Log line: Better. Still a lot left to do.
Score: USA 1 Honduras 0
Starting US lineup:
Formation: 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1 (I’m tending more towards the latter as Findley was advanced a bit too much for me to call it a straight 4-5-1 and the play suggested it more often than not)
1ST HALF: The US came out looking a bit more composed than they have the past coupld of matches. That said, they still looked a bit too unaggressive in the final third.
The forward play was very hit or miss. Mostly miss when it came to Barrett and hit when it came to Findley (when he’d actually float back into the match that is). In fairness to Findley, his role was to roam a lot more than he is normally used to. He has played wide right for Real Salt Lake a number of times and is still learning to position. I think if he is going to have a future on the senior team that will be his place. He has the pace and the vision to play there once he masters it. His ability to finish and his deft touch, put on full display during a chance in the first half that was not a goal only due to the heroics of the Honduran goalkeeper.
Honduras were on the defensive for the most part but they certainly made the most of their chances and had at least 2 occasions in the first half where they could have taken the lead. The offside call on the disallowed goal when Cervi came WAY too far off his line was an extremely lucky break for the US.
2ND HALF: started off with another Honduran near goal before the US settled down again and took the game back into their grasp. Nothing spectacular but they took hold of the match. There was a penalty early on when Davies came in for Zizzo (I would have pulled Barrett instead but…) and was pulled down in the ares. Davies, despite only being on for less than 5 minutes, lobbied to take it and missed wide.
The rest of the second half was more of the same. Ebb and flow. US controlling most of the possession with Honduras getting some half chances here and there looking dangerous on all set plays as they seemingly had free headers every time out.
DEEP into stoppage time, Davies hits the ground again (and it wasn’t a dive again!) but this time Gaven (who should have taken the first PK) steps up and ices the game for the US and put us at the top of Group A.
Man Of The Match: tough call really. no one really stood out head and shoulders. Davies winning 2 PK’s would normally be a lock but the missed PK and some dumb dives takes it away from him. Findley played well as did Holden as did Gaven and Orozco. I think I will have to go with Gaven for his good play and showing Davies how to tuck in a PK.
UP NEXT: second place team in Group B. Haiti is in the driver’s seat right now and with as bad as Mexico and Canada have been playing, I’m going to have to go with them to take it. Mexico just doesn’t look like they have the youth team they had a few years ago. (yes, I realize there are 4 or so players who had to stay with their clubs, but the US is in the same situation so there is little excuse especially in the weak group they are in)
Cervi: he did OK. He was a bit too adventuresome on some occasions for my tastes. He isn’t going to unseat Seitz anytime soon and certainly isn’t going to supplant Guzan or Howard. I believe he has Italian citizenship as well, one almost wonders if he shouldn’t have tried to play for them. He’d actually have a better chance playing there as Buffon is beginning getting up there in age.
Orozco: Should absolutely get a call up by the senior team. His positioning is superb and is, based on these matches, a much better centerback than Onyewu. Of course he needs to play some senior team matches where that can be said for sure, but his technical abilities are already very evident. I’m not sure if his parents were Mexican citizens or not, I do know he plays in Mexico but was born in California. I believe that since he is 22 and now capped over the U-20 level he is a US player now. If he was eligible for El Tri, it looks like they missed out on a good player. Better for us. Cap this kid on the senior team NOW Bradley.
Holden: Another player who needs to get a look on the senior team NOW. He has been sparkling and composed. He has played wide right and left with equal aplomb and had an eye for goal. He also hits a pretty nice free kick.(though his free kick/set piece skills were a bit lax tonight)
Zizzo: dangerous all night. Has pace and skill on the pass and a nice touch to his passes. Another one who deserves another look on the senior level.
Klejstan: gave us some soft turnovers on passes up field, but he did what you want your d-mid to do: intimidate. The Hondurans were taking the long way around after a few minutes.
Ianni & Freeman: OK. Not great, not horrible. Just OK.
Findley: looked much better playing the role we are used to seeing Landon Donovan play. Kind of a roaming second striker/attacking mid role. He had a brilliant touch to himself in front of goal that nearly ended in magic if not for heroics by the Honduran keeper.
Davies: worked much harder this time out. Still dived a bit too much. Won two PK’s. However, the PK miss was wretched. It doesn’t bode well when you have a striker who can’t finish a sitting ball from 12 yds out unobstructed. You expect strikers to be selfish but the captain should have told him to step aside. There is no reason to let a player who’s been on the field for 3 minutes to take a high pressure PK
Barrett: hope you had fun because this is the end of the ride, my son. You worked hard, but there are few people who turn the ball over as much and as foolishly as you do. You can tell your kids someday about how you almost made the senior men’s team squad but just missed.
Hill: again, looked better than before. Looked more comfortable in his new position than he did last time out. With his attacking prowess and ball handling skills, he could be a VERY interesting option at fullback for the US in years to come. Especially if they let him work there a bit at Wolfsburg.
Gaven: buried the second PK and showed some dazzling ball handling skill, even pulling out a Zidane move! (if only he were half as good as the great master we’d be world cup champions) He deserves more looks.
McCarty: really didn’t play all that much but the little he was there he looked good.
Honduran player Daniel Alvarez is an embarrassment to the game. He was diving and rolling all over the pitch on the slightest of contact. Players like him are the reason many people don’t take the game seriously because they think everyone is a diving flopping pussy like he was behaving like. It’s a shame really because the rest of the Honduran team really carried themselves well and have nothing to be ashamed about with their showing today.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the female semi-streaker (she was in a g-string and panties) who ran out onto the field who looked NICE! Ample up top, pretty tight down below nothing to complain about there. If I find a youtube you will certainly be seeing it here ASAP. 🙂
UPDATE: HERE IT IS!