>Thursday Lunch: The Dutch Roll

Posted: March 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

>   Interesting day of Internationals yesterday, as you know by now, yesterday was the last International date before teams must submit their final rosters for the World Cup. Before I get to what happened in Amsterdam, I want to talk about the other games first.

Argentina 1 Germany 0:

   Gonzalo Higuian did the damage for Argentina right before half time, scoring his 2nd international goal on a defensive mix up by the Germans. For me this German side doesn’t seem as strong as the one in years past. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them not win their group and possibly exit at the round of 16. That being said, this is a great win for Argentina.

Serbia 3 Algeria 0:

   I don’t know much about the details of this game, but I would rate Serbia slightly lower then I rate USA so a 3-0 win in the World Cup isn’t out of the question.

England 3 Egypt 1:

   Interesting match at Wembley as Egypt led going into half. Peter Crouch was the hero of the day as he got 2 goals. Sean Wright-Phillips made his case for being included in the squad as well, getting a goal and setting up both of Peter Crouch’s goals. While I only saw highlights for this one, it looked to me as if England’s play was suspect. Better goalkeeping surely could have prevented all three goals, especially Wright-Phillips. Furthermore Peter Crouch’s second goal was blatantly offside. I’m not complaining here I just don’t see any reason for English fans to be excited about this one.

Slovenia 4 Qatar 1:

   Meh. This really doesn’t mean anything.

Spain 2 France 0:

   This is telling in that the game was in Paris and France still got their asses handed to them. I don’t think the French will do that well this summer. Spain on the other hand did great with David Villa and Sergio Ramos getting the goals. It is really telling as to how good Spain is that when they beat France away no one reacts like it was ever going to not happen.

Netherlands 2 USA 1:

   Before I actually recap the match I just want to spend a few words “bitching” about the things I hate about soccer right now. How was Nigel De Jong allowed to stay on the field after his tackle on Stuart Holden? Not only was his studs up tackle late and put Holden on the mend (fractured fibula, but was only thought to be a bruised shin during game time), but this game was a FRIENDLY. Tackles like this have no business in regular competitive games, but a friendly? I mean really? I don’t know too much about De Jong, but this in addition to his dive when Beasley was through on goal were classless acts that I would only expect from a certain rival south of the border. I really can’t express how upset I am about this tackle. I hope Stu isn’t out any significant amount of time. Video of the incident below.

   For anyone who watched this game, the Dutch clearly dominated, but I thought USA did a good job with a few things. First USA kept the Netherlands from creating many clear chances. Eljero Elia’s chance right after the break was the only clear cut chance that USA gave up and for that I would like to commend them.
   Jay DeMerit was great in central defense. He won almost every single ball that came his way and even drew a few fouls. This being said, he also showed his greatest weakness. When DeMerit got even a hint of pressure he just booted the ball up field as far as he could. Maybe this is fine for the English Championship but USA was already struggling for possession. This is something Oguchi Onyewu helps bring to the table when he is healthy.
   I thought the reffing was positively horrendous. I’m not talking about the penalty (more on that later), but he clearly missed a few key calls. In my opinion De Jong should have been sent off and the ref called far too many “ticky tac” calls. Every time Michael Bradley got within five feet of an opposing player his whistle would blow. Considering the horrible calls there have been in recent international tournaments (Bradley red card, Clark red card, Egypt hand ball, Onyewu PK, Pope red card, Fring’s hand ball) this is something that USA should have to get used to so it was good that it happened in a friendly as well.
   Landon Donovan looked like someone who had just gotten over the flu…….oh wait! There will be better days from Donovan, but he definitely mailed this one in a la Eddie Johnson 06-present.
   Speaking of BJ (EJ) I hope he never gets another call for USA. He was one of the worst players on the field.
   USA really picked up their play in the last 10 minutes with DaMarcus Beasley leading the way. I really thought USA was going to tie it at the end. This team has tremendous fight; never a bad thing for the World Cup.
   The last thing I want to bitch about really isn’t about the game at all. I’m not sure what feed ESPN was using considering the KNVB logo kept flashing on the screen, but please stop replaying pointless things! There were at least five times where ESPN was showing the twelfth replay on an offside when live game action was happening. After all these years do you really not know how to cover soccer?

Men of the Match (I’m only putting one Dutch player in here because that’s what I want to do and it’s my blog):

4.   Wesley Sneijder – He was great in keeping possession and creating chances for the Dutch. Clearly there man of the match; he acted as a true number 10. He would have rated higher, but he is having a bout with borninthewrongcountryitis.
3.   Carlos Bocanegra – What can I say? He is always there when we need him. Perhaps he is a few years past his prime, but Captain Blackmouth didn’t fail to deliver. He needs one more goal to tie the USA International record for goals by a defender (Marcelo Balboa has 13).
2.   Michael Bradley – Always strong in the tackle; Bradley had his best offensive game in a while. He combined well with others and really showed what he can do when he plays with someone who actually defends (I’m saying he was better when Torres came out; coincidence?). Bradley showed once again that he belongs and he will play the whole tournament until he gets his token red card in the semifinals.
1.   DaMarcus Beasley – Finally, he has been found. Note to milk companies: you can now take Run DMB off of the side of your cartons; he is no longer a missing person. Beasley had his best game in years for USA. I really think he solidified his place in the roster with this showing. Now it will just be up to him to prove that he belongs in the first 11.

Disappointments:

Jonathan Bornstein – Was it a penalty? Maybe yes. Maybe no. My whole point to this is that in the world cup our players can’t put themselves in situations for the ref to even think about pointing to the spot. I still say he makes the roster, but there is now way he is playing against England. I would bet my middle nut on it.
Landon Donovan – See game recap section. Fortunately Landon gets a pass based on the 52398723486238462130324623497 games he has saved the USMNT
Eddie Johnson – At least I don’t have to stop referring to him as BJ.

Now as promised I leave you with my Thursday top ten list. This week, the top 10 reasons to like the New York Red Bulls.

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