Thursday, February 08, 2007

US 2-0 Mexico - Game Wrap

The coaches might be different by the score remains the same as the US continued their control of Mexico on US soil.

The big hero of the night was Jimmy Conrad (pictured). Not only did he get the first goal, but his defensive play was superb, his passes were smart and his leadership abilities shined. Time and time again, Mexico took it to the US in the first half, only to have Conrad play a key part in breaking it all up. Chris Albright had more then he could handle against Jared Borgetti, but Conrad was able to place himself in the right spot multiple times to cover.

But Conrad was not the only good show on the night as Jonathan Bornstein, Tim Howard and Carlos Bocanegra put in their share, which is good because Mexico was attacking all night long. With the offense being absent for the first half, it was up to the defense to calm the team and they did.

Still, Mexico did not score just because of America's blanket defense, they were also unable to finish at least three balls that rolled right in front of goal with no defenders near by. The frustration only grew with every missed chance.

Thankfully, the second half was not just a defensive story as Convey, Donovan and Pablo Mastroeni all woke up enough to start moving the team forward. There were still way to few good chances at goal, but they were able to finish two of them, so it was a split.

Donovan's corner for the first goal was perfectly placed making it easy for Conrad to get a head on it. The second goal took an odd bounce at the start, but Donovan's run was perfect. He split two defenders, drew out Oswaldo Sánchez and just knocked one home. That is the Donovan we all want, decisive and smart.

In all, the team was still lacking up top as both Chris Rolfe and, to a lesser degree, Eddie Johnson failed to show. The midfield had their moments, but seemed unable to play in close confines and lost control of the ball much too often. The defense was solid, but still allowed a few too many really good opportunities.

This was better then the Denmark game, but there are still many places for improvement.

One last note, Oswaldo Sánchez is a thug and US Soccer should send tape of his post second goal activities to FIFA. In case you missed it, he tried to trip Eddie Johnson as he was running over to celebrate Donovan's goal. Thankfully for Johnson, much like his goalkeeping on the night, Sánchez's was a failure.

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