Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Musings of a mad 'Merican

We'll be digesting that one for a while yet, for now though, I've got some initial notes on USA-Brazil.

Width
We didn't have it. We need it. Donovan can play inside, of course, he's a very talented player, but someones have got to give the team width on both flanks and it cannot be Fab Johnson flying up from the left back spot all game long. Cherundolo was serviceable on the right, too, but that was about it until Dempsey and Boyd came on.

Brazil knew we weren't going to do much out wide and merrily packed the middle of the field on us, forcing the U.S. into a game it could not win.

Jermaine Jones is not a right midfielder ...
This goes back to the width bit, after all, things don't happen in isolation here. It was a soccer game.

Still, he had to pull into places he shouldn't have to on offense. When he lost the ball with his sometimes suspect touches it hurt the U.S. badly. It doesn't matter what the match-up is, when the other team gets to play countless one-on-ones with your right back, the game won't end well. Cherundolo did well tonight, but he was isolated against Neymar all night and he's good at this game.

You can't play compact and loose at this level.

We're right there
Look, a lot went wrong Wednesday night, but this team really clenched some Brazilian butts. It was "just a friendly," still, it's hard not to be encouraged when the Stars and Stripes are regularly finding their way through one of the world's most formidable sides.

CONCACAF qualifying is an entirely different animal, should the U.S. come out unscathed however, the team can quite comfortably look back on this match the next time it faces world-class opposition. 

Two years from now we won't be talking about friendlies. By then, 24 months of internal adjustments, player development and the odd bounce of the ball could really have the U.S. sending a "name" team home from Brazil 2014.

Seriously though, outside of Germany, Brazil has got to be one of the worst top-notch match-ups for the U.S. I'd rather play Spain.

- Jacob Klinger

11 comments:

Brian B said...

Yea, I feel the same... It really didn't FEEL like a 4-1 drubbing.

On another night, maybe the Onyewu handball isn't called.

Speaking of Onyewu, on another night, Onyewu is (hopefully) watching from home. As much as I love the dude, he was atrocious last night. Please tell me his keeper in Lisbon is left-footed? That's the only way I can come to terms with the 13 back passes to Timmy's left... Mind-boggling.

Hit a post.

Their goalie made 2 or 3 awesome saves.

I mean, we were clearly second best, yeah... But I'm not ready to kill myself like usual the morning after.

bc said...

Sporting's keeper is in fact left-footed.

http://www.soccerway.com/players/rui-pedro-dos-santos-patricio/16583/

Brian B said...

Am I the only one who noticed this? I kept thinking how pissed I'd be if I were Howard.

Jacob Klinger said...

I saw it too. Howard handled it pretty well I thought, but the slightest out-of-synch-ness is always going to be exposed against a team like Brazil. It happened.

Am I the only one bothered by the widespread crucifying of Gooch? Geez!

Brian B said...

Jacob, I can't agree with you on the Gooch point. I was really caught off guard by his play, what with his regular playing time in a solid league abroad and all. He appeared to be functioning a couple of gears below the rest of the players on the field, and his gait was more of a hobble, no?

I don't know, man... Maybe another game or two to see if this was a mere aberration, or just an older, injury-riddled Gooch.

Jacob Klinger said...

That's exactly it.

I didn't think he was that bad, but if his form does really start to/continue - it's all relative - spiral downward then he'll play himself out of the national setup on his own. It just irks me when it seems like there's a race going on to write the obituary on his national team career.

The fact is we do have to wait and see. Consider me waiting to see.

BH said...

Re:Gooch

I think part of the issue is that there is a general feeling that the team is trending upwards and getting better. So when a piece of the old team that people liked but are moving on from just doesnt seem to work they can really see the contrast and it plays into preconceived biases.

Honestly i was surprised to see him get this start. He has never been the type of skillful centreback that klinsman is looking for and he looked way worse off for the emphasis on passing out of the back.

Jacob Klinger said...

Bocanegra has never been that sort of player either, but he's doing it a lot better now than he ever has. Gooch has also shown some pretty decent distribution in the past.

The most skillful center backs in the player pool, at least in the way we're talking about it now, are Ream, Parkhurst and Cameron.

'Tis a pickle

paul said...

I too am surprised by the harsh reviews of Gooch.

Sure, his distribution needs improvement. But I was quite content with his defensive strength. He stopped nearly all aerial service to his space. His positioning was good too, except for the one mistake; which kept Pato onside for the fourth goal.

TrueCrew said...

Jones wasn't playing RM, he was playing one of advanced dual-8's JK played the game before. Donovan was the RM. Heck, Edu was usually the most advanced of the 3 CM's, though I'll admit there was a lot of interchange and freedom to roam. JK can call that a 4-3-3 all he wants, but it is 4-5-1. Unless you think Torres was a forward on the other side?

To me, this is how we lined up:

-------Howard--------
Dolo--Gooch--Boca--Johnson
-------Bradley--------
------------Jones-------
Donovan--Edu------Torres
---------Gomez------------

Whilst this was it against Scotland

---------Howard--------
Dolo--Cameron--Boca--Johnson
----------Edu----------
-----Bradley---Jones--------
Donovan--------------Torres
---------Boyd-------------

The problem wasn't Jones at RM, but the fact that Edu was the most advanced CM, Bradley was too deep, and Torres often too wide to influence matters on the left. Our lack of real wing players (beyond LD, Dempsey, and Johnson) hurts us (Beasley or Feilhaber should be on the squad), and the fact that JK has been reluctant to try anyone but Torres or Dempsey as the #10, and often even plays them wide.

Jacob Klinger said...

@TrueCrew

I thought we came out about the same. i certainly didn't see Edu as our most attacking CM.

My point was that Jones was forced to provide as much width as anyone on the right. More than Donovan and more than Dolo for much of the Brazil game. Whether this was intentional or not, it didn't work. And that's just part of the reason I think a 4-4-2 would have solved some of our problems.

Feilhaber's no winger, but I'd have no problem with a DMB call-up for what it's worth. Though I do think Torres and Donovan (Dempsey too) can share play-making responsibilities pinched in.