Thursday, March 20, 2008

US on verge of Olympics

The United States will try to get to Beijing via Nashville. If the US can beat Canada, they will have punched their ticket to the Olympic games and will have made up somewhat for missing out in 2004.

Of course, Canada will be no easy task. In fact, Canada is in an enviable position as all the pressure is on the United States and their offense has scored more than one goal from the run of play.

For the United States, the lack of offense is worrisome. The team just can't finish. Perhaps Jozy Altidore's injury concerns hampered him during the first round but other forwards, namely Chad Barrett and Robbie Findley, have struggled to put shots on goal, let alone in the back of the net.

Defensively there are no such concerns. The United States' defense has played solid since the start. The revelation has been Michael Orozco, but that's only because many American fans were unfamiliar with him. Prior to the tournament, Patrick Ianni was getting a lot of play and hype on the backline and Orozco was the unknown player. Still, Ianni was not a regular starter for Houston last season while Orozco starts for San Luis of the Mexican First Division, so the Orange native is seemingly talented and is proving as much.

Here are a couple of game previews from the Canadians' point-of-view: this one from and this one from the National Post's Colin Smith (the picture accompanying this last one is not the best picture).

And here is a story from Ridge Mahoney for the USA Today.

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