While Mexico struggles to get out of the semifinal round of CONCACAF Qualifying, the US clinched a birth in the final round with two games to spare. This gave Bob Bradley the opportunity to try a new lineup against a side that qualified for the 2006 World Cup on the road: in other words Bradley was able to blood let many of the potential World Cup 2010 starters in the toughest game the US will play in this round.
The loss to a desperate Trinidad and Tobago team that needed a result to continue pursuit of qualifying for a second consecutive World Cup means nothing. The performance with inexperienced players in a hostile environment was quite frankly better than many of the wins the US has achieved recently against inferior opposition with no hope of ever reaching a World Cup.
Here is what I liked from yesterday:
- Charlie Davies made an instant impact after coming on as a late sub scoring a goal.
- Jose Francisco Torres started slowly but really settled in late in the first half and was outstanding the rest of the way. If the US is to advance out of the first round in South Africa, Torres will be a key figure.
- Jozy Altidore had a very good game despite missing an easy chance and committing the silly foul that gave up the PK to Dwight Yorke.
- Michael Orozco was excellent in the middle cleaning up attacks that were created by the mistakes of others.
- Danny Szetela’s short stint was a notice of intent: Szetela was impressive on the ball and hustled off the ball in his limited time.
What I did not like:
- Frankie Hejduk has had it. Time for Marvell Wynne
- Mo Edu was downright awful for much of the match.
- Heath Pearce is really hit or miss. I thought he was spectacular in the friendlies I witnessed in person against Brazil and England, but has been the single worst American player in our road qualifiers.
- Freddy Adu is still not being used properly. A world class talent who the US coaches seem clueless as to how to get the most out of.
Going forward the core of yesterday’s lineup has to be the core of the national team heading towards 2010. Players like Jozy Altidore, Freddy Adu, Jose Francisco Torres, and Sacha Kljestan should be part of every US selection from here on out. Michael Orozco, Charlie Davies and Danny Szetela also stated their case loudly last night.