Wednesday, February 6, 2008


First off, thanks to Andrea for a great running blog.

The result, of course, was 2-2. Not sure if the U.S. deserved the win but ultimately I too felt it was a pretty fair result. Mexico had the majority of possession and the U.S. barely had enough energy to finish the game. Their possession was non existent the last 15-20 minutes, really.

As far as the U.S. goes, I think there were more negatives than positives. Ramiro Corrales and Drew Moor had a collectively terrible game, and upped the stock of Jonathan Bornstein and Steve Cherundolo, respectively. Corrales was shaky with the ball and was lost at times while Moor was downright ineffective on the set pieces. Moor did serve a nice ball to Altidore, however, but his defensive shortcomings were not canceled out on that one play.

Landon Donovan was nowhere to be found. I don't remember him doing anything worthwhile the last 60 minutes or so. Clint Dempsey was ineffective as well. However, I'm still waiting to see a replay of his goal to see if it was really offside. Michael Bradley was also ineffective.

Oguchi Onyewu showed his downside as well, giving up fouls outside the box. He's still a good central defender but isn't the pillar of strength Carlos Bocanegra is.

Tim Howard showed why he's the number one goalkeeper. His diving, twisting save on Fernando Arce's shot was class.

As far as Mexico goes, Guillermo Ochoa is still young. I'd fault him for the first goal, as he wildly came off his line and was in bad position overall on Onyewu's goal. He couldn't do a damned thing on Altidore's goal so that one's not his fault.

Pavel Pardo upped his own stock. His set piece ability is still there, but I'm not sure I like him paired with Gerarod Torrado in the middle of the field.

Adolfo Bautista also breathed life into his own national team future. He was a beast out there.

Jonny Magallon is the defensive revelation under Hugo Sanchez. Obviously, he's not a goal scorer but his ability on set pieces showed.

Mexico had plenty of possession but again slipped into their previous mode of relying on set pieces for offense. Mexico had often relied heavily on corner kicks and free kicks instead of mounting attacks and scoring in the run of play. Part of that was Tim Howard, as he made some good saves, but Mexico should have created more chances and scored at least once in the run of play.

Overall, the match was entertaining and lived up to the hype, though the U.S. could have shown better for itself. And now the series has its first draw since 2003, and the first 2-2 draw since 1997. Four goals is the most that have been scored between the two teams since the aforementioned match, a World Cup qualifier played in Foxboro, Mass.


East River said...

yeah LB I agree both Moore and Corrales sucked defending and didn't help moving the ball out of the back. Corrales gave up some silly fouls that gave Mexico plenty of dangerous free kickes. Donovan was really invisible out there but I thought the same about his game in last year's Gold Cup tournament. Dempsey was ok, he looked onside on that goal. Convey and Clark booth looked average.

I honestly believe that things got a "little" better out there when Adu, Edu, and Benny F all came on to the field. But boy does Sanchez have some offensive options with Dos Santos, Vela, and Cacho to go to. Not to mention Castillo and Guardado who didn't even play.

Anonymous said...

Bradley sucks, and I mean Papa Bradley. I don't think this ultra-conservative style is working well for the US (ok, they won the GOOOOLD cup, big deal).

Our glory year was 2002 when the young'uns were playing fearless, attractive soccer, just like this Mexican team. Fast forward to 2006, when Arena laid a ton load of defensive responsibility on Beasley and Donovan, and we got all of one real goal in 3 matches.

We now have a good crop of young players who can dribble and take it to the opponents (like Vela or Giovani or the absent Guardado or Castillo). Instead we play Bradleys' boring sit-back and hope that a counter-attack or a set piece would somehow work.

Just who cared if we won or lost this game? So what if it is Mexico in the US and so what if we have been unbeaten in the last 9 games on home soil? Exactly why did we have Eddie Lewis and Pat Noonan on the roster? As they have shown over and over again, Bradley Jr and Clark are not the attacking midfield type -- our midfield with them playing gets flat and uninspiring. Why not get creative - get Clark (or Bradley) and Donovan play in a more "vertical" midfield and get one more attacker on the right wing? Push Dempsey to the right and pair up Adu with Altidore?

Etc, etc.

Bradley's flat midfield and overly defensive attitude is just painful to watch.

Anonymous said...

Don't know why you wouldn't play a counter-attacking style against Mexico and let them have the majority of possession when they have shown an inability to win a game against the US under those circumstances so not sure about the point there. Also, not sure Steve Cherundolo's stock is too relevant considering he has been the first choice RB for the US for a long time (meaning why would he need his stock to rise)

L.B. said...

Yeah, I guess I meant that there really isn't much at RB aside from 'Dolo.

Like, the cupboard is barren but for a lot of dust and cobwebs.

Chris Albright got a lot of flak from fans but honestly could he have done any worse than Moor?

Anonymous said...

Yeah one thing is for certain as you have told us, Cherundolo better play like a "first choice RB" with the amount of left footed attacking talent that Mexico has.

Toddzilla said...


Ochoa could have done something about that first goal? What exact position is the keeper supposed to be in there? Taped to the crossbar?

Dude, Plastic-Man couldn't have done something about that goal. It hit the top right connection of the crossbar and post after looping about 10 feet above the top of the crossbar. What should he do? Grow?

I do wish that Moor had somehow assisted on that goal, though. It would have given him 2 assists and 2 given up. He could have said that he tied Mexico all by himself...

attack attack attack said...

agreed that Corrales and Moor were shocking. You mentioned LD and Clint were nowhere to be found. I wouldn't pin that on a poor performance, I would say both men were playing out of position: LD needs to be in the attacking mid/withdrawn striker role and I'd like to see Clint where LD was. Also they disappeared b/c the midfield distribution to the front and wide was non-existent.

A.C. said...

When I watched Donovan lose the ball against Arce on the wing, I realized again why I don't like him there. Donovan with the ball on his foot normally has a bunch of options, but Arce just pinned against the sideline and waited to poke out the ball when he tried to pass. If he was in the center, Donovan could play a short pass, weave either way around Arce, or something.
Part of the problem is that Donovan is good enough to play deceptively well out of position on the right if the team is on the level of, say, Sweden. But I've always felt it's a bad idea to accomodate the weakest instead of the strongest parts of any team.

charlton heston said...

Let's all take into consideration that the European based players just got over jetlag and lack of sleep coupled with the MLSers being out of season. I'm not making excuses, the U.S. could have shown more heart (you know, finish strong), but it is what it is. The U.S. scored both goals in the run of play whilst Mexico's lifeline depended on newbies failing to mark up. In the end this was the arena the lower capped players needed to be tested and to learn - because they won't learn playing St. Kitts.

Toddzilla said...

Mr. Heston,

Of course you realize Mexico has several Euro-based players, too, so that's probably not a reason for anything...

(All due respect to Moses and all.)

L.B. said...

toddzilla, I just felt Ochoa was in a bad spot during the whole play. Had he punched the ball away cleanly, his defense could have cleared it. Instead, he went into it wildly and the defenders were aware of that so they weren't as aware of the US players there as they should have been. By the time Onyewu got to it, it was too late to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Spector's stock was upped as well. IIRC he was pretty decent against Mexico in the Gold Cup final.