Thursday, June 22, 2006

USA 1- Ghana 2

That was never a penalty. While I can't blame the ref for our poor finishing, I can blame the ref for giving Ghana a freebee. I can also blame the ref for not carding the two or three flagrant dives from the Ghana side. That said, with the exception of a clever backheel from McBride that ended up fizzling into nothing, the US lacked any kind of creativity. Our counterattacks, until the last fifteen minutes, were far too slow. We didn't press enough in the first 20 minutes of either half. Our bright moments were few and far between, but they were there. Lewis did a good job with his crosses; Dempsey was all over the field for the first sixty minutes and hammered a fantastic shot into the back of the net; Beasley finally put in a good effort, grabbing an assist, winning a lot of balls in the midfield (even if they didn't amount to much), and helping out the back line; and McBride broke my heart with his header off the post. And I was happy to see Ben Olsen get a CAP, even if he didn't contribute much. Donovan looked sluggish. I think putting Convey in was a mistake. I would've dropped O'Brien in. We needed someone with a little more of a creative mind.

All in all, I would say it was a pretty mediocre game. It's a shame that the ref had such a heavy hand in its outcome. At least there's some hope with our next generation of players... Adu, Convey, Quaranta, Johnson, and Donovan and Beasley still have another cup left in them. South Africa in 2010!


Joshua said...

That penalty kick awarded to Italy today was complete bullshit. Just thought I would share.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

agreed. to be fair though, the red card was also bullshit. i hate to see them win off a dive like that, but then, they probably would've put one away in the second half if the sides had been equal.

Ben said...

Speaking of cards, how about that Portugal/Netherlands game? I've never seen a ref look so bewildered at that level. Frankly, other than the needlessly hard fouls everywhere and the, at times, random cards, it was a pretty good game. But have we had an explanation yet as to why Van Nistelrooy didn't play at all? Did Sir Alex Ferguson secretly replace the Dutch manager?

Flushy McBucketpants said...

Yeah, that game as brutal. There was an opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune lambasting the US-Italy game, basically calling the play atrocious and the violence unforgivable (I don't think the game was really that bad, but you know how emotional those Europeans can be about this stuff...). But, yeah, the Netherlands-Portugal game blew ours out of the water. It was just the violence, but the acting. There was a lot of embellishment, like after Figo headbutted that Dutch player. I agree, though, otherwise, the game was pretty good. It's a shame the Dutch couldn't really get a decent attack going. Kuyt wasn't brilliant, but I think Van Nistelrooy wasn't brought in because he did absolutely nothing in the previous three games. (I don't know why France left Henry on for 80 minutes today given his performance. He should not start in the quarterfinal.) The Netherland's service into the box wasn't so great (lobbing it in from 30 yards back from the touchline looked a lot like the US against Ghana) for the most part and they didn't get many great through balls either. The runs down the wings were scarce compared to their previous games. Robben was a dissapointment and while Van Pearsie had some bright moments, he couldn't put the puzzle together.

Ben said...

Van Nistelrooy did nothing because, like you said, their attack did nothing. I despise any attacking strategy that is essentially just hoping that someone (in this case, Robben) will break the play wide open by escaping two defenders. Incidentally, did you see that move where one of the Dutch guys (I cannot remember who) moved to come out of the box with the ball and suddenly cut back to the goal and juked two defenders? Totally awesome.
Also, this is the same problem that England has: you can't base an entire offensive strategy around Joe Cole or Wayne Rooney beating multiple defenders and creating. It's just not very reliable. They had to get through on a spectacular free kick by Beckham (who has looked completely disinterested in actually playing any soccer other than set pieces).

Flushy McBucketpants said...

to be fair, most of England has looked pretty disinterested in playing soccer, with the exception of maybe Lampard, who, god love him,could not find the back of the net with a guide dog.

the netherlands had an a pretty decent attack in their first two group games. they relied manly on robben and van pearsie running the wings and crossing. but there was also a fair amount of overlapping... they created a number of decent chances from the edge of the box too. van nistelrooy really needed to get himself more involved in the game, play a little be deeper, work harder for the ball. he was basically cherry picking most of the time, just kind of waiting around. in their last two games, i think their main problem in the attack was that their crossing was coming from too far back. it's rare to create a chance when the ball is coming in thirty or forty yards from the touch line. even if the man in the box somehow manages to get the ball, he'll have to turn before before he shoots, which is pretty tough when you've got three defenders next to you. whipping a header in from a ball on that angle pretty much never happens. it's also tough to get a decent distance to the goal. it's rare you'll get close to the six if the ball is still outside the 18. this was the main problem with the US's attack. I don't care how good McBride is with his head, he's not going to score a goal with it from behind further out than the PK spot, especially when he was marked well.

anyway... i'm looking forward to Zidane's last hurrah; I hope the Germans crush Argentina; and while it's unlikely, I'd like to see Ukraine absolutely demolish Italy--those pansy-ass, emotionally unstable motherfuckers.