USA 1 Guatecrap 0, and a rant.

August 22, 2008
Damarcus Beasley - Loco for Golazos

Damarcus Beasley - Loco for Golazos

Alright, lets begin by giving full credit where it’s due; YES, we did win.  Which at the end of the day, is arguably the most important thing.  And it goes without saying, that Guatemala is one of the dirtiest and trashiest teams in CONCACAF, if not the World.  But as we limp home to the US with a win under our belts, I’m filled with much more frustration than elation.

So let’s rant.

I am really getting tired of our USMNT, and the lineups we put out. I’m generally pleased with our defense after last night, Gooch and Boca especially looked strong, and Howard’s exceptional quality is obvious.  Sure Pearce and Cherundolo didn’t have strong games, but I think that they do show consistency on the whole (Dolo moreso than Pearce, but I do think Pearce still has great potential if he get forward more). But the fact remains, I am getting SICK of seeing our attacking strategy fail again and again without any tinkering.

It really felt like we played this whole match tonight without any forwards at all.  Dempsey never really got involved (you could argue that Dempsey has been tepid over the course of ’08 thus far), and Ching just lacks the quality to stay involved in a positive way. Not that it’s entirely their fault they couldn’t impose themselves on the match, but where the hell was the midfield to forward link play??

It seems to me that so often we pass and wait, pass and wait, pass and wait.  When in my arrogant opinion, one of the best ways to create dynamic attacking options is to have SOMEONE run at defenders with the ball. That way, the dribbler can get a defender to commit, make a quick pass, and then continue to penetrate and look for the 1-2 return pass, or at least get the opposing defense to shuffle around. We don’t seem to have positive movement with the ball in offensive third. This is something where Freddy Adu is so strong; dribbling with the ball, drawing defenders, and then finding the open man once the defender has committed. That gets the defense on their heels allows our offense to dictate the attack.

I also hate to say it, but the play of Michael Bradley is slowly grating on me as well. Yes, I know, he on fire for Heerenveen last term, but time and time again starting in our central midfield, he is unable to create plays, or make anything positive on the offensive end. I would even go as far as to say his tackling is adequate but not exceptional. So what exactly is he doing for us? you might say “but patrick! He sets the pace, and controls the midfield!” and i would argue that he doesn’t even do that extremely well. “Controlling the midfield” is a pretty ambiguous and unquantifiable trait, but if we’re going to TRY and quantify it, we should start with ascertaining if Michael Bradley is DOMINATING the midfield (domination and control would seem to go hand in hand).  And my friends, you can not look me in the eye, and say he dominates the midfield.  I would much rather have someone creative in the center of the pitch (even kljestan comes to mind, and I KNOW that he is not the answer, but I DO think he creates better than michael bradley, at least in the USMNT setup). Also, I’m curious how Maurice Edu would perform in the offensive minded central midfield role.  Freddy Adu is a consensus hope for this spot, but we all seem to agree that his lack of defense would hurt our central midfield as much as it would help it.  And we all know that with Bob Bradleys conservative tactics, he would never take the risk.

This team just really lacks a playmaker, and although Donovan has shown us great flashes of creation and penetration, we can’t expect him to spearhead our offense from the right flank. (but I don’t think he belongs up top, or in the central midfield either, although the notion of him in the center of the park excites me). And yes, I think Freddy Adu at his best, is the strongest playmaker we have, but Bob Bradley doesn’t seem to think he is ready to be handed the car keys yet. And I agree that Adu is still developing, but I think its time to give him lots of playing time with our Senior Team and give him a chance to run the offense. I know we’ve seen him in a strong sub role, but even in those cases, he’s seemed kind of a foreign entity to the full Men’s Squad.

I won’t even get started on Kenny Cooper, but Bob Bradley needs to wake up and include him. especially given his current form, and our meager striker pool.

I know this next statement will draw some but I’m gonna say it anyway: Part of me (take note: PART of me) almost wishes Bob Bradley wasn’t the coach of our USMNT, because he pretty much has kept playing the same style we played under Bruce Arena. I wish we had hired a European coach who could’ve come in and given us some fresh tactics and strategy, and totally shaken things up. Not that THAT would make us “omg all the sudden winning like crazy” but just to give our system and psyche a SHAKE, because I think we need to remind our organization that there are lots of different ways to play successful attacking football. (Thomas Rongen is a great example of this, he deployed the 4-3-3 for us awesomely in the u20 WC).

So there. That’s my daily rant for now.  I’m done vomiting on the page.  That is, until I see the starting lineup for our next match and poop my pants at a starting strikeforce of Eddie Johnson and Chris Rolfe. Kill me now.



One comment

  1. Your insight on our lack of attacking with the ball is right on point. I was yelling at the TV at times, “LANDON! GO AT SOMEONE!” I think that once the New Year rolls around, our attack will look a bit different. Freddy and Jozy will have had time to establish themselves at their new clubs, and Kenny Cooper SHOULD be in the mix by then as well. An attack of Cooper, Altidore, Adu, Donovan, and Beasley, in top form, could put the ball in the net a few times.

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