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Matchday: USA-Sweden

The first game of 2009 is upon us:

USA vs. Sweden
Home Depot Center
8:30 p.m. ET
Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision

Though neither side is close to full strength, the match will provide an opportunity for both coaches to assess depth heading into World Cup qualifiers early this year. The USA faces Mexico on Feb. 11 in Columbus while Sweden visits Portugal on March 28.

Each team will have 18 players in uniform and be permitted six substitutions tonight.

I am on an out-of-town college basketball assignment today and won't be able to join you for live discussion. But as usual, I welcome your pregame, in-game and postgame opinions and analysis. Enjoy!

By Steve Goff  |  January 24, 2009; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Brazilian to DCU
Next: Video: USA-Sweden Goals


Final Score: USA 93 Sweden 54
Lebron leads all scorers with 22pts.

Posted by: muskratinator | January 24, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Lebron leads all scorers with 22pts.

Posted by: muskratinator | January 24, 2009 3:11 PM

I guess Lebron will sit most of the second half....

Posted by: fischy | January 24, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Six substitutions!?! With an 18 man roster, geez, I'd hate to be that one guy the coach doesn't put in ..

Posted by: delantero | January 24, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm feeling pessimistic about this one. Not necessarily about the result, but about the game itself. I don't expect us to go out looking brilliant by any means, but I have the nagging suspicion that we're going to see a drab performance even by Bradley's standards. I guess the bizarre camp call ups and injuries have dampened my enthusiasm. I figure 0-0 or 1-0 either way on an ugly goal are very likely outcomes.

In the interest of staying positive, we will at least get to see a new keeper trying to create some competition, and Wynne should go the full 90 at right back. Davies gets another chance to prove that Eddie Johnson should not be called until he has a sustained period of actual quality (which at this point looks very unlikely).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 24, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Six substitutions!?! With an 18 man roster, geez, I'd hate to be that one guy the coach doesn't put in ..

Posted by: delantero | January 24, 2009 4:23 PM

Troy Perkins?



Posted by: jayrockers | January 24, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hey Heads UP!
Where would DCU supporters want to sit @ Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston. We're entertaining the idea of going down for the matches on the 14th(saturday). I'm guessing buying tickets on line would be wise right?

Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated.
Thank you.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 24, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Online feeds?

Posted by: notafembot | January 24, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

More positive thinking:

I can DVR the Margarito-Mosley fight and watch it immediately after the game. Win-win!

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 24, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: muskratinator | January 24, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: GoCrew | January 24, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Jayrockers.

Posted by: dculoyal | January 24, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Perkins is getting the start :)






Posted by: emanon13 | January 24, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: StewartDC8 | January 24, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

missed the first half, but the second half has been very open and flowing. i guess Bob doesn't mind being a little more adventurous in a friendly.

and i know this isn't the highest quality opponent (or anything close to our best team) but the U.S. looks quite good and i may have to re-evaluate my opinion of Kljestan which was decidedly "meh" up until now. and just as i type that he takes a dive worthy of Serie A - hey Sasha, you're not a prima donna yet (even if you have the hair).

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | January 24, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

The guy goes out and opens his international scoring account with a hat trick and you get on here calling him a prima donna?????!!!!
Take a look in the mirror buddy.
Or go ahead and try to come up with another brilliant nickname for another rising american star... Some people are impossible to please...Sheesh.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 24, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Here, here DadRyan. For a B-C side that was some pretty impressive work. Give the kids a break, people. We have to keep things in perspective and stop comparing our developing talent and our development as a soccer nation with established powers.

Sasha had a monster game. Ching battled pretty hard too. There were some guys who really helped their stock tonight. The defending on the two we conceeded was very soft and unforgiveable. I feel for Perkins for taking the knock on his stats and being robbed of a cleansheet because some of our guys switched off. Otherwise, it was a pretty solid job by the youngins.

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 24, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I might have come off a tad harsh, but I can't stand all the negativity about "our boys". Too much negativity, I know it comes with the territory in the footballing world, but maybe in this new era of HOPE and CHANGE we can make a CHANGE...;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | January 24, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I thought Emo and Rico both had strong games, as both tracked back well and went forward. Ching played a role in all three goals, so hats off to him. Of all the players out there tonight, how many are on the squad against Mexico? I'll take a stab and say four (Rico, Sacha, Ching, and Califf).

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | January 24, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

whoa, whoa, whoa - i'm no USMNT denigrator. i just thought it was amusing that right when Sasha was changing my opinion of him, he went and took a total swan dive when a defender brushed him. it thought it was funny that the 3 goals might have gone to his head so quickly. that's all. no need to leap to his defense - he had a great game and is surely something to be hopeful about for 2010. and he's a shining light for MLS to boot (pardon the pun).

point being, the team looked good tonight, even giving up a couple questionable goals (neither was Perkins fault). Ching's pass on the 3rd goal was awesome and it was good to see the while team playing with confidence. a part of me will still be nervous about WCQ, but seeing performances like this makes me think there could be some really good things on the horizon. no negativity, i swear!

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | January 24, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

So, I went to an Irish bar in the northern suburbs of Chicago that famously plays all the "furren" sports... and I was the only one, apparently, who was there for the match... a little disappointing, though maybe not surprising, and I had to give the missus props for showing with me for what was the equivalent of a preseason matchup. Still, a fine showing by Klejstan, though I did not expect him to claim the penalty kick where he scored.

Posted by: Modibo | January 24, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

right on dimesmakedollars, I gotta itchy trigger finger these days...
This MLS season and actual WCQ can't come soon enough!
Anyone hear about the Sounders getting closer to working out a deal with Freddy Montero? As my daughter would say about Santa Claus: "Scaaary"...

Posted by: DadRyan | January 25, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Good news: Our 3 best players on the night are also the 3 with the best odds of starting against Mexico (Kljestan, Ching, and Clark). Kljestan obviously had a hat trick from midfield, but also seemed to control the game when he was on the ball. The Swedes didn't have an answer for him, goals or no (and he was up against their most experienced player in Andersson). A good target man gives you a lot more than goals, and Ching did all those things really well. You don't often consider a guy for MOTM when his teammate scored all 3 goals, but Ching made the prospect not all that silly. Clark, meanwhile, was dynamic and disruptive (providing the platform for Kljestan to play easily his best game in a US shirt), while also contributing to the attack.

Bad news: Giving up 2 goals to a Sweden side that was lacking in direction and invention is a bit discouraging. Both goals came from early crosses where our defenders let the scorer run into a gap rather than body up and force him to do something other than head on goal. The Swedish forwards figured out after the hour mark that there were spaces to be exploited between our outside backs and center backs. I thought Califf did well, and was the only defender not involved in the concession of a goal or great chance (the header Nannskog bounced off the ground and over the bar with an empty net). These were only isolated incidents, but mistakes in spacing will hurt us more against teams like Mexico and Honduras, who pass until they find the gap.

Califf, Clark, Kljestan, Ching all improved their standing in my eyes. Ihemelu did better than I thought he would in limited minutes, breaking up a couple plays using his speed and clearing a loose ball from in front of an empty goal. Most everyone else remained more or less where they were coming in. Rogers, Davies, and Wingert (partially culpable for 2nd goal) hurt themselves a bit. Rogers looked either nervous or simply off his game, while Davies struggled with even basic passing.

Overall, the game was a bit sloppy; however, it was better than I originally expected. I'd have liked to see more combination play from our side of things, and the defending as a unit needs to improve, but all in all I'd say my complaints are few and rather reserved. I'll give Bradley and the boys a B for the night (and not just for alliterative purposes).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 25, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Many good comments but I am surprised that no one has mentioned Marvell Wynne so far. I thought that he had a very strong game, making up ground with his speed and dis-possessing Swedish attackers.We need speed on defense. Could he play on the left side,or could Cherundolo? Sort of like Maldini, a right-footed left back supreme?
If Donovan had been in there I think that Wynne's forays into space would have been rewarded with return passes which did NOT happen in the first half.
Can we also agree that Sasha K. should play instead of deMarcus B.
who played himself off my team some time ago? Coach Peter

Posted by: bechtoldpk | January 25, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

USA did a far better job than the Post's sports desk. As of noon Sunday, the sports section of the print edition online had no mention of the match. Goff, you need to kick some sports-desk butt.

Posted by: runningcloud | January 25, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It was a fun game. Was please to see Sacha's effort pay off. Happy to see Rogers developing his defense and corners. I expect he will continue to develop under Bradley. Wynne and Ching were very good for most of the night and Ching's assist was tremendous.

Posted by: TomR143 | January 25, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The POst printed it under misc. on Sports p2. I must get teh really early edition, because the score was listed as 3-1.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 25, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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