Connect with us

Leagues: MLS

Slovakia 1-0 USA: Post Match Thoughts (UPDATED)


I’ll have much more later but today the US showed that we have a lot of depth on the backline, but that the loss of Charlie Davies up front could be a fatal blow to our chances to advance deep in next summer’s World Cup.

Brad Guzan made some big saves, and Slovakia looked disinterested at times in the game after coming through a very strong UEFA qualifying group.

The US showed some attacking intent early against a Slovakian team that seemed to be more focused on their respective European clubs than actually playing for the national team. I’ve watched Slovakia a half dozen times this year in UEFA Qualifying and they have never looked as disinterested and dysfunctional going forward as they did today.

While the Slovaks executed the counter attack well, their quality was lacking in the final third. Players making the wrong runs and deciding to play the wrong balls into the wrong area. Had this been my first view of the Slovakian side, I would be unimpressed. However, having watched them in qualifying, I realize this was simply a bad day at the office.

The US defending was outstanding even without the injured Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit. Johnathan Bornstein, in particular was quite good and made some interesting overlapping runs down the left sided flank. Bob Bradley can take pride in knowing his depth at the back and in the holding midfield positions is outstanding.

But going forward, the US has problems. Jozy Altidore’s performances have gradually gotten worse for the national team. Much like Eddie Johnson, a few years ago, Altidore was not able to capitalize on a successful international start and has become a distinctly average player.

Having tracked both players since they were young (they are both from Florida), both forwards seemed to grow lazier and less ambitious after being hailed as a savior by US fans. Neither has proven to have the work ethic to be a truly useful international.

Going forward, Bob Bradley must find another striker to replace the injured Charlie Davies or consider moving Clint Dempsey into an advanced attacking role.

Ultimately, the US could not break down a decent Slovakian side. Slovakia as I mentioned above has looked far better than this performance would indicate in the past several months, and did not seem interested in the game. The US held a great deal of possession in the midfield, but as we’ve seen before in games involving the US at both the senior and youth levels, this statistic means little if anything. Good possession which entails constantly putting the opposition on the back foot is more important and while the US was patient in midfield, it was largely impotent in the final third.

With the US facing a good Danish side in Copenhagen, on Wednesday, what we want to see is improvement in the final third. Jozy Altidore, in particular needs to get his head on straight. American fans have made excuses for him, but a player that has been tossed around like a hot potato in Europe the last year after commanding an eight figure transfer fee, is in a bad place regardless of how much US Supporters try and build him up. With Brian Ching written in ink as one of the strikers for the US, and the possibility of Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey being moved up front if Bradley continues to use a 4-2-2-2 formation, Altidore could be written off for this cycle if his play and attitude do not improve dramatically, in the very near term.


Guzan 9

Dolo   6

Spector 7

Bocanegra 7

Bornstein 6

Feilhaber 7

Bradley 7

Rogers 5

Dempsey 5

Altidore 3

Casey 5

Johnson 4

McCarty 6

Kljestan 7

Cunningham 5

Goodson 5


200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more


  1. Chris in Belfast

    November 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    This game annoyed me for a lot of reasons. I’m still trying to figure out why it was played.

    I’m not really sure we found out much. Dax does not in fact suck, and Spector could play in the middle if the team needed him to. We knew both of these things coming in, and all it did was serve to expose guys to potential injury. I understand the desire to try new guys out, which is why the game with Castillo will be interesting if he gets some time, but this game didn’t teach us anything about the guys. Wouldn’t it just have been better to let them all have the week off?

    God forbid if Landon goes down like Van Persie playing in one of these pointless friendlies.

  2. Peter

    November 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    It was an interesting game. Well, maybe the US team controlled the ball more than Slovakia, but we played well, and we had the biggest chance of the match (Sestak). We were short of some good players too, so the win against strong team like USA (11. in the world) is good. We played what we needed.
    And – by the way – I think the US team would have had a problems to qualify for the World Cup if plays in Europe qualification. For example stronger teams than US (Croatia, Czech republic, Turkey) didnt progress to the World Cup.
    From Concacaf its problem not to qualify:) But I still consider the US team to be a strong opponent.

  3. Ray Curren (orangeorange05)

    November 15, 2009 at 10:56 am


    That left back spot is a black hole. If there’s no way Spector is playing centrally in the World Cup, why is he playing there against these teams. Bornstein is OK for MLS, but internationally, he’s lost, not nearly physical enough and not good enough 1v1 defending. I think Spector is our best option there right now. I did think Cherundolo was surprisingly effective on the other side.

    As much as I think Feilhaber is a punk, I think he might be our best option with Bradley in the middle, throw Donovan and Dempsey on either side and go with Altidore and someone else not named Casey up top (I think that one was a fluke). Problem is, we need that speed guy like Davies and I don’t know where we’re going to find him.

    While I agree Altidore is struggling, I think he needs confidence and benching him is just going to make the problem worse. The young man needs to play against good competition and figure out what he needs to do to be effective at that level. A couple of goals for Hull would solve most of his problems.

    Who else do we have that we could consider an attacker right now?

  4. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    November 15, 2009 at 9:31 am

    For the record, I think Bornstein did well with his overlapping runs and besides the penalty giveaway, dealt with the danger coming from Weiss and other Slovak midfielders well. The attack was so dysfunctional that danger would appear in a moments notice. Weiss drifts to the right with Man City also, so the impetus was on the left back to deal with it. Dolo comparatively speaking had little to do all night.

    I’m not Bornstein’s biggest fan, but part of my post match (which will still be expanded) had to do with defending him against irrational critics who clearly had never watched the opposition play before.


    November 15, 2009 at 1:59 am

    not sure wut game u were watchin but Bornstein was absolutely dreadful the entire game.

    Vladimir Weiss had his way with him the entire game and so did the 2nd half sub. Time and time again he looked out paced and unable to cope with a winger who is clearly not match fit

  6. andy in ohio

    November 15, 2009 at 12:24 am

    The comments on this site get more ridiculous every day. Let’s see…

    MLS! USA! Yer a hater Kartik, you suck. USA would dominate Europe even though I can’t name the starters on most decent UEFA sides

    Or how about…

    MEXICO MEXICO MEXICO MEXICO!!!!!! USA Sucks! They’re all racists!!!!!

    But this is my favourite (get the spelling right I’m English USA sucks why no promotion and relegation rabble rabble rabble my manhood is tied up in the EPL MLS sucks blah blah Beckham is soooo class).

    We looked better than I thought we would without Donovan. Still, if we can’t find someone in the youth ranks to replace him we’re pretty much screwed, long term. How can we go year after year with millions of kids coming through youth soccer and not have at least a few Donovan caliber players? C’mon USSF, his legs aren’t gonna last forever and he’s played quite a bit without injury problems, develop some of these millions of youth players you’re always bragging about and get the guy some help FFS!!! There, that’s my rant.

  7. jack

    November 14, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    You peeps really crack me up.

    a) you all believe your pathetic little team would be able to qualify to a world cup if they were in europe. lol.

    b) you keep thinking that you can win the world cup because of the confederations cup. it has been said above… chaps got through out of sheer luck. that is all.

    c) your pathetic little team would not stand a chance against pathetic little teams like belgium, let alone real teams like holland.

    anyway, keep on going. you are just a pathetic little bunch that play in a pathetic little region. lol. bloody hell……mexico plays with you….enough said!

    • parecía falta

      November 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

      “You chaps.” Listen Limey, head on back to your forums cuz your overrated, over hyped, over indulged, totally mediocre team couldn’t even handle average concacaf competition without cheating. 2006 versus T&T anyone?

      Plus Rooney kinda looks like my tubby plumber. And what’s your problem with Mexico? Racist? I happen to love Mexico and Mexican culture. But you guys sent BNP politicians to the European Parliament, didn’t you? And they’re on plenty of borough council seats as well. Classic symptom of a failed, defeated society is when explicitly racist politicians get a foothold in government. England 2009 = Wiemar Germany.

      Countries without political stability can’t win in international soccer, that’s just a fact. Not gonna happen for England in 2010, sorry.

  8. parecía falta

    November 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I’m watching Spain-Argentina right now, and man is this shit boring. Unless it’s the USMNT I’d rather watch paint dry than random international soccer. #sux

  9. csar

    November 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Kartik is a dimwit and about once a month I come on to this site for comedy relief. Here is this gem:

    “Johnathan Bornstein, in particular was quite good and made some interesting overlapping runs down the left sided flank.”

    Highlighting Bornstein’s performance? Of all people.

    Har, har, har. Kartik must be kidding. Bornstein had circles run around him and got called for a penalty. And “interesting runs”? Well, his job is to make those runs and if they are going to be interesting they have to be dangerous. Bornstein is effective against only CONCACAF mediocrities generally. To me, he occasionally gives an interesting performance but I have seen this so many times before that I refuse to be cock-teased any longer.

    As with everything he writes, Kartik usually gets one or two things right. And he is dead right that Altidore is becoming less and less effective each game.

  10. Terry

    November 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    We’re all tired of eurosnobs pretending they know more than us like Patrick Johnson and Welcome to the World. Just because you want to see the US go down and claim to be more sophisticated than us doesn’t mean you know diddy squat. Euro fans know ZERO about this region and besides we crushed the Euro champs this summer.

    We would be the best team in Europe. Players like Donovan and Dempsey make us a real contender to win the World Cup. Slovakia ain’t crap. They cannot even get more than 500 people at the stadium.

    • Welcome to the World

      November 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm

      But aren’t you a fooling yourself?

      I don’t want to see the US go down, I want to see them win, but I’m not gonna tell myself fairytales to make me feel better about pathetic showings. Your problem Terry is that you do not understand the game. Go educate yourself, then we won’t have to hear your ignorant misconceptions.

    • Lars

      November 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

      You’re joking right?

      The US is distinctly average at best. CONCACAF is a weak region but has an advantage playing on other continents when compared to Europe because of the incredible time differences our players have to deal with as well as the altitude differences.

      If the US played in Europe, it would do average at best.

      • sam

        November 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

        did you watch us play spain, they dominated the game, we got one of a nice counter, ther other luck, they had 65% possesion, only reason we won was howard and gooch were like walls, and im no eurosnob, member og sams army her so dont gice me the euro bull shit, we would do alright in europe, probanly in the playoff, similiar to ireland or greece

        • Lars

          November 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm

          I watched you play Spain, I watched the Brazil game. The US got through on pure luck and Italy’s meltdown in one game. Everyone seems to forget the shellacking the US got at the hands of Italy, but toots their horn about beating Spain.

          The US is an average side which performed above average in a tournament most respectable football associations do not take seriously.

          For the record, I’m pulling for the US in South Africa.

          • REALTALK

            November 15, 2009 at 2:21 am

            its hard to judge the Italy games since we were down to ten men

            and oh by the way we were up at half and look up for it but the red card completely ruined our gameplan.

  11. Ian

    November 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    I hate eurosnobs also but some of you do not appreciate how difficult it is to qualify from Europe for the World Cup. Slovakia’s group in particualr was tough. England’s group was not tough at all.

    Really, the draw is a crapshoot.

  12. Walter

    November 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I actually think this was one of K’s less reactionary write ups. No hyperbole and some solid analysis. The US backline dealt with Slovakia well, even if it was because of disinterest.

    Altidore and also Casey were really bad. When it comes down to it, both teams were not up for it, but Slovakia has more quality so in the end they won out in a very bad game.

  13. Welcome to the World

    November 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Wow, TTB and Rhinos Fan, I wonder what little happy world you live in. Yes it was an experimental team, but Bradley DID NOT EXPERIMENT. This was a wasted match, and if Slovakia was interested they would be wiping their collective arses with the US squad that was fielded today.

    To Call Kartik a Eurosnob shows you know nothing about him, this team, or the state of the game in the US. Nobody wants to see the US succeed in International Football more than Kartik does. He’s critical because he’s tired of the bs USSF keeps shoving down our throats.

  14. Patrick Johnson

    November 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Wow TTB and Rhinos Fan, I needed a good laugh today. Thank you for showing how stupid you are.

    Actually I didn’t think a human being could be as stupid as you two are.

    Quit watching football because it’s obvious you know nothing about it.

  15. Rhinos Fan

    November 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    ” I’ve watched Slovakia a half dozen times this year in UEFA Qualifying and they have never looked as disinterested and dysfunctional going forward as they did today.”

    Could that possibly be because we are better than all the easy European teams they faced to get to the World Cup. If we were in Europe, we’d hardly ever lose a game in qualifying .Maybe one loss every three cycles.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      November 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

      Go back and look at Slovakia’s group and explain to me how two teams that Slovakia beat out in that group combined to score 6 goals against 1 allowed in the last two world cups when facing the USA.

  16. TTB

    November 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm


    You and your eurosnob buddies can now jerk off watching Slovenia or Slovakia or whomever they are. We DOMINATED them!

    That PK call was the worst PK call ever. Bornstein won the ball. We dominated possession and broke up all the counter attacks.

    You argued with people here when we said the US would have easily won the group Slovakia was in. UEFA qualifying is so easy, it is pathetic.

    If we had Landon and Ching today, we’d have won easy.

    I expect no trouble against Denmark. I cannot wait for the eurosnobs here to say how good Denmark is. I dare you to name a single player on Denmark in the last ten years! Same for Slovakia!

    Do they have players the caliber of Donovan, Dempsey, Howard and others?

    And for you MLS bashers (and USL loves like Kartik), the all came from MLS! Not one single player who has ever been in USL except for Davies is any good at the international level. Clyde Simms? Anton Peterlin? Please……

    I think anyone serious about american soccer should stop reading this biased, euro snob site. All the writers should just go to EPL Talk where they can jerk off about a league whose results are as predictable as a stacked deck in a card game.

    • LI Matt

      November 14, 2009 at 6:32 pm

      I cannot wait for the eurosnobs here to say how good Denmark is.

      They won their qualifying group, ahead of Euro 2004 finalist and World Cup 2006 semi-finalist Portugal.

      I dare you to name a single player on Denmark in the last ten years!

      Thomas Sorenson, Daniel Agger, Nicklas Bendtner — all current Premier League players, as was Martin Laursen before he retired this summer.

  17. parecía falta

    November 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    It seemed like the US had a possession advantage and that the Slovaks only threatened occasionally on counters. Explain that, Euro snobs. Bornstein was terrible today, by the way. He was shoving and playing dirty every time he was beaten one on one, which happened a lot. When he was playing well during qualifiying, however, he was pilloried here. So whatever this blog says about Bornstein, believe the opposite.

  18. AdamTheRed

    November 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    In the words of Bob Bradley at Honduras halftime….

    “Let’s not throw everything the hell out the window….alright….”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Leagues: MLS

Translate »