... vuvuzela is not:
1) a female body part; or
2) a country in the northern tier of South America
Result. A point from the first match is fantastic, especially since the Slovenia-Algeria game was a crime against soccer. If the US wins against Slovenia, which they should, they are basically through. A tie is probably good enough going into a final game against a shambolic(!) and likely eliminated Algeria squad.
Timmah! Was where he needed to be, made the saves he could make, and did not spill a harmless ball into the net. He was fortunate that a number of English shots were directly at him, but he saved a couple sledgehammers without offering up a rebound that Rooney could have poached.
Steve Cherundolo. Essentially shut down the right side of the English attack and, as a bonus, drew two dangerous fouls on Milner, forcing Capello to take him off just a half-hour in. He coped with the speed of Wright-Phillips and Cole for most of the game; given Spector's recent troubles it's easy to envision the US conceding another goal or two if Cherundolo isn't on the field.
Dempsey & Donovan. Neither had a spectacular game. Both were still the USA's best and most dangerous players. Donovan set up most of the USA's dangerous chances and provided his usual quality set piece service; Dempsey obviously scored. Even if it was a howler by the goalie, score == good.
Jozy Altidore. Par for the course: one brilliant piece of individual skill and not a whole lot else. Created a golden opportunity that Green and the post conspired to deny. Also whiffed on Donovan's dangerous
Robbie Findley. Josh Wolff 2.0. Took some long balls down well and helped with possession. Still wasteful when he does get the ball in a dangerous position; even got caught on his breakaway because of sloppy footwork with the ball.
Michael Bradley. I'm not really sure. I'm just putting him here because I don't recall much good or bad from Bradley.
Central defense. Onyewu did get pulled out of position on the quick Gerrard goal but since as the game wore on it became clear that the game plan for dealing with Rooney was to have the central defense immediately step out on him no matter where he was, he can hardly be blamed for following the gameplan. Zonal Marking has a bunch of stills showing the various ways in which this strategy exposed various parts of the field to be exploited. Here's Onyewu stepping out on Rooney, getting beaten, sucking Bocanegra in, and setting up Lennon for a dangerous cross:
ZM sees this as Onyewu repeatedly committing errors, but from my perspective the US decided that Rooney would not beat them and they'd take their chances with Heskey and others, especially since the absence of Barry forced the ineffective deployment of Milner/SWP and the Nats' tucked in attacking midfielders largely neutralized the England fullbacks. The focus on Rooney put Heskey in for England's best chance of the second half. His shot went directly at Howard.
For the rest of the game, the central D pairing kept England out. Demerit was especially good at harrying Rooney, who had a minimal impact until late when everyone got tired and England finally started attempting to exploit the still-awkward Onyewu in some one-on-one situations.
The downside for the central D: both Heskey and Crouch had their way aerially, with Heskey knocking down ball after ball for his teammates and Crouch having some scary moments in the box. That's somewhat unavoidable—Heskey is a beast and Crouch is 6'7"—but a fully healthy Onyewu may have competed better.
Carlos Bocanegra. This was definitely going to happen, but it did: Aaron Lennon was too much for Bocanegra, providing most of the England offense in the second half. He'll cope better against less blazing wingers.
Ricardo Clark. The writing was on the wall when Clark went 90 against Australia, but why a guy with two appearances for his club since the end of the last MLS season got the nod over a comparable player with a lot more recent playing time under his belt (Edu) is still unclear. Clark let Gerrard loose less than five minutes into the game, and that's especially egregious since it was obvious that center-backs stepping out was part of the gameplan and that Clark is supposed to be the most defensive-minded player on the pitch other than Onyewu and Demerit.
I haven't reviewed the game yet but the first serious rewatch posts are rolling in and Clark does not do well in them:
There is one camera angle on ESPN3 and I caught at least four other opportunities to the early gaffe by Clark of ball watching–or clipping his nails–or whatever he was doing rather than getting on the play. (19, 25, 34, 84 minutes)
Defensive awareness is about the only thing Clark is supposed to bring to a game, and he's not really doing that after missing six months injured.
I'm with the rest of the internet: I expect we'll see Torres the next two matches as the US adopts a more aggressive posture based on possession.
Also South Africa. Vuvuzelas, incredible swathes of empty seats—I'm watching Japan-Cameroon and it looks like Crisler when Michigan plays Arkansas Pine-Bluff—a bunch of money spent on sports in an area of the world that has serious problems… way to go FIFA.
With the draw against England, I'm with Braves and Birds:
The weekend's results create a new goal for the Nats. Coming into the tournament, we all wanted them to make it out of the group my any means necessary. Now, with a draw against England and Germany looking like the best team in the tournament, there should be motivation for the Nats to do their best to win the group to avoid the Germans in the round of sixteen.
If the US and England both win on Friday, the final matchday will be a race to avoid Germany. Big if, though, against a Slovenia side that rarely concedes goals.
The Run of Play on the game.
... vuvuzela is not:
1) a female body part; or
2) a country in the northern tier of South America
...are you SURE vuvuzela is not part of the female anatomy? I could have sworn....
The Sun-Times posted a similar image with the caption: "English Muffin'". However, I think "Hand of Clod" is better. LOL.
Be careful what you wish for, USMNT. Having the whole country breathlessly stake its entire identity on what you do in 90+ munutes is not the nirvana is seems.
You still lived to tell about '06 and your wives and girlfriends would still sleep with you.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opener against England and was proud of the way we played in the second half. We actually looked like equals (or near to it) in the second.
I hate vuvuzelas. I have the choice to either (a) not watch on surround sound, (b) not be able to hear what the commentators are saying, (c) or listen to that incessant droning/blaring/buzzing sound for hours. I've been going with (c) because it still is sort of fun to feel like you're "there." But I hate the sound. You can't hear actual crowd noise over it most of the time.
I am about the furthest thing from a soccer expert, but I disagree about the second half. I don't know if the US was playing particularly well, but they didn't look like equals to me. It seemed like only a matter of time before England scored and I thought they were fortunate to get out of there with the tie.
For the first 10 minutes and last 10-15 minutes, we were just barely hanging on. In the middle we looked pretty good though.
More impressive to me was the first half after the England goal. US had a ton of possession, had several great (unconverted) chances, and frankly looked as good as England did. I think England let off the gas a bit after the goal (perhaps unintentionally, perhaps it was tactics) but the US looked pretty solid.
Clark sucks though. Was mad when I saw him in the starting lineup, and was livid when all of us who had been saying there was no reason for him to start in this tournament were vindicated in less than five minutes. That was a total case of the problem where Bob Bradley has "his guys" and he just puts them in the lineup seemingly without thought.
I knew we were in trouble when I watched the national anthems. Clark's Deer-in-headlights look was terrifying, especially contrasted with the determination on the faces of Timmay, Donovan, etc.
Sepp Blatter needs to unarse his head. How he can call the vuvuzela a South African "music tradition" is beyond me. I do not consider a 90-minute drone "music." And you can't hear the usual singing, chanting and other crowd sounds. Hard to hear the announcers sometimes.
I think Blatter's stance is that vuvuzelas are not disrespectful to particular teams or groups of fans, and are obviously not security threats. Therefore, FIFA has no business banning them, traditional or not. I'm not personally a fan of the vuvuzela drone, but I'm actually pretty impressed with the respectful stance FIFA is taking here toward South Africa. It's their tournament, and if the fans get off on giant kazoos, that's their call.
Nigerian fans were banned from bringing their live chickens into their match on Saturday (amazingly, they WERE allowed to bring them in in Germany in 2006).
I wonder if you feel FIFA has any business banning livestock in the stadia if they're not disrespectful or security threats.
On its face, this is a poor analogy, unless you're contending that live chickens at matches are a German tradition.
But certainly, chickens may present health risks and opporunities for crowd mischief (chicken loose in a packed section might create a hazard) that vuvuzelas do not. Hell, I suppose there's even an animal rights argument for not bringing live chickens into matches.
" I do not consider a 90-minute drone 'music.' "
Dude, Spacemen 3 are awesome.
Germany's win was impressive, sure, but Australia is probably the weakest team in that group and ze Deutsch did most of their damage when they were up a man. Also, anyone remember Argentina's 6-0 win against Serbia Montenegro? I'm unconvinced. But if you wanna crown em...
but not as weak as they looked in the first half ... Germany had an easy 2-0 lead by then and Cahill's red card simply sealed their fate.
If anything, the Germans took their foot off the gas a bit. Compare that to Ghana, who nearly drew with Serbia after they were down to 10 men ... well, that's not quite accurate. They nearly lost to Serbia by conceding a wonderful opportunity late in that match. The silly, obvious penalty was a gift.
At the end of the game I ask myself if I remember Michael Bradley's play. If the answer is no, then he did his job. When we start really noticing Bradley that means he is getting red cards.
I would like to see Edu or Torres out there. There was a time Dempsey had to yell and point to tell Rico where to go. He looked lost sometimes trying to create space for the team.
I was also very pleased with MB's play. I haven't rewatched the game, but I remember a lot of solid ball advancement, along with the lack of red cards and a mostly stifled English attack.
This might just be me, but I noticed Bradley far too often for negative reasons. It seemed he was making poor decisions with the ball and failing to win challenges and recognize some positioning issues.
But, once I see someone do something wrong, I have the tendency to look for it more. And when you look for something, it kinda sticks out more, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I remember, but I was yelling for Gomez to come in for Bradley.
Bradley did a lot of receiving the ball just past midfield and actually possessing it, making short runs then surveying his options. He struck me as the most comfortable with the ball at his feet, and I wasn't terrified he was going to bug out when people ran at him and turn it over (he turned it over for sure, but I prefer a turnover when going for an attacking pass as opposed to Rico's turnovers because he's under duress and wants to get rid of it).
He filled an important role of maintaining possession outside of our defensive zone, even if it was only momentary. He's not going to dribble past most guys, but he's also not scared to hold onto it.
I view it as a big problem when your primary central midfielder is invisible for the entire game. While Gerrard played well, Lampard was almost non-existent in the midfield areas and England kept their width (especially when Milner came off), meaning Bradley often had acres of space in the center of the park and did absolutely nothing with it.
I completely blame the elder Bradley for the problem though. His son doesn't have the creative capacity to play that role at this level and shouldn't be put in that situation. We certainly should have had Torres in the game instead of the largely useless Robbie Findley, allowing Michael and his holding/defensive midfield partner to do what they do best while also giving us some positive presence in the middle of the park (not to mention aiding our shaky back line).
The absolute howler by Green covered up the fact that Bob Bradley is a terrible tactician. We failed to take advantage of the gaping hole in the middle of England's midfield (thanks to Lampard's predictable disappearing act) and allowed the English to waltz into a goal and a number of easy chances. If Green makes the routine save and Capello isn't nearly as bad as Bradley in selection (Milner was useless and almost any other striker scores in Heskey's place) the game could easily have been 2-0 or 3-0. Hopefully any success we have going forward in SA doesn't mask Bradley's incompetence and we can hire a proper manager before the next qualifying campaign.
Are you in favor of running the 4-5-1 so that we can get Torres on the pitch?
Bob Bradley is gone no matter what. We can win the WC and he will most likely be gone. Gulati has stated that he wants one cycle coaches.
of running the 4-5-1 so that we can get Holden on. Holden, Dempsey and Donovan should be must starts, and then Edu/Bradley/Torres should play the other two, depending on circumstances (I tend to like Baby Bradley more than others and he should play most games, but sometimes you need a true holding midfielder and a true attacking midfielder, and he's sort of neither)
I think we need to get our best players on the field and that our defense is far too shaky to play with two outright strikers. For me, playing 4-5-1 is a no brainer, especially considering our most likely goal scorers are wingers who like to come into the center of the park (making it more like a 4-3-3 going forward) and the fact that nobody up front after Altidore is really good enough to make an impact at this level. I would play a triangle behind Altidore, Dempsey, and Donovan and cater the makeup of that group to the opponent (two strong defensive players against better opponents but more creativity against weaker ones). I think either Holden or Torres could have made a much bigger offensive impact against England than Findley did, while allowing Bradley and Clark (or whoever you put in those spots) to concentrate more on the defensive end (to avoid things like Gerrard sashaying unmolested through the center of the 18 yard box).
As for Bradley (the elder), I just hope the US federation realizes that the team has enough talent now that they deserve a top-flight, international manager. Hopefully they take some initiative and hire a guy with international or quality club experience rather than some MLS retread.
I thought Bradley played good. Not great, but good. I think he definitely helps the team with possesion. It is hard to really analyze his play since a big part of it is making up for the lack of another central midfielder. I would like to see more of him with Edu starting and then bring in Torres for a spark when needed for either of those two.
Everyone needs to send B. Bradley telepathy darts to stop starting Clark. Do it now!
See, I do remember MB's play. It wasn't spectacular, and it mostly seemed to consist of him taking a pass and then awkwardly booting out in some attempt at a pass. For the most part, he didn't seem to do anything productive with it. I'd have settled for a few unremarkable passes rather than effectively turning it over at midfield.
I think BB did a poor job with his substitutions. It would have been nice to have Torres or Edo come in around the 70th minute to put a spark in the midfield. Alternately, I would have preferred to have Findley sit out until that point when he could come in and stress the English defense with his speed and fresh legs.
As for the doing well containing Wayne Rooney, I think that has more to do with England's failure to get the ball to him. I can remeber a few times when he was sitting unmarked in the penalty area with at least ay 8 yard cushion. Everyone I was watching with nearly had a heart attack watching the defense ignore him.
Yes, he scored on a lucky mishap, but I thought his set up for the shot was praise-worthy.
I agree, turing Steven G around twice was nice to watch.
In an unrelated note, I love the avatar and desperately wish US Soccer would replace its awful crest with something like it.
I though Demerit was solid at the back
no Demerit in the "Good"? I thought he did a fine job marking his man. that's no small task.
also, Michael Bradley did a workmanlike job as well. calm head (albeit bald). played like his old man's a coach or some such thing.
fine result for us. I'm tickled.
I forgot Rooney was playing until the 70th minute (not literally but he didn't touch it inside the box until then).
I was ok during the US/ENG game with the vuvuzelas, mostly because I was so invested in the game. I watched Germany/Australia in its entirety yesterday, and woke up this morning with the bees-horns resounding in my head. I'm willing to put up with them for the duration of the tournament, but if I see one in the Big House this fall, it's going to become an internal horn.
Also, Cherundolo was really quite spectacular. His defense was smothering, and made the right side of the field a no-go zone for England.
Re: Michael Bradley
Our 4-2-2-2 formation is basically this in the back 8:
Against good opponents like Spain/England/Brazil/etc, Bradley sits deep in the empty bucket and tries to shut down the middle of the field. However, against sides like Slovenia or Mexico, he'll be much more offensive and be a true box-to-box central midfielder.
In WCQ, he scored 4 goals (several big ones too), so he's a capable offensive threat. That's just not we needed out of him Saturday.
I've heard way too many media people say that because of the Slovenia result, we now have to win that game. Brian is correct, a tie would put us in fine shape, going against the worst team in the group, with a "dodgy" keeper, where we could control our fate at least through goal differential. If the group after two games is:
England 1-1-0, 4 points, +2 GD
Slovenia 1-1-0, 4 points, +1 GD
US 0-2-0, 2 points, 0 GD
Algeria 0-0-2, 0 points, -3 GD
...that would be fine. Basically win by two goals against Algeria and you advance, that would seem to be very reasonable.
but I'd sure like to see us put pressure on England by winning by one more goal than they do (win with even GD would be good, too)..
A tie was great for this team. Slovenia's win, not so much. I wouldn't count the
I don't understand why so many people gush over this USMNT. The 2 of the last 3 goals scored by the
The but the US' play has hardly been consistent and the same problems have been lingering for too long.
but the US' play has hardly been consistent and the same problems have been lingering for too long.
I'm sorry but Bradley 2.0 is just horrible. When he is on the field, there is zero inside midfield presence on this team yet Coach seems hell bent on funneling everything inside through Junior. Heck, the Japanese move the ball better through the middle third than the USMNT does with Bradley out there. Against
Altidore's run and shot deflected off the post was nice, but is just that alone worth 80 mins? Does he have compromising pics of Bob Bradley? I'll take someone who is gonna bust their ass like Buddle or Gomez over someone who doesn't make use of their otherwise considerable talents.
Props to Gooch for the way he recovered after the first four minutes.
Fine shape to me is beating Slovenia and having 4 points going into the final match.
Don't get me wrong, it's kind of neat to advance by needing X and Y to happen, but I would prefer stomping through the "lesser" half of the group and leaving no doubt that we belong in the knockout stage.
Because, you know, weird shit happens.
as a South African I agree south Africa does have problems, FIFA wanted to host on the contitnent regardless of these problems and South Africa was the best choice. I woudnt attack FIFA and South Africa for an apparent "swathe of empty seats". according to stats..
"The first seven games of the World Cup averaged 91.9 percent of the stadiums’ “gross capacity,” according to FIFA statistics. The Port Elizabeth match, at 74.2 percent, and the match between Algeria and Slovenia, at 73.6 percent, had the lowest attendance figures.
The matches between England and the U.S. in Rustenburg, Argentina versus Nigeria at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, Uruguay against France in Cape Town and Germany versus Australia in Durban had attendances of close to 100 percent."
You have to take into account the ease at getting to and from Germany as well as the number of countries in Germany's proxomity that send teams and fans to the world cup. Most of the fans of african countries dont have the income to travel and see games. If matches the likes of Algeria and Slovenia still have 74% capacity, or around 30,000 people, that is still a success...
Your point is well taken. However, I don't think it's unreasonable to question the wisdom of spending $6B on a tournament in a country that has 50% unemployment just so the politically correct can have their "African" Cup.
Way to jump the gun, Braves and Birds. Not even 3/4 of the first set of first round matches have been played, and "the best team in the tournament" has been crowned.
No, Brazil, Portugal and Spain, you don't even get to make your argument.
And, Germany played a team with old, short center backs - exactly the kind of team Germany kicks the snot out of every World Cup. I doubt they are as successful against teams with strong center backs.
Oh look, there's Mensah and Vidic waiting for Germany in the next two matches.....
"Looking like." They said Germany is looking like the best team, not that they are. Way to deliberately misinterpret simple English.
Plus, while those other teams are probably better, none of them are potential round of 16 opponents like Germany. After yesterday I don't know how you can disagree that it'd be better to play Serbia than Germany.
I don't know how anyone can claim a team "looks like" the best in the tournament when 12 teams have yet to play a match.
My comment had nothing to do with Round of 16 opponents. My comment had everything to do with the quality of defense Germany is about to play. Serbia and Ghana are far superior in regards to defensive talent than Australia.
I would definitely put Bradley in the good column. He's 22 years old and was paired with an MLS player in a center midfield that had to match up against Gerrard and Lampard, two of the best and most experienced midfielders in the EPL. He more than held his own, which in my mind is a fantastic performance given the context. I bet he plays in the EPL in 2011.
EDIT: Rico is in the Bundesliga. (But, due to injury, hasn't played much since he left the MLS)
Could you check your email? I sent you one. Thanks.
this was the War of 1812. No one really gained anything, our defense stood up for the most part when tested, resisted a number of British attacks, but we proved we're at least a viable world player on the biggest stage. Still have a ways to go, but I think this game proved that even when we don't play our best, we've essentially got enough talent to keep it close and competitive with the top teams to the point we're not going to be an afterthought for the Brazil/Germany/Spain's of the world.
Time to Photoshop Timmah's head on Andrew Jackson's portrait??
Obviously, look at the goal they scored. But beyond that England was clearly the better team. Both teams both ended up getting good chances, but many of the US possessions were quickly muffed with poor touches. Also, our face up defense was poor much of the game, allowing for England to get several good opportunities when our help was forced to leave their mark, leaving their man open on crosses and such. We also need to clamp down outside the 18 quicker, they were popping some shots from 20-30 with some of our players just standing idle. Pressure is essential at that distance.
But I guess it didn't look as bad as the last ten minutes of the Japan-Camaroon. To relate it to football, Japan, only up 1, went all prevent, rushed two or three, while dropping DTs into short zones for no reason when it was obvious the other team needed to get OOB or a first down, and allowed them to get 1st and goal. An amazing diving break up by the safety (that wouldn't have matter anyway due to offensive pass interference) combined with a lucky gust of wind that forced the ball just off of the wide-open WR's finger tips ended in a botched field goal, and Japan winning.
'We also need to clamp down outside the 18 quicker, they were popping some shots from 20-30 with some of our players just standing idle. Pressure is essential at that distance.'
Against a team that doesn't have a Wayne Rooney this is very true. However, I'm perfectly happy to let someone try their luck at 30 yards out on Howard. That shot doesn't score often, even when Lampard or Gerrard hitting it.
It's a pretty simple pick your poison situation, and our best expectation is give up long range shots instead of breakaways.