Sunday, March 25, 2007

USA vs. Ecuador Recap

I got the scoreline right, sweet.

Ok, so Hard workin Bob is now 3-0 and has had his teams outscore their opponents 8-2 in that three match run. We all know that Sunil said that the interim lable is at earliest up for review in May, so maybe Bob will be 5-0 by then?

After watching that match, then re-watching it (god I love DVR), I came away with several different positions. Namely our defense needs to work together more often. If Bob or who ever is the USMNT coach is going to plan on using Bocanegra, Gooch, Conrad and Dolo together, I really think that these four need to get several more matches under their belts, together. That means having them all start this Wednesday against Guatemala, any possible match in May (Ireland??), against China and in every Gold Cup match. That way the biggest problem I saw between them and Howard (whom I think should start these matches as well) was a lack of good communication between them all. Sure they all talked to each other, only when they were getting yelled at by Howard after a flubbed coverage or something. These guys need to get better chemistry going, and I think that they only have until the end of the Gold Cup to prove that they can do the job.

Our forwards weren't really anything to write home about. How many chances will Eddie Johnson get to show if he was a fluke with his 9 goals in his first 12 matches? Yes, EJ did have much better runs today in the first half and did try and get involved in the attack, but he didn't do the one thing he is out there to do, score goals or really even take shots. Arena said it the best when he mentioned that forwards who pass the ball in the box aren't forwards. EJ made several nice passes, but that isn't his job: he should be trying to score. I just don't see it in him. Send him back to Kansas City, get him back on course in MLS, then see if he can contribute in the Copa America.

Brian Ching had a quiet first half, but when he was paired with Donovan up front, he had a much better match. I was happy with his second half display, but I want more out of him. Ching is a target forward, so unless he gets the crossing service, I guess we won't see him score as he does in Houston, but I guess he can draw defenders for other guys. I am still not sure with him.

The few minutes I saw Taylor Twellman made me almost wish he didn't make the field today. He dropped too man passes off for guys instead of taking shots, which he shouldn't be doing. Hopefully he gets his act back together in New England and gets some time in the Copa America as well.

I would have to say, Deuce dropped a Deuce today. He wasn't the same explosive, mad/crazy player that he was last year and was in MLS. Is it because he isn't getting enough playing time in Fulham? Is he getting any time at Fulham? He has had only 19 minutes in Fulham's last three matches, so he might be rusty. In any case, I am looking at him to have a much better match this Wednesday against Guatemala.

I really liked how Feilhaber played. He did just as good a job defensively as I have seen Ricardo Clark do in the US jersey. Yes he picked up a yellow card, but I never had the cringe feelings I usually do when I see Pablo "Hulk Smash!!!!" Mastroeni drop a guy from behind or fly into a guy 3 second after the ball leaves his feet. I truly think that the D-Midfield role is going to be a fight between Clark and Feilhaber. He did very well today.

Michael Bradley had a really good second half as well. He was able to shore up the midfield and provide for Landon the chance to move forward alot more and cause even more havoc with his runs. Bradley is only learning and will be a very good midfielder for the USA. I would like to see him play all 90 minutes on Wednesday night, see how he does.

Ok, now to the Golden Boy. I want to know if getting married is what has given Landon Donovan a new lease on his international career? Maybe because this match wasn't in a tournament that is called the World Cup, but man did he look great today. Yes, his hat trick was impressive, but I liked how he was getting great passes into people in the first half, and then in the second when he was moved up front with Ching, he was making runs that were sick. He had one run where he split the Ecuadorian defenders only to have a great save by their keeper prevent him from having 4 goals today. I want to see more of this Donovan and if he starts playing like the little bitch he was last summer, I want whomever is the USMNT coach to take this match out and show him again how he can truly play. He better play in the Gold Cup.

Overall, I was happy with the match. It showed that even when we have several bad defensive lapses, we are still a better overall side than one of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers. We have alot of work to do ahead of ourselves and I think that the Gold Cup will be a very good situation to get our players better group experiance, which after today's match, I think they need. Use the Copa America to see how Clark, Bornstien, Cooper, Feilhaber, Twellman, Johnson and others can handle the international experiance. Use it to either get them ready for World Cup qualifying or to get them weeded out of the USMNT player pool.



Blogger Weems said...

Good analysis--especially your breakdown of the attackers. I agree that other than Donovan, it looked really bleak up front.

I also like your idea of using the upcoming international competitions to give the young guys a trial by fire, but I'd personally prefer they use the Gold Cup. I know it's our regional championship, but I'd rather see our best players on the pitch for our return to Copa America, given the higher profile of that competition.

Again, nice analysis.


10:29 PM  

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