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CONCACAF Rewind

Another early goal allowed, but this time the USA bounces back to win, 2-1 over Honduras before 55,000-plus at Soldier Field. I estimated that Honduran fans outnumbered USA supporters by 60 to 40 percent. To those Insider loyalists who attended, would you agree or disagree? Read my match report with quotes.

Here's how the CONCACAF standings look:

Costa Rica 4-1-0, 12 points (+4)
USA 3-1-1, 10 points (+4)
El Salvador 1-1-2, 5 points (0)
Honduras 1-2-1, 4 points (-1)
Mexico 1-3-0, 3 points (-3)
T&T 0-2-2, 2 points (-4)

Yes, Mexico is in fifth place. However, that should change Wednesday when El Tri hosts T&T. The Salvadorans, who received a winning penalty kick from former D.C. United forward Eliseo Quintanilla, travel to Honduras this coming week. After those two matches, we will have reached the midway point of the hexagonal.

Next up for the USA: Confederations Cup this month, Gold Cup next month and then a visit to Azteca on Aug. 12.

PLAYER RATINGS
Howard 6; Spector 7, Onyewu 7, Bocanegra 8, Bornstein 5; Dempsey 4, Mastroeni 4, Clark 7, Donovan 7; Casey 5, Altidore 6. Subs: Feilhaber 7, DeMerit 6, Beasley 6.

USA and Mexico video:



By Steve Goff  |  June 7, 2009; 2:13 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , Mexico , U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Sunday Open House

Comments

I'm just not a fan of Mastroeni. He's killing me. I know that he's a solid player, but don't we have any better options? Clark in his spot and Torres in Clark's spot? I don't know.

Posted by: pmtthree | June 7, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you, @pmtthree. Maybe Pablo has some incriminating photos of B. Bradley in his possession.

I wonder if the team's success last night had to do with B. Bradley's likely reading of this blog this past week and taking to heart our criticiques of his performance and that of the team on Wednesday night.

I appreciated the "smooth ride" comment he made in Goff's story about the 10-game hexagon. I'd love it if we were clearly the best in CONCACAF and could get 30 points, but that just wasn't to be.

What I do appreciate is the team's resilience after falling behind against El Salvador and Honduras and how they earned their first victory in Guatemala against a tough opponent.

I sometimes don't understand that B. Bradley does - such as the exclusion of Torres from the bench yesterday or why Davies didn't play - but Bradley's earned my respect over time despite the lack of the impressive playing/coaching resume that some posters in this blog seem to be looking for.

I don't automatically assume that the man has something personal against a player like Adu or Torres. Since I am not privvy to the day-in and day-out goings on with the team, I can't claim that I know why such decisions are made.

I also think - all things considered - that the decision to have this qualifier played at Soldier Field was a good one. Over time, we will win over the first and second generation fans from other soccer nations if we continue to earn points. I think it's just as important that we have a big crowd (as we had in 2001 at RFK against Honduras) as a decidedly pro-US one, to motivate our players to play their best.

Whatever Bradley's doing, our program has progressed over time, and I hope that some other posters in this blog can get a healthy sense of perspective of where we were in the last 2-3 WCQ cycles at this point and give B. Bradley and the team a break.

Posted by: billindmd | June 7, 2009 3:03 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with the comments about the choice to play at Soldier Field. Bradley was quoted earlier this month saying that the team actually preferred these larger venues to the smaller US venues.

If 60-40 was the actual split, that's not too bad, especially as our fans learn to be louder for the entire match.

Posted by: FrancoNiell | June 7, 2009 6:15 AM | Report abuse

I can't explain to you guys how sweet and gratifying last night's victory was for El Salvador. All week long, the Mexican press was ripping us to pieces, saying things like, "El Salvador doesn't exist in this sport" and "This should be an EASY win for Mexico" You know typical Mexican Arrogance...ahh, when Quintanila's shot when in and the final whistle blew, on man, I damn near cried...sweet justice.

It's cool USA won too, helped us out ALOT. Thanks USA.

Posted by: ESFan21 | June 7, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

If Bradley was reading blogs, Mastroeni would not have been allowed within driving distance of Soldier Field.

Posted by: sitruc | June 7, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how Goff gave Casey a 5 and Altidore a 6. All I saw Altidore do was trap the ball horribly and lose the ball with poor passing. Not that Casey was impressive, but Altidore was ineffective at best.

Posted by: bighungry | June 7, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Generally agree with Goff's ratings except Beasley and Borenstein. While I didn't think that Borenstein was anywhere near Spector in class and composure, I thought he did a credible job. Beasley was a mess again when he was sent back to cover for Borenstein at left back. To give him the same rating as Demeritt who came off the bench and had some critical saves is just not right.

Posted by: Beckster1 | June 7, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Thought your ratings were a little low for Howard and Clark. Howard provided good / needed leadership and Clark made several key plays.

Posted by: tfoisie | June 7, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Clark showed well, he looked tough yet composed. I agree with all the comments on Mastroeni. Frankly I have never forgiven him for his lack of judgment against Italy for that studs up challenge in WC 2006. He's a good guy I know, but he's old, and he has been playing poorly with the Nats.

My huge issue with Bradley is his insistence on deploying two defensive midfielders together. We need players like Feilhaber and Torres to get minutes so they get comfortable. IMO its more important to have composure on the ball and passing ability at those positions than the hard tackling ability (overrated). US has not been as good since Obrien/Reyna held those positions. Barca uses Xavi/Iniesta. Lets get with the programs and develop some Quarterbacking/Passing/VIsionary/COmposed on the ball midfielders in those slots. As much as I liked the way Clark played, I dont see him as that.

Posted by: DironTalbert | June 7, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Nice result USA!

For those who thought playing at Soldier Field was a good idea, why don't you call USSF and ask them politely to change the venue of the El Salvador match from SLC to the LA Coliseum. Go ahead. And while you are at it, find out where the most Ticos live and where it is easiest to fly in from San Jose - change the last home game to that location. Oh wait, RFK! DC! Done.

Ask Timmy if he likes having sh$t thrown at him at his OWN "home field"...

Sometimes I wonder about the future of Soccer in this country with so many F*ing apologists for the gross incompetence at the USSF.
Oh well, we got the 3 points...yeh!

Posted by: Granitza78 | June 7, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree with almost all of the comments written today which is uncanny. Fellhaber was a good call by bradly. I didnt even know the guy existed till yesterday however. I think we should stick with the 4-4-2. I thought donovan and dempsy had better second halfs. Not to take anything away from el salvador, but i thought the mexicans got totally screwed last night. The penalty was definately not a penalty in my book and calling mexico's tieing goal offsides was a blunder by the officals. Back to USA i think we surely need to start seeing more consistency in our starting 18. I dont understand why Adu wasent on the bench. I think bradly has to start giving people more time. Im sure he has hard choices to make before he decides on his final 23 or 24 or whatever the number is for the world cup. I cant say i have seen much of the bench. He must know something we dont.

Posted by: g3impreza | June 7, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Great win for ES. Had a very dominating match while Mexico was confused for bit.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | June 7, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should adhere to the two rules that the rest of the soccer world seens to follow: 1) Are you playing regularly for your club team? 2) Are you playing well/are you in good form? Bradley has used the last two WC Qualifiers as a rehab hospital/playground of second chances for guys that don't follow or resemble either of the two rules.

And then there's Dempsey...Does he think he can hold on to the ball as long as he likes because he plays in England? Does he even realize that he's responsible for Honduras' goal?

I think Bradley is shirking his responsibility to evaluate U.S. player pool talent--and it's out there! He should use the Gold Cup especially to give guys like Quaranta, Pontius, Wallace, Cameron (from Houston), and Zak Whitbread an opportunity to contribute.

Posted by: dcarmy | June 7, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Fellhaber was a good call by bradly. I didnt even know the guy existed till yesterday however"

Posted by: g3impreza | June 7, 2009 8:52 AM

g3impreza, meet Benny, Benny, meet g3impreza:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcGA2W4d5_E

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 7, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Two points:

1. I'm going to defend USSF for the Chicago pick. You know what, our teams need to learn how to play in a big game environment. You think World Cup games are going to be played in Columbus Crew stadium? Please.

2. Why did DCU let Quintanilla go? (I honestly don't remember)

Posted by: Pedalada | June 7, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

casey plays regularly for his team and is in good form and he was god awful. he just jogged around in circles and had no clue what he was doing.

adu and torres need to be back on the team.

dempsey did contribute to the first goal but he did have an assist and did show moments.


Howard 6; Spector 7, Onyewu 7, Bocanegra 8, Bornstein 4; Dempsey 5, Mastroeni 4, Clark 7, Donovan 7; Casey 4, Altidore 6. Subs: Feilhaber 5, DeMerit 6, Beasley 4

Posted by: castroviejo | June 7, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"I think Bradley is shirking his responsibility to evaluate U.S. player pool talent"

Really? You do know he can only play 11 guys at a time, right? And that these games are the most critical? I agree that the Gold Cup is the time to try some new blood, but I'm not sure how else Bradley is shirking player evaluation.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 7, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

In addition to the 18 guys on the roster last night, we also have Adu, Edu, Ching, Hejduk, Bradley, Torres, Pearce, Califf, Cooper, Simek, Holden and more who have been part if the mix recently. Sure we don't want to miss out on anyone, but I don't think you need a pool of 40 players for national team duty. I do think that if guys like Pontius continue to play well, they will get a chance but there are only so many chances to go around.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | June 7, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

""I can't explain to you guys how sweet and gratifying last night's victory was for El Salvador. ""

After beating Mexico in Korea in 2002, I think US fans understand. Would be great to see ES take a spot to qualify!

Take it easy on Casey. He was better than I thought he'd be. He held up the ball a few times. Showed some composure. Should have put that early shot on frame. All in all was not bad, especially compared to Dempsey and Mastro!

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Donovan a 7?! Slotting home a penalty and chasing back on that one play where he lost the ball in the channel does not make up for 88 minutes of jogging around with a look on his face like he would rather be at the dentist. And he doesn't sing the national anthem. That bothers me.

Clark looked GREAT (good cover/alternative to Bradley), and I don't see any reason not to continue with Spector and Bornstein who both looked very solid. Feilhaber's service to Dempsey was beautiful, it's great having him back.

Casey did not impress me...he looked outmatched, and while it is cliche, we might want to hold off on Altidore until he gets more time at his club. He looked lost at times and the game was moving too fast for him. Mastroeni and Beasley both have to go.

Posted by: daandre3 | June 7, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Posted by: Granitza78"

As a DC native, I think the sorry fans who want to play in only in tiny stadiums in Nashville and Columbus and Fargo, ND are the silly ones. Bradley and Co quieted that crowd with a solid display.

Someone posted the other day that if you don't like a 60-40 crowd, then buy a ticket and get to the game yourself.

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Delantero, Nashville is a very big NFL stadium with a beautiful surface and plenty of width, and which draws large, enthusiastic USA fans.

Posted by: b18bolo | June 7, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

My huge issue with Bradley is his insistence on deploying two defensive midfielders together. We need players like Feilhaber and Torres to get minutes so they get comfortable. IMO its more important to have composure on the ball and passing ability at those positions than the hard tackling ability (overrated). US has not been as good since Obrien/Reyna held those positions...

Posted by: DironTalbert | June 7, 2009 8:26 AM

*************************************

How can Diron Talbert say hard tackling is overrated???

http://caimages.collectors.com/psaimages/2912/31755604/75talbert9redskins.jpg

But it's great to see you've taken an interest in the beautiful game!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 7, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

My point about player-pool responsibility shirking (wow, what a mouthful!) is that Bradley isn't casting a very wide and deep net. Mastroeni probably only played because of Edu's injury, but what about Beasley? How much more do we need to see him screw up by the numbers? Altidore is going to fight and scrap for every ball for 90 minutes and has a great future for us, but right now he's understandably rusty. I wouldn't choose a World Cup qualifier as a means to get him in shape--Davies has demonstrated in limited minutes that he can make things happen. I thought Casey played better in the second half and should continue to get opportunities.

Posted by: dcarmy | June 7, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The critiscm of USSF for chosing the Soldier Field venue is harsh. What it does show is that thousands of passionate immigrant fans will drive hours and hours to see their countrymen play. We have seen it before at RFK and other venues. Personnaly, I liked the big game atmosphere in Chicago with 55K and USSF probably does need to refill the coffers. Playing all our qualifiers in small venues doesn't make any sense either. With so folks from several CONCACAF countries in the country, getting a 60-40 crowd while disappointing is probably to be expected. The USA is not yet a "footballing" country, we are getting there but we have a ways to go. Good comeback effort last night. Even if we lose at Azteca we are in good shape now for qualifying.

Posted by: sbg1 | June 7, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Spector isn't the U.S. first choice at right back every time out--he played especially well last night, but he consistently shows a good blend of defense and composure on the ball.

And I think with Feilhaber you see what a difference being in form makes--he's been getting more and more club time (and getting over his injury-plagued last season) and he came in and made immediate impact. Confident, composed, should have had an assist on that ball to Dempsey that he shanked.

Posted by: JayW4 | June 7, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Nashville is a very big NFL stadium"

Wasn't it restricted to a smaller size for the T and T match that drew less than 30K?

And prior to that the played there against Morrocco and had a smaller crowd . .

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"Yes, Mexico is in fifth place. However, that should change Wednesday when El Tri hosts T&T"

After which, they'll be in 6th PLACE!!!! GO T AND T!

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Whats "really" going on?

Torres Left out of the roster?
Torres was one of our best players against CR
and he has plenty of international experience.

Mas-NO-troeni? Please! LITERALLY NO MAS!

Call up "Cant hold the ball" CASEY? REALLY?

Is COOPER injured? WOW!

The USMNT needs Cooper not the other way around!

OH! wait i KNOW the problem...

Pete Nowak is no longer PART of the USMNT!

But if he was? this would have been the lineup for both games:

Howard
Spector,Gooch,Boca,Borensntein
Dempsey,Bradley,Torres, Beasley
Landy cakes, Jozy

Mr. Bradley please call up Mr. Cooper, you need him...Nice gesture in calling the MLS leading scorer against the Galaxy...but he did not make A CASE- y for himself.

Posted by: DCFaninSocal | June 7, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I thought Feilhaber was great. Imagine when he is in form?

I can't think why Adu doesn't get time. I share the frustration of fielding two holding/D-mids. With 4 in the back we should not need such a defensive setup especially at home. Bradly needs to create a system that uses our most talented players.

We will under achieve if we don't do that.

Torres, Feilhaber, Adu, Edu, Donovan and Bradley all can/should play. Give Freddy a chance to see if he can do a better job than Donovan or Feilhaber at running the show.

Casey was not good. Ching isn't either. I'd go with Dempsey and Donovan.

Beasley and Mastroeni are done, no touch.

Posted by: RRP1 | June 7, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"And he doesn't sing the national anthem. That bothers me."

Posted by: daandre3 | June 7, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Uhh... OK. No offense, but I'm glad you're not involved in player selection.

Posted by: Modibo | June 7, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

An important result last night to be sure for US. But, for all that gutsy effort to secure the win, it's painfully obvious that we can't control the possession enough to put teams away. How many times did we give the ball away, poor passes out of bounds, long kicks to nowhere...late in the game when we should be establishing control and field possession?! We absolutely need Torres and Adu (a al Reyna, O'brien, Ramos)- players who can maintain possession, create opportunities, and make opponents play defense.

Ultimately, the USSF needs to get off their head trip (Gulati control) and bring in a MNT coach with a tactical approach for our system that goes beyond Bradley and Arena. Sure we have players that belong on a World Cup field, but then what?
We need a coach that taps our mix of talent, and installs a tactical system of attack and winning control of midfield possession...cause we lack imagination with the ball. This is what an internationally experienced coach, like Klinsman, would bring. Gulati what are we waiting for? Another 2006 WC showing?

Posted by: dayface | June 7, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with sbg1. There were comments on Ives's blog to this effect. If US fans are upset about the turnout at Soldier Field, then they need to make the trip when the US plays.

That said, I met a lot of US fans from the rest of the country over the past couple days. At the Fire game Friday night, I met folks from Houston and Cleveland who came in for a weekend double header at Toyota Park and Soldier Field, and last night at our tailgate there were ppl from New York among other places.

But goff's right - it was probably 60-40 Hondurans last night. And all the US fans could muster in terms of cheers were intermiittent clumsy choruses of the standard "U-S-A, U-S-A." Nothing wrong with that, but we need to get more variety in there to keep people interested. At this point, fans who turn out for a US qualifier know about supporters' chants and can handle something more complex.

Posted by: Modibo | June 7, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The US played poorly when either Beasley or Mastroeni were on the pitch.

The reason that Clark did so well in the second half was because he was allowed to do his job, that of Destroyer. There can only be one, who does the dirty work, makes back passes, and makes sure the people who can make plays (Feilhaber) get the ball once the tackle is made.

You can admire Bob for his Feilhaber moved (I was praying, hoping for it every time Mastro showed his.... quality) but this should have happened from the opening whistle. And what if Feilhaber hadn't played well? Klejstan is really better than Adu and Torres? Not this year, not even close.

Spector And Bornstein were very good. Neither made a single crippling mistake, something we couldn't even say for Hedjuk. Spector crossed admirably.

If you really think Beas, much less Pearce, is better than Bornstein, you didn't see the last 20 minutes or so after Beas was pushed into the back. Gooch's workload was doubled, and Honduras got opportunity after opportunity.

It was a good win, but I'm starting to think that Bob does the right thing after exhausting every other possible option.

As for whoever said Califf. SHHH! If you speak his name, it means a dangerous freekick for the other team!

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 7, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

USSF is probably celebrating the genius of BB right now. Maybe working on a "Coach for Life" contract?

The result is good to have, but the game was not good... I'm not sure I even agree with the PK call... didn't look like intentional handling of the ball to me.

Posted by: srose13 | June 7, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it restricted to a smaller size for the T and T match that drew less than 30K?

And prior to that the played there against Morrocco and had a smaller crowd . .

Yeah, but that was a warm-up friendly vs. Morroco, and the T&T match was originally capped to the lower bowl (24,000 or so) and then when ticket sales started picking up in the week before the game (when advertising in the Nashville area picked up) they opened it up to 30,000 and ended up with 29,000. They didn't really advertise in Atlanta, which I think could have garnered a couple thousand more.

All that said, yes, it does come down to just buying tickets.

The crowd split last night and the current standings are convincing me to start saving to be in RFK in October.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 7, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

NAme 1 country win the world who caters to opposing team fans???

The USA

Who gives a ---- if we play in salt lake, or arkansaw, or columbus. The point is home field advantage is supposed to be home field advantage. ITs not a time to test the fact that it will make us a good team, or the atmosphere will be nice. USSF has to do whatit can to help our boys have an advantage. SIMPLE. I say every game needs to be played in columbus, with a sell out or not a sell out. We will have plenty games in hostile homes like when we play road games.

Sunil Gulati is a ---- idiot, its not right the kind of respect our boys get from there own federation.

Posted by: Norteno4life | June 7, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"The crowd split last night and the current standings are convincing me to start saving to be in RFK in October."

I'm hoping we have it wrapped up by then. Home games against El Salvador and away at T and T, Honduras and Mexico. We should get three points at home and maybe four or five away . . win at T and T, win/tie/loss at Azteca, tie/loss at Honduras?

Obviously, the worst case is we'll get O away, but I doubt it. Bradley will return to a 4-5-1 for those tough away matches and take some valuable road points.

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree with bighungry that Casey was as effective as Altidore. I give beckster1 a 1.5 rating for repeatedly misspelling Bornstein. I shun g3impreza for shocking ignorance regarding Benny F.

Not sure how to feel about Dempsey and the 4 rating. Sure, he fd up it led to the goal, but it was hardly the only USA turnover. Just the most costly. Sure, he missed the finish on a beautiful lead by Feilhaber, which might have gone down as the prettiest goal in USA history. On the other hand, he was fairly effective the rest of the time. His brilliant back heel sent Spector on a run that nearly produced the tying goal.

Clark was very good. Spector was also very good. I think both made a strong case for regular starting jobs. Bornstein, too. None of that is surprising for me. I advocated here for these guys to play. Feilhaber was better than I dreamed. I think we will be seeing a lot of him. I think Michael Bradley will have a tough fight for playing time.

I hate to rain on the parade, but we have to talk about Donovan. Yes, his corner proved decisive, but he had only one decent free kick all game. By the way, Boca totally blew that one -- he should have scored. So, I am not sure how Boca gets n 8 and Dempsey a 4. We need a more consistent delivery on the free kicks and corners. Donovan has the skills, but I guess he needs more work. Not really sure what was the problem the last 2 games for him...

Still, it was a great comeback....very promising, even if the Hondurans showed what skillful players can do to our defense.

Posted by: fischy | June 7, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Will have to disagree with you Norteno. Unfortunately it's also about spreading the game within the U.S. as well as giving the team a chance to win. Fans in DC, Chicago, Boston, etc deserve a chance to show they support the U.S. in their own backyard.

A casual fan might just go to one of these games with crazy, carnival atmosphere and become a serious convert . . willing to travel, etc. That helps the U.S. team and program in the long run. Just look at the U.S. fan increasing attendance at successive World Cups and away qualifiers--even at Cuba!! Plus, whereas RFK 2001 v Honduras was maybe 30-70, Goff puts Soldier Field at 40-60 . . an improvement.

The added revenue from these games helps too.

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"beautiful lead by Feilhaber, which might have gone down as the prettiest goal in USA history."

This is still my favorite, partly because of the opponent. Did we tie or win this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jYiUwR9t_w

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

srose13,

USSf was never a fan of Bradley in the first place..they kept trying to hire Klinsman and had Bob keep the seat warm until they could. Then he won the Gold Cup, deepened the player pool and kept kicking Mexico's ass, so they had to give it to him.

Granted, fans only rate someone based on what he's done in the last minute (particularly in this Twitter me something new age); but Bradley earned this job and for all the flack he gets about not playing people, he seems to have a done a fine job of ensuring that we, as fans, have gotten to see a lot of people play...so much so that we can haze him for it when they don't play.

Hopefully we put together a good summer and USSF can concentrate on improving the quality of refs that have been wreaking havoc on United games.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | June 7, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Come on T&T@ Send in the knock out blow!

I would have rated Dempsey a little higher, just because he really went up to get Donovan's cross...That play was all Deuce...But he generally played a bad game, with him trying to be too cute with backheels and such.

Posted by: alan19 | June 7, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

My 2 cents worth....

1. Why would a coach go to a 4-3-3 attacking formation in a WC qualifying match ON THE ROAD with two untested backs in a venue where there has never been a result? Was this an attempt to do something unexpected? It's laughable.

2. I don't see any defensive philosophy except "keep skilled players off the field". Again Honduras, immediate high pressure was applied, but this totally opened up the midfield for Honduras. In any other match this week, when a team loses possession they get numbers back behind the ball. This isn't US club soccer where there may be unskilled defenders who can be easily dispossessed. Sure, Dempsey turned the ball over in a bad spot, but there was no other midfielder behind him, and the back line was chasing phantoms. There is NO defensive system right now.

3. Casey started to receive the ball as the game progressed, but unless the ball is played within 1 yard of his feet, forget about it. Players have to have a reasonable sphere of influence to be effective. In the 2nd half, it did seem that Altidore and Casey were linking up better with one sitting behind the other. Altidore did a lot of work tracking back defensively.

4. There is still no central playmaker and that is a killer. As with many here, I also don't understand the removal of Torres on Wed. Feilhaber was a plus, but it still isn't clear that he can fill that role. The Adu thing... Even with limited minutes he seems to see things and deliver balls in ways that no one else does. Is it really the case he is too much a defensive liability? I would think that a coach would want to test that a bit more.

Posted by: cjl49 | June 7, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Not sure how you can evaluate casey at all; US put no balls in for him. Our service out of the back remains generally awful; that's hardly the fault of casey or altidore.

Regardless; someone needs to slap dempsey in the side of the head. He just shows no respect for CONCACAF opponents. If he pulled this crap in England he'd be on the bench, at best. BB harps on Adu and other for their lack of responsibility, but Dempsey is the worst right now.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 7, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It pisses me off what you Goff have mention time and time again. Yesterday seeing more than half the fans being blue and white instead of Red-White-Blue well its just sad. Sunil this is an idiotic move and hopefully you never pull this off cause had we lost the man in pants could had done better of giving us a home field advantage. It felt like playing in Tegucicalpa yesterday. Embarrasing!!!

Posted by: silentbat | June 7, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

fisch: My bet is that Boca just couldn't see that ball -- and was expecting a rebound or deflection. He was a garbage man on that play. Not as bad as the Dempsey miss, though.

I'll try not repeat too many things, but Casey gave us something that we have been lacking -- a targetman in the air. Now, I don't know whether this was part of our strategy or not (we could've just been taking what they were allowing), but we did everything to get crosses in and let Casey try to do something with it. You haven't seen that in most games.

I still didn't see Jozy or Casey play forward enough, or try and succeed getting past someone. Onyewu's pass from midfield that just glanced off of Jozy's foot was something that he had been begging for all night. I think you'll remember his asking Dempsey to lob one up for him, but he put it towards the corner.

LD started slow, built his confidence, and was finally creative...but his direct kicks are just not good.

Honduras looked dead tired at 60 minutes. They were just standing around.

Posted by: Reignking | June 7, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Uhh... OK. No offense, but I'm glad you're not involved in player selection.

Posted by: Modibo | June 7, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Clearly I don't think he shouldn't be involved because he doesn't sing the national anthem, that just seems to be exemplary of his lack of heart. Watching him, he's the antithesis of Hejduk, who runs until he drops. Donovan needs a wake up call to realize that it is not his right to play, it is a privilege to represent his country.

Here's another thing...Bocanegra goes out and the armband goes to Howard. Why doesn't it go to the most capped outfield player? Because he doesn't lead, especially not by example.

But to go back to the original point, show some freakin pride. 50,000 people are there to see you represent your country.

Posted by: daandre3 | June 7, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"beautiful lead by Feilhaber, which might have gone down as the prettiest goal in USA history."

This is still my favorite, partly because of the opponent. Did we tie or win this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jYiUwR9t_w

Posted by: delantero | June 7, 2009 1:00 PM

1-0 U.S. Here's why we won 1-0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3VFLdnqSBw

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | June 7, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Does Donovan automatically qualify for at least a 7 in each game he plays now? Because the Lando I watched last night was absolute garbage. His free kicks would have been better taken by my dog, his skills were disturbingly horrid for a guy who wanted to play in Germany, and he tried to take shots from 30 yards out on at least 3 occasions that I remember vividly. All of them were aimed, apparently, for the nearest Honduran's nutsack. Whatever it takes to win, I guess.

On a serious note: his effort was nice to see, and he battled all game long, but I can remember ONE and only one good play all game from him (no, not the penalty): when he lost the ball in the corner after dribbling too long, but then chased the man down and retrieved it. That was it. The only standout play all night from the guy many consider to be our best player. The rest of the night, he and Dempsey were just handing the Catrachos the ball, and selfishly taking horrendous shots (don't get me STARTED on Clint!!!!!), or dribbling too far without passing. I wish we had guys who we could replace them with, but unfortunately, we're not that good yet. I would love to be England and be able to say "Lampard had a bad game!! Get him the hell out of there!!" and actually have a suitable backup.

Posted by: kdiff813 | June 7, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

A couple of thoughts on venue having been at the game.
I think 60-40 is generous, I would put it at 75-25.

I arrived at the main south parking lot 4.5 hours before the game and at that time I can count of one hand the number of US supporter present and there was several hundred Honduran fans already there. The fans were from everywhere. Parked next to me were license plates from NY, NJ, MI, and NC.... you get the idea. Honduran fans traveled from everywhere. They would have traveled not matter where this game was played in the US. The question you have to ask is why more US supporters aren't willing to do the same.

All the Honduran fans I encountered were good natured and a lot of fun to interact with. Almost every conversation I had and I had plenty involved the same 2 sentiments: they love the US and cheer for the US in any game not involving Honduras and secondly they want US, Honduras and whoever to qualify for the WC as long as it's not Mexico. They hate Mexico. I can't really blame them for cheering for Honduras, they feel pride in being from there and most are 1st or 2nd generation. More will come to the US side over time.

Posted by: firefan | June 7, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Good points firefan.
You are right about people eventually coming over to the US. Unless of course the US REALLY start sucking and don't continue to compete.

This country isn't going to get any less filled with Mexicans, Catrachos, Chapines, Ticos, etc. It's only going to become more saturated. You can't hide these matches forever. WE NEED to turn more Americans onto the game and get them rip roaring and ready to go to these matches. We need to get folks willing to travel for them. Believe me I work on this stuff with my casual soccer fan neighbors all the time. Progress is being made in my circles... How about yours?

I'm shunning my previous attitude that there will be no need to GO TO the CR match at RFK. That line of thinking is exactly the kind of weak support we need to get rid of. Count me in already. I'll be fresh off a Hawaiian vacation, but what a homecoming!

Posted by: DadRyan | June 7, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Just arrived home from Chicago. I'd put the split at a good bit more than 60-40 in Honduras's favor. It can be hard to gauge though with the lack of coordinated US supporter's singing and people wearing red, white and blue. As a friend on the trip with me suggested, the USSF would do well to settle on a jersey color so everyone would show up wearing a single color. Very good idea, IMHO.

I'm in favor of the choice of Soldier Field. The experience of playing in a large venue in front of a big, mixed crowd plus frankly, what US soccer fan (or potential fan!) wouldn't rather travel to visit a world class city than East Pocatello, Idaho (no slight to EP, Idaho intended) strikes the right balance. I think it was a good choice. Having said that, I'm happy to continue to play Mexico in Columbus; I think the USSF's venue choices strike a pretty good balance myself. Save your $ ladies & gents and go support our team! The United/US supporter's clubs can hook you up/clue you in to some pretty good deals so it might not be as expensive as you think.

Just to mention, I got three DC United shout outs walking around the streets of the city and the fellow who sold me my ticket to the Chicago Institute of Art (CIA) today was a Fire fan who (nicely) was reluctant to let me into the museum (he too was at the US game).

Man oh man, that was a BIG 3 points!

Vamos United! Vamos USA!!

Posted by: KireDCU | June 7, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

WE NEED to turn more Americans onto the game and get them rip roaring and ready to go to these matches. We need to get folks willing to travel for them. Believe me I work on this stuff with my casual soccer fan neighbors all the time. Progress is being made in my circles... How about yours?

I'm shunning my previous attitude that there will be no need to GO TO the CR match at RFK. That line of thinking is exactly the kind of weak support we need to get rid of. Count me in already. I'll be fresh off a Hawaiian vacation, but what a homecoming!

Posted by: DadRyan

The force is with you. Pass on your passion and continue to grow the sport in this country. It's easy to think of reasons not to do something, instead think of the reasons to be a positive force for the sport.

Posted by: KireDCU | June 8, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

All the Honduran fans I encountered were good natured and a lot of fun to interact with. Almost every conversation I had and I had plenty involved the same 2 sentiments: they love the US and cheer for the US in any game not involving Honduras

Posted by: firefan

I encountered the same. The Honduras fans I met across the board were full of class and more than one said the US was their second team. Do I wish they supported the US first, sure, but I understand the sentiment of one's roots. Do your duty everyone, and grow the sport in this country in every way you can.

Posted by: KireDCU | June 8, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

These comments are the same I found in Honduras. A big part of why I bought a Jersey while I was there. They ALL want to see us win every game not against them and really love seeing us win 2-0 against Mexico.

Posted by: lrg1231 | June 8, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

couple days late, but....
agree with firefan and others, the split of fans was much closer to 70-30 or 75-25. my friends and i, attending our first wc qualifier but having attended a handful of fire games, were in awe of the atmosphere.

the honduras fans were all class. meanwhile after 2-3 beers many US fans around us proceeded to make all manner of baseless derisive remarks about hondurans. we felt ashamed to be associated with them.

the us was in too many ways rubbish, crosses sailing over everyone's heads, losing possession in the final third way too easily, seemingly everything about connor casey, but wins are wins and ultimately the focus should be on getting to south africa and then performing in south africa.

i was sold on attending wc qualifiers after saturday's match, hopefully the raucous atmosphere inspired other US fans to continue attending as well and we can begin working towards lively, civil, and more pro-US home crowds

Posted by: ajamil | June 10, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

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