>Friday Lunch Special: Matt talks about the USA/Netherlands Friendly

Posted: March 5, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

>Positives:

1.   The play of Stuart Holden until leaving the game at the half-hour mark. Holden played sharp passes, was consistently open, and even was solid on the defensive side, helping Jonathan Spector contain Dutch wingers Elia and Robben. After being on the receiving end of a dangerous studs-up tackle by Nigel De Jong, Holden was substituted. I really think that in a higher stakes game, De Jong would have been sent off. Good to see my man Beasley get some time, though.

2.   Carlos Bocanegra’s goal. Mr. Black Mouth always seems to score off of set plays for the US. This goal was off of a great ball by Run DMB himself. ‘Los beat his marker and ghosted in at the far post to out-jump the keeper and win the header. While the US rarely dominates the stat sheet against a high ranking opponent, set plays remain a strong suit. With players like Oguchi Onyewu, Bocanegra, and Jon Bornstein, we should be good for at least a goal per game on a set piece. The only missing part in the equation would be the quality of service. Maybe Beasley makes the WC squad just on the merit of his service on set plays?

3.   The Dutch mastery of the game. No, this is not a positive note of the US’ game, at least not really. But it should serve as an example to the US of how Dutch players are developed. While the Dutch may not be as fluid as their days of total football, their combination play and technical abilities are second only to maybe the Spanish. The US would do well to observe and attempt to replicate the same player development (modern US youth soccer training has improved by leaps and bounds since players on the national team went through the same system; in ten years perhaps we’ll see the results). That development is the reason that the US barely touched the ball.

Negatives:

1.   The United States’ inability to make dangerous plays in their attacking third. The US, while being able to possess the ball for short periods of time in the first half, couldn’t seem to find room to operate in the hole between the Netherlands’ back line and midfield. In contrast, Wesley Sniejder found himself with space created by intelligent movement from the Dutch forwards. See #3 above for more. The second half was even worse for the US in terms of possession, as they had very little.

2.   The lack of speed in the back for the US. Although the Netherlands boast perhaps the quickest (physically and technically) wingers in the world, I was still upset to see the US getting beaten on the flanks, especially in the first half. I think Steve Cherundolo, when healthy, is the best option at fullback to neutralize smaller, speedier wingers and midfielders.

3.   Torres’ ability to cope with the physical nature of the game. While I do like the composure Torres brings to the midfield, I often question how much influence he’ll have in the future against opposition with larger, more physical midfielders. Perhaps Bradley will find space for him on the flank, although he doesn’t possess much speed either. Donovan and Dempsey, when healthy, are a lock on the outside midfield. Holden will likely see more time there as well.

Other noteworthy items:
–   Either Wesley Sniejder is a good actor or the referee doesn’t understand the laws of physics. If a person is being tugged backward, they will fall backward. Not forward. And not five minutes after the play. The Dutch were lucky to get that call. Prior to that, they had failed to really challenge Tim Howard. I will admit that the referee made up for it with a no-call on a clear handball by Jonathan Bornstein later on in the first half.

–   Landon Donovan still has the ability to not show up for games. Although he has had pretty consistent play for Everton, it seems as if he still can earn the nickname “Landy Cakes”.

–   Out of all of the national teams in group C, the US had the most difficult friendly opponent (gotta love the oxymoron) in the Netherlands (3) as England played Egypt (17), Slovenia played Qatar (92), and Algeria played Serbia (13).

–   I was disappointed to find out that Frank Simek was not on the game day roster as I was intrigued to see him play for the US for the first time in three years.

–   John Harkes is both boring and annoying.

–   Tim Howard. Not that he had a great game or anything, but there was little else that stood out to me. He is always capable of making some amazing saves when needed. The two goals were unlucky – no one expects a goalkeeper to stop a penalty every time and a deflection is just unfortunate.

–   Jozy is a beast. He held the ball well and maybe should have scored in stoppage time on a blast of a shot.

That’s all for me today. Next time I will (hopefully) discuss the MLS Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions.

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Comments
  1. Flyingoose says:

    >I should also mention that after reviewing the game for a second time, Run DMB stood out as well…

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