The U.S. national team looked like they were rushing everything, like they were in a hurry. And this was before Jimmy Conrad’s genius second yellow card for yanking the guy down in the box. The Honduras team looked calm, skillful and clever on the ball. Why is it always like that? The U.S. looks like the team that’s just learning the game.
Sure, the U.S. team wins games, but they still don’t do it with the craftiness of other teams in the world. They play give and goes when you know they’re playing a give and go, whereas other teams play the ball and go the other way – they’re deceptive but in sync with their teammates when they play short quick passes. The U.S. team tries to orchestrate a passing game but never is really able to connect more than two or three passes at a time.
Let’s take a look a few players:
Funny man Conrad has played in World Cups, yet he pulls a guy down in the box to earn his second yellow. Can’t wait to see how he explains this one. He’ll have some time to write up a piece since I doubt he’ll return to the U.S. team for their next friendly or even games after that. He’s gun ho, fired up, ready and charging, and eager, but not cool and calm for such a veteran player. You’d think to settle down and not make stupid mistakes.
Bornstein is a speedy defender but maybe too fast sometimes. Someone needs to show him how to serve a ball into the forwards, not a whipped in ball in but a driven ball to their chest or feet, so they can control the ball. It’s ideal to whip the ball in for a cross, but not balls served into the forwards who are checking back. And it’s Bornstein who Honduras of course love, as his header against Costa Rica put them in the World Cup. He could live in Honduras and have as much food and chicas he’d ever want.
The second half was better, when the substitutes came on and this was due a lot to the Houston Dynamo’s Davis. He just looks like he knows how to play the game. He sent in a few smart passes that opened up the game and also knew when to slow the game down and keep the ball. He’s got a deadly left foot too.
Goodson looked like a player who wants to go to South Africa this summer. He jumped up over the keeper to latch on to a Davis corner for the team’s only goal. And he looked good in the back distributing the ball. He may want to put on a little bit more muscle though or some pounds, right now he’s Peter Crouch like in his skinniness.
Wynne has tremendous speed, but he still gets beat down the line and is Frankie Hejduk like in his crosses. Mind you, Wynne, an MLS player for Toronto, works hard and doesn’t give up, but for a national team player that’s just not enough.
Bedoya earned his first U.S. cap and looked like he’ll be getting a number more. He was skillful and played a lofted ball to Casey that led to one of the best scoring chances. He also touched the ball over a defenders head and earned a free kick. At 22, he’s got time to keep improving and make future U.S. squads. And playing in Sweden will only help his game. Bedoya’s lofted ball was the mark of his talent, no other U.S. player tried to play a deceptive ball into the attacking area, all the other players passes were too predictable.
Casey had one of the best U.S. chances when he was in the clear against the keeper but his shot went wide. He scored two goals against Honduras to help the U.S. earn their place in the World, but is he really deserving of a place on the World Cup squad? Casey doesn’t look like an amazing athlete. He doesn’t have blazing speed. He doesn’t hold on to the ball extremely wall. It’s not guaranteed, as it should be, that he’ll keep the ball when it’s served into him. But he does get himself in the right spots on the field and scores goals. He does know the game. Is he better than Brian Ching? That’s what Bob Bradley has to decide.
Overall, not much of a game, sure it was marred by the red card, but in the end I’d like to see a more skillful U.S. team.