United States 2 Mexico 2
I can see the Mexican fans complaining about how the United States scored their first goal. The bigger Americans can only score off a long throw-in, they might say—a set piece. The big man, Onyewu, stepped up and chucked the ball nearly to the far post. The ball was tipped to Landon, and although smartly, he sent a high ball back into the box.
But the big man (he’s 6-foot-4) can jump as well as throw, and he leaped over the defender and nodded the ball perfectly into the far post, skimming off the bar. The Americans were getting out played and this goal was sorely needed.
But the Mexicans too scored from a pair of set pieces, despite the fact that they had most of the run and play. The game popped with pace, the Mexican players darting in and out of the Americans at times, on to be fouled, and this finally caught up with the U.S., as they conceded a pair of goals.
Dos Santos, what a joy he is to watch. He has great speed and seems to glide along with the ball at his feet, giving and getting just when he has to, as he escapes defenders, they can keep up with him and in a way don’t really mean to foul him but do since they can’t get out of the way. They’re just a step behind.
Most of the talk for the U.S. should be about Jozy and Adu, Freddy Adu that is. Jozy scored a wonderful header and Adu doesn’t lack the confidence to take players on, nor does Jozy, skills that I don’t think players should have drilled out of them. Sure, at this highest level you have to get rid of the ball quickly for the most part, but when the chance presents itself then you have to go for it. Defenders hate when you try to take them on. Nobody likes to get beat.
The U.S. midfield wasn’t in sync, and Landon didn’t see enough of the ball. Feilhaber brings calm to the pitch and might work better with Bradley. Clark has a ton of fight and might be molded into a player who fits in at some point. He had a moment where he surged forward. You could see how he’s dangerous.
Dempsey shined at times, where he held the ball up and or turned and sent a few balls over the top to Jozy. I guess he was offside before he received the ball when his nice goal was disallowed.
I’d like to see Eddie Robinson in the mix. I think he’s a player that can fit in long term for the U.S. in the back.
It’s a weeding out process, and with more games like these you see who can fit in and who won’t. Mexico’s problem is they have a ton of young, fast and skilled. They will be a force in the coming years. I still remember what was probably one of the best games in the 2006 World Cup, Argentina versus Mexico, hope to see more like that one.
When the game ended, I did like how it looked like Jozy may have apologized for tripping Rafa Marquez earlier in the game. The two shared a laugh and a smile. I think Jozy, a big kid, has class as well as a bright future as they like to say. Rafa’s a wise old player now who plays for one of the best clubs in the world, why not show some respect.
Update – here’s what Jozy said he said to Rafa Marquez over at his NY Times Blog:
After the game I went over to Marquez and told him that I watch him play every week because Barcelona is one of my favorite teams. I really don’t remember if he said anything, I don’t know if he speaks much English. He kind of laughed and said O.K. I think he understood me though, I mean, he’s played around the world and much understand some kind of English.