Here a synopsis of the next two matches for the MNT. Really need to get three points here. Should be some good soccer and with Europe over its all about MLS and MNT now!
Posted 08 June 2017 - 06:14 PM
Starting lineup is out and its the same as what I wrote in the article. As per my standard you won't see me now until at least half time. USA USA USA!!!!
Posted 08 June 2017 - 07:57 PM
First half was interesting. Well played by the US with a lot of possession and dangerous positioning in the final third. But they couldn't find the final pass although Altidore had two clear header chances and put them right at the keeper. T&T had several very good shots but couldn't find the net either. Both keepers had a solid save.
Ngabe and Pulisic have been excellent.
Yedlin and Villafana have been very effective coming out of the back.
Dempsey has been not really on his game. But he did pick it up the last 15 minutes.
Altidore is working hard and getting his touches and shots. Gotta find the net.
Bradley has been solid and controlling the middle along with Johnson and Ngabe.
Back line has been in great position but Brooks needs to be a little careful pushing up without cover.
Referee has been fair at best. Terrible decision late in the half to give advantage to the US instead of a free kick from 20 yards out in the middle of the field. The possession was wide and behind the play. Clear to call the foul there and not advantage. Nothing wrong with waiting a couple of seconds to see IF advantage developed but he actually gave T&T the advantage by not blowing the whistle.
Overall ok with that half. Couple of lapses getting back on defense but that is what can happen when you are pushing everybody forward to score. Feels like a game where if we can get one early in the half we might put in a couple more.
Posted 08 June 2017 - 08:56 PM
Nice half. Made the changes to the attack they needed. Much more direct in the final third....going at the goal. Subs played well and gave Dempsey, Altidore, and Johnson some rest for Sunday. Acosta had several nice runs and passes, Bedoya was steady, and Wood hit the post or it would have been 3-0. Still 2-0 was a solid win. Now lets hope Costa Rica takes care of Panama at home and we will move up to third in the group.
MOTM? No its not Pulisic! Got to be Darlington Ngabe. Was just all over the field with great ball control, dribbling at players, and finding open runners. His best match yet for the MNT by far.
On to Azteca Sunday night.
Posted 09 June 2017 - 07:20 AM
Altidore's pass that set up the second goal was fantastic!
Posted 10 June 2017 - 08:53 PM
Have been pondering how I think we should play tomorrow night in Azteca. Some key things to consider.
1. We did get the needed three points against T&T.
2. Dempsey was not sharp against T&T and was visibly mad when Arena took him out. I don't think this will carry over as its just not Clints makeup. Question is was he subbed because he was playing weakly or to get him rest for Mexico. Or both?
3. Darlington Ngabe was my MOTM. Can't see him on the bench.
4. Villafana was fine in the back and moved up to attack down the flank a lot. However, his crosses into the box weren't that good.
5. Yedlin also attacked up the right flank. But his services were better. He has to be on the field.
6. Somebody needs to be paired in the middle with Bradley to provide defensive support and to link the ball forward. Cameron plays CM in the Premier League. One option would be to put him in the middle and bring in Besler or Gonzalez in the back.
7. Wood is still the fastest forward next to Morris but I don't think you can sit Altidore AND Dempsey. Wood has a much better overall game than Morris. Morris' strongest game is to come in later against tired legs.
Posted 10 June 2017 - 09:11 PM
Another option and the US has played this before and Arena has used this formation the first time he was the coach. And that is a 3-5-1-1.
There are several advantages to this approach.
1. It allows us to use three big bodies in the back. Pick between Brooks, Cameron, Gonzalez, and Belser.
2. It allows us the play with speed on the flanks in Johnson and Yedlin and both have the energy levels to play full field.
3. It allows a second DM to pair next to Bradley. McCarty would provide a bit better defensive coverage but Acosta would be a bit stronger in supporting the attack.
4. Multiple ways to play the attack. Dempsey, Altidore, and Wood. All link well with Pulisic and have their strengths.
Now the obvious flaw. They started in Columbus against Mexico and did not look good in that formation. By the time Klinsmann changed back to a 4-4-2 they were already down a goal. This set of players is different and I think Arena has them understanding better what their roles should be. But in the end I suspect we will see a 4-4-2 but I don't think the midfield with be a diamond. That leaves Bradley to alone in the middle.
Posted 11 June 2017 - 03:51 PM
A little more food for thought, especially since the O's game is so horribly pathetic. One thing I haven't pointed out yet is the insane card accumulation rules CONCACAF has for the hexagonal. There is no point at which a card you have already gotten goes away. So once you get a yellow card that stays with you for every match. Until you get another yellow then you miss the next match. Only then do you start fresh. What this could mean for tonight is what lineup Arena trots out there and how careful we have to play. The next match we have is the home match in September against CR. This is likely a game we must and should win. However, right now Altidore, Alejandro Bedoya, Besler, Bradley, Brooks and Cameron are sitting on yellow cards.
While none of those are irreplaceable the simple fact is that going into the CR match you want to have all your players available. Of these guys, Altidore, Brooks, Bradley, and Cameron would be a pretty big blow if you didn't have them. Now here is what will happen tonight.
1. Mexico is at home. They WILL hack our players....a lot. This is not any kind of bias thing on my part. This is how they play us at home and has been for years.
and why is that?
2. CONCACAF referees by and large hate us. They will let Mexico get away with all kinds of ticky tacky hacks on our guys but the flip side will see them pull cards out on our guys. In fact the fairest refs we usually see our either the Mexican officials (which we clearly wont have tonight) and the Canadians.
So I am really interested to see how Arena stacks the deck tonight. Does he go for it or does he play it careful and keep strings on the guys sitting on cards (and perhaps not even start them). I can't imagine Bradley not starting. But I can easily see him sitting Brooks and Cameron and starting Besler and Gonzalez as the CBs. Remember this is the same pairing that earned a point last qual cycle at Azteca/
Less than four hours till kick off.....I am jacked.....
Posted 11 June 2017 - 07:19 PM
Don't even know what to say about this lineup. I get Ream over Besler. I get Arriola and Acosta over Ngabe (sort of). I get the formation, in fact one of the formation I suggested was exactly this a 3-5-1-1.
But Cuzan? Did Arena SEE the game the other night. TImmy was huge. Beasley? I get his huge energy but his best days are long ago over.
I tend to support the coaches more than most. I will try and stick to that now too. But man oh man this is a shake my head lineup. I give him credit for one thing. NO WAY Mexico was thinking anything along these lines!
Posted 11 June 2017 - 07:59 PM
I still think Bradley was trying to turn the ball over and there just wasn't anyone to give it to
This is a hell of a match so far.
Posted 11 June 2017 - 08:07 PM
Man, the Mexico players are dropping like flies. We might win this one by forfeit.
Posted 11 June 2017 - 08:29 PM
First half thoughts.
1. Hate to start with the Ref but he is not doing a good job. He has called a foul on every single corner sent into the box. Every one. He missed two blatant cards in the first couple of minutes on Mexico throwing elbows. And on one of them he didn't even call a foul.
2. That shot by Bradley is extremely difficult to pull off. Ochoa was out just barely far enough that he could chip it over him and just under the bar.
3. Bad attempt at a poke tackle by Beas on the Mexico goal. But he should have had help once the attacker cut to the 18.
4. Pulisic is trying almost too much. He has been very close on a couple of touches to get Wood in on goal. But he needs to just relax a little especially on the dribble.
5. Mexico used two subs in the first half. That could present them some challenges later in the game.
6. While Mexico has had the possession, we have had every bit as good a chances as they have. In fact right before the Mexico goal Wood should have made it 2-0 but didn't get his foot on the loose ball.
7. Lastly, I will finish with the Ref. If you are going to call it tight then I am ok with that. But get a grip on what you are going to card. Very poor decision making. Oh and one more thing. Your mechanics suck. When you call a hand ball in the box you raise your arm straight up in the air. You do NOT point forward. For a second I though you called a PK and not the hand ball. Unreal at this level you can screw up the most basic mechanics.
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