The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Ugh.

I just wrote like a 1000-word post on the USA-Mexico game, and WordPress fucking lost it before it published. I am filled with rage.I’m not re-writing it, so bullet points it is:

– Charlie Davies’ goal in the 9th was a peach. Great ball by Landon Donovan to split the defense, and the finish was as cool as you’d like…even with a center-half nipping at his heels. It was well-done, and deserved for the way the States played in the opening exchanges.

– After that, the USA completely handed over initiative of the game, and never seriously threatened again. I’m not entirely sure if Bob Bradley gave the order to bunker or if the Mexicans just recovered from the early stomach punch at record speed, but once they started pinging the ball around the field, our boys never got back into it.

– The opening goal was kind of unlucky…normally you’re comfortable with a guy like Castro shooting from there. However, it was a hell of a hit and there was nothing Timmy Howard could do about it. Still, I can’t help thinking that Bocanegra should have at least made a token attempt to close him down, although there is an argument for saying that doing so would open up space for Castro to lay it off to someone in a better position.

– Cuauhtemoc Blanco was good in the free role, and Javier Aguirre played it perfectly by taking him off after 55 minutes and having Carlos Vela on the bench in reserve, ready to relieve him. Aguirre is a talented manager, and our southern neighbors will be infinitely more dangerous now that they’ve taken him back.

– Meanwhile, Bradley’s 57th-minute sub was a big old fucking pile of wank. The thoroughly-useless Brian Ching was taken off (and only 57 minutes too late!), but the gaffer brought on Benny Feilhaber. Not only did this mean that Jozy Altidore was not on the field (he didn’t arrive until the 79th, which was far too late), but it meant that we either went to a 4-5-1 (thus sending a shite message to the players that it is now squeaky-bum time, along with the fact that it allows the opposing fullbacks to push higher up the field and pin your wingers and fullbacks further back), or it meant that Donovan moved to striker…leaving Feilhaber or Michael Bradley to play in an unfamiliar role on the wing. I literally could rant about this substitution for a good 45 minutes, so I’m just going to move on before I give myself a coronary.

– The Mexicans’ winning goal was inevitable…the only surprising thing was that it took until the 81st to get it. Their guy blew by Donovan on the wing, which is fine…he’s not a defender. But, Bocanegra was nowhere in sight to assist (it’s only his job and all, no sweat), and Jay DeMerit had to abandon his guy to come over and help. Oguchi Onyewu didn’t recognize the danger and rotate over to cover the man that DeMerit left. Poor DeMerit was hideously unlucky – his saving tackle would see the ball go out of bounds 9 times out of 10, and this happened to be the time that it bounced back into play and right on the feet of the man who he had to abandon to save Bocanegra’s ass. Unfuckingbelievable, but the schoolboy defending from everyone not named Jay DeMerit meant that we pretty much deserved it anyway.

– The momentum for regional dominance has well and truly shifted back to El Tri now, and they’ve earned it. They’re well-managed and now they’ve got a lot of their old swagger back. We could have stepped on their throats and killed them off here…they didn’t play THAT well, and better tactics would have seen us in with a shout to win it. If we had, they may not have qualified…remember, the 4th-place team has to play the home-and-home with South America’s 5th, and that is no slam-dunk for anyone. If Mexico doesn’t go, then we definitely get seeded, in which case we’d have a much better shot of getting that elusive easy group. Seriously, Bradley should have been fired the second the ref blew the full-time whistle at the Gold Cup final, and every day he manages this team sees us less likely to make any noise in South Africa whatsoever.

Save us, Jurgen Klinsmann…you’re our only hope.

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August 12, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer

2 Comments »

  1. I did not see the whole game — at work with a dodgy web stream en espanol — so I can’t do a breakdown in the same sense you did, but here’s my 1 big thought and 1 big worry:

    1. We clearly don’t have a midfielder strong or talented enough to hold the ball when we need to slow the pace down and build possession. It’s one thing to see that exploited by a desperate Brazil team down 2 goals, it’s entirely another to watch us get beat up by a Mexican side in the same way. We need an answer to this question. Edu’s return? New tactics? I am not sure. But somebody needs to find someone or someway to prevent other teams from pressing our midfielder into 90 minutes of bad, pressured giveaways.

    And the worry: We absolutely, positively have to win the group in qualifying. I’m sure we’ll qualify, but if we don’t win, we don’t get a seed, and if we don’t get a seed, we’re looking — very likely — at a WC group of a top UEFA team and a top South American team plus a strong third. You know, the sort of group we typically handle by getting wrecked in the first game and then having to claw our way out of the smoking crater. (See Czech Republic, 2006 and Italy, 2009.)

    Comment by TK | August 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’ve not seen much of him, but perhaps Jermaine Jones might be an answer to the first need?

    Comment by theshipbesinking | August 13, 2009 | Reply


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