Monday, September 10, 2007

That other game

Lest we not forget, the US played Brazil on Sunday, something that doesn't happen that often.

It was 4-2 in favor of the selecao, but the U.S. did well for themselves. Between getting to the Chivas game and watching the other football, I didn't take in the game from start to finish so I can't really offer up detailed analysis. However, I will say that Oguchi Onyewu is quickly becoming a liability in the back. His own goal was bad enough. Call it bad luck or being a bad position, whatever, that goal's on him. The build-up was fantastic but Tim Howard made the save and the play should have ended there.

And I actually thought Robinho's dive was a foul and should have been a PK (much like Josh Wolff's non-call should have been a PK) and that would have been another major strike against Onyewu. Jimmy Conrad needs to start alongside Carlos Bocanegra. Onyewu's physical presence alone is not enough to keep trotting him out there as the number one choice in the back. I mean, there's a reason why he couldn't stick around in the EPL.

Anyway, check out SI.com's Jonah Freedman for some post-game analysis. Jonah is now officially in the we-love-Clint-Dempsey camp, which seemingly grows bigger by the day.

7 comments:

A.C. said...

Meh. I thought the U.S. had some good moments, but Brazil looked like they only put forth top effort in spurts.

I'd say that OO just isn't adding much to his athletic potential, but I'd also say that I wasn't happy with M. Bradley. It was his poor clearance that let to the corner for the second Brazil goal, and the last foul for the PK was an unnecessary risk.

Clint Dempsey had a good game; he plays well as a rover. People can knock Landon Donovan's corners and free kicks all they want, but Convey and Beasley showed why they aren't taking them. Luis went off on a rant about why all midfielders can't stick those set pieces. He's not asking for Beckham-quality, but some consistent service, yeah.

I thought Steve Cherundolo had a better game than I'd seen from him in a while, too.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, since now the US has lost 5 games in a row, how many losses will be too many for the US before Bradley's on the hot seat? The past few games have been "moral" victories with most people looking at the positives at the games. I know we weren't expected to beat Brazil, but it seems with Bradely's team we're less discipline at the back, and that might be because of his love affair with the Bocanegra and Onyewu pairing.

Anonymous said...

Oguchi Onyewu.

How the "mighty" have fallen.

MAybe he can replace Claudio Suarez when he retires and play with a real centerback like Shavar Thomas.

Wishful thinking, I know.

A.C. said...

I guess it's up to me to bring up the possibility of "interim coach inspiration leading to letdown" that afflicted the team back in the Sampson Era.

Of course, I don't think Bradley has anything near the revolt on his hands that Sampson did, so I think he'll be given a pass for far longer.

Matt L said...

My observations from the game (in no particular order):

1. The pitch was appalling. It was bumpy, discolored, and had pointy-ball lines on it. I realize a bigger venue generates more ticket revenue, but playing the game at Toyota Park would have been interesting and maybe made for a better, more intimate, atmosphere.

2. I can't get excited about moral victories, but I am glad we are not playing cupcakes. The US lost, albeit to one of the best teams in the world.

3. The game was what I expected, a 75% focused Brasil team was able to turn on the style when they needed to against a hard-fighting US team. Brasil looked like they were playing hard in stretches. For instance, the passing that led up to the open Kaka shot and the Gooch own goal was something special.

4. Terrible referee'ing. He let them play, but the game got out of hand. It is hard to watch your national team play without being biased, but it seemed like Brasil was getting the benefit of the calls that he did make, particularly the penalty for them, and non-penalty for us. Oh, the Robinho "dive" was a foul on Gooch and another example of them turning on the style when they needed to do so.

5. Good performances by Cherundolo, Bocanegra, Bradley, and Dempsey. Dempsey is a midfielder, not a forward (yet?), but has done an admirable job filling in for the US team and for Fulham last week.

6. As much as the US lacks a quality striker, we also lack a consistent creative midfielder. We have decent wing play with Beasley, Donovan, and Dempsey (when he is put out on the right side), but don't have a midfielder who can make that killer pass (and also makes your strikers look that much better). Feilhaber has shown flashes and I still hold out hope for him. Maybe Landon goes abroad, puts on 5 pounds, really sharpens his skills, and becomes Cesc Fabergas.

7. 4-2 was about right for me. Maybe I should watch the game again, with less emotion, but I thought Brasil were the better team with the US the scrappier, livelier bunch.

JT (Chicago) said...

Matt and AC very good assessments.

I was at the match so I saw more and less than you. Gooch has definitely lost it - it being the belief that he's better than he is. This isn't the same guy who played with so much confidence (supreme confidence) before the last WC. Not sure if he will get back to that level.

Young Bradley makes mistakes, misjudgements and they increase as he tires. Still, at age 20, I'm very impressed and I think that he will be the destroyer every midfield needs. Hopefully, he'll mature into that type of player who will allow a true #10 to concentrate on the attack - if we ever develop a true #10.

Brazil just seemed to be out on a sunny late summer stroll for large sections of the match. Some of the play was beautiful but at times it was 2 Brasilians vs 11 Americans. The other 9 Brazilians looked like they were thinking about whiich Boston nightspots to visit this week.

Still, for once I felt like I got my money's worth from a friendly in Chicago. Nice to see most fans happy after a match - except those USA fans who were abusing the Mexican referee from the time he was identified before the match began to the very end.

Gene said...

I actually viewed this game as positive. I'd not worry about the result too much - this is a friendly, so it would not mean squat, and it is against Brazile, a very good team. I was happy about the fact that at least in spurts, the team played a bit more coherent in the middle and upfront. It was also good to see Dempsey finish off a goal scoring opportunity after a very good passing play - U.S rarely makes this type of a play against quality teams.

When you start playing against better teams, your record has to go down initially, so you can get better.