Saturday, February 11, 2006

US beat Japan 3-2

The first 10-minutes, things did not look so great for the US, but they soon recovered from Japan's initial on slot to take total control of the game. And sure enough, Taylor Twellman found new ways to impress with this outing.

"He's had two very good games," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "He's certainly putting himself in a good position. It's going to be competitive right down the stretch for everybody. But Taylor certainly hasn't hurt his cause."

Far from hurting his case, Taylor got two assists and a goal during his 60-minutes on the field. However, he was not the only New England Revolution player to stand out during the match.

Clint Dempsey (pictured) made his mark on the game as well. He was steady on attacks during his time on the pitch, but the highlight came in the 39th minute when Twellman and Dempsey hooked up on a nice give and go in the box, which Dempsey proceeded to spank into goal. Dempsey then gave a little dance in celebration.

"Clint's played very well,'' Arena said. "Last year, when we had him, I didn't think he had the fitness level to play the international game -- or the mentality to play on both sides of the ball. The experience from last year has helped him. He's a player that dependable on both sides of the ball. He's another player who's positioning himself well.''

I'm glad to see Dempsey get some good words (my one prediction came some what true). I was also happy to see Eddie Johnson get back on the field. He obviously was not up to 100% form, but that will come with more playing time.

I think the biggest disappointment for me had to be Japan's second goal. The fact that Chris Rolfe let it slip between him and the goal post (he was guarding the right post on a corner kick) is just bad play on his part. To be a World Cup caliber player, you need to step up and put you body in the way of those shots, even if it means taking a hard one to the chest.

I am not that concerned that the US surrendered so much ground (and the two goals) during the middle and late portion of the second half since this came after Bruce Arena pulled so much of the offense that had been firing so well during the game. I actually think he was hoping to place more pressure on his defense, seeing as they had not really been tested much in a game and a half at that point.

This was game showed that the Norway outing was not just a one off.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this later, but as for now, I must be going.


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