Logline: America! Fuck yeah!
Formation: 4-2-2-1-1 (similar to Bradley’s occasional foray into a 4-2-2-2, but Adu was more withdrawn and free roaming, but it had the same freedom given to the fullbacks in Bradley’s 4-2-2-2)
MOTM: Probably the easiest choice all tournament: Freddy Adu. Scored two goals. Had several other chances on goal. Was basically a danger all night. Though pretty much every one was effective, he was the MOTM
Result: USA 3 Canada 0
USA moves on to the Olympic Games in the summer.
No one was particularly bad. Kljestan had some unforced turnovers but he did so many other things well REALLY working his ass off and captaining the side well that it’s easy to overlook those in this case. (plus he is in pre-season in all fairness and was out at the beginning of pre-season due to injury if memory serves)
The move to actually allow someone to play further up in the attack with Altidore and to let the fullback REALLY push up into the attack worked wonders as Altidore was able to create dangerous freekicks all day that Adu capitalized on 2 times. It’s amazing what employing a more offensive minded tactical plan gives you isn’t is, Nowak? Still not wild about 2 d-mids, but since they are a strength of ours in the player pool, the decision to allow the fullbacks to bomb forward more made up for it to a greater extent.
The US moves on to play Hondouras in the final that is largely for the coaches to see who they have and who will and won’t make the Olympic squad. I believe it is on Sunday but I’m not even sure I’ll cover that since it’s not all that important of a game.
Great-Adu, Altidore, Orozco & Holden. These four should be on the squad barring injury. Adu and Holden in particular has fantastic tournaments. In fact, there is no reason Holden shouldn’t be called up regularly for the Senior team. He can play wide left or right with equal facility and very well looks like he can be the answer wide right for the Nats. Orozco simply looks like the future at center back as he is capable of defending without giving up free kicks in dangerous positions all day a’la Onyewu.
Good–Edu, McCarty, Seitz, Kljestan, Wynne & Sturgis. All of these players had solid games. Kljestan just barely made it here because of the turn overs, but the work rate was exceptional. Edu was a calming force in midfield and broke up anything that resembled a Canadian attack. McCarty was solid as he’s been all tournament. Sturgis got forward in the attack and put himself in dangerous positions and defended well. Seitz basically had nothing to do all game but didn’t fuck up when he did so you can’t complain.
Wynne is someone I’d like to single out. He showed once again why he is so intriguing and infuriating. His crossing is still a bit weak but his positively blazing speed is something to behold. He defended well for the most part. However, he does get caught on the wrong side of the ball still on occasion but his ability to get forward was causing more problems than Canada seemed to want anything to do with. IF, and it’s a big IF, he continues his improvement like he did last year, he could be an absolutely electric tandem at fullback with Bornstein on the Nats. With their speed they will give any team nightmares all night long. I hope Marvell can attain higher awareness.
‘Bad’– Spector. He wasn’t ‘bad’ per se but he is the prime example of why I hate seeing so many Americans going to England. Many of them end up at low-mid table teams like Fulham and West Ham where most of their matches are spent holding on for dear life against swarms of attacks and the first instinct is to revert into ‘Brit-ball’ (long balls over the top all day, automatic clearances out of touch even if it’s totally unnecessary) and it never ever works well. Especially when you are sending in long balls to a striker who much prefers balls played into his feet.
I have to give Spector a bit of a pass since he just flew in, but looking at everyone else in the first half the US is clearly turning more and more to a Dutch/German/Spanish hybrid style that is very continental in flavor. The semi-recent hirings of Rongen and Cabrerra in the youth levels are further evidence of this desire to shake the old Brit-ball style we had 18 years ago in Italy and before that. Bocanegra is as guilty of this shit too when he comes in, though unlike Spector, he often readjusts.
I like the added competition they get in England, but the style is simply not a winning style on the international stage. If they played for one of the Prem’s Big 4 it would be different as they all play more continental football, but that simply isn’t the case yet.
Davies: (came on as a sub for Altidore) for the love of fucking god, STOP FUCKING DIVING!!!! It’s one thing to draw fouls as a striker, but diving is being cracked down on, Chuckles and they are on to you. You got one yellow card for that shit and you really aren’t all that great at selling it either.
When you dive, you normally abandon an attack that could still have some promise. Stay on the fucking ball and get a shot on frame. If someone really fouls you, go to ground. If not, get a fucking shot on frame. It’s amazing that a player 5 years younger than you (Altidore) gets it and you don’t. Please stop the bullshit.
Incomplete– Eddie Gaven. He simply didn’t play enough when he subbed in for Adu. He had a great tournament though.
One other note; Brian Dunseth was great in the color analyst chair. Not a big fan of his beating cliched phrases to death at times, but he is good about not talking about mindless shit and staying on the game. He even seemed to have made Bretos better.
Final note: Kudos to Canada for making a nice go of it. In the end, their youth pool simply isn’t as deep and their Fed basically pays nothing and is in shambles. This team was cobbled together literally a week before the tournament. For them to come in and have two huge wins (one against a tourney favorite) and get to the semis from what was seen as the harder group. They continue to make baby steps but they aren’t going to go anywhere if the Canadian Fed doesn’t get their shit together soon.