CONCACAF Olypic U-23: USA vs. Panama

God fucking dammit….

Result: USA 1 Panama 0

Once again we come out in a 4-2-3-1 and once again we look bad in the first half though this time it was the first half of the first half that was shit.

Note to Nowak: 4-2-3-1 is bullshit. It is a bullshit formation for a team that fancies itself one of the big dogs of the region. It’s overly defensive and gives lesser teams a chance to press your team. There is no need to play 2 d-mids against Cuba and Panama. Sorry, there just isn’t. Are you really that worried that they will slice up your back line? If so, we need to pull U-17’s up or something because if 4 in the back with 1, ONE, d-mid can’t do the job then fuck it, we need to just quit now.

Altidore looked like he was left out to die once again due to this formation. However, the injection of people actually capable of playing on the wings, Gaven and Holden (man of the match) helped it a bit more than the disaster that was Cuba.

The second half looked better. It seemed Altidore figured out that he had to do all the work himself for the most part and made a number of stunning moves and great runs that many times were cut short by a referee who was apparently blind.

Holden was all over the place and needs to be called up to the senior team for the next friendly as he looks like he could be the answer Bradley is desperately seeking from the right midfield. That being said, I’m sure we won’t see him called up for at least 2 more years.

Panama played tough and had some chances. It’s hard to see how Hondouras beat them but that just gives us an idea of the kind of trouble we might be in when we face them on Saturday if this is the best we have.

We are playing at home, boys. Stop fucking around and get the job done. Nowak, I love ya buddy, but you need to pull your head out of your ass. Unlike the senior team, this team has the attacking quality to score goals. You simply need to unleash them.

Up next: Hondouras at 4pm PST. Televised on Fox Soccer Channel. We need at least a tie to finish second (not prefered) or a win to finish top of the group.

Orozco: you may come back. Well done.

Wynne: probably the most frustrating player in the pool. To his credit his name wasn’t mentioned all that often which as the old adage goes, the defender’s name is the one you never want to hear called if he’s doing his job right. He did have some flubs and it’s painful. His pace far outstrips that of anyone else we have at fullback. Bornstein is the only one close. Wynne’s occasional positional lapses are just enough though to keep him out as a regular. He’s one player I wish, more than anyone, would figure it out.

Zizzo: came on late. Started out shaky, but showed why he was one of my favorite players at the U-20’s last summer. He is another one who needs to get more looks on the right for the senior team.

Gaven: great game. looks like he’s fighting to live up to the great early promise he had.

Kljestan: was Kljestan. Solid.

Edu: played well at center back and is going to make it difficult for someone on the senior team. He is the best d-mid we have and his play at centerback surely must give Bradley pause when going through his baffling automatic inclusions of Onyewu every time. Gooch is a walking yellow card and gets torched far too much for my tastes. Though I guess having one great game against Mexico is enough for him to be lionized. (I should point out that the same people mocking myself and others for pointing out Bornstein’s great game against Messi as a ‘1 game pony’ are the same one’s who champion ‘1 game’ Onyewu and his yellow card parade –Eurosnobbery at its finest)

Adu: great game. Scored the PK that Altidore drew late in the first half. I hope he’s not a youth-level wonder. His appearances with the senior team have been a bit rough at times. I think once he realizes that he has a little way to go before he can pull the Cristiano Ronaldo act on national team players for Brazil the better off he’ll be. He is getting very close to exploding though. I just get that sense from him. Bradley just needs to put him out there and run with it.

Also on that note, he plays with Altidore better than anyone. Altidore is clearly the future up top. Adu is the man he plays off of best. It seems folly to ignore this.

McCarty: another solid game from the young FC Dallas midfielder. He is so tiny though it will be interesting to see if he can improve physically to become a force for the national team.

Sturgis: uh, OK. Not horrible, not great. Again, if I don’t hear your name too much it couldn’t have been all that horrible.

Seitz: decent game. He still isn’t showing the kind of class that is going to unseat Howard or Guzan (who I believe will ultimately unseat Howard sooner rather than later) it’s just unfortunate for him because he is a very good keeper who would start for dozens upon dozens of national teams, but the USA happens to be the Brazil of goalkeeper production.


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