Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

Thoughts on El Tri 2 Nats 1:

1. Landon Donovan is one of the fastest players on the US team. Ordinarily, players don't run past him. Efrain Juarez did exactly that to get into the penalty area and set up Mexico's winner eight minutes from time. That one play illustrated why a game at the Azteca isn't a true measuring stick for the Nats. They were playing in conditions that had a major impact on the performance of our players. I wouldn't judge the US for slipping and sliding around if they played on a glacier; I would judge them for failing to make proper crosses while playing in a typhoon; and I won't judge them for being a gear slower than the Mexicans in Mexico City. The US players often looked like they were in quicksand. The altitude had the greatest effect on the US midfielders because they play the position that requires the most running.

2. That said, there were several Americans whose performances were disappointing. Clint Dempsey was completely absent from the game. Carlos Bocanegra's positioning was dreadful at times. Collectively, Dempsey and Bocanegra represented the American left, which explains why every attack that Mexico mounted on its right flank seemed dangerous. I've seen Gio dos Santos on plenty of occasions because he came up through the Barca youth system. He's the same guy who couldn't get off the bench for mid-table Spurs this pas season. He isn't Marc Overmars, but our defense made him look as such.

3. Charlie Davies, holy hell! I'd barely heard of him before this summer, but he was terrific at the Confederations Cup and he was excellent in the game today. His run and finish for the goal were perfect and he came oh so close to nodding Stuart Holden's inviting cross goalward in the second half when Mexico gave the slightest signs of pushing too far forward.

4. You would have to say that that was an eventful game for Landon Donovan. He set up the U.S. goal, then his giveaway in the midfield started the move for Mexico's equalizer, then he was beaten like a drum for the winner (although I'm willing to cut him some slack as described above). Donovan was certainly more of a threat than Dempsey on the opposite wing, but he still has weaknesses.

5. Between the excitement of Andres Cantor and the atmosphere at the Azteca, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of watching the game. That game, in a nutshell, is why I find soccer so compelling.


Ryno said...

Ugh - Not even the Braves streak could make up for that performance. So upsetting - I was really hoping for the tie

Anonymous said...

Well shucks man, it did seem like quite the coinky-dink at first… given that he was in swine-flu land. But hey, I’d hate Mexico anyway. Not out of xenophobia, but because they don’t have a single player who’s not a total jackass.

If Lamps or Rio came back from some third world country with some bizarre illness I think you guys over there would get a little curious too.

More information on US Official Tabloid Gossip

Stephen said...

Did anyone else think that the Mexicans came off as a passel of shameless thugs? Everything they could possibly do to make themselves more offensive, they did. Examples, trying to pull Charlie Davies up by his neck while he was on the ground from the knock that would send him out of the game. (Although -5 to Fielhaber for his Jens-Lehmann-esque reaction to the Mexican counter-choke.), grabbing the ball trying to insist it was a corner even though all the other Tri had retreated for the goal kick, pelting Donovan during corners so the the riot squad had to use their shields to cover him, etc.

I'm not really sure how those things weren't yellow cards. Also, I can't believe no one flipped out and threw down after that jerkoff trying to pull up Davies. In hockey, assaulting an injured player while he was on the ground would have meant immediate punches.

Another random observation-- the second goal basically came from an unlucky deflection. Yet every article I read says something like "after laying off the ball to [whichever thug scored]..." You outran a swine-flu-stricken Donovan (barely) and then were tackled, yet the ball fortuitously dropped to a teammate = Mexico is in for a serious revenge thumping the next time they're stateside.

Can't wait.

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