Thursday, June 18, 2009

U.S. v Brazil LIVE

Are you enjoying the Cut of the Day? Sound familiar? You long ago heard it here:

Line-ups for what we hope will be a jogo bonito encounter between the USMNT and Brazil should be available around the top of the hour. For those of you getting up before work in the States, this game will be televised on both espn2 and TeleFutura, and you can also follow the action with stats on the U.S. MatchTracker.

We also are waiting to find out the status of nicked captain Carlos Bocanegra, but there was some good news from U.S. camp as Ricardo Clark will only miss today's game on suspension. It turns out several Italy players gave testimony on his behalf, nice gestures that.

By the way, when did this official U.S. Supporters Club pop up? Is that brand new or was I asleep at the wheel?

For now, I will leave you early risers with a look back at the last meeting between these two teams (which was also the most recent USMNT match I attended)...


We have the 4-5-1 line-up card, the 'Nats will again be in white.

Howard; Spector, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bornstein; Bradley, Kljestan, Donovan, Dempsey, Beasley; Altidore

Brazil are in a 4-4-2:

Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Miranda, Andre Santos; Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva, Kaka, Ramires; Robinho, Luis Fabiano

I like the set, but I do not like Bornstein for this match-up at all and I do not like where Kljestan is being positioned. I'll be back near kickoff with my prediction...


8.42 AM (all CT) - The more I look at the left side, with small guys Beasley and Bornstein, and with admittedly less-than-superb defensive player Kljestan, the more frightened I become over the prospect of Maicon/Robinho Inc. storming that side.

8.46 AM - Piri piri chicken in the oven (yes, that's Portuguese, but it's close enough for my tastebuds), caeser salad all set for the dressing application, rolls baked up, Pepsi chilled... yup, I'm ready.

8.50 AM - Alright, teams out of the tunnel... I hate to do it... I know we almost always play them tight, but... gotta go with...... Brazil 3-1.

8.56 AM - A quick note: Bornstein is the only U.S. starter carrying a yellow card into the match.




Plenty of USMNT fans in the stands as this one kicks off. The 'Nats have the first tap...


Brazil CK cleared by Donovan.


Brazil corner soars over everyone and out the other side.


Melo beats Spector at the far post to nod home a Maicon free kick from the flank. 1-0 Brazil.


U.S. actually in more of a "bucketed" 4-4-1-1, it seems. Let's see if they try more angled long balls to Jozy when a Brazil wingback is forward.


Another danger Maicon FK is cleared by Kljestan, then Onyewu stuffs a Luis Fabiano chance near the spot, then a Brazil CK is softly headed by Lucio into Howard's waiting hands.


Another Brazil corner is eventually, though not convincingly, cleared.


The U.S. starting to come into the game a bit now, and they win their first corner kick. Donovan takes... short, and Beasley misses a soft roller, Brazil counter quickly and Robinho has an easy 1-v-the keeper finish at the end. 2-0 Brazil.

See the blog title. Good grief!


A properly taken U.S. corner is nodded shockingly wide by Dempsey from a good position with the keeper out to sea. He should have done much better.


Kaka hits the side netting after a long, unimpeded gallop.


Spector does a good job of staying in front of Robinho the shooter, just after Ramires had squandered a fine pass from the Man City star.


On the good side so far? Gooch has been massive, as you'd expect, while Bornstein is making some plays. On the other hand, Beasley and Donovan have been quite underwhelming on the ball.


This tactical set-up is isolating Jozy from his teammates, yet surrounding him with yellow shirts. Urgh.


Despite a poor Spector cross with space to work, the U.S. have a CK.... it's cleared easily, but the 'Nats persist and a dangerous Bradley cross must be cleared.


Yellow to Onyewu for a foul on Melo. A bit surprisingly, FIFA says we've had 48% of the ball thus far.


Gooch mini-flub allows Luis Fabiano to fire from the right channel, but Howard is more than equal to the unspectacular effort.


Gilberto Silva nods over from a Maicon cross when he should have scored.


A Maicon free kick from near the corner bounces through to where Melo clumsily scoops over from an angle. The U.S. defense is disorganized at the moment and the 2-vs-5 long balls aren't working.


Mercifully, only one minute is added.



Time to eat. I'll be back to whine and moan before we start back up.


We have one: Casey in for Beasley. 'Nats in their standard 4-4-2 now.


Game on...


Jozy bursts into Brazil's area from a Casey combo, but fires over.


More U.S. attack possession ends with Bradly shooting over from distance.


Howard comfortably handles a curled Robinho try.


Kaka stings Howard's hands from 20. As the play developed, Kljestan caught Ramires with a sloppy late challenge and he is sent off. Zero tolerance, apparently. Both the Dutch announcer and U.S. players are stunned, but it was worse than Clark's foul. Was it enough for straight red? Naaaah, it probably wasn't.

Feilhaber is getting set to come on...


Onyewu makes saving tackle as Kaka enters the area. The Real Madrid catch seems to disagree with the non-call.

Benny on for Jozy, another forced 4-4-1.


An intricate combo from the right ends with Maicon roofing a deflected shot. 3-0 Brazil.


Brazil replace Kaka and Luis Fabiano with Julio Baptista and Nilmar. It won't get any easier.


Long Donovan free kick serve is just too tall for DeMerit and just behind Bradley at the far post.

Luisao is on for Lucio.


Feilhaber blasts over from long range. The U.S. have played much more solidly the last 10 minutes or so.


Expertly worked combo play from Spector and Donovan leads to the former teeing up Feilhaber with a cutback... his screamer from the top of the area cracks the bottom of the bar and bounces away. Harsh.


I gotta say, I like Dunga's jacket.

That is the first time in the history of the world that sentence has ever appeared in print.


A danger Donovan FK from the left flank is nodded off the bar by Casey.


After Feilhaber is punished for a silly late slide near the USMNT area, Julio Baptista smacks an awful free kick over everything. It may still be going...


One last USMNT free kick from over 35, Dempsey wants it... it lamely glides off target.



Considering we hit the bar twice, I'm going to count my 3-1 prediction as essentially correct. My Player Ratings will go up at S365 in the afternoon, and I'll add a couple of clips here when they surface.

Now, hurry up and get to work!!! You're already late!!

UPDATE: The ESPN highlight package is up:

UPDATE UPDATE: Egypt have beaten Italy 1-0, so believe it or not, the USMNT still have a very slim chance of reaching the semifinals... of course, they will need to beat Egypt by at least a three goals and have Brazil smack the mess out of Italy enough to where the Americans make up a total of no less than seven goals in differential on the Azzurri.

Easy, right? In any event, here are my depressing Player Ratings.

- Greg Seltzer


bhamhawker said...

Again with Kljestan? Haven't we had enough of his turnovers and plain lack of ability yet?

strago said...

BB must really hate JFT. Seriously.

bhamhawker said...

I just can't see a goal today Greg. We're going to play 11 behind the ball again and just hope Brazil doesn't shoot well.

bhamhawker said...

Does Bob Bradley instill any discipline into Dempsey or Donovan? How about Kljestan? We keep no semblance of shape on the field.

WhereEaglesDare said...

Seriously bhamhawker. No shape, no creativity.

WhereEaglesDare said...

Feilhaber for Kljestan please.

WhereEaglesDare said...

Feilhaber for Altidore? I can't watch this garbage anymore.

bhamhawker said...

Bradley makes 2 changes to the starting lineup.

The results: halftime sub and red card.

Can we please, for the love of everything holy, fire Bob Bradley?

strago said...

Who would be a good replacement?

Sven? Klinnsman?

mlb_bobcats said...

Anyone else notice that throughout the tournament the only two red cards given for fouls were both to the US? (The only non-US red was the Egyptian handball on the goalline.)

What did we do to piss off the refs/FIFA?

WhereEaglesDare said...

Bora should be open after confed cup ha ha.

mlb_bobcats said...

And Busacca refs 79 matches in his career, 267 yellows and 7 reds heading into today's game. In over 7110 minutes of soccer, Sacha's foul was one of the eight worst he's ever seen? Really?

WhereEaglesDare said...

haha, interesting facts MLB.

Mark said...

man these boys have no heart. that match tough to watch. bring back bora at least he teaches his players some fight (see iraq v. spain). i'm over watching "skilled" american players who think they "deserve" to play with the world's best. i miss hejduk, at least he isn't afraid to match up with teams while yes he lacks some skill the guy is all heart, grit, fight. AND if i were jermaine jones watching these games i would SERIOUSLY reconsider playing for the US.

Tee said...

Wow, I have to agree with Mark. I couldn't finish watching the game. What do we have to do to get players who want to play and compete?

bhamhawker said...

I don't know about the Hejduk sentiment. Spector did fine at RB other than the header on the first goal.

I think we're suffering a bit from some of our veterans being heavily overrated. Guys like Donovan and Beasley were built up to be high level players - and they just aren't. Donovan has been a one-trick pony since he set all the US scoring records as a youth. If he doesn't have 10 yards of space to run into, he's rendered useless. He's scared to take players on in close spaces because he has never developed the footskills to do so.
Beasley is a poor-man's version of Landycakes.

Mark said...

i'm fine with spector. i thought he actually looked pretty good, and he did have that nice move down the the wing and the ball right to feilhaber to hit the bar. i was trying to say i miss hejduk's intensity and GUTS. this team has no HEART or GUTS. it's not even like this was the brazil that has dazzled in the past.

AdamTheRed said...

Bob's gotta go.

It's now or never.

bhamhawker said...

Bob the Builder (specializing in deconstruction)

WhereEaglesDare said...

Bob's gotta go, i'm beyond frustration as a fan. This team is going backwards fast.

Greg Seltzer said...

Sorry, Daring Eagle, we don't do that "break your leg" stuff here.

WhereEaglesDare said...

I was merely wishing him good luck! You know, break a leg :P. My apologies for the uncouth statement.

Greg Seltzer said...

No worries, my man.

Matt said...

I have to credit a friend for this question: what's the US's team identity? Seriously, what is it? Are we gritty, with the occasional flash of flare? Are we a good defensive team with lighting-quick counter-attacking ability? Or what?

That team today looked tired, slow (amazingly slow), and utterly lacking in creativity.

And I cannot see how we can't at least get Adu or Torres on the field in games that matter. Seriously, what does Kljestan actually do? Besides give the ball away..

Matt said...

And am I the only one that thinks our team looks out of shape? Or just off the pace? Like Korea, we used to at least outwork people, but I don't even see any evidence of that in this tournament.

I'm afraid Egypt is going to kick our asses...

mlb_bobcats said...

It's been said that there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. Still, the more I look at the numbers, the more I wonder what's going on.

In our last four international tournament games, we've had four red cards and played 135 of 360 minutes short-handed.

In the '06 World Cup, no team had fewer yellow cards (3) or more red cards (2).

Since the start of the '06 World Cup, in all matches (competitions and friendlies and including the Olympics) the US has had three red cards based on yellow accumulation and five straight reds.

Since 1994, the US has averaged 1.96 yellow cards and 0.13 red cards per match in all full-squad-eligible international tournaments (Gold Cup, Copa America, Confederations Cup, World Cup). In that span, its opponents averaged 2.21 yellow cards and 0.19 red cards per match. Relatively even.

We seem more likely to get carded in worldwide tournaments:

In Western Hemisphere tournaments since 1994 (Gold Cup and Copa America), the US averaged 1.75 YCs and 0.07 RCs per match. Its opponents averaged 2.29 and 0.25 respectively.

In worldwide tournaments, the US averages 2.20 YCs and 0.20 RCs per match. Opponents are at 2.12 and 0.12 respectively.

And while you can break up the numbers lots of ways, here are two of my favorite:

1994-2002: Averages in worldwide tournaments
US: 2.35 YCs and 0.06 RCs per match.
Opponents: 2.18 YCs and 0.12 RCs per match.

2003-2009: Averages in worldwide tournaments
US: 1.88 YCs and 0.50 RCs per match.
Opponents: 2.00 and 0.13 RCs per match.

So, while our opponents' cards haven't changed significantly, we're getting 0.47 fewer yellows and 0.44 more reds per match.

And the difference is even more stark if you compare the last three years with the previous 11.

The averages from '94 to '05 were:
US: 2.40 YCs and 0.05 RCs per match.
Opponents: 2.05 YCs and 0.10 RCs.

And are now:
US: 1.40 YCs and 0.80 RCs per match.
Opponents: 2.40 YCs and 0.20 RCs.

I know this is a bit rudimentary, but here are the conclusions I'd draw:
(1) the US is 3x as likely to get a red card in the Confed or World Cup as it is in Copa America or the Gold Cup;
(2) the US is now 8x more likely to get a red card in the Confed or World Cup than it used to be, but its opponents' odds remain effectively unchanged (0.13 to 0.12);
(3) the US is now getting almost one fewer yellow card per match (2.4 to 1.4) and yet 0.75 more red cards (0.05 to 0.80).

Greg Seltzer said...

Wow... mlb coming to the table with research!

I may need to enlist you for a guest Running The Numbers post! :D

bhamhawker said...

Hey Greg,
I just finally got myself set up to do some writing on my own blog, so I have a link to your site listed on my Blog Roll.

I have no idea if that is kosher or not, and if you'd like it to be taken down, just let me know.

the blog is

Thanks for the updates, as always!

Will Lytle said...

Hey Greg,

Enjoyed that debacle thoroughly yesterday with your boy Poul. When you coming down?

Will Lytle said...

Also, for anyone interested,

We need your support.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Matt: Yes, they did look slow or timid or lazy or something. I couldn't quite put my finger on the cause, but they were definitely losing almost any race badly.

@ bham: Of course that's fine.

@ Will: Wooooorm!! :D

The Distracter and I will surely make our way to Malta for a vacation before the end of the year. We have a lot of travel coming up, so all the pretty places on our list must wait their turn.

Except Fiji... if someone would like to offer me a free treehouse hotel vacation in Fiji, we will go tomorrow.

And Macchu Picchu. I will also accept that free vacation at the drop of a hat. I'd like to see it before the ruins are ruined.