Tuesday, March 27, 2007

USA vs Ecuador Thoughts

I have a lot of thoughts about this game and just haven't had time to put them to paper yet. First things first though, the goal highlights. 43 seconds into this clip is when the build up for the third goal happens. This hit from Landon is wicked good.

In no particular logical order:
  • I got my wish and got to see Feilhaber play center mid. He did not disappoint and even made a goal line save. I thought his vision and poise in the center of the field were excellent. Simple passes and fairly consistent distribution. Yes, he got burnt in the beginning of the game on one play (badly) and he had a couple awkward touches, but remember that this was his first cap ever. If you watch that game again and pay attention to where every play starts (especially in the first half), you will notice that a great majority start with Benny. This is in spite of the fact that the guys in the booth thought it always started with Landon. Not true. Defensively, he needed Bradley next to him in the second half. The front/back combination with Landon did not do him justice on the defensive side of the ball in the first half. I did notice him body an Ecuadorian off the ball though at some point. In general it looks like he might want to hit the weight room (coming from someone who hasn't been to the gym in 4 weeks).
  • Guys in the booth: I hate to harp on it but they pretty much just plain suck right now. Did they show a graphic comparing Gooch to a Buccaneer? Did Bruce just compare Landon to Michael Jordan? Can these guys slobber any more over Landon? Listen, the guy played great and I am impressed, but there came a point where I thought they were simply ignoring the contributions (or lack thereof) of other players on the field. Do I care if you like Bruce Springsteen? No. Do I want you to talk about about the play on the field? Yes. Do you? No. Ugh.
  • Bradley: It doesn't matter which one you are talking about, right now, neither can do any wrong. The son was one of the reasons the second half was such a big improvement. He's a work horse. I like him. The coach, 3-0.
  • In case no one noticed, the future of the US MNT center midfield may have debuted in that game. I can only pray this is the case, Benny and Mike were good.
  • Johnson: Time to hang up the boots. Even when the ref missed that offsides call you managed to sky the volley. Next chance you had in the 18 you didn't shoot. Where were you the rest of the game?
  • Gooch: Really poor first half. Watch that clip again and see how bad he gets smoked on the Ecuador goal. Alternatively, you can admire that sweet first touch by Caicedo. Ecuador disappeared in the second half and that was no mistake. Gooch and the rest of the back line manned up in the second 45.
  • Conrad: Despite a shaky first half by the back 4, I keep the faith in Conrad. Key game changing save in the first half, big and strong in the back.
  • Bocanegra: Exposed all game. Not a good showing at left back...which isn't his true spot anyway and he showed why.
  • Defense: How slow are we? Or is Ecuador just that fast? Holy cow. That first half was sketchy.
  • Dempsey: I think he needs to get some real playing time before rust sets in. I won't say lack of confidence might set in. I can't imagine Deuce would ever suffer from that.
  • Beasley: Besides the assist I thought he was a black hole. He actually may be more annoying to watch right now than Johnson. Is that possible?
  • Ching: Strong on the ball. Bled for his colors. Great assist to Landon. Can't complain.
  • Howard: Looked awkward at moments and had some mis-communication with his back line. Stellar save in the first half though. I like Howard in between the sticks. Some guys just make you feel safe back there - right now he's my man.
  • Post game reaction: Folks, get off Landon's back. The guy is good. He had some bad games last World Cup. Cut him some slack and let's support the leading goal scorer on the squad. I am behind old Landycakes even if he is a pretty boy wuss. It is a little annoying that the guy can't have a good game without everyone complaining about him. Silly really.


rc said...

Michael Bradley may be what everyone 4 years ago said John O'Brien was. If he can stay healthy, I think he is a great player with huge potential. I like this kid. Is he even 20 yet?

Commentators are horrible. Bruce, shut your pie-hole. You couldn't get us out of the first round of the WC you genius. Eric, you are a never was. 34 goals for the national team, and 33 of those were against Bermuda and Islands smaller than Rhode Island (1 was against Switzerland in WC94, nice goal).

wilablog said...

I think he's 19. From Princeton, NJ. Represent.