Monday, June 14, 2010

world cup thoughts, part 3: US-England

Let's face it, neither of these teams should end up going very far in the tournament. England may yet turn things around, but too many of their star players were virtually anonymous in the opening game, and in the first half they could hardly complete a pass. Given some regrettable defending by the USA, I expected much more pressure from players like Rooney, Lampard and Ashley Cole, in particular. Gerrard was okay, but only Aaron Lennon and Glen Johnson were threatening throughout the game.

As for the USA, we had moments of decent play, but ultimately will be undone by two things. The first is poor combination in the center of the field. Bradley and Clark are good players, but Clark especially is not good enough technically to be useful going forward. Findley is fast, but is a disaster trying to hold the ball up with his feet. If Torres gets on the field, we lose a certain physical presence, but gain someone who can actually play a bit of soccer. Hopefully we'll see him sometime soon.

And unfortunately, DeMerit and Onyewu look nothing like they did last summer in the Confederations Cup. Onyewu was caught out of position and ball-watching on the goal, letting Gerrard slip in behind him while he turned the other direction and stood still. Far too often the gap between the two of them was a gaping hole. Slovenia and Algeria might not take advantage, and I do expect us to get out of the group. But if we come in second, Germany will rip us to shreds.

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