Monday, June 16, 2014

USA 2 Ghana 1

Well then...

Revenge is a dish best served cold and the way in which the US defeated Ghana qualifies as sub-zero.  Clint Dempsey's 30th second opener created a "Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf" scenario for another 82 minutes with the Black Stars huffing and puffing to punch Tim Howard's goal, all to no avail.  Finally, pre-match shiz talker Andre Ayew had one of the sporadic moments of genius that always threatens to add an "extra" to his customarily "ordinary" playing ability.  With the game knotted at one, Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere" began playing between my ears and I began cursing the Ghanaian fan from "Live and Let Die."  But, as we said, revenge is a dish best served cold and Ayew's celebrations proved short lived.  Graham Zusi's delivery from the corner was typically-excellent and John Anthony Brooks' ensuing downward header a moment of catharsis not felt in about four years.

I'm sure the other boys will want a piece of the action and, since I don't know if I've died and gone to heaven, I'll only dip the bread in the sauce before we eventually sit down to the full pasta and meatballs.

-Please keep doubting Clint Dempsey, please.  Tell him he's no longer good enough, tell him he never was, tell him he sold out for the money, tell him he's not a true leader.  Tell him whatever you want, cause he loves telling you that you're wrong.

-The Yanks scored first and then, logically, played things a little more conservatively.  Yet, we still presented a serious threat on the counter and consistently held the ball in more advanced positions until Jozy Altidore's hamstring decided to add injury to a year of insults.  Doesn't look likely we'll see him again in Brazil, but his impact in the first half hour or so of this game shouldn't be forgotten.

-Equally, Aron Johannsson made me a little nervous to consider myself a fan of his.  He seemed to yin when his teammates yanged and, building off this, doesn't seem to be a natural foil for Deuce.  Eddie Johnson clamoring began about two hours ago.

-I felt Michael Bradley had a subpar game mixed in with moments of excellence -- this is the opposite of a typical Bradley performance.  The personnel was the same as against Nigeria, but Jermaine Jones played further left and Bradley came deeper alongside Kyle Beckerman in what was more of a traditional 4-4-1-1 than the lopsided 4-3-1-2 in the friendly.

-John Anthony Brooks was my Unknown Unknown.  He has now been shifted to Unknown Known.

No Short Corners Man of the Match: 12th man, the American Outlaws. Corny? Kinda. Rowdy as all hell? You bet.

It's times like these where I wish I offered more as a writer, but this game is actually summarized quite neatly.

I believe that...

- Matt Averna


AWF08 said...

Personally, I think we stole one. But, in any tournament, the teams that advance usually do.
I think the early goal and Jozy's injury created a perfect storm for Ghana to press and fly forward with almost no fear the consequences.
Bradley has been below his best in the warm ups, and just had his worst game that I can remember in a few years. Strangely, he made bad decisions to compound a performance where things just didn't seem to go his way.
Cameron gave the ball away too much out of the back.
I thought Howard's distribution hurt us. I think he should have stood on it a few times instead of playing too quickly out of the back at times when we were clearly struggling to keep possession. At least, let the team push up, get their shape back, and try to win the second ball--if not the first. Usually, I'm all for building it out of the back--I just didn't see it working for us and I think we were often under pressure immediately when we did try.
Did we train too hard? Too much? Travel too far for the match? Get the nutrition wrong? For a team working to be "the fittest at the cup," we sure didn't look it.
I think the foot on Dempsey was accidental--but the recklessness of the challenge overall deserved a yellow.
Muntari had about 3-4 two footed studs up tackles and should have been given a yellow much sooner.
Not sure if AJ can fill the Jozy's roll... Maybe shift Dempsey forward and bring on Mix?
JAB came through huge. Beckerman was huge defensively. Howard was there when needed.
Want more offensively fromFJ, but understand why we didn't see it much today.
Overall, LOVE the heart. Love the result. Hope we improve for the next game.

justinwkoehn said...

I'm so glad for the 3 points. It was an amazing match. There is something to be said for "scoring too soon" as it does change the dynamic of a the game, but it's a good problem to have.

I think Jones did amazing. I think Beasley's poor play may have amplified Jones's absence at times defensively. Beasley needed more help then he should have. Becks did his job. Aron has great link-up play with Jozy, but having to sub for Jozy, he wasn't on the same page much of the night. He was dispossessed too easily as well.

I got really queezy when I saw Wondo warming up when Dempsey took a blow to the nose. I thought that Wondo's performance over the last year warranted the nod, but realized in that moment tonight that decisions aren't made on "who deserves it", rather on who you need...and we need a target forward on the roster and now we don't have one (maybe Boyd was the closest thing? We could do better than EJ, can't we?)

Bedoya was a workhorse. Hope he's none the worse for wear. And with him playing box to box, where was Fabian on the right? He didn't appear for 80'. I think they'll give Besler a little more time to rest, and play Brooks again. Two solid halves now, Turkey and Ghana.

Now if Bradley could play a decent game, we'll have a chance vs Portugal. Any predictions on the starting lineup and formation for the next fixture?