Don’t let the skeptics tell you Grenada is a poor opponent. This side qualified for the Gold Cup by beating World Cup 2006 and current Hexagonal participant Trinidad and Tobago. This is also a team that gave Costa Rica such a scare in the second round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying that Hernan Medford was sacked as the Ticos manager.
It should be noted however that Grenada is without Jason Roberts and Shalrie Joseph in this tournament. But nonetheless a motivated American “B +” squad destroyed a normally competitive Grenada squad to celebrate Independence Day.
The US performance was impressive to say the least. Bob Bradley got his squad selection and tactics right today. Robbie Rogers and Heath Pearce ran free on the left side while Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden complemented each other well. But the decision to not play Adu in the Confederations Cup by Coach Bob Bradley can easily be justified by the number of poor passes Adu made tonight as well as how easily he was disposed when he tried to dribble past defenders.
Clarence Goodson and Chad Marshall were tremendous inside and Troy Perkins saved the one really good chance Grenada had.
Charlie Davies looked a little tentative early playing with a totally new set of players after a great Confederations Cup. But late in the first half and early in the second half he stepped up big.
Davy Arnuad brought some energy and pace when he was inserted late in the match. This was an impressive and comprehensive win for the United States. Bob Bradley has shown that not only can he get his tactics right, but he can turn a completely different eleven (or ten plus Charlie Davies) around in six days after an 8,000 mile trip and still excel.
The US faces a Honduran B- side Wednesday at RFK Stadium. Surely the crowd at RFK will be pro Honduras as it was in the 2001 qualifier, the last competitive US loss on home soil.
Expect to see Brian Ching on Wednesday as well as Kenny Cooper. I am told Ching does not want to play on turf unless absolutely necessary (a wise decision indeed) and with the final group game at Gillete Stadium this may be his only chance to play at this stage of the tournament. Additionally, Charlie Davies and Freddy Adu both looked less than sharp after the long journey from South Africa and it would probably be wise to rest both.
However, it is possible Ching and Davies will be starting together in the World Cup up top, so any game action the two can get together would be helpful at this point in time. We may also see Luis Robles on Wednesday night.
The only negative of this game is that the US second stringers showed they can break down a bunkered, defensive minded opponent much more easily than the USA “A” team. The sort of daring runs and crosses that Rogers made early we never see against the likes of Guatemala, Cuba and El Salvador on the road in tough qualifiers. Perhaps the metality that Rogers, Holden and other youngsters brought today needs to be bottled and given the US “A” team when facing CONCACAF opposition.