Sunday, June 12, 2016

TDAY: Paraguay

Pardon my late offering, the lady and I were up until the wees watching The World According To Garp, a great film based on my favorite book that she had never heard of. And now, on with this show...

  • Not that it ever bothers me, but I got a decent amount of specific guff over a couple of my US player ratings last night and I figured this was as good a place as any to quickly address it. Many fans were aghast that I "only" gave John Anthony Brooks an 8.5, but the explanation is rather simple. Yes, he was terrific at the back for nearly the entire game, but he did get docked for being beaten to allow a good chance at a potential equalizer just before the break and he did misfire on half of his 10 passes in the middle third of the field. Besides, this was Paraguay's offense and there is a small degree of difficulty factor regarding the opponent; if he'd put in the same exact performance against Argentina, I'd probably have put him in the 9.5 neighborhood.

    The other grade to draw some disbelief was the 7.5 given to Gyasi Zardes. Yes, I'm aware he squandered a great chance to double the lead, but c'mon. He did make a great play to set up the game's lone goal and even the harshest critics must admit that his normally aggravating first touch was nearly impeccable last night. Without several pressure valve plays made by the Galaxy attacker, the result gets a lot harder to post. And that's all I have to say about that.
  • Let's play a little "Did you know?" regarding the defense as a whole. The last time the USMNT logged consecutive shutouts in competitive matches was back in the fall of 2013, when they made the donuts against Mexico and Jamaica in World Cup qualifying. The last time they pulled the feat in a single tournament? That occurred when the team registered three straight clean sheets during the 2011 Gold Cup. So yeah, good things happen when you field the same center back duo twice in a row.
  • And one more round of "DYK?" for ya: DeAndre Yedlin received the USMNT's first red card in over 14 months (Jozy Altidore was sent off in a friendly at Switzerland in  March of 2015). It was also the team's first ejection in competitive play since Jay Heaps was shown the gate near the end of that wretched 2009 Gold Cup defeat against El Tri in July of 2009. The Nats actually had to deal with three four red cards that summer, as Ricardo Clark and Sacha Kljestan got early showers in the first two games of Confederations Cup that June, and Michael Bradley saw red late in the semis (thanks for the catch, Ufficio).
  • I gotta tell ya, I was quite shocked when a wide shot of Lincoln Financial Field was shown during the broadcast last night. Massive amounts of the upper two decks were stark naked empty, compelling me to assume the announced attendance of over 51,000 was well fluffed up. It wasn't the first Centenario match that had me skeptical over the stated fan count, and it's quite easy to understand all the empty seats considering the outlandish ticket prices for this tournament. I'm certainly not the first to notice the obvious problem.
  • So now we look ahead to what one must imagine will be a quarterfinal date with Ecuador (note: at the time of writing, Peru were down to third place and scoreless against favorites Brazil in the early moments of that Group B closer). Yedlin is obviously suspended for the next match and Jurgen Klinsmann has a choice to make. Of course it's not what I would do, but my assumption is that last night's sub right back Michael Orozco will step in and the rest of the defense will remain the same.

    Naturally, guessing Klinsi's moves can be a fool's game, so perhaps Edgar Castillo comes in and Fabian Johnson slides over to the right? We shall see, but perhaps that is preferable to simply slotting in Orozco. It may not seem a big deal, but do recall how Ecuador left winger Jefferson Monteiro put some scares in the US back line during their recent friendly meeting. Johnson can struggle with back post marking, but he tends to excel in 1-v-1 shut downs against dribbling playmaker types. Besides, switching him to the right could lend him the considerable track back help offered by Alejandro Bedoya, assuming the boss sticks with an empty bucket...

    Urgh, I just gave myself a headache. Where, oh where, is Eric Lichaj when you need him?

    UPDATE: Peru stunned Brazil 1-0, sending them home. We still get Ecuador next.




- Greg Seltzer

15 comments:

Ufficio said...

The Nats actually had to deal with three red cards that summer, as Ricardo Clark and Sacha Kljestam got early showers in the first two games of Confederations Cup that June.

Don't forgot Bradley's absurd sending off in the semifinal of the same tourney by none other than Jorge Fricking Larrionda.

Greg Seltzer said...

He was sent off in the 2007 GC semis.

Ufficio said...

And also in the 2009 Confederations Cup semis.

Greg Seltzer said...

You're right, my bad. For some reason that was not listed on his Transfermarkt stats.

Patrick said...

Really enjoying these write ups! Zardes works hard and is lucky. I think he was passing to Wood and earlier the ball bounced off his knee right to Jones. But you need some luck.

I was at the game and these NFL stadiums are huge. Looks like they sold tickets where they filled up a section rather than opening the whole stadium up. The two upper corners were empty but the other sections including the upper deck were filled. In the US they announce tickets sold not people showed up; so actual attendance has to be (logically) lower. But don't think the no-shows were significant and 50k in a stadium that seats 70k seems about right.

The only quibble with your write up is that the USMNT didn't start the same CBs in the 2013 games. Two completely different pairs actually.

Kirk Diggler said...

The real question in all this is:

Would it be wise to start some fresh bodies against Equador?

Obviously one new player will appear, but should we replace on winger and one midfielder?

dikranovich said...

If we want some fresh legs for the semis, that's not a bad idea, and maybe more than just three players

Jester said...

We can't be worried about the semi-final yet. We can't overlook Ecuador. Let's put out the he best line up we can, and worry about the semi's if/when they come.

Jester said...

We can't be worried about the semi-final yet. We can't overlook Ecuador. Let's put out the he best line up we can, and worry about the semi's if/when they come.

dikranovich said...

Jester, if the USA came into this tournament with the idea of winning it, thinking about how to manage players minutes is only prudent. it's not like bringing on pulisic and nagbe in starting roles is something so terrible, and zusi and beckerman are certainly capable of playing against Ecuador, which they already did do, less than a month ago. Ecuador might not know exactly how to handle Chris wondolowski.

We know we are going to see one change, and maybe as many as three more.

downintexas said...

Dik,

I don't disagree, if our position was to win the whole thing then yes, that would be prudent. However JK goal was only the semifinals. So he will play for that.

dikranovich said...

Dit, we are playing to win every tournament we enter, at least since 2010.

We know the center back pairing is going to remain, and Fabian will play on the left or right of defense. I think confidence should be high that both zardes and wood start.

You have to believe nagbe is going to get the go tomorrow, as he did score the game winner last time out against Ecuador, and his inclusion will force the South Americans to adjust.

having Dempsey come off the bench is not a bad option. I guess maybe it is too hard not to start him.

We should not be scared of Ecuador, and we should shut down montero, and the Valencia brothers.

Dany Tzvi said...

I don't expect the XI to change in any way. This is knockouts and ecuador are a good side. Enner and antonio are not brothers. It will be tough to keep a handle on jefferson and antonio by starting a winger at one fullback position and a poor footballer at the other. It would behoove us to maintain posession for the sake of minimizing ecuador's chances.

Patrick said...

Has the USMNT ever been to PKs in a meaningful game? I could see this game ending 1-1.

Patrick said...

Has the USMNT ever been to PKs in a meaningful game? I could see this game ending 1-1.