Czech’s win 3-nil… some thoughts…
We’re going to hear and read a lot about how bad the US was. They weren’t that bad. They just got beat by a much better team. I think a lot of people, especially those on TV for ESPN, had convinced themselves that the US was going to beat the Czechs. That clearly wasn’t the case. The Czechs were THAT much better. Anyway, some of the criticism will be deserved (I’m sorry but Beasley was terrible and Donovan wasn’t much better). There was no one that stood out or took over the game which hurt the US, Renya tried a bit, but it wasn’t happening. But they didn’t play all that bad, it sort of hard to explain, they were out classed, not necessarily out played. Sure the fact that no one had a OUT OF THEIR MIND game hurt the States, but to have beaten the Czechs the US would have needed poor performances from Nedved who was all over the place, and Rosicky who was always in the right place. In a way, it’s almost amazing the similarities between the US hockey team (bunch of hard working, with some speed, but lacking play making ability) and the soccer team. Think of Nedved as an inspired Jagr and Rosicky as like Elias.
The US wasn’t terrible. They weren’t out worked. But they lacked imagination and got very little from the wings today, Convey tried a bit, but nothing came of it for the most part. Poor defense lead to the first goal. The second goal was a fairly poor clear, but I’m not buying that, I think Onyewu did his job but no one in the midfield was there to pick that ball up. It didn’t help that it was an amazing shot. The third goal the US got caught too far up and didn't mark well. The second half was very uninspiring. I'm not totally sure we would have beaten England, but we would have at least gotten a nil-nil draw.
Only reason the US was down 1-0 instead of up 1-0 was bad luck (Renya's post, 28th minute) and a combination of the fact that we still have no left back and then poor marking. It would have been nice if someone would have marked Koller too. For some reason Onyewu was being blamed for this, but from what I could tell, Eddie Pope was the one marking Koller there. Maybe there was a mix up… I don’t know. Onyewu was in the area, but it appeared that Pope was the one marking Koller at that point. But I would love to know where Eddie Lewis was. Grygera had all day and most of the day before to find Koller, let him make his run, and then deliver a near perfect ball. The US doesn’t have a natural left back and it showed there.
Renya's post probably was the 'difference', the moment the didn't go in, that was it.
Rosicky's goal was sick... not much you can do there... it wasn’t that poor of a clear. Nedved’s shot was launched into the middle, Onyewu did his job getting it out of there. A US midfielder should have been around there to take care of the rest, but that shot was sick. A 'goal of the tournament' type shot.
Dave O'Brien is a moron.
THe US was trying to create, but we don't have many playmakers, especially when Beasley has a crappy game and Landon does Landon things (basically nothing against good teams). They were crossing and trying to create, but it's not there. It's weird, as a whole it doesn't seem that bad, individually it was pretty poor. The US does a lot of running and crossing and passing, but not much seems to come of it. It's sort of like watching 11 Beckham's out there... HA! No, in a way it was a very typical US game, a lot of running, a lot of build up, but nothing comes of it. A lack of finishing hurts at times...
The US came out more than flat in the second half, and did almost nothing... if it wasn't for Eddie Johnson the US wouldn't have done anything. I think this is what people are upset about… a very poor second half where the completely let the Czechs control the game. Landon HAS to play in the midfield against Italy... Johnson and McBride up front. Beasley does get back on D, so I'd go with him over Convey, but I’d have a quick trigger on him. Renya and O'Brien in the midfield. Who knows about right and left back.
Anyway, they got nothing from Beasley, only thing he did was make a nice pass early on and then a nice tackle in the second half. In fact his second half wasn’t as bad since Arena used him as a defender. But you would figure his speed would have caused some problems. It didn’t. I’m not even sure he tried to make a run the entire game. Donovan was probably playing out of position up front, or at least that's what I'm hoping since I'm not sure he did anything today besides make two nice passes, which isn’t saying much. The US just got nothing down the wings which then makes McBride not as useful. The D recovered after a poor start, then got burned on the last goal.
The Czechs getting the lead early was huge since it allowed them to sit back and counter attack. Rosicky is really good. He was almost as good as Robben in fact. The Czechs are a much better team... they have it and the US doesn't have it yet. If this was Czechs vs Angola/Iran/Paraguay it would have been like 8-0.
The US was not as bad as they were saying on TV, they were a bit unlucky, Johnson almost bagged two goals. They didn't deserve a win or tie, but I'm not half as dejected as I thought I'd be. They could still beat Italy if they can find someone, anyone, to play an inspired game in the midfield. That’s what killed the US today. Their midfield play did nothing to support the back line or forwards.
Just wondering, but what are Donovan’s stats against half way decent teams? Who knows what went down in Germany, but fact is he’s back in the States after two ‘failed’ stints. He looks great against the Honduras and El Salvadors of the world, but has he ever done anything against top flight competition? I don’t know the answer off the top of my head, that’s why I’m asking. I’m disappointed, but I haven’t lost all hope. The Czechs looked as good as the Dutch and Argentina (if not better). The US, we should all know, is not at that level. In order to beat a team at that level, they need some luck, some inspired play, they need to take it to the other side (which, I will admit, they did not do for the post part yesterday), they need the other side to be off their best a bit, and they need some great performances from their best players. They didn’t get any luck, they lacks inspiration, they sat back and waited far too often (but there were a few times when the US looked as if they COULD take it to the Czechs if they would), the Czechs were at their best, and only Renya looked like he was capable of having a great game. The problem was that no one else was capable and thus dragged him down. And let’s also give credit to the Czech back line which I thought was fantastic. Hard to blame the US for that. I'll say it again, Dave O'Brien doesn't know what he's talking about.
Some round up…
-- I thought the Guardian minute by minute report was the closest to reflecting what I saw yesterday.
-- I agree here, I doubt we see Beasley against the Italians. He’s becoming a bit of a scapegoat, which is unfair because he didn’t cost the US the game, but something needs to change. This is a pretty fair look at both Beasley and Landon.
-- This might be a bit harsh on these players, but you can’t argue with some of the comments made.
-- A very honest and very insightful look at the US/Czech game yesterday. The last part of this ‘blog entry’ is the best imo.