USA vs. Argentina: Match Night

USA vs. Argentina: Match Night

U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. Argentina: Match Night

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Good evening folks. The u.S. national team is set to face Argentina today at Giants Stadium in what should be close to a sellout crowd. The fans arrived here pretty early and it’s looking like a good day/night for soccer.

I will be doing a running commentary during the match so feel free to follow allong here. Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

Enjoy the match and follow our match night coverage after the jump:

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FINAL- USA 0, Argentina 0. The non-soccer people call scoreless draws boring. Tonight’s match was anything but. The Americans saved their best performance of this rough stretch of friendlies for last.

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90th minute+- Five minutes of stoppage time. Is this ref insane? There’s lightning and heavy rain.

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90th minute- Hejduk for Beasley and I can’t imagine there’s much stoppage time.

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87th minute- Mascherano just saw a red card for a vicious tackle on Donovan. Donovan is walking off and looks okay.

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83rd minute- Freddy Adu draws a dangerous free kick as the rain starts to come down REAL hard.

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81st minute- Tonight’s attendance is 78,682.

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78th minute- Eddie Lewis coming on for Heath Pearce. Great game from Pearce tonight.

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76th minute- I’m still trying to understand why the referee would ruin a great game with a red for dissent.

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74th minute- Kljestan on for Eddie Johnson.

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72nd minute- Mastroeni just got a second yellow for a phantom call. No idea what that was for. The USA is down to 10 men. Mind-boggling call.

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70th minute- Johnson is back on the field.

Yellow to Maurice Edu for a rough challenge.

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69th minute- Johnson appears to have hurt his ankle on a USA attack.

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63rd minute- Frankie Hejduk is on the bench for this match and in uniform. Why is that impressive? He played in the Crew’s loss to San Jose last night (okay, so maybe it’s not that long a flight from Columbus, but still).

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61st minute- Freddy Adu is coming in for Clint Dempsey and DeMerit for Onyewu.

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60th minute- Jay DeMerit will be coming in for Onyewu shortly.

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59th minute- Argentina is definitely a different team when Messi is not in the match. Their attack still creates chances but the speed of their attack is a notch or two slower.

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57th minute- Argentina with another dangerous free kick attempt.

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54th minute- Appeals for a penalty are denied after Aguero looked like he was brought down by Howard. It looked like Aguero jumped over Howard and wasn’t touched.

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50th minute- Donovan has definitely come out with more attacking purpose in the second half. He looks very dangerous early on here.

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49th minute- The Americans have come out with some extra energy at halftime.

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48th minute- Onyewu with a header off the crossbar.

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48th minute- Donovan with a shot blocked out for a corner.

Messi was also subbed at halftime.

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47th minute- Maurice Edu is on for Michael Bradley.

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HALFTIME- My observations from the first half-

Tim Howard has been outrageous today. Maybe it’s the green jersey. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s playing his last game at Giants Stadium. Whatever it is, Howard is making a clear case for being one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

Heath Pearce has put a chokehold on the starting left back spot. He was good in the first two games against England and Spain, but tonight he’s been top notch and probably the best field player for the Americans.

Dempsey and Beasley have been active tonight and concerns about them being rusty heading into qualifying have been answered.

Michael Bradley has looked very good tonight. I hear complaints about him getting starts despite some shaky performances but today he has shown vision and work rate that I just don’t see other American midfielders providing. Also, he turns the ball over but many of his turnovers happen when he delivers a smart pass where a teammate should be making a run but doesn’t.

Landon Donovan has been okay in his 100th appearance. He’s done a lot of dirty work today, but hasn’t done as much in the attack as you would like.

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HALFTIME- USA 0, Argentina 0. A very good first half from the Americans. Yes, Howard has had to make three or four very good saves but the U.S. defense has done well to stand up to a dynamic and dangerous Argentina attack.

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45th minute- Howard SAVE!! WOW, his best save of the day is a jaw-dropper.

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42nd minute- Heath Pearce has been very good tonight. Bradley with a great tackle and Johnson puts a header on goal.

A good game all around from the Americans except for the final pass in the attacking third.

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40th minute- Donovan is still complaining about the penalty no-call. He needs to work on his fall a bit f he’s going to really sell that.

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36th minute- Pearce with a long-range blast that forces a very good save from Abbodonzanzieri. Nice pass from Bradley on that one.

Howard with another good save. He’s been great tonight.

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34th minute- The Americans have done well so far, and US fans should take not that Mexico was down 3-0 by now to Argentina.

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32nd minute- Dempsey with a deflected shot that nearly goes in. The USA corner leads to nothing. Argentina counters but the Americans hold up as Beasley makes a nice play. Beasley has looked fresh today as well. He doesn’t look rusty at all.

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29th minute- Califf with a bad foul in a dangerous spot about 30 yards in front of goal.

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28th minute- Howard with a clutch save on a Julio Cruz shot. Messi splits the US defense with a perfect pass but Howard thwarts a wide-open Cruz.

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26th minute- The USA attack is way too stagnant. Not enough running off the ball and no anticipation of passes.

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21st minute- Aguero just got a header to the skull and is a bit wobbly.

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17th minute- Heinze with a free header that goes over the bar. Who was marking him?

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15th minute- Eddie Johnson has been active early on and doesn’t look too bad so far.

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13th minute- USA with a spell of possession here. They need to create a chance though.

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10th minute- Clint Dempsey looks very lively today. After two subpar performances (okay bad performances) recently, he has come out to play tonight.

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8th minute- The USA midfield has to be better at avoiding turnovers because the Argentina counter is just plain deadly.

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7th minute- Argentina with another dangerous sequence but Califf clears the danger. Another Argentina corner.

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5th minute- Tim Howard with two clutch saves on Cruz. Argentina is pressing, but here comes the USA.

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4th minute- Argentina just looks so scary every time they get the ball. There’s just a speed they can hit at times that the USA won’t be able to handle unless they stay disciplined and compact defensively.

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2nd minute- And we’re off. Messi gets his first touch and his halted by Michael Bradley.

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PRE-GAME- Argentina looks to be lining up in a 3-4-3.

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PRE-GAME- Donovan and Macherano are the captains for today’s match.

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PRE-GAME- Kasey Keller was honored before the match for earning his 100th cap last year.

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PRE-GAME- Argentina’s lineup:

———————-Cruz——————–

–Rodriguez——–Messi——Aguero——–

—————Gago——Mascherano———-

Heinze—-Rodriguez—Zabaleta—–Burdisso

—————-Abbondanzieri—————–

Interesting grouping. Zabaleta is normally a defensive midfielder, but with Gago and Mascherano here, it would seem like either Zabaleta is playing in the back today or Argentina is going to play some sort of 3-2-4-1 with Gago in a more advanced role.

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PRE-GAME- Messi, Aguero, Mascherano, Gago, Maxi Rodriguez, Heinze and Cruz are in the starting group.

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PRE-GAME- Still haven’t seen the lineups but Messi and Aguero are warming up with the group that looks like the starting lineup.

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PRE-GAME- I think we’ll have the US in a 4-2-3-1 rather than a 4-4-2, with Donovan playing in a playmaking rule. That formation worked well against Spain in the first half, though part of the reason it worked well was because of Adu’s work in the playmaking role. I’m not sure if Donovan will be able to do the same things, though his speed could cause problems for

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PRE-GAME- Still waiting on the Argentina rosters. There’s a problem with uniform numbers that is stalling proceedings.

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PRE-GAME- Cooper’s exclusion will anger some U.S. fans but Bob Bradley was pretty clear in his press conference on Saturday that Cooper is still a work in progress.

Danny Califf gets the call ahead of Jay DeMerit in central defense. I know there are plenty of DeMerit fans but he didn’t play much down the stretch for Watford while Califf is in his season in Denmark.

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PRE-GAME- No Freddy Adu in the starting lineup today, which is a head scratcher in my mind. Eddie Johnson has been active in the first two matches

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PRE-GAME- Here is the U.S. lineup for the match:

———————-Johnson———————-

Beasley————-Donovan————Dempsey

————–Bradley——Mastroeni————–

Pearce—–Califf———-Onyew—-Cherundolo

———————Howard——————–

One of the players who won’t be playing today is Kenny Cooper, who isn’t active for the match. Cooper, Drew Moor and Dom Cervi are inactive for the match.

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