Photo from Getty Images/FIFA.com
Some quick points:
I believe Rico Clark’s sending off was justified. I’ve heard and seen since the red card arguments against it, but if you tackle from the side with your cleats out and get no part of the ball, that’s a letter of the law for sending off. In fact I believe Clark should be suspended for several international matches for what was a reckless and malicious tackle. American defensive midfielders don’t have the grace or the technique to tackle properly in those situations. We have seen it time and time again. The American holding midfielders are a red card waiting to happen in every critical match.
- However, I do also believe Landon Donovan being taken down in the box late in the second half should have resulted in a penalty. We’ve seen two penalties called in matches before at FIFA competitions. Anyone recall Cameroon-England in 1990?
- Prior to Clark’s sending off, Donovan was the most impressive player on the pitch and had outplayed the much talked about Pirlo. Landon created space for himself today coming back into the midfield and linking with the wide players and Jozy Altidore up top. Donovan when in the right place on the pitch and properly motivated is still a one of a kind player in the history of the US.
- The US ultimately failed because of a lack of tactical discipline when down a man and the failure of Coach Bob Bradley to properly adjust his setup to being up a goal but down a man. Steve Sampson for all his faults, quickly made changes in 1997 when falling down a man at Azteca and allowed the US to get a result. Bradley’s tactics were poor, and his substitutions were either poor or made too late.
- Charlie Davies coming in for Jozy Altidore was a good tactical move, but the continued freezing out of Jose Torres and Freddy Adu is mind boggling.
- Jay DeMerit showed a tactical awareness that Carlos Bocanegra typically lacks. Italy quite possibly would have had a goal before the Clark sending off, had Bocanegra been fit and in the lineup. Jonathan Spector a more natural central defender continues to do very well on the right side.
Egypt’s performance against Brazil was impressive this morning and they will be difficult for us to get anything against. But the US must take chances going forward in the next two matches. Torres and Adu who have been apparently dropped for not playing good enough defense (Jen Chang of ESPN.com reported Bradley indicated that was the issue with Torres), need to be unleashed now. At this stage of the tournament in a hole, Bradley must take some chances going forward.
Listen to Post match podcast below, featuring Hannah Lee of Forza Football, Jamie Trecker of FOX Sports and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.