Monday, June 22, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

The United States Soccer team overcame adversity and also got some luck to end up with a spot in the Confederations Cup semis vs. Spain; they still have a lot to prove, but also a lot to gain.

As I watched the U.S.A's matches this past week, particularly vs. Brazil and Italy, the Americans looked over matched, soft, and passive. I know they were going against some of the powerhouses of world soccer, but I know this team is much better than that. They got annihilated 3-0 and 3-1 in those matches.

I think this team has a lot of potential and these matches are just preparation for the World Cup next summer, which is really what matters most. But I know the U.S. is better than this. They made countless mistakes in these losses. I know I don't know soccer as much as I do basketball, baseball, or football, but I know enough to at least unleash some criticism.

This team needs to be more aggressive, they seemed very passive throughout pool play, even at times in their 3-0 win vs. Egypt. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley all passed up plenty of good looks and shots around their opponents goal. Especially in their losses they all seemed to not want to take "the" shot. You can't have this vs. the best in the world.

Altidore passed up plenty of shots and never took advantage of the chances he had. He passed up plenty of opportunities and looked awful in the chances he got, not getting off any quality shots at all.

The U.S. still advanced to the semi's, but they played mediocre at best. I know Altidore is better than this, he has plenty of potential and raw talent. I really hope Bob Bradley continues to give him playing time and help him develop because the Americans will need him his presence next summer.

The U.S. had an early 1-0 lead vs. Italy off of an early Landon Donovan PK... want to know why they got the early lead? They were aggressive. They were keeping pressure on the Italian defense and goalkeeper and passing the ball around their offensive end and getting great looks. But once they had the lead they stopped being aggressive. They dropped a mid back into the defense and that gave the Italians more opportunities, not to mention some silly mistakes as well. In soccer it all comes down to opportunities and mistakes.

All in all, there is no other team in the world that is more up and down than the United States. I'd like to see Coach Bradley give some of his younger guys more opportunities to develop because some of the veterans aren't getting it done on a consistent basis. This team needs all the games it can get because they're somewhat young. If they could somehow pull off a win vs. Spain and maybe even win this thing, it could go a long way to the Gold Cup later this summer and even the World Cup next summer.


Chris Humpherys said...

The U.S. totally lucked out. Italy HAS to be pissed.

Kurt said...

How the hell did we beat Egypt is my question...they really looked good in their previous matches.