Futility Continues on European Soil
You can’t fault the US National Team for effort, but once again our national team looked terribly outclassed by a European side on European soil. The U.S. backline was once again burnt repeatedly on the counter attack, and if it were not for some outstanding goalkeeping by Tim Howard, the scoreline could have been far worse than 1-0 in favor of Sweden. Some positives can be taken from the match despite the loss, but far too much of the play indicated that the US still has a major class gap to make up with the top European and South American National Teams to be considered a real factor in World Football.
- DaMarcus Beasley was the best player on the pitch for either team in the first 45 minutes. He created several dangerous opportunities and made some very well timed runs. He also barely missed on a shot early in the match.
- Pablo Mastroeni proved again today that despite his advancing age, the US must have him in the lineup to seriously threaten high caliber opposition.
- Brian Ching’s late scratch from the lineup forced Landon Donovan to play as a Forward where he saw very little of the ball.
- Michael Bradley did well against weaker CONCACAF opposition in the Gold Cup but early on he looked completely outclassed in this match. Bradley did settle down later and play well in the second half.
- Clint Dempsey and Carlos Bocanegra have taken their horrible Premiership form to the National Team. Quite honestly, Bocanegra has been a train wreck for the National Team since his ill fated clearance against Ghana in Germany 2006 cost the US a penalty and the game. Bocanegra is a Bob Bradley favorite going back to his days with the Chicago Fire, but if I were managing the US squad, I would drop him altogether. Bocanegra is reckless as a tackler, and is typically positioned very poorly when the opposition counter attacks. As for Dempsey, his place is in jeopardy if Benny Feilhaber who played yet another solid match today learns to play wide on the right side.
- Bobby Convey is a long way from full fitness to play on this level.
- Jonathan Spector has the potential to be the US’ best field player hands down. I’ve said this for a while and really still believe it. Spector has been good for West Ham United, but ought to be given a shot to play on the right side for the US, rather than being shuffled around the way he has by Bradley.
- I was very impressed by both Kamani Hill and Charlie Davies who came on late for the US. Both youngsters showed an ability to hold the ball and demonstrated a better first touch than many of the more seasoned internationals on the squad.
The US has a ways to go to be a true threat to the top world footballing nations. While that’s a depressing thought, the US did perform much better than I believed they would in this match, and things could be worse……you could be losing at home to your arch rival in your national stadium the way England did today!