Archive for the ‘USMNT’ Category

Don’t Be So Hard On The US

September 11, 2009

After the US’s recent run of form, MLS talk had a podcast discussing, among other things, the state of the USMNT. While I agree with the general themes (the US needs to develop a cohesive style, Bob Bradley isn’t the right man for the job, etc), I feel the gang, and USMNT fans in general, are being a bit too harsh on the team. The United States currently leads the hexagonal and right now that’s what it is all about. Being in form, playing pretty soccer, etc. are all nice things to have, but in WC Qualifying, getting points is where it’s at. The US has beaten Honduras three times in a row, twice at neutral sites, and although Honduras wasn’t with all of its stars for all of those games, we did beat them with basically our D team in the Gold Cup. Going into Honduras and coming out with 3 points isn’t out of the question.

However, they are right when they point out some problems with the US side. Bradley insists on playing like the Italians when that is clearly not our strength. With Altidore, Davies, Donovan and Dempsey we have four very athletic attacking players. Why not let them attack and use our athleticism? Also, something needs to be done about the college soccer system. It simply is not a good forum for developing players. When he was 15, Lionel Messi was at Barca. When the best US players are 15, they are busy scrimmaging away for lazy, unknowledgeable coaches. Also, something needs to be done about Bradenton. Other than Donovan, it hasn’t developed stars.

Also, project 2010 clearly was a failure. I would argue that the USMNT has improved little, if at all, since 1999. I like our depth, and I like the young players like Altidore, Davies, Spector, etc., but clearly we are not serious contenders to win the World Cup next year.

But, that being said, clearly there is some overreaction going on to some poorer than usual form. If the US gets 6 points out of their next two qualifying games and wins the hex (which I don’t think they will, but still) I wonder if the same people who were critical will be touting this US team. Or, will they be pessimistic still?

Three Points

September 10, 2009

With the win tonight, the United States moves into first in the CONCACAF qualifying zone with two matches left, pending tonight’s other results.

And to Bob Bradley: I apologize for questioning your putting Ricardo Clark in the starting lineup. Won’t happen again. Or, maybe I’ll question all the starters so they can all score goals.

USA Vs. T&T Semi-Live Blog

September 9, 2009

Tonight I’ll be semi-liveblogging the World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago. Feel free to stop by and comment.

Tonight’s US Starting 11:

GK: Howard

D: Spector, Onyewu, Bocanegra (C), Bornstein

M: Dempsey, Clark, Bradley, Donovan

F: Altidore, Davies

I guess you want a solid guy on the road, but since we need three points tonight I’d like to see Benny in there instead of Clark.

Why Spector Needs To Play

September 9, 2009

With Oguchi Onyewu out of the El Salvador game due to suspension and his central defensive mate Jay Demerit out due to injury, the US backline was a bit shuffled as Johnathan Bornstein and Jonathan Spector got the starts on the outside. I don’t think Bornstein played terrible, but he didn’t make a great impression as he made the giveaway to lead to El Salvador’s only goal.

But Jonathan Spector is another story. Playing for former Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola at West Ham, Spector has been used in a variety of ways. His natural position is right back, but he has played all across the backline. Spector is a naturally gifted defender, and given the fact that he started his soccer career as a striker, he is very good at getting forward as well. When Spector is pressured, rather than hoofing it upfield as quickly as he can, he usually calmly controls it and gets the ball out of pressure very efficiently.

But what makes Spector most special is perhaps his play on the other end of the field. His runs down the right or left flank almost always are made with purpose, and his crosses nearly always find its mark. With most American fullbacks that I can remember, I was surprised when their cross found its mark. With Spector, I’m surprised when it doesn’t. I understand that people are reluctant to go with new blood this late in the qualifying campaign, but Spector played phenomenally in the Confed Cup and it’s worth a change: The old guard hasn’t elevated US Soccer to where we need to be, so here’s to letting the new guard have their crack.

Trinidad And Tobago Notes

September 9, 2009

Just a couple things to touch on as we all get our matchday eve jitters out of the way:

-The US has a 15-2-3 record vs. Trinidad dating back to 1982.

-The US has a 4-2-2 record in Trinidad.

-A win tomorrow night coupled with an El Salvador loss or draw will ensure a top 4 finish for the US, meaning at worst they will be sent to a playoff with the 5th place team from South America.

-A win vs. Trinidad tomorrow will give the United States 16 points. That would have been good enough to qualify in 2006. It took 17 points in 2002. However, it might take 18 this year.

Players to watch: These 7 players will be suspended for a match if they get booked tomorrow night:

Benny Fielhaber

Landon Donovan

Ricardo Clark

Jozy Altidore

Carlos Bocanegra

Steve Cherundolo

Clint Dempsey

-In the game against El Salvador, Landon Donovan broke Kasey Keller’s record for most appearances in World Cup Qualfying with 32.

-Kickoff is at 7 PM Eastern on ESPNClassic and ESPN360.com