Wednesday, March 22, 2006

US v Germany - The oncoming ass whopping

In just about three hours the US will take the field in Dortmund against Germany. All indications point to a German domination.

Since this is not a FIFA international date, clubs do not need to release players. However, the German FA was able to convince the Bundesliga to release players. This comes as little surprise as German is in a must win situation. Sure, this is just a warm-up match, but after the outing in Italy on the first of the month, all of German soccer knows that a result is needed.

For the US, they will be without most of their European crew (Claudio Reyna, Oguchi Onyewu, DaMarcus Beasley and Eddie Lewis) plus Landon Donovan, Frankie Hejduk and Eddie Pope are out due to injury or illness and finally Clint Dempsey will not be there because of a fight he had with a New England teammate.

The 'ass whopping' in the subject line is starting to make sense.

It's not that the US will field a horrible team, it's just that they will field an under experienced group made up mostly of domestic players. So one way to look at this is MLS vs. Bundesliga. MLS has made some great advances in the last 10-years, but I think it would be a stretch (or even a lie) to say it is at top German league level.

As far as the game itself, well the weather will be better then their last visit. Temperatures should be right around freezing, but no snow is predicted. Also, the ground is not as frozen as the last match.

When it comes to players, the US will need a miracle in their midfield if they want to stay competitive. Be it Pablo Mastroeni or Bobby Convey, someone needs to take control of the midline the way Reyna would if he were there. With Steve Cherundolo and/or Cory Gibbs on the backline, there should be some good management in front of goal, so the midfield will not have to be overly defensive.

Upfront, Eddie Johnson and Taylor Twellman need to make the most of their limited chances. I have a feeling Johnson is going to catch the German's out of position a few times. If he can use his speed to get in a one on one with Oliver Kahn, then we might just be in for a bit of a surprise.

And that might just be the way for the US to prevent a whopping. The Germans will be looking for goals early, thus they will play in a much more offensive attack mood. This will allow for some chances on the counter attacks. That said, the US should not just sit in a defensive posture with occasional counters, instead they should more the ball around and frustrate the overburdened Germans. But to do such a thing, you need a good midfield.

The great news is all the pressure is on Germany. They will have 67,000 fans cheering them on, but also booing them if they fail to perform. The chances of an American victory here are not so great, but it is not impossible. If a player wants to make a mark on Bruce concerning the World Cup roster, this is a fabulous time to do it. If you can cause something to happen in a very hostile environment against a stronger (at least on paper) team, then you might just be ready for the big event.

US vs. Germany
2:25pm EST



Blogger Xanthippas said...

Hey, great prediction on that game ;)

1:35 PM  

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