Monday, June 9, 2008

None too pleased

There are seemingly several ways to look at the US after Sunday's game against Argentina.

One is the rosier outlook - after a couple of poor performances in Europe, the US found some spark at home. With many standout individual performances, the US nearly beat the top-ranked team in the world. Regardless, the US gained confidence going into a pair of critical games.

And then, there's the pessimistic approach - yet another game, yet another shutout. Even with Landon Donovan and Freddy Adu, the US looked poor in front of the goal. Argentina controlled the match for the most part and only Tim Howard's saves kept the game from getting out of hand. There's a lot of work to be done, quite a bit actually.

Where do I fall in? I'll let you know as this week progresses where I think the US national team stands entering qualifying.

I found this piece interesting, however. John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News throws out some good statistics (for instance, the US is 9-38-6 all-time against the seven nations who have won a World Cup) and paints a somewhat bleak picture before offering up some sort of hope.


artnsue said...

The thing that I did not like about this game is that the few flashes of a actual striker potential from EJ (until he got in the 18 yard box and it was time to finish) will continue to allow him to be part of the team.

Anonymous said...

There's going to be hyperbole both negative and positive about this game. From what I saw last night, the US did play better than the last two games, but the same problems are still there, the only difference is that Argentina didn't bury it's chances. Had Cruz scored on all his chances, people would be singing a different tune right now about the woeful attack and lack of midfield possession.

I just think people are happy that we didn't lose and saved our best game for the best team in the world. Unfortunately, I also think the result will mask alot of issues we still need to address. Sort of the way the win against Brazil in the Gold Cup before France 98 did. Sure we played with a fighting spirit, but hasn't that been our calling card since the early 90s against big teams?

Anonymous said...

It's a little misleading to say that we don't have good strikers.

I mean, we don't but even if we had Villa and Torres they might find it tough going because, based on these last three games, the US attack is starved for service. They do not transition the ball smoothly from defense to attack. Notice the incredible number of times the defense and midfield give the ball away. Even Guzan's distribution of the ball was positively criminal.

Feilhaber, Adu, Dempsey, Donovan and Lewis seem to be the only ones in this bunch that can make good attacking passes.

Feilhaber is out of form, Donovan was not around for two of the games and along with Dempsey has been moved up forward to do something with those passes that don't come and Lewis and Adu haven't played as much as they might have. Where Donovan seems to be of most use is that he seems to make himself so available for a pass when the defense is under pressure.

Going back to the Sampson/Arena eras, the US was almost like a club team and lots of those guys wound up with a lot of caps. One consequence of Bradley's much larger player pool is that these guys still seem to be learning how to play with each other.