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USA 3-2 Sweden: January 2009

It’s interesting to see that Bob Bradley will take every opportunity to start Brian Ching. Today it is as the expense of Kenny Cooper which is sure to make many US fans furious. Nice to see Charlie Davies get the start: we named him our website’s Americans Abroad Player of the Year for last season because of his fine play in Sweden.

The starting lineup features seven MLS based players and four from the out of season leagues in Scandinavia.

US Starting Lineup:

Wynne–Parkhurst–Califf (capt) —Bornstein



Post Match Thoughts:

A solid effort from the US tonight. Good performance. Sweden improved in the second half with several key substitutions. Both teams face Mexico in their next matches, Sweden on Wednesday in Oakland,  the US next month for the critical qualifier in Columbus.

Sacha Kljestan was obviously outstanding tonight. Beyond Kljestan, who is already a US National Team regular the best players were Marvell Wynne, Rico Clark and Danny Califf. Clark and Califf have a good chance of being held over for the Mexico qualifier next month, but what will be Wynne’s fate?

Bradley has now called Wynne up to the team three times in the last year but this was the first time he was actually retained and in uniform on matchday.  Steve Cherundolo is a veteran on the right side of the back line, but lately he’s looked shaky against spirited opposition. Wynne has developed the positional sense he lacked for many years in MLS and also provides the US with an amazing threat going forward.

John Thorrington also deserves mention for his performance. Always steady many American Soccer followers like myself have always wondered aloud how good Thorrington would have been if he had not been struck by one bad injury after another for many years running. Now healthy, Thorrington  is almost 30 but is playing his best football ever: he’s clearly lost some of his speed and quickness due to the injuries, but now he’s finally showing why Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen two of the biggest clubs in Europe spent so much time on him as a youngster.

Second Half

Minute 90 + 3: US wins 3-2.

Minute 90 + 2: Cooper gets loose as Sweden has pushed up looking for an equalizer, but Dahlin with his best save of the night.

We will have three minutes of stoppage time.


Minute 82: Ugo Ihemelu for Michael Parkhurst

Minute 79: Chris Wingert for Johnathan Bornstein

Minute 78: Kljestan continues to be on fire and is just blocked from a 4th goal.

Minute 76: Eddie Gaven for Brian Ching

Minute 75: Dahlin just misses on the header. Back and forth football at the HDC!

Minute 74: GOAL! Kljestan with the hat trick after the restart!

Minute 73: GOAL! Sweden with some great buildup creating a diving goal by Nannskog

Minute 69: Brian Carrol for Robbie Rogers

Minute 65: The US backline looks solid and in command of this match.

Minute 60: Chris Rolfe for  John Thorrington

Minute 55: More space and attacking intent both ways early in this second half.

Minute 47: Cooper’s first touch of the game in the box wasn’t great. Rogers corner set up a good opportunity which was cleared off the line

Minute 46: Cooper on for Davies

 Halftime Thoughts

Sweden came out in a defensive shell  and the US took advantage of that with a high pressure attack using flank play successfully. Marvell Wynne has been the first half’s most impressive player with Sacha Kljestan and John Thorrington also standing out. Sweden has not competed and hopefully the US will be tested a little more in the second half.

First Half

Minute 43: Sweden playing better since the second US goal, creating some space in the attack and higher pressure.

Minute 40: GOAL! Kljestan converts a PK. 2-0 US lead. 

Minute 39: Marvell Wynne taken down in the box after a great turn out move on Johanssen.

Minute 36: A great break for the US created by Marvell Wynne’s fine defense goes well until Charlie Davies makes the wrong choice in the box.

Minute 32: Kljetsan with another dangerous looking free kick which is redirected by Davies in mid air.

Minute 27: Andersson goes into the book for a professional foul.

Minute 24: Rico Clark tracks back and breaks up a dangerous Swedish attack.

Minute 21: Christopher Sullivan never fails to amaze us. A Francisco Carracio reference?????????????

Minute 18: The US has been feeding balls from the flanks into the box with regularity now. Thorrington and Rogers are having a field day wide although the supporting runs are not always there.

Minute 17: GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sacha Kljestan with his right foot on a free kick from outside the area!

Minute 14: Nice ball from Kljestan forward to Thorrington on the right side but just long

Minute 11: Wynne’s cross for Ching almost get there!

Minute 8: Thorrington and Rogers looking lively out wide early.

Minute 7: Bornstein loose in the box, but nothing comes of it.

Minute 6: Ah, Max, I love you but I thought we all recalled Sweden missing the World Cup in 1998. It was shocking that they fell in qualifying but they have missed the World Cup in our memory.

Minute 5: Dahlberg gets free in the box but misses the target.

Minute 2: Good observation by EPLNFL about the crowd. As has become the custom, the word sparse can be used to describe the crowd at the HDC. That’s why even though it is supposedly our national stadium, the US will NEVER play a consequential qualifier in LA.

Minute 1: The Home Depot Center pitch looks impeccable tonight. Sadly we know come the Summer and the X-games it’ll be an unplayable surface.

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  1. kkfla737

    January 27, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Bradley uses Ching the same way Arena used McBride. Same tactics with a target man. If Arena had been retained it is entirely possible Ching would have filled the same role he is under Bradley. I'm not thrilled about it, but our coaches are comfortable with him and he always gives one heck of an effort.

  2. Joey Clams

    January 26, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Mark, I'm as eager to see us move beyond Ching as the next guy. But his link up work has been stellar. He was brilliant on Saturday.

  3. Mark

    January 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I just do not understand why Bradley likes Ching so much.

    He was a marginal figure under Arena, going to the World Cup largely to placate Donovan but never really a key figure.

    Now under Bradley the offense revolves around him as a target man. Everything runs through him. We're taking a guy whose playing experience is in USL and MLS and forcing much higher caliber players who have played in top European and Latin leagues to play off of him. It can work in a friendly but will never work when the results matter.

    Cooper needs to be integrated NOW! Same for Jozy and Davies.

  4. C Webb

    January 26, 2009 at 12:40 pm


    You know my feelings on the whole Ching issue. With that being said, he was exceptional on Saturday night. However, on the negative side, he didn't even come close to attempting a shot on goal and that is still a big issue with me and that rears it's ugly head too often for my tastes.

    I feel Ching is a lock starter until someone can beat him out and while you, me and the lamp post all want that player to be Jozy, he just won't get the opportunity until he can get some consistent time in Spain, which he most likely won't get until after the World Cup. This isn't to say that he can't come off the bench for the US and score some goals but it's hard when you don't get regular minutes, even at age 19.

    I am still very impressed with the rate at which the National Team scores on set pieces. While most people bitch and complain about our inability to score from open play, being able to score from set pieces is a HUGE part of international soccer. When you get bottled up by a good opponent, you can always rely on your set piece ability to score goals.

    This is a good thing.

  5. kkfla737

    January 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

    FSC seems stuck in a time warp. When the network debuted on Super Sunday 2005 it appeared to be what we expected. A cable channel that was behind the networks and ESPN by a few years. But now in 2009 it seems they are almost a decade behind, in their set, production ,etc.

  6. henry5

    January 26, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I thought the game was really congested in the first half. Everything going through the middle. Rogers eventually made it to the outside, but felt that Thorrington couldn't capitalize on the right – but he isn't really a right wing is he? He is more of a field general. I don't see how he keeps his place when the likes of Dempsey at Donovan come back to the squad. Rogers because of his speed may have a shot at the bench depending on how Bradley wants to use Sascha and Beasley. I actually thought the game got wider when Carroll came on for Rogers and Sascha moved out to the left, but it obviously cost us a couple of goals as well.

    Thought the commentating was horrific. I really don't like Bretos or Sullivan. The keys to the game are hardly insightful. Max was stammering his way through the downtime and at one point was completely reading something below him and not looking at the camera.

    If FSC is going to make it they need to step it up.

  7. Johnny

    January 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    We gave two what should have been three soft goals late. I'm not sure I would be optimistuc after that.

  8. Joey Clams

    January 25, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Although I was disappointed to see Ching start, I admit that his performance was outstanding. People, a low-key friendly followed a B camp. The crowd was skinnny. So, what? Did you expect 30,000 for that? Come on. They train for three weeks then drag their equipment bags to the stadium. It's perfect for them.

  9. Pingback: Soccer » US vs Sweden Live Blog | Major League Soccer Talk

  10. kkfla737

    January 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Because the Jan camp is there. We won't play any more qualifiers there.

  11. kkfla737

    January 24, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    The chat application for the WSW looked good………..we'll talk about using that one here going forward!

  12. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Kartik………………why do we keep playing these games at the HDC?

  13. Brian

    January 24, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    gone not one

  14. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Lagerbeck probably went nuts at halftime.

  15. Brian

    January 24, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Where have you one Billy Gonsalves . . .

  16. Brian

    January 24, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Wow, that stadium is empty.

  17. Phillip

    January 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Holden isn't suiting up because he suffered an injury.

  18. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I assume Cooper will come in for the 2nd half.

  19. kkfla737

    January 24, 2009 at 8:19 pm


  20. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    AGH Davies.

  21. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Thorrington is playing very well.

  22. Todd

    January 24, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    You ought to watch the game on Galavision if FSC annoys you. They annoy me and I'm enjoying the Spanish broadcast.

  23. eplnfl

    January 24, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Sweden appears only to be in California to visit Disney!

  24. eplnfl

    January 24, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    A classic!

  25. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm


  26. Soccer Guru

    January 24, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Wynne is going to be our right back in the next World Cup. This will be his year.

    LA is pathetic. Bring these winter camp games back to Florida where they used to be.

  27. eplnfl

    January 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Could 2009 be the year Wynne makes an impact on the team? All I say is if he has the PT he will make his mark.

  28. kkfla737

    January 24, 2009 at 7:48 pm


  29. eplnfl

    January 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    LA is the only town that can't support a NFL team. Enough said.

  30. kkfla737

    January 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    YES. Why is the national team drawing so poorly in LA lately?

  31. kkfla737

    January 24, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Yeah, BC John is without internet tonight so we are doing it as a blog.

  32. eplnfl

    January 24, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Would this game draw more in Texas or Florida?

  33. Brian

    January 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Guess the live chat software isn't working tonight.

  34. eplnfl

    January 24, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I really appreciated Ching once I saw him up close in Chicago last year. He maybe the strong striker we need until the younger players are ready to go.

  35. Brian

    January 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Don't want to talk bad about Ching cause he's a local, but I think he gets that starting spot with the idea that he is a mentor to this squad.

  36. Brian

    January 24, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Not suiting up Holden . . . Bad move by Bradley.

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