Wednesday, May 26, 2010
GK (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann
DF (7): Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein
MD (9): DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Maurice Edu, Jose Torres, Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden
FW (4): Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Hurculez Gomez, Robbie Findley
Well, most of your expectations are there. But Robbie Findley?? The do nothing, I play like a U12 player, and can run really fast Robbie Findley?? No real target man?? Brian Ching sent packing? I don't know. I just don't know about that one folks...of course had Charlie Davies been fit we wouldn't be having this conversation. But I digress, that is the only real question mark from this selection. We can just hope that Findley doesn't play...that is all.
Last night in front of 36,000 on lookers in East Hartford, CT the United States succumbed 2-4 against a solid Czech Republic team. The result is something that we really shouldn't be worried about as it was mostly the fringe players who earned their shots. The United States two goals were all about hustle and being in the right place. Maurice Edu slammed home a loose ball inside the six after a perfect free kick from Stuart Holden which Czech keeper Petr Cech failed to deal with after coming off his line. Edson Buddle threw himself at the ball and the foray off his head fell straight to Edu, who wasn't going to miss from just a couple yards. After conceding the Czechs two goals, one which raised concerns about Oguchi Onyewu's real readiness and the other gave more doubt to Heath Pearce's effectiveness. The United States' second goal was another thing of beauty, as another Stuart Holden set piece delivery, which was sent to the far post, found Clarence Goodson who headed the ball back across the goal mouth and found the head of Hurculez Gomez, who displayed why his ability to be in the right place at the right time. The US then conceded two more goals, which stained the thus far great game of Clarence Goodson who failed to clear a ball from under feet, and then after Maurice Edu was switched to CB after the departure of Onyewu, misjudged a header which allowed the Czech Republic in behind and Brad Guzan was helpless.
But those are neither here nor there, here is what really matters, player ratings:
Brad Guzan- (6)- Could've controlled his backline and organized better, but other than picking the ball out of the net, he didn't have much to do.
Steve Cherundolo- (6.5)- Cherundolo wearing the captains armband was pretty effective and only got beat once all night on a nice nutmeg. He and Spector will battle to the death for the right to start at RB come June 12.
Clarence Goodson- (7.5)- The best player on the field for the United States, outside of the mishap on the Czechs third goal. Solidified his spot on the plane with last nights performance.
Oguchi Onyewu- (4.5)- Showed a lot of the rust that people expected after seeing his first field time in seven months. His movement and 1v1 defending seemed fine, but should've done much better to defend on the Czechs first goal. His 65 minutes was enough for him as he moves towards full fitness.
Jonathan Bornstein- (5)- Easily the most problematic position on the US roster, and neither Bornstein nor Pearce did much to assure the coaching staff or fanbase.
DaMarcus Beasley- (6)- Showed the speed, the flash, and the willingness. His spot is assured.
Maurice Edu- (7)- Minus the misjudgment on the fourth goal, the US' fulcrum in midfield made a statement about his willingness and ability to start next to Michael Bradley.
Jose Torres- (6.5)- A better outing than his last one in the Netherlands. Controlled possession and distributed very well. Another player who made a statement.
Stuart Holden- (6.5)- Showed his class on set pieces and calmness on the ball. Should've done better on the Czechs first goal, but going the full 90 minutes is important for him.
Edson Buddle- (6)- Didn't score, but managed a gritty assist on the US' first goal. Buddle was a player about which the decision was made in the final hour.
Eddie Johnson- (5.5)- A better outing than last time with his full half of play. We can see his improvement in Greece, but I'm not sure it was enough to grab a seat on the plane.
Heath Pearce- (4.5)- A stinker from Pearce in this one. Lost his man on the Czechs second goal and failed to clear the ball on the third. Effectively played himself off the plane. Is it too late to call in Edgar Castillo?
Sacha Kljestan- (3)- Didn't even realize he was playing until halfway through the second half. Worthless and headed home after last night.
Robbie Rogers- (5)- Ehh, mixed reviews on Rogers. Tested Cech with a blistering shot from distance, but past that, wanted to hold the ball for far too long on several occasions.
Hurculez Gomez- (6)- Solidified his spot. He was brought in to score goals and he did just that, though most of the credit goes to Goodson, there's alot to be said for being in the positions to score.
Brian Ching- (5.5)- Typical Ching outing. Played hard, tough, drew fouls, and even set up Gomez with a nifty little nutmeg. Should've done enough to grab a ticket.
Alejandro Bedoya- (5)- Didn't do a whole lot, but was aggressive, attacked with flair and speed. The jury is still out on Bedoya.
That is all...now on to the roster reveal....we'll be back after.
Monday, May 24, 2010
But we've already discussed how I think the US will come out, so we move on the to opponents. The Czech Republic, one of Europe's most highly rated teams, but failed to qualify for this summers tournament after finishing third place in their group behind the US' group-mate in South Africa Slovenia, and Slovakia, who the US lost to 0-1 in November of last year. Still a powerful opponent who the US knows well, after the Czechs thumped the Yanks in the teams' opening game of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
As we speak, I'm sure the coaching staff is watching film of the Czechs and the Turks as the two teams played a friendly two days ago at Red Bull Arena, which was won by Turkey 2-1. Here is the line-up that the Czechs started:
Very rarely do we see teams on the international level play a 3-5-2 formation, but if it works for them then more power to 'em. Breaking down the Czechs is simple, yet difficult in its own right. No real international superstars on the field, except in goal where Petr Cech prowls and has the ability to stop shots some keepers wouldn't even try to save. Their backline is relatively inexperienced, but good enough to hold its own. Its deep midfielders are the ones to watch for. Rajnoch will hound opposing offensive players and is well known for his defensive bite and prowess. Plasil has become a key player for his club side (Bordeaux) in central midfield and has become a playmaker for the Czechs as well. Pudil on the left plank is a scare, with pace and good crossing ability. Fenin and Necid up top aren't exactly world class, but decent enough to take their chances if presented to them. Now ofcourse this is the formation that they cam out in last time out, so perhaps coach Michal Bilek has rested some players to present a sterner test to the United States.
As for the US' starting 11, here are the guys I'd start:
More to come later....