Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gold Cup Yawner-US 4, Grenada 0

In an effort to not make this a Real Madrid blog (though to be fair, they've been making almost all the club news this summer), a look back at the US Gold Cup opener.

After facing Brazil at the end of the Confederations Cup and losing in one of the most dramatic matches in US history, the Americans got to jog through a match with Grenada on Saturday. It was a trip back through history, as the United States once invaded Grenada for reasons lost to history. I think Reagan was bored or something. In a game that was just as interesting (and long) as that esteemed conflict, the Americans prevailed against all odds and won 4-0 against an island nation of 110,000 people.

What to make of this match? Well Grenada's defending was poor. Really poor. So poor that Stuart Holden got a totally free header from four yards away while two defenders stood idly by. So it's hard to make too much of it. The midfield was dominant, but of course nothing else would really have been acceptable. Even still, Kyle Beckerman's performance did stand out in a positive way. And he has great hair. Almost makes me want to watch Real Salt Lake. Almost.

But the star of the match, particularly with his distribution into the box, was left winger Robbie Rogers. Rogers scored the third goal and assisted on the first two, picking out Freddy Adu for the first and Holden for his free header for the second. Rogers playing well is interesting because the left wing spot could be available for the national team, or at least there are minutes to be found there. Dempsey started in the spot against Brazil, but it's quite possible that Bradley will want to push Dempsey more forward, where he does the most damage. That used to be Beasley's spot, before DeMarcus lost even a basic ability to play the game. All in all, the United States is starting to actually have options all over the pitch. Ching or Davies? Feilhaber or Clark?Along with the Confederations Cup results, this is the most encouraging present development about American football.

Also, a brief defense of Freddy. No, he's never going to be Pele. Or even close. But he's going to be a very solid player for the United States before his career is over. He's only 20. Leave him alone. Hopefully, much like Jozy, he gets some actual quality playing time overseas next year.

The United States faces coup d'etat-ridden Honduras Wednesday. The United States got all they could handle from Honduras in Chicago last month in World Cup qualifying, so this match should be worth tuning in for.

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