Thursday, August 23, 2007

US 0-1 Sweden - Can't win off US soil

The semi-curse of Europe and the bigger curse of non-US based matches continued yesterday as the US men fell to Sweden. The red, white and blue controlled large portions of possession however they could not handle Sweden's counter attacks and were cut apart by their passes. If it weren’t for the wonderful work of Tim Howard in goal, this would have been close to a nightmare.

As it stands, the team as a whole did not look so great. The midfield was incapable of holding up the Swedes and the defensive wings were knocked around all night. However, the most frustrating part of the whole match was the lack in quality of their passing. Time and time again, they just couldn't place the ball where it should have gone, which resulted either in Sweden gaining possession or slowing down the play enough to erase any advantage in attack they might have.

There were a few good field players as Beasley opened up the left side in the first half and improved stuff on the right in the second. Dempsey was good at sneaking in to spots and one-touching balls, although he soft kicked a ball that could have been a goal. Onyewu did a decent job of holding back enough to not get beat by Sweden's quickness and his clearance off the line was pure intelligent soccer. Other then that, not a lot to talk about.

All that said, it is hard to believe that we came just one bounce away from walking out with a tie. If Shaaban hadn't got a little luck off his save of Bradley's 89' header, there would have been a late equalizer. Also, the lone goal Sweden did get very easily could have been called off due to the full body shove that preceded it.

Another good thing is the number of young players who got time in the match. Sal Zizzo, Charlie Davies and Kamani Hill need these types of experiences to grow into full players.

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Blogger Fred said...

I've been counting consecutive passes in possession for the Nats since the '06 WC qualifying rounds--and I thought through the Gold Cup and the Copa (despite the other issues) that the team had been getting better at stringing together possessions. Sure, they couldn't finish, but at least they could hold onto the ball for 5 or six passes.

Yesterday was a throwback--The average successful pass per possession was about 3; but I think it was a toss-up as to which cost the possession most often, poor passing or Crappy First Touch. Suddenly there's a 50-50 ball loose on the field for the other team to gather up.

conversely with the Swedes-they had to be tackled off the ball or have their passed cut out by a US defender (when they weren't sprinting back to recover on a poor man-mark).

And don't get me started on how often the clearances "out of play" by the US didn't actually make it "out of play" and fell to the feet of an on-rushing Swede.

Is there something in the air in Yurrip that make the Nats lose all their "skills?"

11:51 AM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Is there something in the air in Yurrip that make the Nats lose all their "skills?"

That is the truely the question. Thanks for all the information on the pass counts. I agree with the first touch issue. If you can't control the ball, you are going to get killed.

1:35 PM  

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