Monday, June 29, 2009

Almost Champions-Brazil 3, US 2

After blowing a 2-0 lead against Brazil and almost winning the Confederations Cup, I suppose some part of me should be upset the day after. But I'm having a hard time summoning that emotion. The reality is that in one week we played Spain and Brazil to the best of our ability, winning once and losing a close game against two of the elite sides in the world. It's just hard to not be generally pleased. But things are never quite as they seem right after the game. We weren't ever really as bad as we played against Brazil the first time, but no one should be confusing the US with an elite side just because we held our own for a week. Respect is earned on a longer timeline than that.

That said, almost all good things to say about yesterday. Dempsey got a terrific touch on an early ball from Spector, who needs to stay in the lineup. Just thought I'd say that again. The second goal featured some wonderful interplay between Donovan and Davies, with Donovan getting a goal that he certainly deserved. I thought the most impressive part of the play was actually Davies' ball back to Donovan, a one touch play that went past the defender and put the ball directly on Landon's feet. So often we lack the class to complete that ball at a key moment like that. Davies has continued to impress. Kudos also to Donovan, for not attempting to pass when he was all alone 15 yards from goal (I kid, I kid). My only criticism is of Feilhaber, who simply needs to stop committing dumb fouls. And I wish he would, because he's an orchestrator out on the pitch.

I mostly agree with ArmenoRican about the subs. I thought that Bornstein in as a midfielder was particuarly strange at that phase of the game, though I didn't think he played badly necessarily. The Casey substitution I sort of understood, if only because so little time was left and we had an opportunity on a corner kick. But the lack of depth (Bradley suspended, no Maurice Edu, the fact that DeMarcus Beasley died five years ago) really hurt in terms of the substitutions available too, to be fair.

It's interesting watching this Brazil team. I can see why Dunga gets criticized, because they really don't play with flair, even when they win. I do think some of that is just about personnel; Brazil doesn't really have as many "showy" players as they've had in the past, Robinho aside. That backline is full of tough, physical players like Maicon. Hell, they're practically Italy back there. Except good. And they still get forward. In the end, the Brazilian fans are just going to have to accept that this will never be the most beautiful team they have. But they just might win the World Cup anyway.

For the United States, the B team is evidently starting out the Gold Cup, but a date in Mexico City isn't too far away. Hopefully this is the American squad we'll see from now on.

No comments:

Post a Comment