Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tough match

For about an hour, the U.S. looked like it was going to pull off a result against Argentina. That they scored first - heck, scored at all - surpassed the expectations of many but the U.S. was some 30 minutes away from what would have been an outstanding result.

Then the roof caved in. Hernan Crespo scored his second goal of the night in the 62nd minute. Pablo Aimar scored in the 78th and just for kicks Carlos Tevez bagged a goal in the 85th minute and Argentina won 4-1.

Leonel Messi didn't score but he created the match-winning strike when he knifed through the Americans' defense and fed Crespo, who did well to slip it past Kasey Keller. After that, the U.S. had no choice but to look for offense and left gaping holes in the back which Argentina was more than happy to exploit.

What could have been historic instead was a clear reminder that the U.S. needs to play near-perfect games to get results in Copa America. This tournament will be an immense challenge, if that wasn't clear already.

Some of these players will have to mature in a hurry. Others will have to find their form. And everyone will have to play on the same page, with the same effort and the same mentality for 90 minutes if the U.S. will have a chance against Paraguay on Monday.


Anonymous said...

I liked the performance of the US.

They fought and gave it all they had, but they were just outclassed by Argentina.

I thought Hugo's subs yesterday were horrible but Bob repeated that same dosis. Bob inserted Eddie Gaven who was completely inefective and over his head when the rest of the team was in a rythm. Twellman was not too good but Hercules did absolutely nothing.

The game was a good learning experience. However, after this match I am more than convinced that Benny is the man. Wynn played awesome. Bornstein could be world class. Demerit merits Gooch's spot. Conrad is worthy of lots of playing time.

On the flip side: Mapp, Gavin, Twellman, Keller, need to step it up.

Anonymous said...

Bartender, one more round!!

Gene said...

I thought we defended well for about 60 minutes. But the difference in level of play was pretty clear. And when you have to keep chasing such a good team for most of the match, you will eventually get tired before they do.

I do think we can learn from Argentina on how to move the ball around quickly. Generally, the national team and the MLS teams pass the ball around at a leisurely pace and overdribble. As a result, once a decent team applies pressure, we quickly turn the ball over.

In contrast, every Argentinian pass tonight had a purpose and they really know how to pass the ball from side to side patiently until there is an opening.

Anonymous said...

all i can say is bornstein brought it!!! Daaaaammmnnnn!!!!

gly said...

Yes! Messi who? Borestein did a great job in marking him from what I watched.

degerron said...

I agree with Gene, the U.S. made some dumb passes when it wasn't necessary. It was like they were scared to go forward most of the time. As soon as EJ got the ball he would pass it by instead of running at defenders. There was absolutely no flank play by the US at all. Yet we held our own.

So why in the world did Bradley sub in Eddie Gaven, a bench warmer on a low level team. After he came on Messi turned it on which showed the value of Olsen on the field.

Keep in mind that 2 players got their first caps last night. One of which started. Some expressed disappointment in Marvell Wynne's performance but remember it was his first cap with the full team. I'll say for the 2nd year pro that he did better then I expected of him. As for Gomez it was his first cap for any level of US national team and that is saying something. Neither player had the benefited of training in a US camp before Copa America. The team as a whole had no friendlies together as well. So they did the best they could do.

I understand that Nguyen may not be that fit as he has been rehabing his shoulder here in the US sense January and hasn't played a competitive match since December with the exception of one US friendly. One has to realize he likely wasn't fit to play without a camp heading into tonight game. But I still would have like to see Charlie Davis come.

The US has to learn that it can compete with bigger better teams. I saw players not even try to run with the ball at their feet last night. Bornstein for example didn't even bother trying to run down the flank. They have to see that beating Mexico is good but there are bigger and better teams to take down. If players like Bornstein can run at Mexican defenders then please try to do the same against the likes of Argentina. Paraguary won't be any easyer. Johnson and Twellman must do better or else the forwards on the youth squards shall passed them on the full team's charts.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand folks saying they liked the performance of the US. Sorry, but I don't want us to bunker, which is what we did.

I don't care the score. I just wanted us to come out and play. Like someone pointed out, Bernstein, if you can dribble vs. Mexico, then at least try vs. Argentina. Same with Justin Mapp. Come on, everyone says he's better than Beasley - then show it. Now's the time. At least try to do something.

I was very disappointed. I didn't want to see us defend for 60-90 minutes. I wanted to see us go for it. There at the end, we really were trying. But where was that for the first 85 minutes?

It started out great. An absolutely gorgeous ball from Benny. So I thought, yeah, game on! But it was like as soon as Argentina came back and scored, it was like we thought, oh, yeah, it's Argentina, we can't beat them, so let's just bunker.

Hopefully we rebound and come out strong vs. Paraguay. I just want us to play. That's all.

Gene said...

I don't understand why folks criticized Wynn so harshly. I thought that he showed some speed and determination. On a couple of occasions, he got caught out of position on a flank and got beat. But I think this guy might have a feature.

I also think it is tough to assess the performances of forwards considering how little of the ball they actually saw. Neither Twellman nor Johnson are players that can create anything on their own.

Overall, on offense and in the middle, we just got outclassed, which was expected. We got to chuck it up to learning experience, regroup, and go at it vs. Paraguay.

L.B. said...

I liked what Wynne showed in terms of a future. Being his first game, and given the opponent, there was a fear that he would get burned often but that wasn't the case.

He did well to chase some balls down and showed that blazing speed that is one of his best assets. He did show a bit of willingness to go forward but I think the game plan was not to push forward too much. The third goal was a product of that. It came on Wynne's side but again that was more of a team down 2-1 looking to move forward and getting caught out of position.

I think Wynne proved he can play at this level and hopefully will be in the mix for right back from now on.

Jess Aguinaga said...

Wow. I'm pretty damn proud of our team. I know they pretty much got shalacked. 4-1 looks pretty bad I know but I saw some quality play. Bornstien made Messi switch sides. Wynne showed that he is the right back of the future although I would have liked to see him make some more offensive runs. DeMerit and Conrad are studs. There was one play where DeMerit stopped Teves from advancing while running almost sideways. Johnson impressed the hell out of me on that pk. He was so cool and collected while I was so worried that he was going to shank it. Benny showed that he is our number 10. This takes presure of of Donovan to play his best position.
On a side note. What did it feel like to finally see Herc in USA uniform?

L.B. said...

I first interviewed Herculez in spring of 2002. He was with the San Diego Gauchos at the time and I was writing a feature for the San Diego Union Tribune. To see him go from there through MLS has always been exciting because he was a wide-eyed kid back then and he realized a lot of dreams.

To see him in a US jersey against Argentina at Copa America was thrilling for me personally.

Also, I've been around Jonathan Bornstein since the beginning of last year and know him better than Herculez. I gotta admit, I laughed a few times when I saw him marking Leonel Messi. It was strange seeing a guy I usually talk to out at training marking one of the most gifted and popular soccer players in the world.

Matt L said...

I was disappointed. I don't mind the strategy, but I do mind what I interpret as a lack of heart by some of the players.

The Ben Olsen for Ed Gavin sub changed the game. The second goal came shortly after when Messi frozen Gavin, rounded him like a cone, and split the defense with a 1:2 with Roman. Gavin looked out of his depth.

Justin Mapp was another disappointment for me. It might just be his style, but he looks like he plays without any heart. I can't stand it. Run at people, try something, hustle. Upsetting.

Eddie Johnson, despite playing his best game in recent memory in a US uniform also is frustrating to watch. Don't get me wrong, he was one of the top 3 players on the field for the US. However, he need to know when to play the ball back and hold up play, and when to run towards the goal and make an effort with his speed. He is lucky he was fouled, because otherwise he would have cut the ball back and tried to hold up the play. He plays like he has no instinct for the game. Has he ever watched himself on film?

Let's get a result versus Paraguay.

John said...

Matt is comletely correct. The game changed as soon as Olsen was taken out.

Why would you sub a guy that is the heart and soul of your 11? Say what want about Olsen but he BRINGS IT when he is on the field. And you sub him for Eddie Gaven, are you kidding me?

Then, he subs out another heart and sould player in Twellman, meanwhile leaving that puff Johnson out on the field. I'm fine with bringing in Herculez, but you leave the warriors out on the field. Those are guys like Twellman and Olsen. Enough of these academy puffs!

degerron said...

I don't know if Twellman was the heart and soul but he did draw some fouls that got about 2 free kicks. But still did Twellman get a shot on goal?

I think Bradley should do better at recognizing that his defenders are tired. Bornstein has played in every single Gold Cup game(right?) Last night I saw him bending over sucking air. He did make Messi changes sides but how did we respond to that?

I got no problem with Academy types neither do I have a problem with college bred players. I just want to see players fight tooth and nail and run with the ball at their feet and good clean passes that reach their intended targets. Speaking of heart the Argies showed some heart they responded when down and didn't loose their cool with the game 1-1 they have so much technique on the ball and off the ball its sick. If US Soccer's new academy program and MLS youth teams can teach that kind of technique and keep that kind of McBride/Olsen heart we are going to have some nasty players of our own in about 5 to 10 years.

Despite the result our backline did well.

degerron said...

Just to add a few more thoughts. Bradley stated a few months ago that the brought in Davis, Nguyen, and Sasha K to get them all familiar with the full team's system. All 3 were not played last night. Instead he played Gomez who had never been in a US camp let alone a game. Was that fair to him? Just asking. The same could be said for Gaven and Wynne. I mean what were they surpose to do out there? I believe in player development and trial by fire but those guys deserved better then that.

Another thought. The US is very familiar with playing against Mexico that why we are so confident against them. We know they can be beaten. Against Argentina we were a bit in awe and not familiar with them as an opponent. As I said before we have to coach the young guys and experienced guys that if you can play well against Mexico then you can play well the likes of an Argentina.

Lastly, the US thinks it can get a result against Paraguary...why? Paraguary doesn't have the same glow as Argentina. We know they are a good team but they don't strike the same fear as an Argentina does. Our players are likely to come out more aggressive then they did against Argentina think they can get a result. Our guys must brought to realize they Paraguay may not be as indivdually as good as Argentina but they are playing just as well as them and despite that they can be beaten with good tactics and great team work.