Saturday, January 20, 2007

USA 3 – 1 Denmark

Well, this was the result that US supporters should have expected. I for one thought it would be a 2-1 or 1-0 game. The score means little, other than the fact that It shows that Bornstein knows how to get into a good position and that Cooper can finish when he gets a break away. The result means little as well, other than that the USMNT has two more weeks of training camp before they face Mexico.

Here are my thoughts, by half.

1st Half

I really wanted to know why Eddie Johnson was starting. He looked very slow and made some really bad decisions. The step over he did in the first half looked like it was at half speed. He should never have been called into camp. One guy who looked very good was Ricardo Clark. Clark did a very good job monitoring the midfield and took matters into his own hands with his run towards goal that led to Donovan’s PK goal. The PK itself was a very weak penalty and I would have not faulted the Danish coach for complaining about it. Donovan stepped up and took a hard shot, but was lucky enough to get it through the keeper’s hands. Donovan was another guy who looked better than most. He was at least not shying away from the ball, but his runs at players should have been stronger, if and when he made them at all.

Bobby Boswell had a very good half in the defensive line, with the exception of being out of position on the Danish goal. His positioning for the rest of the half was very good and he helped his stock today by being very large for the defense. Jimmy Conrad was just as good, but he totally blew it on the Danish goal. He was so out of position that no matter what Reis tried to do, it was an open goal. Reis wasn’t that impressive for me. He made some erratic choices and showed why he is good in MLS. The International game is faster than Reis can play, and I think that showed very well today.

One of the guys who looked the best in the first half was Jonathan Bornstein. The battle for left back between Bornstein and Specter should be a good one. If Bornstein continues his development on the course he has set, he should be getting some calls from Europe for his services. The two best guys of the first half were Bornstein and Clark. Jaqua and EJ were lost after the first 15 minutes, which is something Bradley better correct in the future.

The most important stat of the first half was that it took “the three wise men” 26 minutes and 2 seconds to mention David Beckham, which was 26 minutes longer than I expected.

2nd Half

EJ starts as badly in the second half as he did the first half, and should have been subbed off, as Bradley did with Jaqua. Justin Mapp was a breath of fresh air and provided a great run at the Danish defense, something the US attack had been lacking. Mastroeni needs to dial down his bulldog attack on the opponent. He made a really bad slide tackle from behind, which is pretty much what got him in trouble in Germany. Bornstein showed a very Frankie Hejduk quality in getting up at the goal and scored on a great cross that Mapp provided.

Kenny Cooper finally saved us from the disappearing act that EJ has done once again and he showed why he will be in future USMNT camps. He was a very good menace for the Danish defense. I believe that his goal was more of a product of the Danish back line getting tired than his ability to position himself, but none the less, he took advantage of the opportunity. He showed that he can take on the 1 on 1 and convert the shot, not unlike Deuce showed against Ghana.

Final thoughts

The match again, is what we all should have expected. He had better fitness than the Danes and won with it. Donovan, Bornstein and Cooper all converted shots, and for a team that had absolutely no attack for the last three matches it played, they did all right. I was happy to see Bradley play the guys in the 4-4-2, which gave them a better offensive chance. The second half of the match was much better than the first. Was that because EJ and Jaqua were off the field and Cooper and Mapp were on, or was that because the Danish squad was in less than game fitness for the match and as the match went on, they lost their breath? I think it was the later, but this shows that if we are in better physical shape, we can get the best of our opponents.

I expect to see some of the guys in camp to rotate out and see some guys like Twellman and Ching move in, especially for the Mexico match. Mexico is not calling in their European players, but it seems that Bradley might bring in a few, so that should be an interesting mix for the MLS players. Hopefully Bradley will be able to correct some of the mistakes in the next two weeks of camp.



Blogger The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I have to say I disagree with your take on Clark, for much of the game with him and Pablo out there it felt like we were playing with two defensive mids. He helped soaking up what little pressure Denmark applied, but I thought he Clark didn't play a smart possession game. I know they were trying to get the ball out to Landon wide a lot, but Clark needed to be more of a threat and draw defenders in from the wing. (He did better at that in the 2nd half.)

For me the MOTM was Bobby Boswell.

11:19 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I can see how you picked Boswell, he was right up there as one of the better players. However, the way I saw the team work and operate, they were playing with two defensive midfielders, Pablo and Clark. So that is why I thought he did great.

11:57 AM  
Blogger The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Well, maybe it WAS the scheme I didn't like, but I still think Clark can play much better and be more involved. If he was playing Def mid he still needs to pick more moments to lend to the attack.

BTW I like your blog and will be adding you to the Cheap Seat section over at (Get) A Sporting Life

12:29 PM  

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