Sunday, June 27, 2010

US-Ghana thoughts: Why, Bob Bradley, why???

Another good game, between two evenly matched teams, and in the end, I think we were unlucky to lose. It was a tale of two halves once again: in the first half we were woeful and could hardly find a pass; in the second, especially leading to the goal, we looked really dangerous. But we decisively lost the tactical and psychological battle that the match became. For some reason, this US team just can't seem to motivate themselves to attack with real commitment except when they're behind or chasing the game. And it would have helped to have the right players on the field from the start!!

We were totally out of sorts for the first twenty or so minutes. Ghana dominated the game and could have had more than a single goal. Bradley decided to play Clark in the center of midfield for god-only-knows what reason, and quickly realized it was a mistake. Edu was superior from the moment he stepped on the field. Findley wasn't awful, but when Feilhaber came on to start the second half our midfield play took a giant leap in quality. The second half started with the team I would've chosen to start, and the team looked like a real force to be reckoned with for the first time in the match, and were soon rewarded with the goal. But about 10 minutes or so after the goal, we completely lost the momentum. Some credit is certainly due to Ghana, who stepped up their play after we tied the match; but we stopped finding passes, committing players forward in the same numbers, and looked to be a bit satisfied with the draw. And it cost us. I just can't imagine why we would be at all happy with the draw in that situation and not play the rest of the game as if we desperately needed another goal. We looked like a really solid team for about 20 minutes in the game, but apart from that, Ghana were well worth their victory.

If we had started with Edu and Feilhaber, maybe some fresh legs would have helped in overtime. Maybe not. Also, Altidore's substitution perplexed me. He was visibly tired, but even so, was much more of a threat, especially in the air, than Gomez was once he came on.

Oh well, on to the rest of the tournament.

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