Monday, February 20, 2006

US take it to Guatemala

The US proved that they can win even when the backup to the backup team is on the pitch. Okay, maybe I'm underselling the 17 players that made-up the roster yesterday, but the idea is still the same.

The big winner of the cold afternoon had to be Chris Klein (pictured). He assisted with 2 goals and found the net once himself. The sad thing for him is that the US has many outstanding midfielders. Still, he should get a strong second look by the Bruce thanks to his outing yesterday.

Brain Ching needed a great day to keep his name alive for Germany, but I think he fell a little short. Don't get me wrong, he had a very good day, but not the dominant day that I think he needed. His goal right before the half (thanks to an assist from Klein) was wonderful, but his play otherwise was not as noticeable. Again, it was good play, but with Twellman looking the way he did in previous matches, he needed better then what he gave.

It was good to see Eddie Johnson come in and get a quick goal. After the match he said that he was physically back, but that he still needed to build his confidence. A goal like that helps a great deal on the confidence side of things. Still, Eddie did look a little weak on the passes and seemed over eager to try out his fancy footwork. He is better, but still has a month or so to go before he is where he was.

Ben Olsen has got to be smiling this morning because he too had a very good game. His 25-yard shotgun shot (with an assist from Klein) was just what the US needed. He caught Ricardo Jerez completely off guard and changed the entire mood of the game. From that point on, the US was in control.

Eddie Pope might not have scored this outing, but he once again proved why he should be in Germany. His skill on the backline brought need calm to a young defense. The perfect example of this was when Bobby Boswell misjudged a run by Marvin Avila allowing him to get behind him. Eddie came in and fouled Avila right outside the box to prevent a one-on-one with the keeper. Boswell made a mistake, but Pope was there to fix it.

Talking about Boswell, even with the issue stated above, I think he should be proud of his first cap. He showed some strength on defense and tried to get involved offensively. With a few more years of play under his belt, he will make for a strong member of the US squad.

On the other side of the ball, it's nice to know that Carlos Ruiz still knows how to fall and call for phantom fouls. I don't understand why this man always chooses to go down. Honestly, he is a good player, but he blows chances by diving. Not only does it prevent chances from happening at the time, but also it makes refs far less likely to call true fools against him when they do happen. At his re-signing with Dallas he mentioned that he was going to fix some of the issues that he had last year. Let's hope one of them is the amount of time he spends on the ground.

For the US, we will get a better look into the Bruce's brain when his side travels to Germany to face Poland on March 1. Which domestic players have proven them worthy of a trip to Europe? We should know a roster soon.


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