June 8, 2007

Battle of Los Angeles

It's late, so this won't be too long...
  • Overall, good performance by the US against Guatemala tonight. I thought Bretos and Sullivan were trying way too hard to be negative and find criticisms of the US play. It's like they expected the US to win by 3 or 4 goals. Guys, remember the friendly in Dallas that ended 0-0? Guatemala played EVEN MORE defensively this time around, and far more cynical than they did in the friendly. Guatemala knew that they didn't have the talent or athleticism to play straight up with the US, so they focused on defense and preventing the Americans from playing. They did a good job of it too, but they also didn't create much of anything for themselves.
  • Awful performance by Gooch tonight. He was getting burned way too often and let Ruiz get into his head. The first yellow might have been soft, but the second one was just sheer stupidity by Onyewu. He has to earn his way back onto the field for me, I wouldn't hand him a starting spot right now.
  • I liked the job Bob Bradley did from the sideline. Interesting formation and style to start off, the FSC guys made it look like a simple 4-4-2, but I thought it played more like a 4-2-3-1. Twellman was up front by himself, with Dempsey floating behind him. Donovan and Beasley played very high up the field on the wings. Feilhaber and Bradley controlled the middle behind Dempsey. Bornstein and Hejduk took their chances to go forward then they presented themselves. Bringing on Johnson for Dempsey was a way for him to put more direct pressure on the Guatemala defense, but it didn't really work out that way. We lost control in the center of the field, something Bradley rectified by bringing on Ralston and sliding Donovan into the center behind Johnson. After Onyewu's red card, he had to sacrifice someone to bring on DeMerit, and he chose Feilhaber. They went into a 4-4-1 from that point, with Donovan playing in front of Bradley in the middle of the field. Bob made all of the right decisions to get the result.
  • Twellman worked hard, but wasn't on his best game tonight. Good assist, but he totally blew a wide open header (which might have been better left to Dempsey anyway). He got in the way of Donovan and Dempsey on two different occasions. He blew a few other half chances/passes. Good workrate though...
  • Before the red card, Eddie Johnson sucked. Afterwards, he actually did pretty well playing as a target with his back to the goal.
  • In the back, Hejduk did a good job. You can tell he has lost a step though. Frankie in the center of the defense scared the hell out of me, I'm glad it didn't last too long. Gooch sucked. Bocanegra and Bornstein were solid.
  • Donovan was by far the best player in the midfield. He slowed things up when needed, and attacked well when the opportunities were there. I thought he played a very mature match tonight. Beasley was too tentative at times, but never really bad. Bradley and Feilhaber were solid in the center of the field. Ralston added some veteran experience when he came on, and made all the right decisions. It's a shame he was injured and missed out on the last World Cup, he would have had an impact on that team.
  • The referee let Guatemala get away with quite a bit. Bretos and Sullivan questioned whether the US can play against a physical team, saying that they shy away from that type of play. I disagree, I think the US can play as physical as anyone. I think the US has a problem playing against a cynical, negative team because they get frustrated easily. It's not the physical actions, it's the intent behind them that give the US team problems.
I've already went on for a lot longer than I had planned. More later....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the analysis, I couldn't catch the game last night.

Longshoe said...

No problem, look for a replay if you get a chance today on FSC. It wasn't the prettiest of games, but it was a very interesting one to watch.

I feel better about Bradley as a coach after watching this game.