Thursday, October 18, 2007

Youth is served!

Scotto's Match analysis:
Our starting lineup (and ratings):
GK: Hahnemann (6)
Defense: Cherundolo (6), Boca (7), Gooch (5), and Eddie Lewis (5)
MF: Feilhaber on right (5), Edu (5) and Bradley (6) in the middle, and DMB (5) on the left.
F: Twellman (4) and Deuce (5).

Pearce (for Beasley): (5)
Guzan (for Hahnemann): 5
Califf (for Gooch): 4
Szetela (for Lewis): 5
Adu (for Twellman): 6
Findley (for Demspey): NR

Comments on the starting lineup:
-props for getting Edu in, but it clearly showed that he and Bradley had not previously played together. In fact, our midfield was not a very cohesive unit. Feilhaber started on the right, but was consistently more effective when he was able to work his way into the middle of the park. In their defense, they improved as the match wore on. Edu looked promising, and Bradley ultimately made his mark on both ends of the field with a goal, and some excellent covers in the back.

-The strategy to have an attacking left, with Lewis and DMB, never materialized. The Swiss owned that flank until Pearce came in. Eddie just seemed too out of practice on defense. Positioning was bad, and, rather than taking the game to them, we were exposed. DMB went out early with an ankle knock, but an early sub for a real left back should have happened anyway. Ideally, Lewis would have made way for Pearce, but this worked as well. Lewis was much better in the MF, and Pearce shored up the back.

-the rest of the d played very well. Gooch even effectively shut down the massive Streller, but was well on his way to being thrown out of this match had he not been subbed out at the half. That’s what bugs me about him. He STILL needs to learn to keep his cool better. His reputation has got to be putrid among the refs. He’ll give an elbow here and there, and then he’ll try to draw a yellow by wilting at the slightest contact by the opposing forward. I say he’s still a liability until he learns to control his emotions. So, same ol’, same ol’. Califf was not nearly as solid, but he didn’t have the hot head either. Boca played superbly (almost had a goal to boot), as did Cherundolo. And Dolo was pretty effective when getting into the attack too. I’m sorry, but anyone who doesn’t think he has an absolute lock on right back needs to lay off the hookah pipe.

-Twellman and Deuce were duds together. There was little linkage between our MF and them, so maybe the fault of the MF as well. But the game was crying out for a change up top for us. Probably should’ve happened fifteen minutes earlier. And once Adu came in, the attack seemed to brighten.

-The field was complete crap, btw. No drainage, so it became immensely slick from the rain. Players were sliding all over the place, and couldn’t get any traction. We may have benefited more, though. One or two Swiss attempts misfired because of a slipping plant foot.

Some comments on the subs:
-Pearce didn’t add much to the attack, but our left ceased to be a wide-open avenue of attack for the Swiss once he came in.

-Great debut for Adu. He managed to get involved right away, and I swear his intro had a significant psychological effect on the Swiss. It was as if they believed the hype too. Anyway, Freddy started right up where he left off at the U-20 WC. Surprisingly, he even held his own physically. On his almost goal in the 88th, he did very well to hold off the Swiss defender and get his foot to the ball. Most auspicious. Even more impressive was the free kick he earned. With a towering defender on him as he prepared to receive a long ball, he let the ball fall over his head and used a nifty leg up behind his back to knock the ball down (who else tries this stuff, much less makes it work?) and then drove toward goal where he was chopped down outside the box. Add to that that he might even have earned a PK on one break away where he took a high cleat to the face, and, well, it was about as good a debut for Freddy as he could hope for. Now, let’s hope he builds on that!

-Glad that Szetela got in as well. He looked pretty comfortable, and his driving cross led to the goal.

In sum, a scrappy performance and a fair result against a quality (though slightly fatigued and less than full strength) Swiss side. Most importantly, the young players added spark and earned our goal. Something to grow on.

Man of the match: Bocanegra

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