Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quick thoughts from 0-4* World Cup debacle

*Yes, I know we drew 1-1, but watch the match again (if you dare) and tell me that 0-4 isn't a more likely result.

-- aaaaa cross cross cross the ball aaaaa cross the ball aaaaaa STOP ATTACKING IN ONE-SIXTH TO ONE-THIRD OF THE WIDTH OF THE PITCH! They let you use the WHOLE FIELD for a reason. Watch the English do it. Again. And again. And again.
-- A side known for counter-attacking should, perhaps, not be holding up the ball to allow an attack to build. ESPECIALLY NOT WHEN ALL THE ATTACKERS ARE NICELY CLUSTERED IN ONE AREA.
-- If you are on the back line or are a defensive midfielder, Tim Howard says to you "$(&*(& #(*&*& @!_ _@() &#) )# *#()$ )*)@#!" At least that's as close as I can get to transcribing it accurately. That man was incredible today.
-- I can't blame Dempsey for lobbing a halfhearted shot on net (the one that trickled in for the draw). He probably got tired of waiting for midfield support that never arrived.
-- Adding to the tactical errors, Bradley waited until beyond the last minute to make changes (as usual). No idea why Buddle came on instead of Gomez. After all, it was 1-1, and the US did have a couple of opportunities (although one or two were ruined when they refused to pass to the open Holden on the wing, you know the sub with fresh legs who could make a run). Gomez is more the instant offense type, isn't he?
-- I do understand the point of the "third" substitution (Gomez), basically, to stall at the end and ensure there would be no last-second goal, but it just adds to the oddity of Bradley's substitution patterns. In a match where at least five guys were playing so poorly, was there not one other guy you could put on the field? (Sadly, on the back line, no. What you see is about all you get, and this is the problem with having a guy like Bornstein on the roster: when someone else is struggling or has picked up an early card, you have no one to replace him.)

The US had one or two legitimate chances and missed them both (did anyone else think perhaps Altidore should have let the ball pass through to the open Dempsey, who would certainly have slotted it home?); if it weren't for an unbelievable break, this would have been an opening loss, one that could easily have kept the US out of the knockout round. That still may happen, too. I doubt 3 points will get you forward, and even 4 may be too few.

Of course, the US have no excuse to come away with fewer than 7. It is time to put up some numbers, to put home some goals, and to stop making Tim Howard cover everyone in the box. Algeria and Slovenia must be beaten, and the US side must pick up some momentum. Squeaking by the group stage and getting hammered in the knockout round will be a big step back from the side that were 45 minutes from winning the Confederations Cup.

P.S. England has still never beaten the US in World Cup play. Lolz!

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