Wednesday, August 22, 2007

US vs. Sweden - Looking for something in Europe

US vs. Sweden
2:30pm ET/11:30am PT
TV: Fox Soccer Channel (with 30min post)
Internet: Text commintary from US Soccer's Match Tracker

The US men return to action today on a continent where they have not had much success. Is today the day the European curse dies? The last time the US beat a European team in Europe was against Iceland in 1993. The last time they won on the continent was against Romania in 1991. Edit: Wow, did I ever blow this thought. It is strange how I can wake up with some idea in my mind and hold it even when it is wrong. As noted in the comments, the US beat Poland March 1 of last year in Germany. In was the match in the snow. So I could say that the US hasn’t beat a European team on their home soil since Iceland, however, that is also false (Poland in Poland March 31, 2004). Sorry about the mistakes but I am, at more times then I care to admit, a bit of an idiot. Anyway, thanks to everyone who corrected my obvious errors.

The team did get their first ever win as an official FIFA team in Europe some 91-years ago (Aug. 20 to be exact) against none other then Sweden. Will history repeat itself?

Sweden brings a very strong team with a great ability to score and fill out the midfield. They also have a knack for being sharp on set pieces but their defense is still a little iffy at times. In Euro qualifying they have only given up 4 goals from 7 matches so it is not that often that they stink in the back but it is a slight opening that the US must exploit.

A key factor in the exploitation of this opening is Landon Donovan who, as we all know only so well, doesn't have the best of history in Europe. If he can push the run towards Sweden and link up with Dempsey or Beasley, they will be able to cut their way through the line. There are other European based midfield options but since the team seems setup to flow through Donovan, if he isn't producing, things get a little more difficult.

It will be a true test of the backline to see how they deal with the speed Sweden will bring to the pitch. In Gold Cup play, there were a number of times we were beat out wide only to have the middle backs step in to make the save, but Sweden is much better then most of the Concacaf opposition. If they are given a number of chances, they will finish a few of them.

Predicted lineup:
FW: Dempsey
MID: Beasley, Bradley, Mastroeni, Feilhaber, Donovan
DF: Bornstein, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Cherundolo
GK: Howard

Predictions: Me US 2-2 Sweden, Wife US 1-3 Sweden

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Blogger Brian said...

Uh, we beat Poland in Germany in 2006. Deuce got the 1-0 goal. We also beat Austria in Vienna in 1998.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous tsingletonvt said...

Hi Mike,

Minor correction (I think). I believe that the US beat Poland 4-0 on 3/31/2004 in Poland. I know it was a friendly, but I do not know anything about the strength of the Poland team on the field that day.

11:11 AM  
Blogger ERic said...

Yeah. What Brian said. The win in Vienna (0-3) gave us the delusion that we were prepared for France '98.

11:30 AM  
Blogger ric said...

You have a good blog, but there is completely erroneous information in the first paragraph. USA has won in Europe multiple times since the matches you cited. Our most recent European victory against a European team in Europe was only last year. We beat Poland in Germany.

12:00 PM  

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