…although they are only my thoughts from halftime. Unfortunately, I’m still down a laptop right now and have it hooked up to an ancient monitor that stings my eyes.
Before the thoughts, in case you haven’t seen it – Gooch is out 4 months (at least, I would guess longer than they’re saying) with a torn patellar tendon. Coming from someone who’s been through a patellar-specific surgery, don’t expect Gooch at the World Cup. It’s going to be one helluva long rehab for the big guy.
Also, I thought all three subs were pretty good. Torres probably needs to be starting, to be honest. I’m convinced he might actually be the best two-way midfielder we have. His feel for passes is unmatched in the squad. Robbie Rogers is an entirely different player when employed on the right – wow. Cooper is Cooper – full of tricks and willing to shoot. He needs more time in Davies’ absence.
Anyways, here are my halftime thoughts:
Jozy Altidore – fuggin stud. Seriously, the kid came out on a mission and has been hell on two feet for the entire game. He’s playing with purpose on each touch, and it shows as he’s making quicker decisions than he usually does. Also, it’s not being noticed by many yet, but Jozy’s touch is MASSIVELY improved over the past 18 months. He’s simply doing things with his feet that he couldn’t do last year.
Conor Casey – This may shock some, but I find him useful. Now, in this game he’s been largely crap, but he’s a far superior alternative to Brian Ching. In fact, if Casey had Ching’s mobility, he’d be a bit of a monster for us. The glaring positive for Casey, as opposed to Ching? Casey doesn’t flop. Every header he gets a crack at, his opponent is feeling pain. There is no flopping and quizzically looking at the ref like Ching does – instead, Casey wins challenges, and wins them often. Unfortunately, he’s got almost zero mobility and is really hindering the good runs of Donovan and Altidore.
Landon Donovan – Yes, he’s made some good runs again, but at some point we have to start taking him to task for his decisions on finishing. He pusses out of so many quality chances that we can’t afford to miss on. For someone that has such a great ability to get himself in good positions, he f*cks them up way too often to be considered our best player. Also, I don’t want to hear anything about that Honduras free kick, because it’s an aberration. He seemingly has no control over his free kicks, and I’m thinking that strike against Honduras is proving to be pure luck. Also, there should never be any talk about how hard Landon defends – because he doesn’t. Plain and simple, he doesn’t defend. He follows the play 99% of the time.
Stuart Holden – He’s killing us. Like I said a month ago, he’s not a wing and doesn’t play like one. Yes, the kid is able to hit a reasonably good cross – but that doesn’t make him a wing. Why not? Because he’s spent the better portion of this game crowding our central players. He has no sense of where to be on the field as a wing and is causing us all kinds of spacing problems on the right and in the middle. The Holden fanboys will be up in arms I’m sure, but he doesn’t belong on this level yet (and I’m not convinced he ever will).
Benny Feilhaber – If you follow him closely, you’ll see why he’s such a quality player. Not only does he have fantastic feel for the pace of the game, he also knows how to play after he makes passes. He is brilliant at getting his defender on his heels with the ball, only to make a quick pass to Bradley turn into a nice 1-2 moving forward. I know there will always be the contingent of fans that whine about his defense not being stellar, but he’s far from being bad. He’s not a crunching tackler, but he’s also rarely caught out of position and has a pretty good sense of how and when to cover his outside back. This guy needs to be on the field for us at all times.
Michael Bradley – much like Feilhaber, Bradley just understands the game. He sees the whole field and reads the flow of the game better than almost any other player in our system. He still makes the odd bad touch or two, but he makes up for it with his 2-3 brilliant through-balls per game. Plus, I think we need to set him up for a few more strikes from distance. The kid has a cannon for a right leg and the confidence to use it, so why not let him have a few gos at goal?
Jonathan Bornstein – Abysmal. He makes up for some of his awfulness with wreckless tackles, but my god the kid just has no sense for positioning. He is constantly out of position and never seems to know where his mark is. We better hope and pray to everything holy that Bornstein gets dropped like a bad habit.
Steve Cherundolo – Not a great return for the tiny wingback. He looks a bit lost on the right, but he is also having to cover for Holden’s ineptitude as well. The biggest problem Cherundolo has is that he makes a few too many runs that he just can’t complete, which in turn leave us badly exposed down the touchline. He also doesn’t hit balls into the box or pass near as well as Spector does.
Centerbacks – Our center-half pairing is steady, and I’d even say Gooch looks better than usual. Their outside backs are giving them no help though.
Filed under: US Men's National Team