Sunday, March 27, 2011

Top 5 US v Argentina Afterthoughts.

It's time for riffing.

#5 - The 'Nats are beginning to become a real nuisance to the big boys.

Dating back to the last Argentina meeting in 2008, the USMNT has played a total of nine matches against a group of world powers listing the Albiceleste, Brazil, England, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain - the two CONMEBOL monsters and four Euro-beasts.

Sure, they have won only one of these games, but Saturday night's result makes it their third draw of the nine. In addition, the middle Brazil loss (Confederations Cup final) was a real thriller that could have gone our way. That's five honest bids to win from nine.

In the prior nine games against toppers, the 'Nats had just a single draw to show for it. And though they still aren't on even level with the top FIFA floor, our boys are clearly headed in the right direction to getting there.

- That was a friendly in name only.

SMASH! POW! And we all stinkin' loved it.
Combining both teams, what do you think the over/under was on the number of times a club manager around the world winced with worry? It was bang-up worthy of a Giants stadium. Heck, some of those challenges would have drawn flags in the NFL. I really hope last night was the night tons of non-soccer fans got dragged into watching against their will.

- Expect a bit of transfer interest reports to surface on 'Nats soon.

Not only is nearing that silly time again and some of our guys have question mark club situations heading to summer, but let's face it: playing CONMEBOL superpower outside the distant South America is going to get you seen by a lot of club scouts. And it would be no surprise to find out that a few U.S. players already has such an audience last night on their own rep - tackling Argentina probably quadrupled this sort of exposure. Perhaps, at least.

I can personally verify that there were interested parties on hand in Jersey to watch Biglia, Lavezzi and Rojo. Still, I surely do not know near the half of who went to see Argentina players last night. And however many of them were there, they all saw some 'Nats buzz-buzz-buzzing. Couldn't escape seeing it if they wanted.

- Heh.

I can see that Bob Bradley wanted sortuva retractable 4-3-3 thing out there, a bit like the 4-5-1 convertible that PSV ran out during DaMarcus Beasley's tenure there.

Two problems. One, I think he saw that against a team like Argentina, the 4-3-3 retracts and never pops back out. Ask halftime Jozy about that. The bigger issue is, of course, there absolutely has to be an ideas man at the top of that midfield triad.

This makes two unsuccessful tries with three two-way midfielders crammed where two fit. I'm betting we will see either Benny or Mix take up a playmaking role against Paraguay. It would have been really nice to have seen Stu Holden give that position a shot against Argentina, but... yeah.

Maybe we could take up a collection to buy him a bubble?

- I have a complaint/idea for USSF submission.

I don't know who exactly arranges which friendly goes where, but we need to talk. It was impossible not to notice how poor the playing surface was last night. Abysmal.

Now, I'm not going to suggest staying away from bad pitches altogether, I understand some of them are in big cities with little game time temps and big USMNT draws and vibes opposing big names would visit. But here's the thing...

We really need to stop playing Central and South American teams on these poor fields. Many of these players grew up playing on storybook miserable surfaces, in the streets, etc etc. They aren't even bothered by a bad field.

Bad field? What bad field? I used to play in traffic on broken glass with bare feet! Now, I play in Russia!

No, we need to be playing all these western hemisphere sides hailing from south of us on pristine greens. Save the carrot patch matches for all the traditional Euro-powers, who are accustomed to lawn bowling yards and get easily frustrated by any pitch problems.

Gotta think home advantages in scheduling, guys. Every last one. Shazam.

- Greg Seltzer


DM said...

@ point #5: Could you post the matches you're looking at? I'd like to make a graph about it.

Greg Seltzer said...


0-0 Argentina 2008 (Friendly 08)
3-1 loss Italy (Confeds. Cup 09)
3-0 loss Brazil (CC09)
2-0 win Spain (CC09)
3-2 loss Brazil (CC09)
2-1 loss the Netherlands (Fr10)
1-1 England (WC10)
2-0 loss Brazil (Fr10)
1-1 Argentina (Fr11)

And the nine prior to that...

1-0 loss Spain (Fr08)
2-0 loss England (Fr08)
4-2 loss Brazil (Fr07)
4-1 loss Argentina (Copa America 07)
1-1 Italy (WC06)
4-1 loss Germany (Fr06)
2-1 loss England (Fr05)
1-0 loss the Netherlands (Fr04)
2-1 loss Brazil (Gold Cup 03)

You could actually make this a 12-game span of woe back to the Portugal win at WC02, adding further losses to Argentina and Brazil, and the WC02 loss to Germany. I just grabbed the previous nine and went with that for equal sample sizes.

Mark said...

any hint on who might get the transfer buzz