Thursday, March 18, 2021

It's three points.

And an important three CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying points, at that, gained by the USMNT Under-23 team in gut-it-out fashion. We had an occasionally shaky but ultimately good enough first half followed by an unpleasant second half. After being outdone by the Junior Nats fullbacks in the opening frame, Costa Rica's wingers were running free after the break.

And with that short take, we'll heat up the spotlight, crank up the organ and pull an NHL-style Three Stars of the game for the victors.

#3 Star - Hassani Dotson

I could have gone a few ways here, but I did spend significant portions of the game wishing the ball was nearer to Dotson. It seemed like he made something happen every time the play came to him. United States teams have a delightful habit of going away from things that are working, and the Loons youngster was a one-man pressure valve whenever he got the rare chance at it. He picked some pockets, he made the right passes and denied Randall Leal touches for considerable stretches. This was a solid "doing all the little things" display

#2 Star - Sam Vines

Yeah, he had a couple of less than stellar moments trying to curtail Díaz in the second half, but Vines had already done his damage. The early US game plan seemed to be 1) move the ball to the right to clear space on the left, 2) quickly reverse out to a creeping Vines across midfield & 3) everybody make a dangerous run and wait to see who he picks out. It was kinda working, and it's a bummer they stopped doing it too early (see what I mean?).

#1 - David Ochoa

Well, can there be any doubt? The RSL net prodigy racked up nine saves, including a couple of smart big ones rushing off his line with quartz precision. His most picturesque stop cruelly denied a nasty Luis Díaz curler early in the second half.

- Greg Seltzer


DaMa said...

wow you and i saw this game VERY differently. Vines had a horrible day. Showed some pretty clear limitations as a senior player going forward. Felt the same way about Yueill. Both guys make sense if you are going to have the ball 76% of the time and and need to ping some passes. Dont know that a guy who can be man marked out of a game that easily can ever play against Mexico. Anyway, that whole left side of the back line struggled monumentally and were constantly bailed out by Ochoa and Glad.

Dotson disappeared for such long stretches I actually thought he had been the first sub out in the second half. He had a couple of good carries but was a non threat in the final third.

The only guys who appeared even average to me were Ochoa, Glad and Ferreira. I thought Glad's distribution got pretty good in the second half. Maybe Lewis and Bofo given how little was being created from midfield?

DaMa said...

(and in fairness this was the first match for some of these guys in a long time so some rust was not unexpected)