Posts Tagged ‘Brad Guzan’

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TnT 2 USA 1, The Kids Aren’t Ready?

October 16, 2008
"Can I have a taste of beer, dad?"

"Can I have a taste of beer, dad?"

Somewhere out there Bob Bradley is smiling, thinking of all the US fans who clamored for Jozy and Freddy to be instant starters and he’s saying, “I told you so.”  After all, Jozy and Freddy couldn’t lead the US attack versus TnT, right?  Us slobbering fans better just chill the eff out, right?  Maybe, but I think the actuality is that last night we witnessed what happens when our US players don’t get playing time for their clubs: They don’t play very well.

DEFENDERS

Let’s start with Guzan.  He just looked rusty.  He made a few nice saves, but I kept feeling that he seemed a bit jittery.  In any case, I wouldn’t fault him for any of the goal but I DO hate how he always seems to take SO MUCH TIME with the ball at his feet.  Just pass the ball already Brad! Okay, moving on. Franke Hejduk, he is the worker bee of the USMNT.  He did a nice job getting forward throughout the first half but he could not deliver a quality cross to save his life, and when you can’t do that, it pretty much voids all your offensive work.  He was fine on the defensive end up until his intercepted pass led to the first TnT goal.  In all, I think we are seeing the last days of Hejduk and hopefuly Wynne will start to see some minutes. In the centre, Califf and Orozco were a mess, most notably on set piece defending.  Califf was also left out to dry on the goal, no where near Latapy.  Neither of them did any favors for their further inclusion in the USMNT pool and they just seemed to lack a general sense of orientation and organization.  I think Orozco comes out looking better than Califf after this game, but he’s still just a fringe bench player.  Pearce was quiet in the first half, but after the interval he started to get forward much more and beat his man on the flank a number of times.  Scotland gave him fits on the left side, but Pearce was able to neutralize the threat pretty effectively.

MIDFIELDERS

Yikes, I’m not sure there are many positives to take away from our midfield play last night.  Kljestan was nightmarish compared to how he has been playing in earlier WCQ’s and Maurice Edu’s first touch was horrible for the majority of the game. Torres didn’t have a HORRIBLE game, but he did disappear for stretches and seemed a bit lost out there.  It felt like the midfield roles weren’t clear enough, like there were too many cooks in the kitchen.  They tried to put together small passes in the midfield but their efforts never amounted to anything.  I also don’t think that Kljestan is effective on the wing.  He doesn’t have the pace to beat players down the flank and he has a tendency to pinch inside, crowding Edu and Torres.  I can’t remember one instance where Kljestan actually delivered a cross from the wing.  We need that width, and he didn’t provide it.  As for Beasley, he just seemed frustrated the whole match.  He couldn’t get anything going and I think it goes to show that he is a player who needs quality around him to excel.  He can’t stand alone.  He delivered a few nice set pieces, but never really got into a rhythm.

FORWARDS

Freddy Adu, where are’t thou?  Freddy had some nice moments in keeping possession but on the whole he couldn’t make anything happen.  Freddy is at his best when he’s running at the defense, and we didn’t see that tonight.  Most times he’d drop deep for the ball, show some nice skill to keep possession and then lay off to a midfielder.  He had trouble turning his marker, and often just played long balls over the top for Jozy which weren’t effective.  Also, where was Adu in the second half?  His involvement disappeared.  As for Altidore, he looked dead tired after about 35 minutes.  Someone needs to get this kid into shape. He never really seemed sharp on the ball, and spent most of the first half chasing down impossible long balls. He did play a nice through ball for Beasley and he deserves credit on creating the goal, but that’s about it.  I think that Jozy needs to play with another striker alongside him to truly succeed, I don’t think he excels in a 4-5-1.

SUBS

Which brings us to the Charlie Davies.  Davies insertion breathed instant life into the side, and you know why? Because he played as an actual second striker.  He didn’t drop deep to grab the ball and leave Jozy alone, but instead made penetrating runs toward the goal, drawing defenders and freeing up space for Altidore in the middle.  He finished cleanly on Jozy’s assist and that should make Freddy Adu nervous because Davies actually looked threatening for those final 20 minutes.

I was glad to see Szetela come on, but I think he should’ve come about 30 minutes earlier.  He’s been getting regular playing time for Brescia and I think he could have brought a good spark to our midfield if brought in for Edu.  In any case, I hope he gets more looks because until Edu establishes himself at Rangers, he shouldn’t be starting for the USMNT.

I will not comment on Chris Rolfe.

My Thoughts: I’m not upset that we lost.  I’m glad that our young guys got a full game to give it a go, and I think that’s exactly what they needed.  That said, if these boys want to continue to develop at a good rate, they NEED to start getting matches at their clubs.  If Freddy Adu keeps up his role as an 80th minute sub at Monaco, he will not grow into an effective Int’l player.  In that vein, I’m also not convinced that Adu fits into the USMNT as a deep-lying striker.  I think he needs to play wide so he can have space to run at defenders and cut inside.  But who does he replace? Dempsey or Beasley? He isn’t ready for that.  Bob Bradley has some tough decisions ahead of him.

So what needs to happen? Edu needs to fight into the Rangers mix, Jozy needs to excel in Copa del Rey and maybe head out on loan, and Adu needs to take advantage of every chance he can to prove his worth in France. Easy, right? Sigh.

OH.

Before I forget.  Kenny Cooper, what have you done? After missing this game, Kenny has just fallen further down the depth chart because Davies took advantage of his chance.  Cooper would have probably started this game for the USMNT but instead he chose to stay home.  At the international level, you can’t take these opportunities for granted because you can never be sure when the team will call your number again.  Kenny’s gonna need to keep scoring blistering goals for FC Dallas if he wants to get back in the US mix and next time, he’s gonna be sitting on the bench.

What did you guys think of the match? Any insights? Think I’m way off base?

–psc

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More Cup Action: Adu starts for Monaco

September 24, 2008

Freddy got a start today and went 69 minutes for Monaco as they lost 1-0 to PSG in the French League Cup.  He played as a striker and by all accounts looked strong in attack.  He made sharp runs in the offensive third that unfortunately often went unrewarded by his teammates, as he was caught offsides a few times due to late passes.  The announcers also seemed impressed with his contributions and we can only hope that Gomes felt the same way.  Park replaced him up top as Monaco searched for the equalizing goal, but he could not provide any scoring either.  I’d be curious to see Park and Freddy up top together and see if they can combine for anythng promising.  Hopefully can still feature this weekend for Monaco, and let’s pray that Gomes sees the promise that we all do in the American youngster.

In other Tuesday developments, Villarreal will take on Racing Santandar today, but Altidore did not make the bench.  Both Nihat and Rossi are back from injury, so Jozy has been pushed further down the chart.  I’m curious if Villarreal will keep him simply for the Copa del Rey or if they will more seriously consider loaning him out.  It’s a little frightening to think Jozy might not see any first team action until January, but at least he is still training with the best.

Rennes and Carlos are in French League Cup action later today, so we’ll talk about that later on!  Also, the Rangers play today in a Cup game, so hopefully Edu and Beasley will see some time.  This could be an important game for Maurice to prove his stuff if he can get on the pitch.  Last but not least, Howard and Everton line up against Blackburn in Carling Cup play.  Also in CC today is Aston Villa, and maybe even Guzan will get to play?

UPDATE:

Carling Cup

ASTON VILLA 0 QPR 1

Brad Guzan started in net for Villa, but ultimately he was the one to blame after a poor clearance resulted in the only goal of the match. Guzan was called into action on only a few occasions, but did make a some nice saves.

Scottish Co-operative Insurance Cup

RANGERS 2 PARTICK 1

Beasley came on in the 70th minute and assisted on the gamewinner in Extra Time.  Edu was on the bench for the match, but did not see the pitch and will hope to play a part this weekend.  Beasley still looked a bit rusty, but he did provide a spark and I have a feeling he’ll stay as a super sub for the Rangers for the forseeable future.

–psc