So as you no doubt know since you are here, the result of the match was a 2-2 draw.
It was painful to see the USMNT (Moor in particular) give up such cheap equalizing goals. However, credit to Magallon and El Tri for putting forth a higher level of urgency and effort all game to try to achieve the draw.
In the end, the result was a fair one.
Jozy Altidore, while still raw, is the future of the USMNT. He was a load to handle and Rafa Marquez, one of the premiere defenders in the world, looked like he really earned his paycheck out there today.
The biggest thing Jozy needs to do is be more aware of his positioning and raise his aggressiveness a little bit. He has more drive than any other striker in the US pool right now, but he could be so much more with a bit more of a nasty streak in him.
Drew Moor and Ramiro Corrales effectively ended their USMNT careers. They were truly awful. They both had moments. Moor served in a great cross on Altidore’s goal and Corrales subdued Giovani Dos Santos (except when he allowed Gio to get beyond him a bit and had to foul him in a dangerous position to the left of the box) in his limited minutes. However, they looked out of sorts.
Dos Santos: Barca is one of the European teams I follow. I’ve wanted this kid to be a hit but he has yet to really break out. He has flashes but he continues to be weak on the ball and is basically in the business of trying to dazzle people with his pace. He is fast, but he is not so fast that he eclipses everyone else on the pitch. (hell on his own team Henry could run him down with a 10 yard penalty) The same held true except for the aforementioned free kick he won; despite the glowing praise from some people who just seem set on talking the kid up based on potential alone.
Right now he is basically Eddie Johnson. Tons of talent. Speed to burn. Unfocused and ineffective far too many times to be dubbed a star.
One bright spot, other than the continued good play of Magallon vs the USMNT, was Vela. He looked dangerous and threatening all day on the flanks. Dos Santos gets the ink, but Vela gets the job done for club and country. If there is a future Mexican superstar, it’s Vela.
Michael Bradley is a conundrum. He played poorly, but perhaps not as poorly as we’ve seen come people play in the central midfield. I think perhaps the expectations he’s brought in with his form in Holland hurt him a bit. He still made some very cheap fouls and got a cheap yellow card that he NEEDS to control.
That being said, Bob Bradley needs to stop making him ‘the man’ in front of the back line. Michael has shown in his club play that he is more natural playing more advanced. He’s not good at the whole ‘last gasp defensive effort’ think that marks the best of the best D-mids. Many of his cheapest fouls come in those situations and it’s not good. Perhaps it will come with maturity, but for now, he needs to play more advanced.
Finally, Gooch and Benny. I have been as hard on both of them as a person can be. Gooch began the road to redemption with a goal and some good work in the back (unlike Bocanegra who looked totally out of sorts far too many times and colliding foolishly with Howard) Gooch is still guilty of cheap fouls and soft cards though. I don’t know if that’s every going to end.
Benny shouldn’t have been called up. I stand by that. The USMNT shouldn’t be in the business of calling people in who have not featured in their club side for 4 months. Sorry.
That being said, Benny came in and put in a workmanlike effort in relief of Bradley. His energy was apparent. His touch and feel wasn’t always there, though that’s to be expected with the layoff, but for the first time since the Gold Cup, he looked like someone fighting for a spot which is something everyone on the team should take to heart. The talent pool of the US, while not Brazil, Germany, Argentina like, is deepening and the days of automatic selections are thankfully nearing their death. It’s time to fight and claw and scratch for your spots, boys. Once you get the spot, keep clawing and fighting and scratching on the field for victory. That is the only acceptable way of continuing going forward and the only way we will ever win anything on the international scene.
MLS skeds will be coming out soon and there may be an announcement on a matchup with a ‘top 5’ opponent coming up soon. All indications point to it being Argentina. I talked to people at the DFB and they said there was no plan to play the US and the schedules of the European Championships wouldn’t allow anyone else to play us (save for Spain who is already on the sked)
There is also talk of a ‘top 20’ European side playing us, who I will stake my life on based on what I’ve heard from some little birdies, will be England. We should get the official announcement soon though when I’m proven right. :p