Monday, June 23, 2014

Two Points Dropped, or a Point Gained?: USMNT 2 - Portugal 2

24 hours after the Cristiano Ronaldo cross that rocked the USMNT, the crack analytical team from farlieonfootie breaks down the game and looks forward to Thursday's action.

Mark:  To revisit our pre-cup theme, did we really take Alejandra Bedoya over Landon Donovan? Bedoya apparently did not complete a single pass yesterday.

The one thing we have lacked so far is precision in front of the goal, and the most precise player in American history is making funny commercials while we are missing the goal by a foot to the left and a foot to the right.

Who thinks that Donovan misses that tap in that Bradley missed yesterday. I don't think Donovan has ever missed on of those. That would have been Donovan's spot yesterday.

It's a real shame because we seem to have a real team here, except that we need a second forward or wing player. And we left the best one in the history of the country at home.

Scott:  I’m still in denial. It can be a cruel game. But then you can make it even worse by not hanging onto the ball for another 30 seconds. At least twice in the last couple of minutes I saw times we could have easily bled off 15 seconds or so, but instead we gave it right back to them so CR7 could have his one moment. A botched clearance, a missed open net, and inability to waste 30 seconds… I wish I could go back to bed.

Mark:  I think this is hard to let go of because we know this is going to come back to haunt us. In American soccer it always does. There are never happy endings. It's like what happens to the Central American teams. Some how even when they should win, they lose, usually by some call where the ref gives the game to Argentina or Germany because they are the teams that are supposed to advance. I am hoping Portugal wins. I don't have a lot of confidence that we can take Germany. I think we are capable of a devastatingly close loss to them, but not a win.

The one thing I am happy about is that US soccer is clearly better than Portugal and that's no small feat, and Costa Rica is better than a lot of people so our group now has some respect.

Ed:  While Bradley has been a disappointment (thought he was having a good game but missed that shot and his turnover at the end was strangely bad), I’ve seen that ending a ton of times in games as we all have. I think you are most vulnerable (1) right after you score, and (2) in stoppage time before end of half and end of game. There are 4 or 5 things you can blame for that last goal, and Bradley is just one of them. Of course, Donovan would be playing Bradley’s spot if he were on the team, but again, there must have been some issue with Donovan because there’s been absolutely no grumbling from any of the players regarding his removal. That said, Robben is a pain in the but from all I can see yet the Dutch coach is able to manage his personality.

Regardless, this World Cup is great because all the teams are getting closer in ability (it’s resembling the NCAA tournament more and more) than they used to be, and it’s in a time zone that’s easy to watch. And there’s more goals (shaving cream rule? Goalkeeper rule? Style of play shifted? All of the above?).

You also know Ghana is WAY better than Portugal and has something to play for, where as far as I can tell Portugal does not. That’s the trouble. The US must play to a tie with the Germans in some way. I'm hoping for some collusion!!

Scott:  Just watched the last 10 min of the game again, and I feel even worse. There were so many times to have wasted more time and we were so careless with the ball. All we had to do was play keep away. Only a win or draw vs. Germany can get me over this.

On a brighter note, I love how TV viewership is up and how everybody is talking about it. Before, you could tell that when you started talking to a non-soccer person that they had only seen the score. Now most have actually watched the game.

Mark:  The last ten minutes everybody was exhausted and lost their touch. I could not put myself through watching that again. I did not think we were going to hold on until after we got under a minute. Then I thought we had it. The feeling lasted 15 seconds or so.

Ed:  It seems the third tiebreaker used is number of goals scored, which is scary, b/c if Ghana wins 4-3 and we lose 1-0 we are out. The 4th tiebreaker is head to head.

We are 50/50 to make it through because Germany doesn’t have any incentive to do anything but tie us.

Mark:  Germany will play conservatively, but they are going to try and beat us because they don't want a tie that turns into a fluke loss.

Scott:  Yep. We need to at least get that draw. No way Germany takes it easy on us and I expect Ghana to kill Portugal.

This is farlieonfootie saying "See You on Thursday for June 23.

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