U.S. vs. Chile match diary and player ratings
The following was written during the US-Chile friendly this past Saturday.
A lot of people don't like these off-brand friendlies, but I do; it gives us a chance to look at the guys who might end up being major players in the next cycle. It's like America's Got Talent or Star Search if some of the participants had talent and/or became stars.
A few minutes until kickoff. I'm watching on ESPN3, which is blurry at the moment. I could go to the Spanish-language broadcast on TV, but then I would be denied the Zen-master wisdom of John Harkes.
Players I'm eager to see tonight include Bunbury, Agudelo, Ream, and Diskerud. Also Dax McCarty, but that's not because I'm not familiar with him; it's because I want to see what kind of form he's in now that he's playing for United.
One player who I'm not excited to see tonight is Chris Wondolowski. That sounds harsh, but let me explain: there's nothing Wondolowski can do in one game to impress me. After all, he was an MLS role player for several years before having an outstanding year last year. So there's only one thing that will convince me that he's a potential national team player and not just a guy going through a good run of form: have another great season next year. If he does that, then I'll be a convert.
D.C. United’s own Dax McCarty is captaining the team tonight. Looks like he'll be paired with Jeff Larentowicz in an all-ginger-kid engine room.
If we start a McCarty-Larentowicz midfiled in Brazil 2014, we'll have to sub them both out by halftime due to sunburn. Those redheaded dudes will burst into flames in Rio.
U.S. lineup is:
- Here we go...(TM)
3’ – Ugly miscommunication between Gonzalez and Ream at the back, though nothing comes of it. Bad start for the young center backs.
6’ – Franklin getting beat for pace a couple of times down the right-hand side. It's hard for me to say the name Franklin without thinking of this.
7’ – Very good year for Omars in MLS: Gonzalez got his first cap, Cummings won an MLS Cup, and Salgado went No. 1 in the draft. Of course, it's hard for me to say the name Omar without thinking of this.
12’ – A very good long-range shot from McCarty forces a nice save. This comes after a nice free kick a few minutes ago. Awesome pickup for D.C.
13’ – Wondo with a nice turn and shot from distance. Some good play from the U.S.
16’ – The first yellow card of the game goes to a Chilean player. The ref looks a bit like Howard Webb, though because he's a CONCACAF ref, he probably isn't a fraction of the referee that Howard Webb is.
17’ – A Chilean assistant coach gets sent off. Good move, Chilean Assistant Coach - as long as your in L.A., go see the sights instead of hanging around this B-squad friendly in Carson.
25’ – Free kick for Chile from about 35 yards out. You’ll never beat Nick Rimando from there...and sure enough, they don't. We need to take a moment to give some props to Nick Rimando; after being a throw-in in the Freddy Adu trade, he's probably been the best goalkeeper in MLS over the last three years. He's been awesome. He completely deserves this cap.
29’ – U.S. looking ragged here. Shea seems to have come down with Sacha Kljestan syndrome, symptoms of which include occasional nice touches mixed with shoddy passing and questionable hair.
31’ – Is Diskerud being paid by the touch tonight? He's spending way too long on the ball.
37’ – U.S. hasn’t been in a threatening position for about 15 minutes now. The back line is doing a very poor job of clearing the ball TO somebody.
40’ – I seem to watch a lot of teams right now that play with two defensive/linking midfielders in the center and two attacking midfielders on the wings. The USMNT did it in 2010, Fulham does it, D.C. United did it from time to time last year. I think the verdict is in: it doesn’t work. None of those teams scored many goals. It continues to not really work tonight.
43’ – There are long balls played with purpose (see: Bolton), and there are long balls played due to a lack of ideas. The U.S. is playing a lot of the second kind tonight.
I would rather be trapped in a mine for 68 days than watch a second half like that first half. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but still…we need to play better.
Subs: Johnson for Rimando, Wynne for Gonzalez. I can't believe that the Wynne-as-center back experiment that Colorado tried has paid off so far. It seems that using Wynne as a center back negates all his strengths (speed, dribbling, work rate) and accentuates his weaknesses (poor positioning/marking, poor passing).
START OF SECOND HALF
46' - Harkes: “Bradley and Rongen are searching the world for players that have a U.S. connection. Sometimes that’s a good way to go, sometimes it’s not.” Going to the Spanish-language broadcast now.
49’ – McCarty looks like a short Conan O'Brien.
52’ – GOAL CHILE! 1-0! Nice move down the right side leads to a cross and a volleyed goal. Horrible marking from Wynne – he was five yards away from his man. There’s the Marvell Wynne I remember.
57’ – Bradley decides to stick with what's not working instead of bringing in Agudelo and/or Bunbury. In my opinion, Bradley overvalues experience and doesn't give enough minutes to young players. Last cycle, it was blatantly obvious that Jozy was the best striker in the pool, and yet think of how many minutes Bradley gave to the likes of Conor Casey, Eddie Johnson, Brian Ching, and Josh Wolff…guys who were nowhere to be found when the World Cup rolled around.
59’ – Finally: Agudelo for Shea, Bunbury for Wondolowski. Looks like Diskerud will slide left and start giving the ball away from there.
61’ – The U.S. already look more threatening.
66’ – Chilean player on the turf for what the replay showed was a bunch of nothing. I guess even in a friendly you want to show your coach that you'll be able to convincingly fake an injury when something of consequence is on the line.
69’ – I've been impressed with Loyd - he's been energetic. I'm also impressed that he spell his name with only one "l" - the extra "l" is a pretentious waste of time. Same with the extra "a" in "Aaron". We get it: you want to be first alphabetically. Lame.
70’ – McCarty with a nice layoff for Diskeruud, but the shot is blocked.
71’ – Wallace in for Loyd.
72’ – PENALTY US! Nice sequence goes from Ream to McCarty to Agudelo to Bedoya and back to Agudelo, who was brought down for a pen. Very questionable call – the defender got a piece of Agudelo, but he got some of the ball, too. I wouldn’t have given that.
73’ – Bunbury to take…GOAL U.S.! 1-1! ‘Keeper committed early, and Bunbury took it coolly. Bunbury put that right by the post – even if the ‘keeper had gone the right way, he wasn’t getting that one.
80’ – Bedoya gets some space and has Agudelo open, but he decides to dribble and is dispossessed. I don't quite get why people on internet message boards are so high on Bedoya.
82’ – Bedoya off for Eric Alexander. If you’re American and on the roster in 2010 for Dallas or Colorado, you're playing in this match. Bradley watched MLS matches other than the final, right?
84’ – Nice interplay between Bunbury and Agudelo. U.S. has looked infinitely more dynamic since those two came in.
88’ – Through ball gets Chile behind the U.S. defense, but Wynne closes the Chilean down in about half a second. That is also the Marvell Wynne I remember.
90’ – Only two minutes of stoppage time in spite of twenty subs, four injuries, and three visits from Morgana the Kissing Bandit. More proof that stoppage time is made up.
FULL TIME. 1-1 TIE. A fair result, but it does beg the question: was this match worth leaving my show early instead of sticking around to sell CDs?
Nick Rimando - 6. Did everything that he needed to do.
Sean Franklin - 4. Franklin did not come alive in this match. He had a better second half than first, but I was surprised how many times he was beaten for pace in the first half.
Omar Gonzalez - 5. Pretty solid, although I think he rushed his clearances from time to time. I'm eager to see him against better competition; I know he can play at the Chilean-B-team level.
Tim Ream - 4. In spite of a few quality long passes, I was disappointed with his distribution. He gave the ball away a few times on simple passes. That's supposed to be his strength.
Zach Loyd - 5. Pretty good - I liked his energy. It's weird that he had to play left back partly because Heath Pearce was the only FC Dallas player not on the roster.
Jeff Larentowicz - 4. He's like Paul Scholes if Paul Scholes could tackle but never played the ball forward. Okay, he's nothing like Paul Scholes. But he looks kind of like him.
Dax McCarty - 6.5. A lot of people have said it, but I'll say it too: he's a very Ben Olsen-type player. No wonder Olsen wanted him: McCarty is the son he never had. Not counting the son Olsen just had.
Alejandro Bedoya - 4. I'm still waiting to be impressed.
Brek Shea - 3.5. This is two sub-par national team appearances in a row. Let's see how he does in MLS this year and then re-evaluate.
Mix Diskerud - 3. Great name (sounds like a European DJ), not a great game. Too many touches. But he's young; I'm eager to see how he develops.
Chris Wondolowski - 4.5. Like I said: if he has a great 2011, then I'll believe he can do it all the time. I am not on the Johan Elmander bandwagon for the same reason.
Sean Johnson - 5.5. Not at fault on the goal, not asked to do much other than that. Something tells me that he might have an opportunity to handle a lot of shots in goal for Chicago this year.
Marvell Wynne - 3.5. Like Wondolowski, might have benefited from a not-big-enough sample size in MLS this year. I don't see him as a national team center back.
Juan Agudelo - 5.5. I think it's obvious that some fans are overreacting to his goal against South Africa. It's one goal, people. But, still, I like what I see.
Teal Bunbury - 6. I don't quite know why Agudelo is getting all the ink; in my eyes, Bunbury looks just as likely to be the real deal.
Eric Alexander - no rating.
| January 26, 2011; 3:58 PM ET
Categories: Jeff Maurer, Soccer, United | Tags: Jeff Maurer, U.S. National soccer team
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