Thursday, September 4, 2014

3 Notes from USA vs. CZE

Well, I was going to write these three things in my post yesterday, but I started going off on a tangent on the whole "where the USA will be in 4 years" thing. So today, instead of how US soccer will look in 4 years, I'll talk about how the team looked yesterday. The following three subjects are thoughts that I had during the game.

  1. With Tim Howard announcing that he is taking a break from US national team, a competition has begun for the open position. The first half, we saw Brad Guzan in goal. Usually, Guzan is understood as Tim Howard's back up. He has experience against some of the best players in the world because he plays (and starts) in the EPL for Aston Villa. Currently, Guzan is in great form and just this weekend let in his first goal of the season after a 360+ minute shutout since the start of the EPL 3 weeks ago. In the US game, Guzan made a few saves, but much of the play was on the Czech side for the first half. At halftime, Klinsmann decided to switch out keepers and give Nick Rimando a chance to impress. And that's exactly what he did. Since this was an international friendly, each side could make 6 changes. Making that many changes can seriously change the speed of play, and this could be the reason why the US did so poorly in the 2nd half. This can also be seen in the US 2-2 draw in a "friendly" vs. Mexico before the World Cup. With this poor showing in the second half, Rimando was forced to come up with some incredible saves. He was the main reason the game ended up 1-0 and not 2 or 3 to 1. In the battle for starting keeper, both past backups made their case that they deserve to start in the game vs Czech Republic.
  2. Youngsters. Youngsters everywhere. Some took the opportunity and shined. Joe Gyau, a winger, was one of the best players for the Americans yesterday. His strength and speed gave him the ability to beat defenders and his name was constantly being said in the game. He was hungry for the ball and for goals. I may get struck down by the US soccer gods for saying this, but Julian Green did not impress me at all yesterday. Although his confidence is very high, Green didn't make appropriate passes and his set pieces.... Let's not get into those. Emerson Hyndman also made his first team debut, and he has a very bright future as a midfielder for the USA. 
  3. Mix. Diskerud. Great player, great hair. His performance yesterday left me thinking: what if he had started over Michael Bradley in the World Cup? If he had played like he did yesterday, I would like to believe we would have had a better chance against both Portugal and Belgium. Anyways, Diskerud had a great game against the Czechs and I look forward to watching his role in the US team develop the next few years. 

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