Stars and Gripes

Occasionally interesting insight (and gripes) about the USMNT

Thoughts on Australia

with 4 comments

A couple of notes from the Australia match:

–       First and foremost, I thought the USA looked fine.  Any real concerns should be allayed the litany of unimpressive performances by teams over the last two weeks in the warm-up matches.  There were no injuries, and Buddle showed well.  Josh Kennedy should have had a hat-trick for Australia, but the Americans could have put six past the Socceroos without much trouble.

–      Would’ve made the match for me if a large animal had run onto the pitch from what could pass as a wildlife sanctuary surrounding the pitch.  Did anyone else see that white pickup truck on the sideline?  Had to be a guy with a tranquilizer gun, right?  Is it too early in the morning?

–       To state the obvious, Buddle and Gomez looked sharp, while Robby Findley reminded everyone why he couldn’t crack Real Salt Lake’s first XI in the run-up to the Cup.  I said it after the Turkey game—Findley is, at the very best, a guy who comes on for 10 minutes to stretch out a game.  I don’t fault Bradley for taking him, and frankly, I won’t disagree with giving him 45 minutes today.  If he gets more than 25 minutes in a meaningful game however, the United States is in serious, serious trouble.

–       Rico Clark looked a bit sharper than he did a week ago in Philadelphia.  The problem continues to be his passing and distribution, with a lack of touch killing possession for the States.  It doesn’t do much good to win a ball in the middle of the pitch only to give it right back.  I’m shocked, frankly, that we didn’t see Maurice Edu at the half.

–       The defense was suspect, again.  Cherundolo was at fault for the first goal (though Dempsey could have done better), but the communication just isn’t there yet.  Look for a post in the next day or two regarding defense on set pieces and play from the wings.  If the United States shows like they did today, English fans will be harkened back to the destruction of Croatia at Wembley.

–       I’m puzzled by Bradley’s decision to keep Dempsey in for 80, and Donovan in for the full 90.  It was a horrible pitch, everyone was playing at 65% capacity, and the Australians were tackling recklessly.  In a World Cup already decimated by injuries, why risk it?

–       Cherundolo looked pretty sharp, and did well coming forward, which I thought was a bit of a weakness in the Turkey and Czech Republic matches.  It seems like the Spector/’Dolo debate is over for the time being.

–       I don’t like this line up.  I will continue to harp on the reality that possession means very little, but you can’t simply give the ball up like Clark, et al, were doing today.  Edu should get the call versus England, and Bradley would do well to find a place for Holden.

–       If Bradley does decide to go 4-4-2, you have to think Altidore and Buddle get the call up front.  I’m not sure how that partnership would play out, exactly, but it’s very difficult to make a case for anyone else right now.  Gomez is a super-sub, as he was throughout the year for Puebla.

–       Finally, I thought John Harkes was abnormally on point throughout the Turkey match, but he was awful today.  I’m unsure as to whether ESPN actually controls the cameras (at the Cup games, it’s all one feed), but these cut-away shots are driving me batty.  Why take a focus of the run of play to show Bob Bradley scowling?


Written by Pete Kavanaugh

June 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. It did seem a bit callous to play Clint and Landycakes for extended minutes…
    Even though the defense may have looked a bit shaky, a couple of victories over quality opponents in the lead up to the group stages works for me


    June 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm

  2. My favorite point here: Harkes.

    He was atrocious. Basically, his entire commentary consisted of repeating verbatim what Martin Tyler had just said combined with a few half-complete sentences that served for observations. Sure, he’s much better than this usually, but with all the griping about ESPN going and getting English voices for the Cup, the American voice had best step it up.


    June 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

  3. Somehow much of the mainstream isn’t really picking up on just how poorly Findley is playing. felt that his performance against Australia earned him the spot next to Jozy. I couldn’t think of a player on our roster who would be more mentally outclassed against England.


    June 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

  4. My #1 concern coming out of the game was the Gooch-less/less-than-fully-fit-Gooch-led central defense. Seemed like every Australia cross into the box was a potential goal.

    The offense is definitely there, but I worry about losing a couple games 3-2 and going home after group play.

    Kyle J

    June 8, 2010 at 11:58 am

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