I had every intention of writing a fairly in depth preview of the USA-England match that happened today but I’m in the middle of moving to a new apartment and that’s not conducive to posting. I don’t know what Weller’s excuse is.
Anyway, had I actually written something, it would have read something like this:
USA needs to attack the wings.
USA needs to neutralize Rooney.
USA needs to shoot the ball any time their inside the midline.
USA needs to play out of their minds.
I’d say they did two of these four things. They certainly did not attack the outside portion of the field. English wings Aaron Lennon and James Milner (and later Shaun Wright-Phillips) all tend to make daring runs deep into the attacking zone making them susceptible to a quick counter-attack. Something the US just doesn’t do is play to the outside. So many times they had the chance to run into space in the corner which would have allowed them to play balls across the box which they excelled at when they actually did it. It frustrates me to watch this team all bunch to one side as much as they do.
Jay DeMerit did a great job of not allowing Wayne Rooney to impose his will on the game. Rooney did find some space late, as he tends to do, but he never had a meaningful impact on the game which was crucial to the United States.
Clint Dempsey’s goal proved that the US did shoot from anywhere and why they should have shot from anywhere. Sometimes you need a little luck.
That last one in the list up there is something that I didn’t feel happened. This was definitely not the best that they can play. Landon Donovan could be more assertive. Michael Bradley can play better. Ricardo Clark can play much better. If they can play like this and pull off a tie against a World Cup favorite…well then I’m pretty excited about the rest of the tournament.
A few more things that I noticed today:
Tim Howard, as usual, was spectacular.
Jozy Altidore’s run past Jamie Carragher in the second half deserved a goal. Consider that a make up for Dempsey’s softy.
Steve Cherundolo had a steady and very good game at the back.
I was surprised to see Robbie Findley start up top with Altidore. I would have liked to have seen Edson Buddle start the game and then have Findley’s speed used as a sub late in the match. Findley wasn’t bad, but he was never a threat to score, either.
The US looked very good on set pieces. I was happy to see that.
Hopefully this match will earn the US some respect around the world. We are not a soccer power, but you overlook us, we’ll take some points from you. With a draw against heavily favored England, the US are primed for advancement as long as they take care of Slovenia and Algeria. I’ll try to do a better job of previewing and reviewing those matches.