Thursday, August 23, 2007

The hex continues...

Random thoughts on USA-Sweden from Slurpo-san:

1) The FSC commentary was horrendous--they could have at least tried to make it seem like the the play-by-play and color guys were sitting pitchside rather than in a stateside studio...but no. Limited crowd noise, complete ignorance of substitutions, this was just a tremendously poor production.

2) Unlike the FSC commentators, one of whom went so far as to call him a "wildcard" since he was the only member of the back four who didn't play at the Gold Cup, I think Cherundolo played well.

3) Bornstein:Bradley::Agoos:Arena. I can no longer rationally discuss his continued inclusion in the team. I remain convinced that Bornstein has compromising pictures of Bradley, a goat and a liter of tequila squirreled away in a safety deposit box.

4) Apart from Beasley blowing a gilt-edged chance in the first 3 minutes, the team had little attacking edge. And how could it considering there were 6(!) midfielders on the pitch. Donovan and Dempsey are miscast as strikers, particularly against burly European opposition. Perhaps ONE of them would be effective playing off a McBride-esque target man, but we'll never score against the big (non-Mexico) boys of the world without a more traditional 4-4-2 and a target man of note. Also, Feilhaber does not belong in exile on the wing--he needs to be at the center so that attacking moves can flow through his fluent passing and use his excellent vision.

5) Timmy! He was fantastic, and single-handedly saved us for a 3-0/4-0 hammering.

6) Ibrahovic could have had 3 all by himself in the first 15 minutes. This guy is a stud.

7) good to see Convey getting a run out, but I still don't understand what Bradley sees in Davies.

8) I'm over Oguchi--I used to think he had Rio Ferdinand-type potential, but I wonder whether his understanding of the game will ever match his obvious physical gifts. I'd rather see Charlie Blackmouth and DeMerit in central D.

9) I like that we're willing to go over to Europe and play big names, and also call in our Euro-based players. But its really hard to take anything positive from this match.
Scotto's take:
I concur with Slurpo-san. I guess every coach will have his boys, but I was a little worried when Bornstein was even selected. Why bring an MLS-er to Europe when you have plenty of defenders playing over there who you should be taking a look at? Didn't make sense. And now, I'm worried about the selection rut Bradley seems to be falling into. Specifically:
(1) I really like Michael Bradley's upside, and I guess playing him now will only help in the long run. BUT, I really didn't like him getting the nod to be paired with Mastroeni over Feilhaber (read where Benny got in the starting 11 only after Ching wsa dropped at the last minute). That doesn't make much sense.
(2) Our defense has some problems. I'm with you on Gooch. I think I, gulp, prefer Conrad in the middle. And, probably foremost, I think DeMerit deserves an extended look.
(3) Time to bring in Jozy. We need a target man. It's unfortunate that Ching couldn't play, b/c I think he could have done some nice things with Landon up top. But, Altidore seems to be improving almost daily and could be a stud by 2010. I hope we bring him in against Brazil. Gotta think he'd love playing in that atmosphere.
(4) Concur with the glut of MFs. Even though we're deep there (by our standards), doesn't necessarily mean we play them all as forwards. See Jozy comment above.
(5) Timmy's getting d*** good. Betcha England wishes they could claim him.

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