, not only is it 2010, but Honduras has many black players as well. My brother and I finally turned around and told them to shut up when Findley got caught in possession and a guy two or three rows behind us told him to “go back to Africa”. Fortunately there was only a minority of the people who were acting like that but I was still really shocked that something like that could happen in this country.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/24 at 7:01 PM

      Wow Evan…didn’t see that at all.

      My brother and I were around Honduran fans–we’ve got a great pic to share–and we also walked out with them.

      I would chalk it up as less Honduran fans…but there are ones in every group. And in fact, to be fair, I heard a number of Americans fans that we turned around and told to shh singing “”Dirty Hondurans.”

      All I hope is that if anyone is reading this publication that partook in that then please it is very unbecoming. If you hear something like that during the game be cordial but vigilant in asking folks to stop.

      In the case I think it was just…some bad apples…not one group or another.


    • Racism is more overt in the rest of the world. Attend a Seria A game. By the end, you’ll think America is a racial paradise. At least here, the racists are behind closed doors. Does it make any sense? No. Does it happen? Yep.


  6. Posted by Arcticrules on 2010/01/24 at 6:24 PM

    Brad Evans DNP. It was Brad Davis. Conrad completely at fault for getting the red. He was the Captain!!! For goodness sake. It was a terrible place to put yourself in by pulling at the shoulder of another player to slow him down on a break, much less one who didn’t have the ball and who wasn’t going anywhere you couldn’t get first and


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/24 at 6:58 PM

      True on Conrad as the captain…but here are my comments:

      1) Bob Bradley made him the captain….

      2) There was quite a bit of contact and ruff housing all over the pitch that was stronger.

      I’m fond of saying that refs can call a physical game or a non-physical one…just be consistent…didn’t see that in the earlier going.

      I’m watched that youtube clip now about twenty times and I still see the same thing…not enough of a shirt tug, the shirt tug coming behind the play and the ball already being struck over when it happened.

      That being said, if there is a rebound it does put the ref in a quandry.

      You’re right…Conrad was at fault for getting the red…did he deserve one in my opinion…no.


  7. Posted by timmy on 2010/01/24 at 6:43 PM

    I watched the game on TV… this was very disappointing. I think your ratings above on the majority of the players are too high. I saw zero creativity, zero swagger, zero confidence on the ball (especially in the first half), and there was very little determination from the US players. No one knew what to do with the ball after they received it. It was like watching a really bad movie where you get up and leave the theater before it ends. I say fire them all. This was a disgrace. I expected much more, but this group did not win any new supporters last night and definately lost some. Shame on us for that lackluster performance. Horrible – Horrible – Horrible. This isn’t the 1990s; expectations are higher; Ok…I am done venting now.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/24 at 7:07 PM

      Timmy: TSG ratings are known to be high.

      That being said–maybe our Coach Bradley rating should have been lower–the US suffered from poor ball movement (not Bradleys fault), but then the tactics of drawing in the wing midfielders on a small pitch. Well then, Coach USA, how do you expect to get through the middle of a narrow field if you have your four midfielers and their defenders packing it in?

      Couple that with the poor passing and then having two strikers that like to make the same runs…stir in being a man down…and you’re bound to make a mess.


  8. Posted by Oliver Gaspard on 2010/01/24 at 7:01 PM

    I’ve only been visiting this site for a couple of weeks now and I really enjoy the content but I feel like you guys really should take the time to edit your pieces before you post them. I don’t want to be the douche who complains about grammar but if you would’ve just had somebody read through this article before you posted it, you could’ve easily eliminated the many errors.

    As far as the game was concerned, I turned it off at halftime. Even without the sending off, the performance by the team as a whole was disgraceful. The best word to describe how they looked is UNPREPARED. As usual, Bradley looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I still don’t expect the team to make it past the group stages in the World Cup, no matter who’s healthy.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/24 at 7:04 PM

      No problem Oliver; appreciate the feedback. I’m prone to errors for sure–what I typically do is click “Pending Review” so that I can see how the layout looks on the site. In this case, I hit publish and thought I had hit pending review — it ended up on the site about 1 hour before I wanted it to.


    • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/01/24 at 10:20 PM

      Wait, you’re judging our World Cup squad based upon the lineup last night? That’s what you just said?


      • Posted by Oliver Gaspard on 2010/01/25 at 8:44 AM

        No, I’m saying that, once again, a squad coach by Bob Bradley looks completely unprepared to play. I realize that the talent level will be (much) higher once the full squad is together but we still have a terrible coach.


        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/01/25 at 10:18 AM

          I know many of the first XI were missing, but what disappointed me was that there were many situations where the US had the ball at the back with only one Honduran in sight. Instead of playing the ball to a defensive teammate, the player hit it long. How can nobody want the ball? Surely, at this level, you should be playing the ball to feet and playing out from the back? I really couldn’t believe that nobody wanted the ball and that the only option was to play the long ball. Obviously, the red card affected the game, but it is no excuse for the basic errors.

          IMO the only conclusion you can draw is that nobody really made a claim for a spot on the 23 man WC squad. We all knew that outside the first team, the quality was very thin – I just think that the US is in a worst state than I actually thought. It is hard to have a Plan B or C when you don’t have the personnel to execute.


  9. Posted by ed on 2010/01/24 at 7:17 PM

    ah, we were in the same section. this was my first game as a member of a.o. i met some outlaws in slc, liked the passion, signed up. it was fun hanging out @ the pub before with them, and my friend even joined up then and there (we’ve got at least 6 on our way to a fresno chapter).

    i wrote up a piece on my experience of the game, if you’re inclined to read it fine. anyway, i would definitely say that the second card on conrad was complete crap. palacios whips around like he’s been staked to the ground and hit the end of his leash. that touch on the shoulder wasn’t a foul, let alone a card.

    i have to disagree with your take on conor casey. he can’t dribble, which you concede. so most balls that come to him tend to be mishandled and are unproductive. he dummied a header chance, and the ball went to honduras. he’s a freaking tall striker, headers are supposed to be his! and his one “shot” looked like it came off his shin guard. again, you’re a striker, have a better touch. no way that his time on the field was a 5.

    i enjoyed your breakdown, and agreed with a lot of your assessments. good work this week fellas.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/24 at 8:36 PM

      I think you’re right Ed…I should drop Casey a notch or so.

      On a tangent, you know who would have been perfect for this game if he played up to his height. Kenny Cooper.

      He remains the biggest enigma to me on potential front line strike options.


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/01/25 at 12:48 AM

        I’m still marvelling at how you could give Marvinho as much as a 1. He deserves a negative rating for a completely negative display. Speed ain’t everything, maybe he could learn a thing or two from the King(of Honduras)


  10. […] second-stringers soundly beaten – ESPN Home Recycle Center: Hondo Lays It On – The Shin Guardian Shorthanded or not, US squad has long way to go before World Cup – […]


  11. Posted by Joe on 2010/01/24 at 9:17 PM

    If Conrad wanted to be rough he should of layed out a guy and taken a yellow for that to show his dominance rather than tug 2 shirts and get a horrible red.

    Wynne looked TERRIBLE like usual I must say.
    I was really interested before the game on how Kljestan would play, hes always practicing according to twitter. tomorrows tweet better say PRACTICING SOME MORE.
    Marshall– way to lose any hope my friend.

    I cant blame Benny because he was a lost puppy doing circles through the midfield. He was totally getting double teamed and dominated.
    Bornstein to my surprise looked sharp although his turnovers are a KILLER sometimes. Needs to work on that.
    DAX- definitely caught my eye, hes got pace and he likes to move quickly, hes not a sit back and wait kinda guy. Im rolling my wagon down the dax-trax this month.

    Lets see what happens in Tampa…..if we can play with 11 guys for more then 17 mins.


  12. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2010/01/24 at 10:19 PM

    A few observations.

    Conrad is past it. He’s a great guy, and should be in camps to provide that veteran leadership, but he’s pulling people down because he can’t keep up with them. When he got his first yellow I said “We’re in trouble if our central defender has a yellow already.” He made it too easy to get the second yellow. It was a bit harsh, but you can’t give any ref the chance to call it. WC refs will be much tighter in their calls. Other than a couple of late yellows that weren’t given to Honduras, I think Archundia did a decent job.

    I never want to see Wynne get another shot. He’s strong, and he’s fast, but he doesn’t understand soccer at this level. He killed more US attacks than the Hondurans, and got beaten defensively pretty regularly. Other than that, he had a great game.

    Bradley made a tactical error by playing Findley and Cunningham at the same time. They’re too similar, and neither knew his role. We’re going to fail miserably playing two little guys against real teams (oh, like England.) When Casey came in, Findley became much more effective running off him. I think Cunningham might have had similar success playing off a big, hold-up forward.

    Klejstan (sp?) was terrible. He had almost no influence on the game, besides a negative one. He did a lot of standing around, and a fair amount of aimless running into heavily defended areas. It was almost like he was trying to play his way off the team. I think he’ll have the rest of the friendlies to show he belongs. Things don’t look that good for him, but I’m guessing he gets taken along anyway.

    I was pleased with Perkins. He was strong in the air, and distributed quickly and effectively. He might have done a bit better on the third goal, but it’s tough to ask a keeper to make a save like that at point-blank range. No keeper in the world would have stopped the first PK, and the second one was very tough. It was hit very hard. He guessed right. Perkins will earn his keep making strong plays in the air and distributing well. The loss is in NO way on his shoulders.

    Rogers was poor in the first half but improved in the second. Feilhaber needs better players around him to make an impact.

    Against my prior biases, I thought Bornstein had a very good game. He was under decent control, broke up many attacks and linked up well with the midfield.

    I want to see more of Bedoya. He seems to be pretty calm for a newcomer, and he showed some things.

    That was painful to watch. I’m going to Tampa in Feb. to see them take on El Salvador. I hope the second team has come into better focus by then.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/01/25 at 12:44 AM

      Cunningham is at his best is a lone-striker role(4-3-3 or 4-5-1) seeing as he doesn’t work well off of a partner. I think Matt alluded to this in a previous post, but JC did major damge up top by himself after Coop went bye bye.


  13. Posted by Brian on 2010/01/25 at 12:43 AM

    Findley and Cunningham starting was pointless. They are similar players. Benny had trouble getting the ball to them since they were making the same runs. Those two players basically are competing against each other for a SA ticket.

    johnny b good played strong, often times taking up the CB position in a modified 3-4-2 / 4-3-2. Liked his decisiveness in back. golden shinguard indeed

    As for my game experience, the Honduran fans showed up strong in San Pedro Sula North, but I had some intelligent futbol conversations with most. Many of them expressed their gratitude for USA playing to the final whistle in DC and giving their Catrachos a major assist. The highlight of the weekend for me was catching up with fellow ao members at off campus pub (it’s called something else I believe, because I couldn’t find it though I drove in front of it several times)


  14. bet you guys were wondering where I was…well the 24th was my bday and once i saw that red card i turned the game off…Archundia screwed the game. After watching the highlights and reading several post game accounts im kinda glad i turned it off…not to much to learn when u gotta play down a man for 70+ minutes.


  15. Posted by Jim from NC on 2010/01/25 at 5:12 AM

    Great stuff as usual although I do need to correct you on Pearce (not your rating or description of how he played, but on the number of minutes played). Pearce actually came on in the 61st minute when Coach sweatpants made a mass substitution, so Pearce played about 30 minutes. However he didn’t do much. In my ratings that I shared with my brother I had this to say about Pearce:

    “Pearce – ? – Was he in the game??? All I remember was a weak cross.”

    Keep up the great stuff, I love it!!!


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/01/25 at 7:11 AM

      Thanks for the correction Jim — appreciated.

      I was amazed at the body language.

      Come to think of Kljestan was quiet on the pitch…but also quiet with the refs…well done on that side of things Sacha.


  16. Posted by Bob on 2010/01/25 at 8:33 AM

    After watching the team practice in camp, were there any players that you believed should have played or should have been given more playing time?


  17. Happily, I didn’t watch very much of the match on Saturday night – end of first half and most of the second until I turned it off after about 85 minutes. Watched more of the first half yesterday.

    The Short Version: Jimmy Conrad’s poorly concealed efforts to overcome his own limitations with some trickery made a match that Bob Bradley’s line-up card had already rendered a pointless exercise a completely futile waste of fans’ time.

    Additional thoughts: Sacha Kljestan is a player who is now very far from cutting it at any level higher than MLS. He is not in poor form, he just isn’t very good and never was. How many times does he have to prove it? The hat trick was one of those freak things that happens in footie sometimes. It won’t happen again. Let’s put it in some perspective: Sweden is not going to the world cup and has plummeted from being ranked in the low teens to the 40s over the last four years. Added to that, Sweden’s line-up was every bit as experimental as our 2009 Gold Cup Squad . Excepting that match, in 2009 we lost every match against non-CONCACAF opposition in which Kljestan appeared and were 1-1-1 within CONCACAF. In 2008, Kljestan had a 16 minute appearance in the 0-0 draw vs. Argentina but otherwise didn’t appear against non-CONCACAF opposition: his “run of form” came against the likes of Cuba, T&T, Barbados & Guatemala. The only wins against non-CONCACAF opposition in which Klejstan has appeared came against China, South Africa and Sweden (x2).

    With Beckerman, Conrad, Wynne, why does Bob think these guys keep deserving more chances to prove themselves? Don’t we know exactly what they offer at this point? Didn’t we answer all these questions already? Would much rather have seen Dax McCarty getting a chance to start with Feilhaber. That might tell us something. Add a Bedoya to the mix at the start along with Rogers. TSG is absolutely right not possible starter Casey should’ve seen minutes with both Cunningham/Findley. Playing together? Seriously? And why Conrad. I mean, seriously? Despite missing the 5-0 implosion in the final, Conrad presided over some of the shakiest backline performances at the Gold Cup against World Powerhouse Haiti and Panama.

    The 60th minutes substitutions finally brought some coherence to the side which is odd because these types of matches usually lose coherence once the substitutions come. Really, we should’ve started the game with a line-up far more similar to the one we ended it with. The off-season timing for these players is tough but Bob should be looking for players on the fringes that can provide a spark and gain from the experience for the part they’ll play in the next cycle. He should not be wasting time to see if he can retread all these well-known quantities. If one of those guys is seriously tearing it up in the league, then they can earn a recall, otherwise they don’t belong.

    Bornstein increasing confidence is definitely a positive, but it’s not hard to stand out when the rest of the team is so poor. Feilhaber wasn’t great but showed more than most. He’s a player that plays to the level of his team-mates since his style of play depends so much on the movement of other players. Findley at least kept running until the end. After swinging in the opposite direction, I’m getting ready to start serenading Bob with a chorus of “You don’t know what you’re doing”.


    • “TSG is absolutely right not possible starter Casey should’ve seen minutes with both Cunningham/Findley.” should read “TSG is absolutely right that possible starter Casey should’ve seen minutes with both Cunningham/Findley.”


  18. Posted by zardoz on 2010/01/25 at 2:49 PM

    On both of Conrad’s cards the other player went down way too easily. The first should have been a warning, but it is hard to argue the second. Dumb plays Jimmy, and thanks Archundia for ruining the game.

    Not good when Bornstein had the best game of the starting XI. He really was about the only bright spot of that painful experience. None of the other field starters deserved even a 5. Expected more out of Benny and was really disappointed with Marshall. Nothing else was suprising.

    Forwards looked terrible as a group, though personnel decisions by coach sweatpants and bad service didn’t help. I guess Findley was the least bad.

    In all, players got tested by being in a tough situation, and other than Borny, did not respond. Our lack of depth really got exposed. I’m praying for miraculous healing and no more injuries.


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