Sunday, June 24, 2007

US 2-1 Mexico - US comes from behind to take Gold and Player Grades

USA 2-1 Mexico
The US men came back from a halftime deficit to win the Gold Cup making it the first time since 1934 that America came from behind to beat Mexico. The story of this game is really a story of two halves as the US kept getting schooled in the first half but flipped the tables in the second. Perhaps the best reason for this change was the work of Ricardo Clark in the second 45. He brought some great passing and forced the team forward. This change forced Mexico to start attacks from deep in their own side causing fewer chances for El Tri. Where as Mexico threatened again and again in the first half, the second saw only scattered offensive sparks.

As happy as this moment is for the US, there is still the matter of failing to finish. There were at least three more fantastic opportunities for the Nats that they failed to connect. Had any of those found the net, the match would have been much less exciting in the final few moments. That said, Mexico made next to nothing of the many chances they could have had. Only 1 of 10 corner kicks resulted in something really scary and twice the ball went right in front of the goal face with no one getting to it.

Mexico: Jose Andres Guardado (1) 44'
USA: Landon Donovan (4) pk 62', Benny Feilhaber (1) 73'

Player Grades
Starting XI
Tim Howard (GK) - He came up with some wonderful saves and helped guide his backline. A
Jonathan Spector (D) - Spector was out matched on the day and was run ragged by Guardado. Hope his head is doing better. C
Oguchi Onyewu (D) - The Gooch did well in the center but when he went to cover out wide, he was caught off. He used his size well but his speed, or lack there of, almost caused some big pain. B+
Carlos Bocanegra (D) - Go Carlos Go. He kept popping up everywhere he was needed. His cover kept the shortcomings of Spector and Bornstein less painful. A
Jonathan Bornstein (D) - At the start of the match things looked real bad along the side but as the pressure fell on the back, Bornstein recovered and started interrupting. Still, he got stripped to start the Mexican attack that finished with a goal. C+
Clint Dempsey (M/F) - Dempsey silently worked his way into space and played some good in balls but he was looking frustrated as time went by. Don't know if he was just tired or if Bradley's chances were not to his liking but it was a poor end to a good tournament. B
Benny Feilhaber (M) - That goal alone is enough to get him a good mark, however much of the rest of his match was not so wonderful. He did work better with Clark then Mastroeni. B+
Pablo Mastroeni (M) - He did not assert himself and had bad first touch. C+
DaMarcus Beasley (M) - Seems like a number of people didn't think he had that great of a match but I thought he did a good jump of being where needed to his passes were some of the best (especially early in the match). B+
Brian Ching (F) - The proof that soccer is not a fair is seen in Brian's lack of a goal in this match. He had great ball control and forced his way around players. He is still not McBride quality but unlike more of the US's forwards, he is not afraid to attack. A-
Landon Donovan (F/M) - I didn't think his first half was that great but in the second he turned it around. Started placing the balls were they needed to go and making those wonderful runs. A-

Ricardo Clark (M) - On for Mastroeni in the 46'. Mexico didn't know how to react to Clark. The Red, White and Blue started slipping behind them because of the work of Clark, plus he managed to track back on defense. Mexico could not get themselves together due in large part his work. A
Taylor Twellman (F) - On for Dempsey in the 69'. Taylor pushed harder in this outing but he acted more as a supplier then an attacker. B-
Frank Simek (D) - On for Spector in the 72'. He held up his side alright thanks to Mexico looking a little tired in the final 20-minutes. Nothing fantastic, nothing horrible. B-

This game will go down as a classic between the two nations and was a wonderful ending to the 2007 Gold Cup.

The win gives the US the wonderful reward of a 2009 berth into the Confederations Cup in South Africa. Not only will this give the Nats a number of difficult challenges in the various World Cup stadiums a year ahead of the finals but it will also provide them with a generous financial windfall.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Credit must be given to Bradley to identify what was needed to adjust to the first half onslaught.

Great sub at the half.

9:52 AM  

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