• Findley – Altidore “action” up top.
Both Tuesday and I commented on this going into the game. The US needed creativity motion from their strikers up top. Didn’t happen in the first frame, but also hard to because long balls were so vertical over the top.
• Was it the game plan or the execution in the 1st half?
Here’s my comment I made in the last post section.
The game plan was possession and linking and I thought it was the wrong one early on. Slovenian did essentially what Trinidad & Tobago did in the 1-0 win down away in qualifying. They put three guys near the ball in the middle with one of their strikers drifting back.
Thus Donovan and Dempsey were useless for the most part on the wings because Torres and Bradley couldn’t move the ball, making them sitting ducks for a tackle unless they want to go backwards.
(1) The US did move the ball okay early on, for the first 10 minutes. And then it seemed like the team abandoned the game plan. Altidore, Findley, Donovan all showed centrally for the ball early.
However, through the middle stretch of the half (10 minutes to 35 minutes) the Yanks abandoned this with Donovan and Dempsey staying out wide and neither Findley or Altidore showing for the ball.
I say execution. No help for Torres and Bradley.
(2) The Yanks probably should have moved the ball wide quickly. Both Torres and Bradley–once no one showed for the ball–kept forcing passes that weren’t there vertically with the top four (Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, Findley) also pushed up the field, that shape both didn’t work and continually created counterattack opportunities. One that ended in the 2nd goal.
This pointer *is on Bradley and Torres for not taking the leading and explicitly instructing their receivers ahead of them.
Better things the Yanks could have done? a) Take a page from Barca program and stay a lot closer to the guy with the ball b) Move the ball outside and follow it to support c) Be a lot more patient in possession…
The Yanks do those three things (and eliminate the two goal mistakes were about to talk about) and they’re looking a lot pretty going into the half.
• The first goal is on the central defender
We wrote that maybe Donovan was supposed to drift in or Cherundolo or Bocanegra were supposed to track Birsa on the 1st strike for Slovenia. Looks simply like Onyewu is supposed to step up there. Making it worse, Onyewu shield an off-his-line Howard and ducked on the shot.
The second was a classic counterattack without enough countering defensive precision from the States. Whether Howard was screaming for Onyewu to move up is unknown.
• In possession
Moved the ball outside, predominantly to all the way near the touchline on the right flank. Michael Bradley followed for support. Feilhaber and Dempsey cut in from the left in the middle of the pitch. Altidore dragged to created space.
Much better movement in the 2nd half.
• 70th minute slick free kick
After another foul on Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan lined up for a free kick and conversed with Clint Dempsey.
Donovan instructed Dempsey to move to the left-facing side of the wall and then depart in the moment before he approached and struck. A low liner that Altidore ended up eventually feebly putting on goal, but a really clever move by orchestrated by Donovan.
• Bradley’s goal celebration
A few remarked that the US should immediately ran back on the field.
To me, any goal celebration that celebrates your teammates more so than the goal scorer is alright by me. I loved it.
• Ratings revision
Revised my ratings piece
Upward: Bocanegra, DeMerit
….and that’s all I got for you today….