USA-El Salvador Halftime Thoughts
Playing Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber and Pablo Mastroeni together is a mistake. You don’t have anyone remotely resembling a playmaker occupying space in the center of the midfield, thus a tendency to push the ball exclusively down the flanks or play long ball seemed to set in at points during the first half.
Landon Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley are supposed to be playing wide but have tended to push inside as the three aforementioned defensive oriented midfielders seem to be laying back.
The US back line continues to be disappointing. Positioning for Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein seems to be a problem and Oguchi Onyewu lacks the closing speed and discipline to snuff out the opposition attack.
DeMarcus Beasley’s goal was a textbook example of why midfielders who charge the scraps on the set pieces should emphasize touch over killing the ball. Beasley’s shot took forever to reach the goal but he placed it perfectly. If your running a clinic show your students Beasley’s goal, not only for his shot but his perfect positioning.
Beasley contradicted his own work with a muffed shot in minute forty three where he tried to kill the ball, once again showing he is much more comfortable with his left foot than his right foot.
Beasley, Donovan and Clint Dempsey all play well together and understand each others game, but I have noticed in the two matches all three have played that they are playing one game and the other seven field players are usually on a different page. Not that that is an awful thing, because you want your veterans to lead by example and all three players understand this is now their team with the retirements of Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride and they need to step it up.
Donovan telegraphed his first PK attempt and was fortunate to get a rebound for a goal that was nullified anyhow. His second PK attempt was much more accurate and well taken, even though the keeper did guess right again.
I’m pleased Dave Johnson who has covered MLS and US Soccer for many years is being used by FSC on these matches.
Guadeloupe is forty five minutes away from advancing to the Quarterfinals, and I want to double check this but I believe they will become the smallest nation to ever advance to the knock out phase of a Continental Championship in any Confederation.