Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alright... let's talk about it.

My player ratings will go up soon at MLSS and I'm sure you'll also have some questions for me here. Here's a lightning round Top 4 List before we go to the tube:

1 - We need to start getting it through our national soccer skull that there is no such thing as sitting on a lead in a 4-3-3 system. That defeats the entire tactical purpose. And do you know what's safer than a one-goal lead? A one-goal lead where you hold the ball. Ya know what's even safer than that? A two-goal lead.

2 - I feel really bad for Sean Johnson (and by situational extension, for Caleb Porter). The gaffe was most shocking because it is so unlike him to let a shot attack him, rather than the other way around. Let's hope he can shake off and grow from what must feel like an out-of-body experience.

3 - I'll just say it flat out: the roster selection for this tourney had glaring structural flaws. One everyday center back and one proper midfield stopper out of 20 players? We had four strikers and four wingbacks, with one of each never used.

4 - Say what you want about defenders or keepers or what it must be like to play 11 Hanson Brothers with their uncle as ref, but the single biggest factor in the U.S. failure in qualification may well have been pushing Freddy Adu from the #10 hole to right wing.

Think about what more he could have done in the last two games seeing just a few minutes more of the ball each night. Playing him out wide might have worked if, say, Eric Lichaj had been around to terrorize his opposite in attack. This type of player was not around, and far too often the star man had to manually re-connect to games busting through stranded double teams.

Don't get me wrong... he played more than fine as a right winger. Even so, his tourney goal and one of two assists came from a central lane, and his free kicks won were located out near the touchline as opposed to above the area, per USYNT usual. Now, forget the Cuba game and weigh the opportunity cost loss over the last two matches against Joe Corona's goal last night.

- Greg Seltzer


Matt said...

Perry Kitchen looked lost last night. And that kind at left back looked slow and lost.

What holding mid should Caleb have called?

Matt said...

Also, I agree with Klinsi. In a way, I think it's good for these kids to get their asses handed to them at this age, and hopefully learn from the disappointment.

Greg Seltzer said...

1 - I thought that was easily Kitchen's best game of the three. The main problem he had was gaining command near the end - hardly a surprise as he's not an everyday CB.

2 - Alfredo Morales. If he was not released, then bringing Dilly Duka over one of the wingbacks or forwards would have added more bite in the middle.

3 - Yes... it's good to grow from it after it's already happened. Opting beforehand, however it obviously would have been better if they'd qualified to face Olympic competition.

Matt said...

On point #3. I totally agree. I just hope this doesn't become some silly referendum on the state of USYNT soccer. It was a tough game, and some difference decisions could have been made, but I still thought overall there's real progress being made.

Matt said...

And isn't Dilly Duka hurt?

Greg Seltzer said...

Ah, yes, you are correct. Slipped my mind there.

Matt said...

And, hey, let's not lose sight of this one very important revelation: Terrence Boyd looks like a gamer.

Greg Seltzer said...

Yeah, see my forthcoming ratings about that.

Tom said...

Worst nights

Lean bad

Can't decide

Lean good

Best nights

Phil McCracken said...

Tom - Is one of your Oparas supposed to be Okugo or are you undecided on Opara?

Greg - Well said, especially the part about Adu.

As a Union supporter, I can't figure out why Porter calls in Williams and then doesn't use him at all in this brutal five day stretch.

Cathal said...

Corona's goal was entirely based on Adu's work, so there really is nothing to compare. I don't know if Klinsmann will ever let Adu pull strings for the senior team (though that makes sense with Dempsey playing close/getting into scoring positions and Donovan making runs), but he was head and shoulders above everyone in terms of keeping the ball, creating chances, and overall technical ability, and that has always been where's he's excelled at the youth level.

Tom said...

Phil, my bad was supposed to be Okugo and my undecided Opara. Sorry.

JohnC said...

Tom, how did Okugo have a bad game, all the attacking by El Salvador came on the wings. He bossed the center of the midfield on defense and did a decent job switching the attack from left to right but not a good job north and south though Salvador jammed the center of the pitch and Corona and Mix were ineffective in creating triangles with the wings and outside backs. You could argue he could have helped on the last shot but he pushed #10 to his right where the CB did not step up quick enough. Blame should be on Porter for not bringing in a second holding mid to aid in the center of the pitch after the 3rd goal by USA.

UnitedDemon said...

Freddy needed Shea and Gyau (for Mix).It would have been much tougher for El Salvador to come at us with that kind of pace to watch out for, besides the fact that Mix looks like a player who can't play more than one game a week.

Tom said...

JohnC, I thought he hamstrung himself with a really foolish early foul that yielded that yellow--he really couldn't get stuck in much after that.

I could be misremembering, but that's my impression.

Joos said...

Johnson is going to get a lot of the blame but ultimately that chance shoulder never have come. Stevens, Diskerud and Okugo were all out of position and Shea gave the ball away.

Joosey said...

Okugo was awful, worst player on the field aside from the goal keepers. He goes flying into way too many tackles, constantly risking cards and allowing players to easily access the space in behind him. He has no patience in trying to hinder an attack.

How are Joe Gyau and Sheanon Williams not starting every game? With Williams there is absolutely no excuse, and although Shea and Gyau play the same position, a national team coach has to find a system that allows his top-caliber players onto the field. Gyau absolutely terrorized Mexico in the friendly, making his exclusion from the team all the more baffling.

Why not move Kitchen up to d-mid - his best position - and play with three in the back, with Williams, Opara, and Valentin across the back?

Crashing out of Olympic Qualifying in the group stage is embarrassing and pathetically disappointing and there is no excuse for it.

Tom said...

So Greg is your review at mlss going to drop soon?

Greg Seltzer said...

Sorry, I plum forgot to link it after it went up.


Tom said...

Thanks, I managed to miss it when looking over there.