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T&T 0-3 US: The Victory of “Anti Football”

On a day when football finally came home in the form of England’s heroic 4-1 victory over an arrogant and vastly over rated Croatian side, “anti-football” scored a big victory as well.  While youngster Theo Walcott provided the heroics for England, no youngster of Walcott’s caliber was in the negative looking and tactical side Coach Bob Bradley sent out for the United States against a weakened Trinidad and Tobago team which was going to be run off the pitch by any side with a pulse last night. Instead of calling in Walcott’s American facsimiles Freddy Adu or Jozy Altidore, the United States fielded a safe lineup which featured Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley exploiting the flanks and a 3-0 US victory. Given the weakness of the opposition and the ease with which otherwise shaky internationals like Beasley and Dempsey dominated their markers, would not this have been the perfect occasion to enter Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu to World Cup qualifying?

The American victory while deserved was not pretty. Unlike the Mexico-Canada match going on at the very same time in Chiapas, the US lacked artistry or any sort of technical on the ball skill in this match. When you are facing a young side that’s going to be easily overwhelmed, results like this one occur, but the inability of the United States to control possession in the midfield was apparent. Freddy Adu would help Bob Bradley’s side in this regard instead of watching the US hoof the forward or simply play unattractive football which is bound to be losing football come South Africa 2010.

Mexico’s two youngsters, Carlos Vela and Giovanni Dos Santos didn’t have the best of matches tonight against an extremely game Canadian side. They did not have too: Their manager Sven Goran Eriksson realizes the occasion and the need to build the strongest possible side for South Africa. After all Sven left England something special by taking its future starlet Theo Wolcott to World Cup 2006, which in turn increased his understanding of international football allowing him to humble the arrogant Croatians in Zagreb.

But the Americans don’t take these sorts of steps: playing it safe both on the pitch and with regards to player selection is the norm in US Soccer. Today’s result not withstanding every subsequent matchday for Dos Santos and Vela where Altidore and Adu do not participarte is a victory for Mexico in the long term battle with the United States for regional supremacy.

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  1. Jeff

    September 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    A good piece in the NY Times basically agreeing with you that these are all wasted opportunities. Every game the US plays without Jozy we're losing time and ground on our opponents.

  2. Garbaggio

    September 11, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Are you the same joker who thinks Canada's starting eleven has more talent than the US? Didn't control the midfield? Put down the crack pipe.

  3. Nick

    September 11, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Did you actually watch the US game?

    While I would certainly not call the game artistic, I think “Negative Football” is entirely too err Negative.

    The US dominated the game and did so by keeping ball possession for long streches. Some of the ball possession domonstrate a high level of technical skill as 7, 8 or 9 one touch passes took the US out of the back or broke through the middle of the field.

    The US defense and midfield played very well. However, I thought Beasley was still showing the effects of a lack of games in fitness and level of sharpness.

    My primary quibble would be that against a clearly inferior opponent, Bradley still played a faily defensive alignment.

  4. Ash

    September 11, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Hilarious. Four days ago England was a pariah following their 2-0 win over Andorra. Now they're soccer's greatest heroes.

    It's human nature to believe that the unknown quantity is always a better choice than the known, which is why so many people are screaming “Adu!” and “Altidore!”. But coaches have to base selections on performance, past and present. When and if Adu and Altidore get some regular playing time, they'll start getting more looks at the national level. Adu in particular has never shown much at the club level. In over four years as a pro, he's never been a regular – not in MLS, not for Benfica. We'll see what happens at Monaco. Now Adu has excelled in our youth squads (including the Olympic squad), but that's a poor gauge of performance at the club or national level. In youth tournaments, Adu's tiny stature isn't the great disadvantage it continues to be for club and country.

    I'm more optimistic about Altidore's prospects, but he still needs tto show it as a club regular. Hopefully he'll get that opportunity soon.

  5. Svenalike

    September 11, 2008 at 8:22 am

    If Sven-Goran Eriksson comes close (with Mexico) to matching his record with “the Three Lions” (only five competitive games lost 2001-2006), “El Tri” may be the team to fear in the qualifyers and in South Africa?
    I wonder how Fabio Capello's England team are feeling about the prospect of potentially being KO'd by their old boss…… What potential irony after labeling Eriksson an “underachiever”, even with his un-matched statistics?
    The Central America AND European qualifyers are getting more “interesting” all the time….

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