USA Fails to Impress In First Warmup

I guess that headline is misleading since most of the first team wasn’t used tonight but it was still a disappointing performance.  Some players played their way into my good graces (not that it matters) and some certainly did not during the United States’ 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic.

Once again, this was not a good indication of how we’ll do in South Africa, it was more of a test run for the players who are on the bubble.  We’ll find out around noon tomorrow who is on the team and who will watch it from home.

We’ll start with the few players who impressed me tonight.  I was really watching two things this game: how the forwards performed and how Oguchi Onyewu held up in his first action in seven months.  What I got was a stellar performance, except for one ball that handcuffed him, from Clarence Goodson.  His play in the air was essential to both US goals.  Every set piece was sent to the back post toward Goodson who managed to get his head on a fair amount of them.  The US has relied on Onyewu to get his head on most set pieces since Brian McBride retired.  It would be nice to have another reliable threat in the air.  He also looked solid at the back, aside from the one glaring error that led to the Czech’s third goal.  Goodson should be packing his bags to Africa.

None of the forwards really impressed me, but if I had to pick two I’d go with Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez.  The announcers kept mentioning how Buddle and Eddie Johnson were working well together but Johnson never did anything that jumped out at me.  Brian Ching was also a nonfactor while he was in the game.  Still, Ching gets a spot on my team for experience alone.  At this point, Buddle would get the nod with Altidore up front for my team, assuming Dempsey stays in the midfield.

Robbie Rogers played well off the bench.  He showed some creativity on the flank and wasn’t afraid to test the Czech goal from distance with good shots.

Now for the bad.  Heath Pearce completely demolished any chance he had of making this team.  He was beaten badly twice leading to Czech goals each time.  He wasn’t in the game long enough to have that much of a negative impact.  He was bad.

I was also not a fan of Jonathan Bornstein’s play in the back.  He tends to get beat and then give up fouls in dangerous areas.  That’s not good enough in the World Cup.

Oguchi Onyewu’s performance was…meh.  Not good, not bad.  He was obviously out-jumped on the first goal, which should never happen, but the rest of his game was fine.  I was not encouraged by the way he was limping after he exited in the 65th minute.  I’ll be interested to see how much and how well he plays on Saturday against Turkey.

I’m not sure anyone played his way onto or off the team tonight since Bradley is set to announce the final squad tomorrow but it’s still fun to speculate.  I’ll try and get another post up tomorrow about the final squad, but I have sketchy internet around here, so no promises.

27 Responses

  1. classic

    At best you’re being optimistic ! The US at best will reach the second round that is it as far as the World Cup goes. They”ve no real offense and aren’t that creative in midfield .

    Alan Parkins

    • I don’t think I’m being optimistic to say we’ll reach the Round of 16 and with a little luck, the Quarters. We should beat Algeria and Slovenia and if Germany slips up in Group D, we could take on Australia…probable? No. Possible? Certainly.

      But, yes, we’ll have serious issues scoring goals.

  2. I’ll take optimism. That is the best way for most of us fans to approach the Cup. U-S-A!!!

    • Sue

      Who to your mind is the best player on the US roster ?

      Alan Parkins

    • Obviously not Sue, but Tim Howard is the best.

      The best field player for my money is Clint Dempsey.

  3. I also somehow failed to mention Stuart Holden in this post. He was quite a spark for the US last night.

  4. What spark it was more like a fizzle ! They’re nowhere creative enough in midfield or attack. And that’s what could very well kill their hopes in the competition.

    I’ll be doing some select and incisive pieces coming up on the event.

    Countdown To The One ….

    =======================

    http://tophatal1.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/countdown-to-the-one/

    Click on either of the links to view and let me know what you think as to the merits of the piece ?

    Alan Parkins

  5. classic

    Isn’t it about having confidence rather than hoping that others will assist in your fortune ? If that’s what you think will assist this team then why bother to turn up for the event in the first place ?

    Alan Parkins

    • I certainly have confidence in this team, but I’m not naive. I know we’re not as good as Germany. Therefore, I’d like to avoid them in the second round.

      I watch because of games like Spain in the Confederations Cup. Would I be confident if we played them again tomorrow? No, because they’re the better team. Certainly we could beat them, we proved that. I was there watching that one as well.

      If I was given the option of playing Germany or Australia, I’d choose Australia. You would too. It’s the path of least resistance. You said yourself in your first comment that I was optimistic, which at it’s core, means confident. We’re getting to the Round of 16 and we’ll see what happens from there.

  6. And how many goals do you think that this team will be able to score in this competition ? Because that’s where their struggles will begin and end !

    Alan Parkins

    • We won’t score much unless Dempsey or Donovan plays up front, but as they say “Defense wins championships.”

      In 2006, Italy only score 12 goals en route to the title and three of those came against an outmatched Ukraine team. They were only scored on twice, once by USA, once by France. By comparison, Brazil score 10 goals in two less games; Argentina scored 11 in two less games. It’s possible to win without offense. Do I want to do it? No. But again, it’s possible.

  7. classic

    Keep on thinking along those lines as you can see the defense wasn’t that against the Czechs . And in their first game against England they’d better be ready or else they’re going to be embarrassed . Goal differential is going to play a part in this if they struggle in the event . You get nothing for a 0-0 tie ….. remember that .

    Alan Parkins

    • The game against the Czechs was like the Indianapolis Colts against the Buffalo Bills at the end of the regular season. It’s not the players who will be playing South Africa and it meant nothing.

      The US will not be embarrassed by the English. That coin works both ways. England had better be ready to play or they’ll be embarrassed. Right, Spain?

      And you get a point for a 0-0 tie. If we pull that off against England, we’ll be in control of our own fate.

      I’m not sure what you’re getting at with these comments. You tell me how terrible the US is and then you tell me I’m not confident and then you tell me again that the US isn’t good. Bottom line is this: We are a fine team. We are not the World’s elite, no, but we can beat any team – and I do mean any team – on any given day. And that’s what the World Cup is all about.

  8. That’s hogwash ! The team needs to find a rhythm before the competition starts not once it gets underway .

    They get caught cold from the start an there’s no chance that they’ll recover.

    Alan Parkins

  9. I didn’t say anything about finding a rhythm after the Cup starts? It was the first warm up match…the team roster hadn’t even been set yet.

    If you would like to talk about the rhythm the US found in the second half of the game against Turkey, I’d be glad too. There will be even more rhythm against Australia on Saturday, There’s been too much focus on this meaningless Czech match already.

  10. Explain to me when it is you think that they’ll find their rhythm in the opening game against England ?

    You’ve got to be damn crazy to think Bradley will wait that long .

    See my post Countdown To The One . I’d already provided you with a link to the piece but it appears you’ve nothing to say .

    Alan Parkins

    • Again, I didn’t say we would find a rhythm, style, anything else after the Cup started. I’ll put it another way.

      The Czech game: Disorganized and ugly. This was to be expected since the roster wasn’t set, the regulars were not playing and it was the first warm-up match.

      The Turkey game: 1st half was slack. 2nd half was dominant. Rhythm, style, cohesion, team was found.

      The Australia game: Should be two full halves of solid soccer, making us 100% prepared for England.

  11. You’re thinking that a game played against Australia will prepare the US for what to expect against England ? Why not have Bradley arrange a game against the “Little Sisters of the Poor & Merciless” while you’re at it ?

    Al aka tophatal

    • Dude, they’re warm up games for a reason. Tophatal, you are getting absolutely walked all over in this debate. You have yet to make a single legit point. The US looked good in the second half against Turkey and Australia will provide another good platform to prepare for England.

      This is like if somebody told me the Colts season was shot because they didn’t play well in the preseason. Bryan has a very realistic and tempered optimism for the US team in the World Cup. Can you really fault him for that? He’s not saying they’ll win the whole thing. He’s simply saying they aren’t going to get annihilated ever game either, which is what you seem like you’re expecting.

  12. Yes they are warmups for a reason but don’t you think that Bradley wants to see what his front line players are capable of doing ? Australia isn’t a test ! If you think that then you’re as naive as this piece comes across as being !

    • It’s a WARM UP game. Look at college athletics. Until the schools get into conference play they’re playing against small schools and D-II schools. It’s a warm up. You don’t warm up for England by playing a team just as good as England. You warm up for England by playing teams that you can fine tune your game plan and chemistry against so that when you do play England you have all of that in place and ready to go.

    • Can you provide me with specific quotes from this piece that come across as naive?

      Also, to go along with what Weller said, Australia’s world ranking is 20, which is ahead of both Algeria and Slovenia. Hardly the weak sisters as you seem to think.

      By contrast, England just beat 45th ranked Japan 2-1 on two Japanese own goals. Will that help them prepare for the US? Yes, it will. Because it’s a warm up match.

  13. If you’re now trying to compare professional soccer to collegiate athletics and the regimen there . Then it’s easy to understand the wherewithall of the argument you’re putting forth. But it’ll have no bearing once the competition actually begins. So you think that Bradley playing guys on the borders of attaining a the lead roster is worth it than having his team tuned up and ready to play ? I guess he’d take the same attitude were it Brazil that they were due to play in their first round match .

    When you start to compare what they do in college athletics and that of professional sports as a case for making an argument in this instance it has ’bout as much relevance as a fat girl waiting at a buffet table and looking to make a choice of whether or not she wants a thigh or breast to fill up her plate.

    United States coach Bob Bradley believes the winter conditions in South Africa can have a positive effect in elevating the standard of football at the 2010 FIFA World Cup that kicks of on 11 June at Soccer City in Johannesburg.

    Speaking to FIFA.com upon his team’s arrival at the OR Tambo International Airport, Bradley said the cold weather will be a blessing in disguise for many of the teams. He is also of the opinion that teams that have played on South African soil before will be in a better position to succeed this June and July, and the United States, having played here just 11 months ago, will be one of those teams.
    So far the preparations have been good. We respect everyone in our group, we have some good teams. It’s going to be a tough job, but we have to be ready.

    USA coach Bob Bradley

    “We have been here before, we have played in these conditions. The players know what to expect. It’s good to be back in South Africa again. What I can say is that the team is ready to get started here. This World Cup is in the winter months, and that means it’s going to be cold. That is good for football, because that means teams are going to play at a high pace and tempo,” Bradley told FIFA.com.

    The United States was one of eight teams that participated at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they finished surprise runners-up to Brazil. The final game was a painful moment for the Americans, who went into the break sitting on a 2-0 cushion following a first half performance that shocked everyone.

    However, history will record that the Americans allowed Brazil to put three goals past Tim Howard in the second half. Since then, lessons have been learned and Bradley, the team patriarch, is now wiser – not only about the level of competition but also about the conditions that his team will be expected to perform under.

    Click on the link shown to read the article in full.

    Alan Parkins

    • Stop not making sense.

  14. Is that your intelligent sound byte for the day or acid reflux on your par ?

    Your knowledge of the sport ranks up there alongside Palin’s knowledge on the work of the US Supreme Court and how they operate.

    Alan Parkins

    • I’m going to assume that this comment was not directed at me so I’ll leave it alone. I would still be very interested to hear what exactly out of this post that you found naive.

  15. Man, Parkins. Sounds like you are trying to get readers from this blog to hop over to your blog. You are arguing about nothing just to argue. We are USA fans here and support our team. I don’t much care about your opinion of how the “world” is better than we are. Any given day…any given team…that is all we need to say.

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