Saturday, March 15, 2008

U.S./Honduras RB

Now, I'm not in Florida, folks, but I thought, I'll do commentary anyway. I've got the sound off, though, so if you want me to say anything about the announcers, it's not happening. I guess I'll be reading their comments, though, as I've got the closed captions on.

Though they fielded a full 11 on their side (no subs, though) Cuba lost to Panama in the earlier Olympic qualifying match. So the U.S. is through even before kick-off. This match will determine who wins the group, though.

Barrett is up top, then Gaven and Findley. Holden is on the wing, Captain Sacha in the middle, then Zizzo. the defenders are Hunter Freeman, Orozco, Ianni and Kamani Hill.

Cervi is in goal for the U.S.
1- Stuart Holden, a nice little player if there ever was one, has the first attack into Hondo territory.
6 - Gaven is into the area, but he brings the ball down poorly and it bounces out of bounds wide of the goal.
9 - Eeek for the U.S. It looked like Honduras scored on a counter where Iani and Cervi got mixed up and tumbled over each other, but the U.S. was saved by an offside call on Honduras.
13 - I could be biased, because I'm watching on TV as opposed to live, but both Guatemala and Mexico looked so much more technical and together last night than either the U.S. or Honduras so far.
Holden's blond innocence is misleading. He undercut a player slightly while going for a header and the guy is rolling around now like he's been sniped. The baby-faced assassin, that Holden kid.
15 - Honduras is falling down a lot. Right on cue, Ianni's mark goes down and Ianni gets a yellow for looking disgusted about it, I guess.
18 - Kamani Hill doesn't have the experience of a defender. He nearly lost the ball there just through indecision.
20 - Findley with the half-volley, but he had to reach back to kick it and doesn't get much power on the shot.
22 - Findley again, this time the recipient of a very nice U.S. offensive build-up. Only a lucky bounce off the goalkeeper's foot saved Honduras there, sending the ball wide. Corner kick is cleared.
25 - Stewey Holden stands over a freekick and pushes away a Honduran defender. He's got grit, that one.
28 - Findley collided with goalkeeper Fernandez on that FK and Fernandez still seems shaken up. Like I wrote earlier, though, Honduras players are falling down a lot.
31 - Holden fires a quick shot from 30 yards out, but it deflects for a corner - cleared out.
33 - Barrett with a shot from just outside the box. He didn't really hit the ball square - didn't get good wood on on it, as golfers say. Fernandez catches.
37 - The camera pans to Bob Bradley and assistant coach John Hackworth in the stands. The U.S. isn't playing badly, but they are certainly not scoring.
39 - Precision passing just isn't happening for the U.S. Passes have a fifty-fifty chance of going to the other team.
41 - They still seem to have the upper hand in terms of defending hard and athletically, but they're not earning any advantage via their technical performance.
45 - The commentators are arguing whether it's better to have Mexico or Guatemala as an opponent. Let me make this clear, either team could beat the U.S., given how the Americans are playing at this point.
I'll clarify again that the U.S. doesn't stink - they're not allowing Honduras many chances, but they're not really creating any of their own. They seem a bit clueless on offense.

Halftime - Ok, I'll admit the U.S. isn't at full strength, but neither is Honduras, so this performance is disappointing, even taking into account a few good plays and runs. That's the problem - there were only a few good plays and runs. The U.S. needs to create many more, and then do a better job of making them pay off.

47 - Honduras with an early attack forces Cervi to make a save, but it wasn't much of a strain for him.
49 - CK for the U.S. Holden takes it. It's cleared out and Honduras kicks out a counter. The U.S. slows it down, but Honduras maintains the attack for a bit. Ianni seems to yank on a Honduran player's neck. That wasn't cool - he's already got a yellow.
51 - Captain Kljestan gets a yellow himself now - for a ridiculously late tackle as Honduras tried to build a counter. That seemed pretty pointless, too.
54 - Now Honduras as a credible FK about ten yards from the arc and a bit to the right. Bodies fly, but Cervi comes up with it. Right now, the U.S. isn't playing even as well as they did in the first half. Their defense has gone from organized to thuggish.
56- Cervi with a save as Welcome gets in behind the U.S. defense.
58 - Hunter Freeman received a yellow card. I guess the U.S. is thinking, "We may not score, but dang, can we foul!" Ok, maybe they're not actually thinking that.
60 - Charlie Davies comes in for Zizzo. Dax comes in for Sacha - ok, wait, who is the captain now? Dax?
63 - Yikes, now the U.S. can't even score penalties now. Davies doesn't even get a first touch on the ball, Holden gets into the box and sends him a little flick pass, but as Charlie moves to
wards it, he gets bearhugged - full-on, lifted-off-the-ground-held. A PK is given and as Freddy is on the bench, Davies takes it and - puts it wide. Ugh.
69- Ex-Chivas USA and FC Dallas player Ramon Nunez is entering the match now.
73 - Findley shoots high into the stands, endangering fans more than he is threatening the Honduran goal.
75 - Barrett header just wide of goal from a Stewie cross. Stew's MOTM so far, but to take that honor in a scoreless game is only good if you're the goalkeeper.
78 - A semi-streaker - bikini on, runs out to the field. Security must be napping or laughing, because a U.S. soccer official escorts her off eventually.
80 - I'd say she ruined a promising U.S. attack, but heck, it would probably have fizzled out anyway. The rest have.
82 - Honduras still venturing into U.S. territory on counters.
84 - Stewster gets in the box again, but Davies can't turn and shoot and eventually Honduras recovers and launches a counter.
85 - Nunez! he launches one toward goal and hits the post! Ramoncito nearly won the game singlehandedly.
87 - Findley charges into the box, where he spends a long three seconds before passing to Holden, whose one-timer then gets deflected for a counter, which is cleared. Gaven can't get a cross off and Honduras recovers the ball. Robbie - please write on the board a hundred times. "I will pass the ball more quickly"
90 - The U.S. is still sending out long balls with an equal chance of going to the Honduran side as a U.S. player.
GOAL! Penalty! Davies draws another PK! He turns quickly at the top of the box and his defender kicks him in the side, basically. The ref has the guts to call it, in the dying seconds of the match. Maybe he figures the kick won't go in anyway.
But it does! Eddie Gaven takes it. I wonder if Davies hesitated and Gaven stepped up. He doesn't hit it hard, and he sends it in the same direction as Charlie did. The goalkeeper jumps the wrong way and the U.S. scores. 1-0.
And that's it. The U.S. squeaks out the win in the final minute and wins the group.


Dave said...

Good commentary. Thank you.

papa bear said...

I totally missed Freeman getting a red card.

Mexico has looked terrible. I think saying they would beat the US with any kind of confidence is a bit of a stretch. Their offense has been just as anemic and their defense atrocious. Guatemala though have looked very good. I am very happy we are avoiding them for now.

The girl running out in her underwear was the best part of the game. I give her MOTM or I guess I should say WOTM honors.

A.C. said...

I miswrote. Freeman got a yellow.

Dan Haug said...

Seems like you were having a little too much fun with the commentary this match.

Com on... level with us, what were you drinkin'?


A.C. said...

Tea. Really. Not Long Island, either.

Jim said...

I did not think that Kljestan looked too sharp. He made quite a few bad and ill timed passes. A couple which Honduras took advantage of.

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