Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Gutsy Paraguay

Paraguay's 1-0 win in the United States' house of horrors should strike fear into the Americans come July 2.

Paraguay played a sound match against Mexico in beating El Tri 1-0 on Tuesday. Paraguay was forced to play defensively throughout the match but did well to contain the Mexican attack. Mexico's best chance came early in the second half when Omar Bravo rattled a shot off the post.

Late in the game, Nelson Cuevas fed Oscar Cardozo to finish off a counterattack and help Paraguay defeat Mexico and handed El Tri just their third loss in Azteca since 1973.

Looking forward to the July 2 match in Copa America, the U.S. will probably have a great deal of problems with Paraguay's abilities on set pieces. Paraguay disrupted Mexico's rhythm and played well physically also. Paraguay did not allow much in the form or breakaways or counterattacks.

Strong defending has been the key for Paraguay since before last summer's World Cup. Paraguay lost 1-0 to England, 1-0 to Sweden and beat Trinidad 2-0 in what was essentially a meaningless match by then. Still, the Paraguayans were unlucky to lose to Sweden.

Beating Paraguay in South America will be a tall order for the US, especially after their 1-0 win in Azteca.


Gene said...

Unfortunately, I missed the match on FSC. But I did see Paraguay play in the World Cup last year and was unimpressed. They played tootless and boring game. Other than Santa Cruz, no one stood out in my mind.

But then, again, the way U.S. played did not impress me either. So, I suppose you could write last year's performance off as a predictor.

Did Paraguay undergo significant roster changes since last year?

Nick said...

Beating Paraguay in Venezuela will be a tall order?....uh, no. The trick to beating Paraguay is simply to get a goal. Once you get a goal, their entire scheme falls apart. Mexico has major goal scoring issues, and that's why they lost. The U.S. does not have such serious issues, and should win. Fear? Not even close. Colombia beats Paraguay at Paraguay every year...

L.B. said...

I like your confidence, nick, but you have to factor in the venue. The U.S. hasn't done well in South America traditionally and that's mostly because they hardly play there. I think the only times the US has won in South America were the Copa America wins over Argentina, Chile and Mexico (via PKs) in 95, a friendly against Chile in 2000 or 2001 and that's it.

You have to give Paraguay an edge in that category. I don't see how you can't.

I don't know if the U.S. can score against Paraguay. They are good on set pieces and they are tactically sound.

We'll see what kind of teams both sides field for the tournament but right now I can't see the US beating Paraguay in that match, and that was in my mind set in stone after last night.