USA Starts Out Strong

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.

4 Responses

  1. USA worked for each other and never gave up, that was key. They still have some communication issues on defense they need to address. Very good result for the Yanks. Big game Friday.

  2. I love soccer! The world cup is working out well for the USA so far. And hey, give Dempsey credit. That shot had to have been pretty hard for it to bounce off the goalie like that. YAY!

  3. This was a really fun game to watch, even as someone who is as ignorant to the sport as I am… One thing I did notice that I would like to point out is that Robbie Findley is FAST… I don’t know if it just jumped out at me, and I know (both from watching the pregame show and reading this post) that it was a bit of a surprise for him to be starting, but the dude can fly… I may only notice this because I’m a track guy and I skated by in any other sport I played by simply being able to outrun most anyone else, and I saw him doing that. It also made me wonder if that’s why the coach decided to start him, knowing that we were below England in terms of skill so we might as well throw somebody out there who can beat them to the ball seeing as we’d be outmatched anyhow… obviously for all I know I may just be giving further display of my ignorance to the world of soccer, but that certainly was something I noticed and the theory I drew from it.

    Either way, I’m stoked that we tied, and have a great chance to advance because of it.

  4. I’ve been out of the country, but did catch the US match up when I was in China. I’m not too knowledgeable on soccer, but was pleasantly surprised how good they looked. I didn’t think we really had much of a chance in beating England, but pulling out a draw was as good as a victory in my eyes! I thought they seemed tentative, but what do I know LOL.

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