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USA 3 TnT 0: Finally GOALS!

September 12, 2008
Machine of the Deuce.

Machine of the Deuce.

What a relief to see a USMNT game with multiple goals.  A good showing at home, and now that we have 9 points in 3 games, I hope that Bob calls in some younger players.  But before we get into that, let’s talk about T&T.

MIDFIELDERS

Huzzah for Michael Bradley!  Finally an all around strong game from the 21 year old and hopefully he can continue improving.  The major change I noticed in Michael’s game today was his eagerness to play many more sharp long passes from deep in midfield.  He provided a number of key switches and passes that helped to put the T&T defense on their heels.  Granted, T&T played the lowest pressure defense that is humanly possible, so whether Michael can continue passing with composure when faced with some REAL midfield opposition remains to be seen.  His goal in the 9th minute was well taken, and I’m curious if he’ll take part in this weekends ‘Gladbach game.

(NOTE: to be fair, I’ve got to mention Bradley’s horrible turnover in the 59th minute which led to a T&T goal [which ended up being offsides].  Gotta eliminate mistakes like that.)

Speaking of central midfield, I thought that Sacha paired well with Bradley, and while he still has a ways to go, I think he does bring a nice dimension to our offensive creation.  I think in the long run, Maurice Edu has more upside along Bradley, but Kljestan does create well and was important in the buildup to Dempsey’s 18th minute goal.  If he can improve on his tendency to give up stupid turnovers, Kljestan could become an even more attractive midfield prospect.

On to Dempsey, I feel comfortable in asserting that he undoubtedly belongs on the right wing.  Sure, he can play up top, and he could potentially play in central attacking role (although I have doubts about his vision and passing in this position), but wing gives him the perfect opportunity to take defenders on and also slice through and attack goal.  Kudos to Beasley for assisting on Dempsey’s goal, completing a neat 1-2 combination.

But Beasley… Blah.  Hats off to Lawrence and company who were harsh on Beasley after my recap of last match.  Beasley definitely did not look sharp today.  He showed zero 1v1 ability in situations where all he had to do was beat one defender to be in on goal.  He needs to add some more tricks to his repetoire besides “push the ball left and hope my first step is fast enough.”  That can work if you weigh more than your defender, but since Beasley weighs 90 pounds, he’s cake to push off the ball.  I still think Beasley at his peak is a great winger, but he undoubtedly is covered in rust right now (I hope that’s all it is).

FORWARDS

Okay okay, Brian Ching scored a goal.  But I DON’T CARE.  I’ll admit, he is a serviceable forward.  He isn’t horrible at holding the ball, and he looked miles better than EJ (who looked lost the minute he touched the pitch). Ching still blew a golden opportunity in the 28th minute off a perfect pass from Landon.  I still assert that Ching is in no way acceptable as a starting forward option, and I would argue that he wouldn’t even be a valuable substitute.  I can’t see Ching coming on in the late stages of a game to galvanize the offense.  He’s just filling a role for now. (As I reread this paragraph, it seems a little harsh, but oh well, I am not a fan of Ching’s game).

Solid game from Landon up top.  Landon is arguably our best player and it’s strange that we really don’t have a locked down spot for him in the lineup.  Some want to see him on the wing (I think he gets too lost out here) and some even think he should partner Michael Bradley in the middle.  Wherever he ends up, I think that at this moment, he belongs as a starting striker.  His speed on and off the ball is really useful as a forward and I’m excited at the possibility of him playing off another threatening striker (Altidore/Cooper).

DEFENDERS

Not much to say about our back four, as T&T never really posed a real threat.  I thought Pearce was solid and Cherundolo did well to get forward on a number of occassions (although his crossing was poor).  Gooch and Boca played well, and it’s great that we got another clean sheet under our belt.  I’m curious if in these next few games we’ll see Marvell Wynne get some minutes, or any other young defenders.  For the forseeable future however, I think our defensive spots are locked down (Pearce has won the left back spot, in my opinion).

In all, this was a game that finally left a pleasant taste in the mouth of US fans.  Hell, we could field a team of 11 Taylor Twellmans and if we scored 3 goals people like me would still be happy. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  The point is, we produced, and Thank God.  Now we turn our heads to the weekend and hope that some of our gents can take their WCQ form to their respective clubs.  Dempsey specifically.

What’d you think of the game?

–psc

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