Monday, July 02, 2007

Match Recap: USA 1 - 3 Paraguay

Well, that sucked.

I sort of feel like I need to crouch into the corner and keep repeating to myself, "Go to a Happy Place, Go to a Happy Place."

I know that these matches are being used by Bob Bradley and the USSF to get guys prepared for World Cup Qualifying. I know that over all, these matches mean just about the same as the January match against Denmark did, in the overall scheme of things. I know that the match against Argentina was not going to be a good one for our players.

That said and done, damnit, this still sucks watching our guys go out there and fuck themselves. Paraguay didn't do anything spectacular, they didn't destroy the USA and they sure as hell didn't really impress me. They did the one thing that the USA didn't do, they converted their chances.

In the 8th minute, Ben Olsen put the ball on Kljestan's forehead right in front of the goal. What does Kljestan do with it? He watches it go bye. Eddie Johnson had so many situations where he was at the top of the 18 yard box with the ball and what did he do with the ball? He passed it back. Justin Mapp, once he was brought on, thought it was Mapp vs. Paraguay and lost possession almost every time he tried to run the ball into the net.

I really don't know. Do our guys have it in their heads that they are not allowed to take a shot at the goal? Do they think that if they have the ball in an open space more than 5 seconds, the pitch will open up and swallow them? Do they think that when they pass the ball it is ok to just roll it across the field? I believe they do, because they did these things over, and over, and over again tonight.

Jonathan Bornstein really needs to understand that if he has a break away up the left side of the field, he needs to run balls out towards the end line. If there is anyone on his team that understands that he needs assistance, they will make a run up the center of the field and once he gets up the field, he will either have the chance to cross or get a free kick. He doesn't need to stop or slow down halfway through his run and let the defender dispossess him. If he changed that of all of his plays, he will be a better left sided threat out of the back.

I know that these matches are to have these players cut their teeth in the international field of play, but when they are failing to even realize when to pass and when to not pass or even take a shot at goal, I am grasping at straws as to what they are learning.

Half of the moves, check that; 90% of the moves that Justin Mapp tried during the 20 or so minutes he was on the field, he did at too slow a pace. He was so slow when he would try and cut on a defender that the defender just stepped with him and took out the play.

I like Bob Bradley. I wouldn't have selected him as the Head Coach, but I like what he has done with the squad and I think he will do a very good job with the USMNT. That said and done, I want to know why he isn't getting his guys to react quicker? Are they incapable of realizing that something isn't working? The lone US goal was a wonderful build up through the middle of the field and one that came about when the US players moved forward and attacked the goal. Why didn't Bradley tell his guys to continue to do that? Other than the goal, we pretty much always tried to go down the sides with the attacks.

The biggest sin (if you will) was that I saw more guys get the ball about 7 yards from the 18 yards box and immediately pass the ball back towards the US side of the field. They wouldn't try and hold it for a second or even try and find a guy who might be making a run. They would do the "safe" thing and pass it away from the Paraguay players. Once they realized that the US players weren't going to really move towards goal, the Paraguayan’s just moved their entire line up towards midfield and we normally lost the ball.

Why didn't Bob yell at his guys to press the ball? Why can't EJ or Twellman understand that they would get better service if they actually made runs at the goal, instead of standing inside the 18 yard box, hands on hips, with two defenders around them?

I expected Argentina to beat us. I expected the US to beat Paraguay. I now know that we are seeing that Bob Bradley is having more trouble with lesser players than he did with the first string guys. I really can't see the USA getting any type of result here. I guess it is a learning experience.

Side Note - Can the USSF schedule a friendly against Paraguay later this year or early next year? This is the type of side we should be getting matches against. Preferably in Paraguay, but hell, if they want their Euro players to not travel as far, how about in Portugal?

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Blogger Rahul said...

Actually, if we forget the score - I think US played really well. But this maybe because Paraguay sat back and defended around their box. Unlike, Argentina that played high press, there was time for the US midfielders to control the ball.

I think 'most' of the players did really well. The few that failed to impress were:
1. Twellman - i think his touches were less than 10. His modus operandi in MLS is waiting for defenders to make mistakes since he lacks speed, size and skill. In international soccer, defenders generally dont make mistakes like they do in MLS. I would love to see
US try out others such as FCD Kenny Cooper. He may not have the speed or the skill but his size alone will cause teams especially latin american teams problems.

2. Mapp/Gaven - time to discard them. I would rather see hardworking avg players - than lazy avg players.

3. Keller - please retire..please pretty please.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I think that before Cooper broke his shin, he was in Bradley's plans to be included in the roster, so it would have been interesting to see how he would have done.

I want someone to pull Mapp aside and just coach him on how to think. He has skills, but he really needs to learn how to use them. If he had a better mental game, he would be a very powerful force in the midfield.

10:49 AM  

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