Thoughts for last night.
1. Ok, Arena, you have done your job so far. Given a lot of minutes to a lot of different players. But the evaluations need to stop now. Need to put a more cohesive unit out there the last two matches and see if we can gel as a team.
2. The defense was horrible. The center pairing of Hedges and Gonzalez doesn't work. Do not use them together anymore.
3. Ngabe was MOTM and controlled the midfield. His paring with Bradley was good and he worked well with Zardes and Arriola on the outside.
4. Does anybody have any doubt as to who the keeper is on this team? If so you haven't been paying attention. Howard is still a world class keeper.
So here are my player ratings.
Howard - Starter in Russia barring any injury.
Lichaj - Neutral. Had some good moments. A great goal. And as bad a back pass to the keeper as you will ever see.
Gonzalez - Neutral. Ok defense especially in the air. But can't pass the ball. Great goal.
Hedges - Minus. How in the world was this guy MLS defender of the year????? He looks bad.
Morrow - Neutral. Overall ok but man when he makes a mistake its a doozy. The misjudged long ball was horrific.
Arriola - Neutral. Moved the ball down the wing well but just turned it over too much.
Zardes - Neutral. Much like Arriola. Did some good work on the outside but then couldn't find Dempsey or Altidore. Did score what should have counted as the first goal.
Ngabe - Plus. MOTM>
Bradley - Neutral. Ok match and didn't turn the ball over.
Dempsey - Neutral. Clearly has lost a bit of speed but he flat knows the game and his assist on the Lichaj goal was a supreme ball.
Altidore - Neutral. Problem is he's a forward and he needs to find the net.
Now for my rant. It is awful hard to play a solid game when you play a hack wad team like El Salvador. If there was ever a game that screamed for replay last night was it.
1. The first goal by Zardes was NOT offside. In fact it wasn't even a tough call.
2. The late cleats up tackle to the back of Lichaj's leg is a red card. That is intent to injure a player and could have ended his career. Ref didn't even give any card.
3. The purple nurple and biting on Altidore are both red cards. Neither was called. Its tough to see in the jumble of players. So a slight pass to the ref here. Video replay catches this easy and that's red card #2.
4. The punch to the gut on Morris is a red card. This has to be seen by the center or AR. No excuses it right in the play. Red card #3 missed.
So to the center and both ARs. Giant fail. Your number one job is to keep the game safe for the players. You did NOT do that.
Kudos to the US, and especially Altidore, for not retaliating. I was actually surprised we didn't but all that would have accomplished would have been to get carded and miss the next match.
Now if that had been me I would have kept my cool during the match. I would have kept my cool after the match. I would have kept my cool on the team bus on the way back to the hotel. But then I would be just a guy on the street I would go find that POS that bit me, pinched my nipples, and kneed my crotch and he would have gotten some old fashioned American west justice.
Can you tell I am pissed?
I have zero respect for ES and most of their players. There is no place for that in soccer. CONCACAF better be handing out some after the fact punishment. I would love to see the centers final match report card. IF he realizes he missed some bad fouls then he can write that in his report and CONCACAF can then review the tapes and make after the fact punishment. But if the center doesn't write that in his report then by rules CONCACAF has no ability to go back and watch the tapes.