Wednesday, June 4, 2008

US/Spain running blog

Blissful ignorance . . .
I don't get ESPN.360. Before anyone screams out about, "I thought you worked for them" - it's apparently my cable internet provider's fault. Even so, I don't really like watching matches on my computer screen. It's hard to blog that way for one. For another, it's a pain straining at the poor resolution. It's better than nothing, but seeing as the game is going to be on TV soon, I'm waiting for that. In the meantime, I like Elena Dimentieva's pink tennis dress. I play a little tennis myself. Anyway, as soon as this French Open coverage ends, I'll kick into the commenting on the ESPN2 match. Join me if you've also waited for the TV version of the game - or even if you already know the outcome.
So far, I'd have to say US fans seem quite pessimistic - the overwhelming winner in our "Who will score for the US?" poll was Mr. Nobody.
I say, "Cap 'im quick!"
We're on! In Spain (Dinara Safina won, by the way), there is rain.

Spain
Silva,Torres,Cazorla
Xavi, Fabregas
Alonso
Capdevila, Ramos
Marchena,Puyol
Casillas
U.S.
Johnson
Lewis,Adu, Dempsey
Bradley,Edu
Pearce, Bocanegra,Onyewu,Cherundolo
Howard

Kickoff!
I love how John Harkes is saying Jozy is concentrated on his team at present. Not really. Honestly can anyone blame Jozy is he plays at half-speed to avoid injury from here on out. He's got to be good for his European team.
2 - Torres' ankle must not be that bad, he's there, putting pressure on Timmay.
5 - Decent backline movement, but the U.S. hasn't looked the least bit dangerous yet - granted it's still very early.
7 - Spain is knocking the ball around, but the U.S. is keeping defensive shape well.
9 - Dempsey goes up for a high ball from Boca in the box, but gets called for the foul on Casillas.
SAVE! Timmay off a header from Ramos. Boca looked very short there.
12 - MB clean tackle in the box on Torres, out for corner that's headed away.
13 - Capdevilla pushes the ball too far deep in U.S. territory - goal kick.
15 - Freddy gets called for a bump, ending a U.S. attack there.
16 - Timmay can't hang on to the ball in the box, stumbles forward to push it out further as he falls. The U.S. gets away with some sloppy play there, but the rain could play a role.
18 - The announcers are boring - I wish I was watching the Galavision telecast, but I don't want to wait that long. It's been a run of attacking from Spain, but one couldn't tell by the flat cadence. The U.S. is holding a strong line around the box of Tim Howard, but not getting very far going the other way.
21 - Harkes harshes on Dempsey's "casual touch" on a pass.
22 - Adu! Beautiful turn in the box, flick pass to Dempsey, who can't quite get on to it, but that was a real chance. Corner for the U.S. No one quite gets to it, but that's better from the U.S.
23 - Adu! Another flick pass to Johnson, who finishes well, but the flag is up. Offside.
24 - Torres! a low shot that Timmay gets down for. Good catch.
25 - Adu works hard in the corner to get ball free, cross into the box - Spain clears.
26 - The U.S. is looking much better than they did versus England, and I can't help but point out that this speaks well for Freddy Adu, Maurice Edu, and Eddie Lewis.
28 - Spain back on the attack, but the ball runs long for a throw. Rain again likely a factor.
29 = Whistles from the Spanish fans, impatient that their team is getting forward so little with so much possession.
31 - Harkes is on a long Adu soliloquy, unrelated to the match.
33 - Puyol steps on Freddy - FK near the arc.
34 - Lewis takes it, but the ball doesn't quite drop from him into the top corner.
35 - Mexico plays a little like Spain - the quick, technical touches, the linking play. I guess it's not surprising, then, that the U.S. looks more comfortable countering that style. If Mexico is the Spain of CONCACAF, the U.S. is the England.
37 - Perhaps that's why the U.S. had such a hard time with England. They don't play teams with their own style, but much better, very often.
39 - there's about 10 players standing right near the arc, but Spain tries to shoot anyway - multiple times it gets blocked.
oooh, Adu passes ball out to EJ, who beats Puyol into the box, but his low shot gets footsaved by Casillas. Close.
41 - Oooh, 'Dolo not as short as he looks - his header clears a dangerous cross from Ramos. Nice.
43 - The U.S. is trying to hang on, probably mindful of how England scored late in the first half - cross to Torres - Boca breaks it up.
45 - Adu does well with ball - draws foul and sells it as he falls. Very South American, that tumble.
Halftime - Spain had more possession and chances, but the U.S. played them quite even and had opportunities of their own. Much better than the last match.
Hmm, the U.S. Soccer commercial prominently features Jimmy Conrad, Bobby Convey, Chris Albright, Brian Ching and Landon Donovan, none of whom are in Spain.
46 - Tragedy! Apparently Adu picked up a knock and is out for the second half. Guzan is also in for Howard.
47 - Now, I like Guzan, but I'm not sure how I feel about the USMNT facilitating, perhaps, Guzan's transfer to Europe by putting him in games in order to work up his national team percentage and make the England transfer requirements. Now, if you really think Brad would play as much as he has anyway, then it's not an issue.
50 EJ! Misses wide on the header off a great cross by Eddie Lewis. Oh, EJ. That should have been a goal. He was right in front of it. I'm not even sure one should try for the corner there. Just headbang it into the goal.
52 - Beas is always going to be fast, but his touch is off on that pass.
53 - Spain pinning the U.S. back against Guzan's goal. Navarro coming in for Capdevilla.
55 - Frankie appeals for an offside - oooh that was dangerous.
56 - Harkes with a GREAT point, about how Bradley might feel pressured to use the MLS players because he's called them away from their clubs, even if it disrupts squad balance.
57 - Spain corner. The U.S. clears it, gets it to midfield, where Dempsey goes down. Clearly from behind but no card. DelaRed comes in for Silva.
59 - EJ has no chance on that long pass - certainly not the service he was getting from Freddy earlier.
60 - Marcheta just outside the box with a shot that pops way high.
63 - Dangerous Spanish FK set up right next to the arc. Guzan had his hand up to punch, but it went off the crossbar. Great chance for Spain there.
65 - Spain has better mojo now, though, zeroing on the U.S. goal.
66 - Harkes is pretty genial, but he's coming down hard on Dempsey, saying he's quite disappointed in his lack of impact. Have to agree there. The U.S. give up another corner, but they clear it. The game is being played entirely in the U.S. half now, and they're defending almost exclusively. Nothing going the other way.
68 - Onyewu misses a tackle on the ball, players from Spain swarm the box, Guzan comes out gets caught in no man's land, but the shot off the angle goes off the post. Close again from Spain.
70 0 It seems only a matter of time now - will it expire before Spain scores, that is? The Americans aren't threatening to score at all at this point.
Xavi in the box, cuts it, slips, U.S. clears, but that was another close call. Josh Wolff comes in for Eddie Lewis.
71 - Harkes talks about how this changes the formation, but not really, because all the u.S. players are back defending, so there's really not much shape other than the offside line.
73 - Spain draws another FK great spot here. Senna into the wall - it's deflected by EK for the corner.
74 - Brad catches it. Spain comes right back. Brad is nice and loud, I can hear him yell, "Away" to Gooch.
75 - Save! Guzan smothers a low shot. Harkes points out again, "Dempsey has failed to shine." It may seem like I'm going on about this on Demps, but Harkes hasn't really called anyone else out.
76 - I take it back, he's mentioned that MB looks tired and has all but called for pablo to replace him.
77 - Right on cue, MB tries to break up a Spain counter by grabbing a player - he gets a yellow.
79 - GOAL! The U.S. finally pays for conceding a ton of possession. Ramos and Fabergas play the ball back and forth, prying open the defense of the U.S., until Fabergas drops a simple little pass to Xavi, and the U.S. doesn step to him quickly enough, and Xavi just barrels down the center with the ball, brushing Bradley aside and no one steps clean into his path, he aims it well past Guzan. 1-0 Spain.
82 - Harkes again comments that MB is tired and doesn't understand why Bradley didn't call for Mastroeni earlier.
83 - Bradley's not going to avoid the nepotism charges with coaching like this. I agree with Harkes - though this game is much better in general than the England game - why isn't Pablo brought in? Harkes speculates that perhaps Pablo has a slight knock we don't know about.
87 - Pablo finally comes it, but for Dempsey.
88 - U.S. corner. Beas to take. Mastro runs for it in the box, but misses. It deflects out for a throw, but that gets cleared.
89 - The U.S. gives up the ball on a bad pass, Senna gets some space and shoots from distance - wide.
90 - Hejduk cross, but the header doesn't happen. Wolff bad pass loses ball, but Harkes is way forgiving about it. EJ gets to a long ball, turns and shoots quickly, but doesn't get much on the ball. The fans are unhappy that a weak-looking U.S. side is even getting a sniff of a goal. MB passes square on the final touch - why? Why not kick it forward for one last try? Anyway, that's it.
What can one say? Less of a crappy loss? A better-looking defeat? Adu looked good. Lewis still has some class passes. Guzan was fine - and everyone else generally disappointed. But our readers were right on the prediction in the poll - Nobody scored for the U.S.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

A.C.,

Just a hint when watching on the computer with crappy reception...sit farther away from the screen, like several feet. Don't know why, but it works. It's not perfect, but your eyes aren't as bothered with the 'blockiness' of the picture. Hey, I just invented a word.

By the way, I'm in the same boat as far as ESPN 360. I can get it with my home cable provider, but not the office one. However, if you go to channelsurfing dot net, you can pretty much see any soccer match you want.

A.C. said...

It's hard to sit further away from the computer when I'm trying to blog, though.

oddlou17 said...

Someone needs to buy another monitor... :)

Anonymous said...

i saw the second half and all i have to say is one word "awful"

RHYbread said...

Was Adu really injured by the cleat to the foot?

Anonymous said...

When is the US going to display the same aggression as Spain. The US only plays aggressive against Mexico.

Ramos, Senna, and Puyol seem to intimidate the US players. Quit giving these guys so much respect. Show some fire.

BBSC

Anonymous said...

another game, another shut-out for the mighty us program. at least the college game is developing great players, and i hear the mls is growing, too.

PrimateWrangler said...

anonymous is all over the place today...much better than last week...now off to the Murph but who to cheer for?

Anonymous said...

for the record, espn360's reception is pretty darn clear. you'd be surprised.

Gabriel in Argentina said...

we can't hold the ball..we do not have anyone on the team that can hold the ball..at least like Reyna could..Ramos could do it as well..but right now..there is no one..so we never retain the ball..and we look awful

RT said...

the game reminded me of when i kick the ball around with the 8-9 year-olds i coach.....i run circles around them not making much effort while they huff and puff and look, well, childlish....

Anonymous said...

The second half was a disgrace for the most part. Heath Pearce can defend but if you hit him with a bat everytime he gave the ball away every bone in his body would be broken. The US defenders treat the ball as if it was radioactive. Bradley may be the great in Holland but everytime I see him for the US he looks like a very bad red card waiting to happen. You just want grab him and scream "What are you doing?" Beas was unfit. Lewis and Adu are the only midfielders who look remotely dangerous. Dempsey looks burnt out.
EJ is much better but he needs to score and soon. They miss Landon. Otherwise eveything looked good. John

Diane said...

Much better looking defeat. We were more surprised at Spain's inability to finish with so much possession (not a good sign for the Euro run).

But we were also surprised that the U.S. was able to get the ball away from them as often as they did. If Spain's delivery into the box, and their strikers, were as accurate as they can and should be, things could have been a lot worse.

Still, I thought our players disappeared against England and were much more organized yesterday. Maybe because they had more notice that Donovan wouldn't be in...?

I agree about Michael Bradley, I want to like him because he is so tenacious and fearless, but he needs more control because he gives away too many free kicks.

Fear of Ramos and Puyol -- join the rest of the world. And fear of not, they're just really good.

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