Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ass whopped. What's next?

Sure enough, the American irregulars could not beat the nearly full-strength Germans. We all knew this was coming, so let's not dwell too much on the 10-minutes of crap. Instead, let's look at the other 80-minutes.

During the first half, the US looked better then they did during much of the Poland match. The best surprise for me was the work of Steve Cherundolo, Bobby Convey, Pablo Mastoreni and Chris Klein in the midfield. I was expecting a lack of good play by the US, but they found a way to make it happen. The held the ball and switched sides, frustrating the Germans for much of the first half. They took the 64,000 fans out of it.

Steve Cherundolo and Bobby Convey have got to be happy with the effort they put into the match. It seemed like every American play started with one of them. They were also able to get some great forward passes to Eddie Johnson, who is still trying to figure out how Oliver Kahn blocked that header in the 66th minute.

For Johnson, it was an okay night. He had some good explosions and tripped up Germany's backline a few times, but he still seemed to be lacking just a bit. Still, he looked much better out there then Brian Ching did. Sadly, I think Ching's chance of making the World Cup squad walked off when Taylor Twellman came on for him in the 60th minute. Ching just was not noticeable, even when his team was taking it right to the opposition.

On defense, Cory Gibbs and Jimmy Conrad found every way possible to deny Germany easy access to the box. They just swallowed every attack Germany made for the first 45-minutes. Even after the first goal in the 46th, they still held it together till about minute 70. Then all went bad.

When the defense fell down, they could not figure out how to get themselves back up. Players were missing their marks and easy turnovers were being made. It was an ugly 10-minutes of soccer from the red, white and blue.

Okay, the first defeat of 2006 is over and done, now we get to figure out what went wrong and move ahead. As bad as a 4-1 final score is, it could have been much worse.



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