Well the US gets three valuable points today. A few observations:
For the third major tournament in a row (2006 World Cup, 2007 U-20 World Cup, 2008 Olympics) the US has come out in a 4-5-1. The fact that this has been done under three different coaches tells me its is the ideal formation for the US play with.
Memo to Bob Bradley: you have an assistant in Peter Nowak willing to make tactical changes based on the opposition. You need to learn to do the same. Nowak showed his maturity as a manager with his changes today.
Marvell Wynne was my Man of the Match. Michael Orozco also deserves mention for a solid effort.
Robbie Rogers was the best US attacking player today constantly finding space and making daring runs.
Sacha Kljestan’s play which was unsettled for about 35 minutes was actually quite good towards the end of the first half and on into the second.
Michael Bradley did a good job of fronting the back four and keeping the flow of play in the US’ favor early in the 2nd half.
Mo Edu’s confidence at the back despite his aggressive play which led to two PK shouts from Japan was very nice to see from a player whose experience is limited on the backline.
Freddy Adu tried to do too much instead of using his team mates. His great shot on goal in the 31st minute and his great move that created a penalty shout in the second half not withstanding, his quality was overall somewhat less than expected.
NBC’s decision to offer every match with high quality streaming video online has been a life saver.
Speaking of announcers, I loved the fact that Rob Stone and John Harkes mispronounced the names of Matt Leinhart and Brett Favre during the Barca-Red Bull match on Wednesday night. Having to put up with the names of soccer players being butchered all the time, turnabout is fair play!
Feel free to comment on this thread during the match.
Guzan reacts late to Lee’s attempt on goal. Needs to come of his line quicker in the future. Nonetheless, the US wins 1-0.
Four minutes of stoppage time.
Minute 90: Good defense by Edu on the touchline.
Brazil takes a 1-0 lead on Belgium. Hernanes the goal scorer.
Minute 88: With the US parking the bus thanks to the additions of Feilhaber and Szetela, Japan is taking the game to the US and for the second time in the last ten minutes Mo Edu commits a foul in the box.
Minute 83: Canada and Mexico did not qualify for this Olympics (Canada actually was closer to qualifying) but it can be argued the three best Americans in this match thus far play their club football in Canada or Mexico.
Minute 81: The Japanese who quite honestly deserve something from this match looking dangerous and pushing forward.
Minute 80: Jozy Altiodre is awkward and takes a bad touch as well when he’s in on goal.
Minute 79: Japan unlucky again as Mo Edu takes down a Japanese attacker in the box and no penalty is called.
Minute 77: T. Honda gets a yellow card for a smart professional foul on Altidore.
Minute 74: Jozy Altidore on for Brian McBride.
Minute 72: Morimoto who has played a good match taken off for Japan.
Minute 71: Honda does his best Adu imitation showing selfishness in the box when he had team mates in position to receive a cross.
Minute 68: Lee makes instant impact for Japan drawing a corner.
Minute 67: A penalty shout for the US, but a good non call in my eyes
Minute 65: Mo Edu just deflects a cross which almost finds Honda for an equalizer.
Minute 64: Michael Bradley enters the book on what should have been a non call.
Minute 63: Robbie Rogers with lots of time on the ball serves in a dangerous cross but Japan deals with it.
Minute 61: Japan has a decent chance off a corner.
Update from Brazil-Belgium, still scoreless in the 57th minute.
Minute 55: The match official after allowing lots of chippy play and elbows in the first half is now whistle happy. Go figure.
Minute 51: After a good few minutes of possession the US gives the ball up and Freddy Adu receives a booking. Interesting considering Japan has been demonstrating some cheeky play all evening and has yet to find anyone in the book.
Minute 46: GOAL! Stuart Holden finishes after a great run by Marvell Wynne down the flank! The Japanese keeper had a clean shot at that and did not make the save.
Japan has had the better of the first half play. Peter Nowak’s tactical change was justified but it hasn’t worked. Japan has exploited the space out wide and created far better chances than the US.
The official blows the half dead when Japan is about attempt a corner. You hardly ever see that and really very unfortunate for Japan.
Minute 45: The US breaks on a quick counter thanks to a great ball forward by Mo Edu. However Japan deals with ensuing corner well.
Minute 41: Freddy Adu fails to clear just outside hos own area and Japan just misses wide with a header. It should have been an offsides but the official misses it.
Minute 40: Marvell Wynne with a last second clearance.
Minute 39: Freddy Adu in the area is dispossed when holding the ball up waiting for help.
Minute 33: Freddy Adu with a nice piece of skill and shot that sails high.
Minute 29: Japan flying again and Brad Guzan has made two decent saves.
Minute 27: A lack of patience is how I would describe the US attack. Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden in the last few minutes have both had time to pick out a team mate and instead have shown a panicky instinct to just place a ball in the middle.
Minute 21: The US escapes on a bad touch by Japan’s attacker with an open net in front of him. Sacha Kljestan has had a number of bad touches and late reactions today thus far: not what we expect from a quality player like him.
Minute 15: The US is really settled at this point with Michael Bradley also playing well in the last few minutes.
Minute 12: Robbie Rogers is stimulating the US attack and all of a sudden the team looks settled
Minute 10: The US looks totally unsettled and disorganized. Not a good start, but not disastrous either.
Minute 7: A good tackle by Michael Orozco springs Robbie Rogers on a quick counter that almost amounts to a scoring chance for the US.
5:00 AM ET Peter Nowak has made the adjustment we had hoped for yesterday, dropping Jozy Altidore from the starting XI and going with a 4-5-1. Robbie Rogers has replaced him as a starter in the only change from what was anticipated.
4:55 AM ET: The NBC Olympic site has Brazil-Belgium live streaming video, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that as well.
4:45 AM ET: Telemundo is showing a pre-game show and a feature in Honduras. MSNBC is showing a re-run of Verdict with Dan Abrams from last night. Again proof of how much the English language media cares about world football.