Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Truth and daring - late running U.S/Nigeria blog

Well, well, the U.S. in the moment of truth.

The running blog woke up just in time to see Nigeria score. Now the African team looks confident and is playing some dominant soccer.

One think for sure, the U.S. can't keep depending on Japan to save their scalps.
45 - The U.S. give up a corner. Nigeria get a shot off - Szetela clears off the line! The U.S. barely hung on there.

Halftime: Obviously, Michael Orozco should not have thrown that elbow. And Sacha Klejestan shouldn't have jumped, or Stu Holden committed a foul, or Freddy committed his silly foul - heck, either of them. Or Bradley, for that matter. Even in this game, Rogers is getting beat defensively like a drum and Parkhurst didn't close down the defender who sent in the cross. There's blame lying everywhere.
51 - Holden! The U.S. had a chance there, and Holden wasn't ready, or hesitated, and instead put the ball high and wide of goal. Holden actually started the play. he beat his defender, crossed, Kljestan picked his defender's pocket, passed to Rogers and then Rogers hit a pass to the front of the box. Holden might have thought that McBride would move more aggressively to that ball. He seemed surprised to find it on his foot.
54 - Nigeria corner - shot! It curls wide of the goal.
55 - Stu stand over a FK - he serves it in and Kljestan gets his head on it - pops up over the bar.
The undermanned U.S. team is getting a few chances, though.
56 - Rogers made a defensive play! Wonders not ceasing.
57 - Wynne can't prevent a cross, but Guzan catches it.
58 - I was thinking that Kljestan might attract Euro attention, but perhaps it will be Wynne.
59 - Goal is open! Szetela's shot is weak, though, and the defenders clear the ball out before it even reaches the line.
60 - Benny F. gets a yellow for arguing with the ref - who missed a handball, though it didn't look like a deliberate one.
64 - Guzan watches a shot from distance go wide.
66 - Save! Guzan! The ball deflected off Benny in the box and headed toward goal. The U.S. defenders looked far too lax on a sequence that kept the ball in goal longer than it should have been.
67 - Rogers with another defensive play.
68 - Parkhurst does better on this attack, clearing the ball when he has to. The U.S. spurt looks to be over, though. Now very tired players are just hanging on.
69 - Dax! La Flecha Roja is in for Szetela. He was an alternate who made the team when Sturgis pulled out due to injury.
74 - The Dutch have finally scored against Japan, so the U.S. is out if the results hold.
75 - Nigeria give up a corner as Wynne gets up the wing and gets off a cross. The corner is taken short and Nigeria claim it before the U.S. can get a shot off.
77 - Stu comes out for Charlie Davies. Holden had perhaps the best U.S. chance for a goal.
78 - McCarty nearly gets the ball to a breaking Davies, but Nigeria cuts off the pass.
79 - GOAL! Parkhurst slips in the box and Wynne can't cover in time. It looks like curtains for the U.S. hopes, unless Japan scores. 2-0 Nigeria
82 - MLS representing - Ekpo is getting set to come on for Nigeria.
87 - Davies busts a great move to get into the box. He gets a corner, but Nigeria's goalkeeper catches.
88 - Penalty! The goalkeeper takes down Edu in the box. He gets a yellow, but he wasn't the last man, so no red. Sacha steps up and slams it home. 2-1 Nigeria
89 - FK for the U.S. as Benny is fouled near the top corner of the box. Good chance for the U.S.
90 - Dax sends in a great ball, Davies gets to it - snaps a header - Crossbar! Ooooh, how painfully close.
90+ Davies with a low shot, but the goalkeeper catches.
Nigeria goes the other way, off the crossbar! Wynne goes the other way, beats his defender and draws the foul. Dax sends it in, but Nigeria clear it out. The U.S. is desperately pushing forward, but Nigeria counter again. No goal from Japan, so the U.S. team is eliminated. Tough loss.
Jozy was taken out at the half, by the way.
Well, Sacha could presumably fly back for the SuperClasico now, but I doubt he'd have any legs left. The U.S. was run ragged out there.


Phillip Quinn said...

That's what happens with your left sided defender gets a red card in the 3' for a dumb elbow.

East River said...

Good morning AC,

Is Altidore evening playing? Haven't heard Telemundo say his name.

Davies I have no confience in besides him diving and maybe drawing a PK.

wow Sasha K had the ball around the top of the box and just absolutly fails to get a shot off.

Anonymous said...

proud to see the US fight all the way to the end. nearly got the draw.

Phillip Quinn said...

ryan babel is a diving schoolgirl...

If you get a chance to watch that nonsense... GOD I HATE LIVERPOOL!

RHYbread said...

That Netherlands game is haunting.

So disappointed but I'm happy that we didn't give up and played hard all the way through.

East River said...

Saw the Orozco red card, didn't look red card worthy. But in the end he threw his elbow so the ref was in his right to issue the red. Young players have to realize not to allow themselves to be baited like that.

Ben7 said...

messed up the timeschedule and missed most of the match because of my lunch break...

wow literally the whole game 1 man down, almost comeback from a 2 goal deficit. class.

only catched the last 10 mins, what a game! too bad about the results not going their way.

how did Rogers do today ?

A.C. said...

Yeah, I saw the elbow on the replay and the Nigerian made a meal out of that. I'd have given a yellow just for that nonsense. Oh, well. The U.S. fought well and that should count for a bit of pride, even if it doesn't change the result. What's funny is that the exact same results - win, draw, loss, once sent the U.S. great World Cup acclaim.

ryebreadraz said...

This was a great tournament for the US. No, we didn't get out of group play, but youth tournaments are more about developing players than they are about results. The senior team is about results. We found a lot out in this tournament about our young players and I think the young players will come to the senior team with more confidence than any group the Americans have ever produced. They played a strong Nigeria team to the end, down a man and without their best players. They outplayed Netherlands and played attractively, not bunkering and countering. When these kids get to the senior team, you won't see them in awe of their opponent when they play a world power and they'll have the confidence they can win.

Oh and I think we also learned what a terrible in-game manager Novak is.

Phillip Quinn said...

1: Orozco should've been given a yellow... maybe. When you see it from the reverse angle he barely touched the guy in the chest. Wolfgang overreacted and ruined a game like he did last summer at the U-20 World Cup.

2: Altidore had to come off, because he's still nursing an injury.

3: If the Dutch don't score on that free kick against us the other day, Nowak's a genius for putting Altidore in when he did and getting the go ahead goal.

If Charlie Davies header goes in the goal instead of clanging off the crossbar, Nowak's a genius for putting in the right sub who pretty much saved the group for us.

Lay off of Nowak's in game abilities.

Anonymous said...


I can't believe you are calling this a good tournament. This is a failure, especially when you considering that the US was 60 seconds away from punching it's ticket out of the group stage.

We didn't learn anything we didn't know. The US is making strides in soccer but has yet to really take it to the next level.

The US players are big, fast and strong, but still lack creativity, world class skill and top-notch coaching.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain when the U.S. players had white tape over the U.S. Soccer crest on their shirts?

Can't figure it out for the life of me.

L.B. said...

I would have to classify this is a monumental failure, especially given the way it went down. To have mismanaged the end of the Netherlands game is just unacceptable. Can't remember the last time a youth team had this much talent, potential and experience all at the same time - maybe the 2001 WYC team, and that team bombed too.

Yeah, Michael Orozco made a bonehead move but he was joined there by Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley who weren't even available today because of similarly boneheaded moves in the first two games. McBride was useless because he never got good service. I still think Kljestan did not have a good tournament despite his goals. Holden erased his own good effort with that late foul against the Dutch. Parkhurst got schooled on the first Nigerian goal. Wynne was shaky at times, as was Edu.

Just seems like the US had players underperform across the board in crucial moments.

Still I think Freddy Adu was one of the big disappointments. He is a selfish player and that was evident throughout. You can blame that on immaturity or whatever you want but he is selfish. His play is one thing - trying to dribble through five guys and get shots off is one thing but doing it over and over and over again gets old. Worse, he picked up two asinine yellow cards. Had he considered the consequences of his actions, he would have been more cautious and been around for the Nigeria game.

But let's all continue to hype him and lay the future of the US national team at his feet.

This team should go down as a failure. Peter Nowak didn't leave his job with DC United to take over a coaching job with a youth national team so he could continue grooming players for the senior team. His focus was to win and do well in the tournament and they did neither sufficiently.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you LB. I saw the US vs. Netherlands game and I was a bit surprised at the amount of praise that Adu was getting after that game. Yes, his pass to Klejstan was superb, but other than that, his runs while dazzling, didn't lead to anything really. I think people are just enamoured by the fact that a US player can play that way.

People also forget how easily Adu was shut down by the Japanese. If you man-mark him tight enough he becomes useless. He needs a lot of space in order to be effective, and not every team is going to give him that space.

JkR said...

Wow, Orozco with the boneheaded play of the tournament, and you turn it into an anti-Freddy diatribe?

Freddy's yellow were silly of course, but piling on him after this game is a bit much.

The red card killed almost any chance of tactical substitutions designed to win the match.


timpramas said...

Roster selection is also an issue. Sturgis had injury issues all season. At a minimum,, there should have been an alternate who could play as a left defender in the event Sturgis wasn't able to play. For the entire tournament we had a center defender playing out of position as a left defender (and as a result a center midfielder playing out of position as a center defender). What incredibly poor planning.

ghostwriter said...

USMNT remains unchanged...they do not believe they are good enough to win, so they find a way to lose.

Holden shoots (and misses) instead of passing to a wide open teammate for the clinching goal and then commits a very late foul in a very bad spot and, I'm sorry, but it didn't look to me like the US was entirely set and ready when the Dutch took that free kick.

Key players took their second yellows (one for stalling) because they counted their chickens too early and thought they were going thru already and the final game would be (mostly) meaningless. And today they take an idiot retaliation foul for a red card in the third freaking minute!

They could not have BEEN any more stupid. If you get outmanned or, beaten by a hot hand, great play or player, that's one thing. You can hold your heads up and get 'em next time. But if you lose because you play STUPID, that's quite another kettle of (smelly) fish. No way this event was a success.

That's not to say there weren't some plays and players that were encouraging, but the whole US men's program needs to change it's loser's mentality.

Anonymous said...

I agree, kind of harsh on adu. In most circles I don't think they consider him to be the next big thing anymore, folks have moved on to jozy. Or maybe it's more of a jozy-freddy-bradley love in. The big difference between freddy's mistakes and orozco's is freddy is making these errors at 19, orozco at 22!
Besides the brain freeze, Orozco had a good tourney playing in a position he's not really suited for, I hope we don't forget that. That said, moving on, I think adu, bradley, altidore, edu (as a midfielder!), wynne (if he learns to cross) and of course guzan have a bright future (meaning more than 60 meaningful caps) with the full team, the rest of the lot will never be better than 2nd string.

A.C. said...

Like Nowak said at one point, this team is still naive about some things. A lot of players made mistakes that I think happened at least partly due to that lack of international experience.
People might come down harder those who are expected to be leaders - in this case, Michael Bradley had the most national team experience, while Adu has the most hype. Adu is hitting the LD syndrome "To whom much is given (talent), much is expected."
Interestingly, people bag on LD for passing too much - Freddy's sin seems to be the opposite. Combine the two traits - get the perfect athlete? Or perhaps one that hold the pass when he should pass and passes when he should shoot.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the US has tape covering up the crest? Not tht i'm complaining too much, it is the worst crest in international football. why can't we have a bald eagle or something?
anyway, why the tape?

d.s. said...

Love those comments by LB - well said, though I would have been a bit less harsh on Adu: the times he dribbled so much, he often didn't have anyone in a better position. The fact that he made beautiful passes when he had an option (like the one that led to Kljestan's goal) is a good sign.

UNLIKE Holden, who went for glory for himself when laying it off to Kljestan would've COMPLETELY CLINCHED the Holland game.

Mismanagement by Nowak? Absolutely. Letting Bradley earn that caution was priceless mismanagement (not to mention absolutely unsporting behavior, at the OLYMPICS, for crying out loud). Playing Rogers for way too long in both games was another joke -- he was a disaster.

The first half against Holland showed very clearly how weak we were technically -- players like Wynne, Rogers, Holden, and yes, Altidore, exemplified the hustling American player with limited technical ability. Other than Kljestan and Adu, the team lacked any creative technical play.

A.C. said...

Teams were asked by the Olympic committee not to display federation crests. The jerseys that displayed merely the flag of their country were fine.

ryebreadraz said...

I can't believe more people aren't mentioning the laundry list of mistakes by Novak. Let's go back to the Netherlands game when there's one minute left and he still has one sub at his disposal. USE YOUR SUB! If Novak uses his sub there he wastes the last minute and the game ends before Netherlands can get their free kick. Fast forward to the Nigeria game and Novak has his team not looking to attack when they went until Netherlands scored. Why?!?! Regardless of the score in the other game, losing 1-0 or 2-0 doesn't matter so why aren't they throwing people forward and trying to tie it in case Netherlands scores? Why did he wait until the 80th minute to bring a second forward into the match? All of this is ignoring the fact that before the tournament when Sturgis went down, he brought in a midifelder despite having a thin back line with Sturgis. Novak was terrible this tournament and these mistakes are only at the top of a very long list.

Also, did anybody see how easily Babel went down to draw the penalty? Sometimes everything is just going against you and it seemed like in this tournament everything went against the Americans.

Anonymous said...

It's time to move on from the Freddy Adu era. Folks we will never win anything with him as the focal point.

Therein lies the problem, we're looking for great players but we're not building great teams. At all levels the chemistry is lacking to play fluid football, which even at the Senior level we only play in spurts.

The solution is??? I don't know. One thing was apparent, McBride was useless, if your going to bring a senior player bring in a backbone player. Lots of young guys could do what he did.


Anonymous said...

BTW, Orozco, keep your head up buddy. You probably feel responsible for the team's ouster...DON'T. That is what teams do, pick each other up.

The truth is it was not deserving of a Red, and if he were Brazilian, Italian, German, or Argentinian, it would have been a Yellow. Unfortunately, refs let hierarchies get in the way of the game so there are double standards left and right. I mean it was the 4th minute of the game.

I wonder if Orozco would have flopped and rolled around and grabbed his face like he had been shot in the face, I've seen Argentineans and Italians use this tactic and it seems to mitigate a red and often draws double yellows for each player.

Just another learning experience.

Kevin said...

Unfortunately Orozco allowed himself to get baited and he fell for it. He has no one but himself to blame. No red card and we win that game and the group, no questions asked.

I am proud though that the team fought to the bitter end and almost got a result.

I would not rate as a huge failure as we are dominant in our region.