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USA vs. Spain: Matchday Commentary

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Good afternoon folks. The USA-Spain match will be kicking off shortly and today should offer us a very good look at whether the Americans can rebound from last week’s awful showing against England.

The USA lineup for today’s match should make USA fans happy because we will finally get to see Freddy Adu start against a top opponent. Check out the starting lineup after the jump.

I will be doing a live commentary during the match so if you want to follow along, and don’t care about having the result spoiled for the tape-delayed showing of the match, then be sure to stay here for the latest on the match. Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

Stay here for all pre-game discussions and for the match itself.

Enjoy the action.

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FINAL- Spain 1, USA 0. Spain didn’t overrun the Americans like England did, but never looked too troubled, although Freddy Adu certainly was a handful in the first half.

What I liked today: Adu, Bocanegra, Howard, Eddie Lewis, Bradley in the first half.

What I didn’t like today: Eddie Johnson, Bradley in the second half, Eddie Johnson’s first touch, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson’s shot, Josh Wolff’s cameo, Eddie Johnson’s headers.

Share your thoughts on the match below.

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90th minute- Johnson get a nice ball into the area, but then sends a shot on goal so week that any goalkeeper older than 10 in the world would have saved it.

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90th minute- Bradley botches a header on a nice ball in from Hejduk. Bradley’s been playing on fumes for about 20 minutes. Not sure why he’s still out there.

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88th minute- "Eddie Johnson has had a good couple of games here." I wouldn’t go that far.

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87th minute- Mastroeni for Dempsey.

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82nd minute- Michael Bradley looked tired on the goal. Can’t imagine we’ll see Bradley against Argentina after his second length performance in a week.

SAVE GuZAN on a hard shot from Senna.

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80th minute- Fabregas sent the ball to Xavi, who touched it beautifully into space, raced around Onyewu, fought off a challenge from Hejduk and beat Guzan easily. Nice run.

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79th minute- GOAL SPAIN. WOW. What a great dribble, run and shot by Xavi. Beautiful. Spain 1, USA 0.

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78th minute- Josh Wolff is in for Dempsey. Let’s see if he can make up for that England debacle.

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77th minute- Michael Bradley draws a yellow after grabbing Xavi after turning the ball over. Bad turnover by Bradley and not a great backpass from Johnson.

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75th minute- Xavi with a hard shot that Guzan smothers easily.

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74th minute- The Americans look like they’re holding on for the tie. Pretty disappointing right now and Spain looks like it will find a goal any minute.

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71st minute- Spain again but the centering pass is cleared out for a corner by Onyewu.

I wonder if we’ll see any more USA subs. The team could use some fresh legs.

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70th minute- Spain attacks again but Beasley tracks back to break up a great chance from Cazorla.

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68th minute- Spain with a great passing sequence but Senna’s shot hits the right post. USA got lucky there.

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66th minute- I tell you what. Heath Pearce has held up well and I think he has made the left back spot his for the forseeable future.

Spain corner leads to a nice clash in the air. Onyewu won out as you might expect.

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64th minute- Looks like Bradley drew a yellow card for a clash with Fabregas. Didn’t see what happened there.

And here comes Spain.

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62nd minute- Bradley with a bad foul, sets up a dangerous Spain free kick.

Xavi hits the free kick off the crossbar. WOW. What a kick.

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61st minute- Eddie Johnson is a turnover machine.

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59th minute- Freddy Adu is missed right now. No ideas in the attack. Looking for Eddie Johnson isn’t working.

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56th minute- Xavi with a beautiful pass, that helps lead to a cross, but nothing for Spain. Spain corner is cleared. Spain’s passing is just so sharp, well, except for the final passes.

Dempsey just got crunched by Marco Senna. Wow, a two-footed scissor lunge. That’s a red card in a regular game.

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53rd minute- Fernando Navarro in for Capdevilla.

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52nd minute- Beasley working from the right, looks good making a run forward. With Eddie Lewis looking so good, I think Beasley on the right flank is a real possibility down the road.

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49th minute- No word yet on whether Adu came out because of an injury or just a halftime sub.

Johnson comes close with a great ball from Lewis in but can’t direct his header on goal.

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47th minute- Torres and Alonso out. Guiza and Senna in.

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46th minute- Guzan in for Howard, Hejduk for Cherundolo and Beasley for Adu.

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HALFTIME- Bob Bradley should definitely insert Beasley for Johnson, with Dempsey moving up top. That would certainly be an interesting lineup, and arguably the best lineup the U.S. team can field without Landon Donovan.

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HALFTIME- Changed that need to be made at halftime? I’m not sure there are any to make. As disappointing as Johnson is, he’s still probably better than the other forward options, though I think we’ll see Jaqua late.

Michael Bradley has had a better first half today than he had against England. Edu looks a bit timid out there, which definitely isn’t like the Edu we’re used to seeing.

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HALFTIME- And we’re scoreless at the half. Spain with tons of possession, but couldn’t break through for the goal. The USA just can’t hold on to the ball, except for Freddy Adu, who looked very good every time he’s had the ball. Eddie Johnson is just not good enough. He made one nice run onto a perfectly-timed Adu pass but scuffed the shot.

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44th minute- Freddy Adu draws a foul. The free kick does nothing and here comes Spain again.

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42nd minute– Spain is passing well but the USA back-line has broken up every final pass.

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39th minute– Too many turnovers from the USA. Spain is pressing but the Americans block every shot.

Eddie Johnson runs onto a long Adu pass and has a shot saved by Casillas. Johnson with a weak shot after a nice run.

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36th minute- Okay, there’s no other way to say it but Eddie Johnson’s first touch is tragic.

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34th minute- Eddie Lewis takes the free kick but sends it just a bit high from about 30.

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32nd minute- Dempsey with a nice little run before being tackled by Xavi Alonso.

Maurice Edu has yet to tackle anybody. He needs to get involved.

Puyol stepped on Adu’s foot on a challenge. Adu looks okay. Dangerous free kick.

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31st minute- Bocanegra has had his hands full with Torres, but has held up well.

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30th minute- Americans doing a better job today of handling the attack, but Spain is a bit calmer in attack than England, which pressured far more.

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27th minute- Spain’s midfield is so patient on the ball. Whenever Spain wants, it can play keep away.

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24th minute- SAVE Howard! Torres with his trademark turn and shoot but Howard smothers it.

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23rd minute- Nice sequence from the Americans, with Adu slipping a through ball to Johnson, but Johnson is offside. Great sequence though.

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22nd minute- Freddy Adu makes some magic happen in the box, sends a dangerous ball in front of goal but nobody is there. He’s the only American player showing anything in the attack.

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20th minute- The USA gets forward in the attack and Johnson tries to take on a defender, but is stopped, not before he tries yet another bad dive attempt.

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19th minute- The USA midfield needs to start holding some possession. It’s tough against this loaded attack.

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18th minute- Spain is dominating possession. I know, not a shock, but the USA defense is holding up and looking better than vs. England.

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16th minute- Tim Howard loses a ball in the area but taps it clear of danger.

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15th minute- Adu tries to force the attack, but loses the ball. He’s definitely being aggressive.

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13th minute- Those of you wondering where David Villa is, he picked up an ankle injury in training.

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11th minute- Michael Bradley with a nice tackle on Fernando Torres in the penalty area to break up a threat. Corner kick for Spain.

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10th minute- Howard with a good save on a dangerous header from Silva off a perfect Sergio Ramos cross. Bocanegra caught watching on that one.

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9th minute- Bocanegra with a floating free kick that leads to a collision between Dempsey and Iker Casillas. Dempsey is called for the foul.

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7th minute- Spain fans start to whistle after their back-line passes it around a bit.

Tim Howard runs onto a ball in the area to break up the threat.

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6th minute- Freddy Adu with a nice dribble run at Spain that draws some cheers from the crowd, but doesn’t get anywhere and drops a pass off.

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5th minute- Spain with a nice sequence of passes but can’t find the final one, the USA looks for the counter but Eddie Johnson loses it.

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3rd minute- Edu looking for Adu turns the ball over with a bad pass.

Spain’s back four is so good on the ball.

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2nd minute- Spain knocking it around a bit, almost a good touch on to Torres but the USA handles it.

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1st minute- And we’re off.

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PRE-GAME- And the ESPN360 has kicked in and we’re ready to go.

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PRE-GAME- So it’s 4:06 and my ESPN360 isn’t working. This should be fun.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the Spain lineup:

Silva———-Torres——–Cazorla

———–Xavi—–Fabregas——–

—————Alonso—————-

Capdevila——————–Ramos

——Marchena—-Puyol———

—————Casillas—————

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PRE-GAME– Here is the USA lineup:

——————–Johnson——————–

Lewis—————-Adu—————Dempsey

————–Bradley—-Edu——————-

Pearce—Bocanegra—Onyewu—-Cherundolo

——————-Howard———————-

Beasley won’t be making the start. No word on whether it’s an injury or Bradley wanting to rest him and have him for the Argentina match on Sunday.

What do you think of the lineup?

291 comments
  • Javier

    metz, Ives has been doing this forever as i just posted…whether it’s an attempt at humor, or simply being unjust, it’s pretty clear Ives will take any opportunity to talk as poorly about EJ as he can.

    Like

  • Mikebsiu

    Well Argentina vs Usa should be interesting, wonder how much the USA will lose by.

    Like

  • VMan

    It’s incredible how a player in the middle of the field with the skill to pull the strings of the attack can elevate the play of everyone around him. I guess my question is who, other than Adu, has that kind of skill set? Landon never struck me as that kind of player. I thought maybe Dempsey had that in him, but he’s looked lost as of late, fatigue maybe. The US looked like a totally different team having that option (Adu) in the middle. There were less hopeful long passes along the sidelines, fewer long balls that bypassed the midfield. Gosh, it was refreshing. I hope Adu isn’t hurt that badly.

    Like

  • Mike Kurowski

    BOBO – Spain was trying in the first half. they just weren’t good enough.

    ROYCE- i agree with you on EJ. Gooch did well. Don’t you think that Boca or Gooch, the central defenders, should have stepped on Xavi? I know Bradley gave up on that run, but JT or RIo Ferdinand would have stepped up and cleared the ball and Xavi if he dared

    Like

  • DL

    Dempsey was so disappointing. As of a year ago, he was the most exciting US player on the field. Now, he is consistently invisible, lacks creativity, lacks defensive tenacity, and rarely starts an attack. The dude needs to get his act together. Other than that, I had low expectations about this game, so I’m not too worked up over a 1-0 loss.

    Like

  • chris

    BOB BRADLEY NEEDS TO GO NOW

    1. We should never see or hear from josh wolf or frankie hejduk with the national team again they are part of a bygone era, we must look to the future for results and not to the past

    2. Adu needed to play the whole game

    3. Why not try different strikers like robbie rogers or kenny cooper

    Like

  • Ives

    Javier, I think Eddie Johnson was terrible. That’s my opinion and I’m entitled to one just like anybody else. He has some tools, mainly his speed and some strength, but today his shooting, heading, touch, and passing were all awful.

    Is it promising that he put himself into some good positions? Yes, but he also got great service from Adu and Lewis on a pair of chances and just did nothing with them. AND, he’s supposed to be in position for that service. He’s the lone forward in a 4-2-3-1. That’s his role, to get to the service and FINISH.

    And Metzeng, am I supposed to question my opinion based on the rating of one writer I’ve never heard of? Like I said, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Maybe it is just me Javier. I might have to start a post and ask the readers what they think about Eddie Johnson.

    Like

  • Thom

    EJ still stinks

    M. Bradley is in terrible form and should be benched. Maybe he isn’t all that?

    We need a manager with a vision

    Dempsey?? what the hell has happened to him

    Gooch is better anyone gives him credit for

    Boca was not Fulham problem. Baird and Hughes were.

    Wolff – can anyone rationally explain his presence?

    Edu looked solid.

    Beasley needs to take time off and get back to match touch and fitness.

    What does it say when Eddie Lewis is your best threat offensively?

    Why does Benficia not see what wee all see in Adu?

    Play an MLS allstar team Sunday so some new players get a look vs. a first rate team.

    Get a good european coach if you want to move up a level or be happy with just qualifying.

    Like

  • jloome

    MLS will be second-rate for a long-time and so will the US, because the sport isn’t a passion yet; simple as that. Kids in spain are given footballs before they can walk, just like some US kids with our version of football. Adu is the best U.S. player because he was born in Ghana and was playing in the street at age 5. Altidore is an exception because he was accelerated to play with much older kids due to freakish physical development.

    Past that? Name a world class U.S. player that isn’t in goal. Honestly: Clint Dempsey? Bocanegra.

    This is why MLS isn’t as strong as we fans delude ourselves into thinking: it’s too young and has not yet managed to transfer the culture to the society that surrounds it. How can a league and nation expect to improve if it thinks it can find its best players from a college draft, post age 20, when kids in these other countries are being identified and singled out for training in their pre-teens?

    The good news is the process is organic. Even as the fifth- or sixth-rated TV sport, soccer will still inspire young kids here, and two decades from now with a huge population of young fans coming up to draw from, there’s no reason to think the U.S. won’t be competitive.

    Like

  • Neal

    Thats it, Ives, dont back down from these EJ-sympathizers. Are they related to EJ or something? Anyone with any knowledge of soccer can see that EJ does not belong at the moment. What has he done to earn that shirt in the past 3 years? He is a forward-he is supposed to score. When was the last time he did that? Apparently, all he has to do is show up now and some of you and these alleged “other writers” think he had a good game. Let EJ develop at Fulham, not on our time. I dont care that we are low on options-if we have to, play beasley, LD, Dempsey up front. EJ is not working, and has not for a great period of time. He needs to earn his place.

    And did someone say Bob Bradley had a good game? Shocking…..what can you say?

    Like

  • Javier

    Ives, come on, you’re better than that. At no point did I fault you for having an opinion, or even ask you to praise Eddie Johnson (nor do I think you should, he hasn’t been praiseworthy). In short, yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I don’t know why you go out of your way to express that, as if I disagree with the statement.

    It’s the extent to which you consistently go to bash the guy, that seems really unnecessary. It reached a childish point a long time ago. That’s all I’m pointing out, though really, you’re obviously entitled to continue to bash him as harshly as you’d like to as well.

    It just really sticks out when you incessantly ridicule some players like a small-minded fan, but not others who are equally worthy of that treatment, if it’s your preference to stoop to that level. I suppose you’ll take that to mean that players should NEVER BE CRITICIZED, so I’ll clarify that I just think there are ways to professionally criticize a player. In EJ’s case, you’re nowhere near that.

    Like

  • papa bear

    why only one half for Adu? Unless he’s saving him to play the full 90 against Argentina. The kid has had little playing time for club this year and has been magic on the international level. I don’t know what Bradley is so afraid of.

    Is it because he’s actually attack minded and not another d-mid who’s first 5 thought processes are ‘boot ball long, boot ball out of bounds at the first opportunity, boot ball long, lose possession’?

    Oh and watching Spain and seeing the US youth internationals, it’s HIGH time Bradley get on the ball in terms of stressing a possession style of game. The U-20’s play it, the U-17’s REALLY play it, it’s time the senior team learn to hold onto the f’n ball and impose their will more or dump ’em all and let the U-20’s take over and have a trial by fire.

    Like

  • Neal

    You are contradiciting yourself, javier – so you are telling Ives that his opinion is his right, yet you say the extent of his opinion is too much. In other words, he cannot call out a player for a poor display throughout a game, even though this player’s performance may be deserving of it. I know Javier, why dont you start your own, “more professional” blog. Then you can softly critiscize some players and coaches, and then send them flowers and make them cookies to make them feel better.

    Like

  • Ives

    Javier, my bad if I snapped at you a bit. I just don’t see how my criticism of Johnson is unwarranted. I really don’t. Yes, other players have bad games, but I can’t think of many players who are as consistently disappointing and who have been as ineffective and missed as many opportunities as Johnson has.

    And you say “I just think there are ways to professionally criticize a player.” I don’t see how my criticisms are unprofessional? Did I write “Eddie Johnson sucks” or something like that? I believe I offer explanatory criticisms even when I’m trying to be funny. And let’s face it, criticisms in a running commentary aren’t going to be the same as criticisms in a column, though the ones I have delivered have never crossed the line.

    When Eddie Johnson starts playing well I’ll stop criticizing him. If he keeps missing sitters, showing a terrible first touch and looking painfully ineffective, I am going to criticize him. Yes, I realize that for all my criticisms, he is still a better option than most, but that doesn’t make him any less worth of criticism for playing badly.

    Like

  • Neal

    In reality, Javier, the person who should shoulder the blame is Bob Bradley. you can keep leading a consistently underperforming player to water (3 years running now), but you cant make him drink.

    I dont blame EJ for getting call ups he doesnt deserve. he scored 9 goals in 10 games back in 2004, and ever since, managers think he will suddenly become Pele. SO, maybe in one sense, you are right. ives should perhaps be asking more of Bradley.

    Like

  • JustinV

    Just finished watching the game and B Bradley’s decision to let his son keep playing when he was obviously out of gas cost the US the game. Pablo should have been sent on around the 70th minute, but definitely after M Bradley picked up the yellow card with his “I’m exhausted” foul. I’m generally a fan of the kid and he had a strong 1st half, but his dad let him down in this instance. I know nothing about their relationship, but I wonder if there is a bit of a Great Santini thing going on there. “My son doesn’t quit!”

    I don’t know if B Bradley leaves any other player in a similar situation on the field for so long when obviously Pablo was available. The goal may not have completely been Mike’s fault, but he wasn’t marking Xavi and he got beat by the pass. A fresh Pablo probably has a better chance to break up that play.

    Otherwise I loved Adu and most of the team in the 1st half and was disappointed by B Bradley’s substitutions in the second.

    Like

  • Gene

    Overall, U.S. played better than last week. Spanish goal was just a moment of individual brilliance. If Eddie Johnson could have scored on that header, we would have had a 1:1 tie, which would have been fitting. Lack of individual quality in front of the goal was the difference today.

    I liked Adu in the 1st half – he looks to be the best U.S. player on the ball and was passing very well.

    I also thought EJ played OKAY in the 1st half(alert CNN). He did have a pretty good run to beat Puyol in a foot race after a great pass from Adu. He still cannot shoot to save his life and he needs a good midfielder to get him the ball in a perfect position to make his runs.

    I did not think Spain played all that well – they did not learn the lesson from England and allowed U.S. too much time and space to set up.

    I also thought that Adu was injured b/c Spain put a few fairly rough tackles on him, which was b.s., considering this was a friendly. This goes totally against my nature on the field, but someone from the U.S. should have put a hard tackle on Puyol, so that he did not do that anymore.

    Like

  • sushant rao

    I think we have to be realistic.

    Given the poor showing we had against England and the fact that we are trying out players to see who should play on the MNT, I was quite happy that we were competitive with Spain in the first half. The 2nd half (except for the missed EJ header) was a disaster (though missing that header should qualify as a disaster).

    We played much better in the first half against Spain than we did last week vs England. Some things are clear:

    Played Well

    – Adu, Pearce, Edu, Bradley, Lewis, Beasley, ‘dolo, Guzan, Howard, Boca, Gooch

    Would like to see more

    Dempsey, Edu, Bradley, Hjeduk

    Good luck with your Club

    EJ, Wolff

    Notice how much we are depending on our U23s and U20s? We really need some depth.

    The questions I have for BB are:

    – Why did you bring in Wolff instead of giving Jacqua a chance? Really, is Wolff so much better in practice than Jacqua?

    – When Boca had to stop in the 2nd half, why didn’t you bring in one of your subs like Califf/Demerit and give them a chance?

    – Mastro for Dempsey? Bradley was the one on fumes

    – Why didn’t you bring another attacking mid so you could have replaced Dempsey with them?

    I’m not too worried about the result because the first half was good (not great). I can live with the result.

    If you take our first half lineup and replace EJ with Landon, I think we would actually have scored a goal :-)

    Like

  • papa bear

    @Posted by: DL | June 04, 2008 at 07:39 PM

    Couldn’t possibly agree with you more. I chalk it up to playing on a crap side in England. He is ‘learning’ to play long ball and plays for a team where he is playing not to lose more often than he is playing to win.

    It’s one aspect of the ‘any move abroad is a good move’ mentality. Playing for a garbage side will do nothing for you.

    Like

  • Javier

    Thanks, but no thanks, Neal. I think you’re a little too small-minded for me to discuss much of anything with, but check both recent and old articles by Ives on this site, if you’re that passionate about defending SBI. You’ll find that while I’ve never sent him flowers, I have had absolutely no problem complimenting him on his insight and/or a strongly written piece.

    Anyway, I agree that EJ isn’t worthy of any praise. His last two games have been a slight improvement over what he’s done in his more recent starts, but it’s still nowhere near enough. What I maintain is that the criticism crosses a line where it comes off as incessant and just looking for excuses to pile on. It’s disappointing that he’s falling well short of expectations that fans and coaches have for him, but it doesn’t mean he’s been the worst player on the field. You either fail to capture that, or ignore it and criticize him as if he has been. Still, we can agree to disagree.

    What I do wonder is why no other player gets criticized nearly as much on this site. The most obvious candidate that seems to get ignored, like I mentioned earlier, is Claudio Reyna. Now THAT is a guy who has consistently disappointed fans and coaches, and maybe it’s just me, but he’s pretty much gotten a free pass from you. In fact, you usually take the opportunity to stress what few positives he has offered, in spite of the more plentiful, glaring negatives. Does he not have the potential to be impacting the team a lot more? Could Eddie Johnson not benefit from better players around him, the way Claudio Reyna might? Something worth thinking about, I think.

    That’s all. SBI Mafia can take a few deep breaths, and maybe even take Ives’ advice. We’re allowed to have different opinions.

    Like

  • papa bear

    @Posted by: Ives | June 04, 2008 at 08:23 PM

    FWIW I think you could probably criticize EJ 100 times more harshly before you crossed any kind of line. To quote someone from the Red Card the last time the USMNT played, the guy has the first touch of a rapist. It’s unreal that at his age he hasn’t worked on that more.

    The levels of suck he achieves are truly shocking and remarkable in their own way.

    Like

  • Javier

    Sorry Neal, missed your follow-up. Also a more open-minded attempt, so apologies for my last comment. I’ll bite on this one.

    I think Bob has done a lot more good than bad since he’s taken over. He’s done his best to get a look at everyone that could merit being in the player pool, and making decisions for himself. He’s also done a good job of working with MLS clubs, which is why we haven’t gotten to see players such as Kenny Cooper (who is far more deserving than EJ at the moment).

    The fact is that Johnson is still young enough to realize some/all of his potential, however doubtful that might be. What’s maddening about the situation, is that there aren’t better options to keep him away from the Nats for long periods of time. Wolff was truly awful vs England, and Jacqua is, well, Jacqua. I’d have loved to see Landon in EJ’s place tonight, but Donovan wasn’t available. Ching and Twellman have hit their ceiling already, and besides, they’re with their MLS clubs as well. I simply can’t fault Bradley for the lack of talent at forward available for these games, or in general.

    I actually thought this particular lineup was pretty good, and was disappointed to see Adu leave at the half (injury?). My only real issue with Bob tonight was leaving Bradley in the whole game when he was clearly gassed.

    Like

  • andrew in tampa

    I’m with Javier on Ives’ criticism of EJ. Way over the top. Actually disappointing, bordering on personal..definitely not professional. Would have loved to see EJ finish those two chances especially on a night when the chances were few and far between…at the same time guys like Demsey brought nothing to the table and hasn’t done so for the last few games. As a matter of fact, I’m beginning to think that Clint shouldnt be an automatic starter. he looked listless on and off the ball. And BB should have taken off his son just after half time. MB has not delivered for the national side. Again, don’t think he should be an automatic selection. Positively loved what Adu brought to the game. The kid is ready for prime time.

    Like

  • FK PIRIN

    EJ didn’t have a spectacular game, but he didn’t play that badly. Also isn’t he naturally left footed? On both of his shots he was forced to use his right. Obviously he needs to improve on that. Also yes his first touch wasn’t great, but he did have some good first touches. In addition he was playing against a strong defense pretty much on his own. I think it is important to recognize that many strikers might get no chances against Spain. He also showed that he can be dangerous with his speed. He also did create a couple of free kicks up top and had some decent hold up play. Of course he lost the ball a few times and made some bad passes. He flubbed some shots, but I thought he had a decent game and showed improvement.

    Maybe he deserves criticism, but I think we should also recognize when he plays better. He didn’t look offside by much on that goal, and he never really had a chance to shoot with his left. I don’t think that he should be singled out as playing poorly in this game. He had more of an impact than say Dempsey, but I didn’t see nearly as much criticism of Dempsey.

    The US team held Spain to one goal at home. That to me is an accomplishment. I also thought we had some great combinations and nice quick attacking play. Spain was the better team and I could see the gulf in class, but the US team has improved. I think we will be able to shred most teams in Concacaf except for Mexico, who is always tough. Honduras or Canada might beat us, but that would happen on an off day. I wouldn’t be worried about qualifying for Concacaf. The US has shown that they don’t take teams for granted, and I feel that is the only way that we will miss out on Concacaf qualification.

    Hopefully EJ will get his head right and live up to expectations. Maybe Fulham and Hodgson can do that for him. I would be interested to know what Brian McBride thinks of his ability and mentality.

    Like

  • mikeo

    i'd chime in to agree that Ives has a real bug up his butt about EJ. yes, he's been crap, which should be pointed out. once or twice. after that you have to look to the gaffer. Bradley needs to shoulder the blame for continuing to play him. in my opinion he's the biggest problem with the USMNT. granted he doesn't have a lot to work with, but his substitutions and tactics seem bizarre quite often.

    and can someone please explain to me why it is so hard for most US players to trap a ball at their feet? i've played rec ball for thirty years and would get my ass chewed off if i exhibited the kind of "feet of stone" that i see on display with our boys. pathetic.

    Like

  • mikeo

    i'd chime in to agree that Ives has a real bug up his butt about EJ. yes, he's been crap, which should be pointed out. once or twice. after that you have to look to the gaffer. Bradley needs to shoulder the blame for continuing to play him. in my opinion he's the biggest problem with the USMNT. granted he doesn't have a lot to work with, but his substitutions and tactics seem bizarre quite often.

    and can someone please explain to me why it is so hard for most US players to trap a ball at their feet? i've played rec ball for thirty years and would get my ass chewed off if i exhibited the kind of "feet of stone" that i see on display with our boys. pathetic.

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  • MIKE B

    EJ strikes me as a guy who believes he belongs on the field. His lazy play looks even worse when Frankie "Hustle" Hejduk(who shouldn't even be on the team) shows up crazed after every ball. There are a lot of professional footballers that would kill for the physical skills that EJ possesses. Talent squandered.

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  • Gabe

    I agree with Metzeng, I didn't follow during the game, and just saw the running commentary now. I like this blog alot, and was surprised and dissapointed to see those shots at EJ. He wasn't great today, but he was not our worst player by any means. Why would EJ be mentioned four times in the "bad" category and Dempsey mentioned once? Dempsey was much worse.

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  • brett

    >.< i started skipping alot of the posts b/c people are absolutely stupid….

    it has been repeated NUMEROUS times why players like Cooper, Jozy and Rogers were not brought into the camp… they all have club priorities… fact of the matter is Bob has to respect the clubs, even the lowly MLS sides…. these players (minus cooper) will be seeing olympic games as well as other friendlies and WCQ matches…

    EJ did well today…. had some issues tho

    Demspey was non-existant

    Adu needs to start more often… he's clearly ready… AND THE REASON HE WAS SUBBED OFF WAS B/C HE SUFFERED A MINOR INJURY…. it wasnt BB's fault so get off his case

    defense looked good but id like to see some new CB's as i blame the goal completely on Boca and Gooch…

    MB and Edu played well the first half, but fouled up the 2nd half… and my reasoning for that was b/c Adu was subbed due to injury… adu opened the field and lifted ALOT of pressure off the defense with his creativity and control…. 2nd half there was simply too much work for the defense to truely handle….

    alot of you people are blowing too much out of proportion…. we cant bring our starting XI to EVERY friendly… get over yourselves…. Bradley is testing certain players and certain combos to prepare for WCQ…. Jozy and Rogers will be at the olympics, and they are currently playing in club ball… Alot of you expect too much…. you want a competitive starting XI and thats what we had…. however, when Adu got injured our creativity fell and we fell as a team…

    plus Spain beat us off the subs… they were bringing in players who play at BIG clubs around europe, and we were brining in players who are getting off injuries and the MLS…. give the US time and you'll see the difference..

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  • eric

    Wow, last check before bed just to see if there was anything interesting – and it’s a blitz of EJ defenders!

    Y’all are right about one thing, EJ has played much better the past two games. Now, since he hasn’t looked close to scoring in either one, what exactly do you like about his game at this point?

    Actually, don’t answer that. The vast majority of us are D-U-N with EJ.

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  • Metzeng

    Ives, of course you’re entitled to your opinion. I said your criticism of EJ is out of proportion, not that it isn’t valid. And I raised it because I think your feedback of EJ is often over the top.

    EJ is what he is, we get it. Under “What I didn’t like today” you mention his name four times. You mention Dempsey and Wolf only once. Ok, you thought he played bad, fine, why fixate on him? I cited another writer to back up the point that his performance was not so bad as to warrant that type of ridicule, especially when compared to Dempsey and Wolf.

    For EJ, today was a decent showing. He’s one of the best options the US has in the pool. Does that mean the pool is awful shallow? yes. Will EJ get better? Maybe, maybe not. But to repeatedly hammer at him for not being Fernando Torres is just small and tiresome.

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  • flyingoose

    how about that miscommunication between boca and gooch on the goal? they both half stepped to xavi, who just pushed the ball past them, rode hejduk’s challenge and scored.

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  • John

    Fre-ddy! Fre-ddy! Fre-ddy!

    IMO, it is now time to embrace this young man as possibly the greatest talent in U.S. history. Why do USMNT fans still hate on Adu?

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  • Mike Caramba

    People are being a little hard on EJ, in my opinion. He’s been pulling the ball back at every opportunity for months now, and it was refreshing to see that he’s grown some balls since joining Fulham. He’s not there, but despite his weak shots and terrible header, it was his most promising performance in quite some time.

    What I didn’t like today: Frankie Hejduk. Why does this guy still get called up? His first touch is terrible. His tackles are reckless (and he. His crossing is pathetic. He whines. Yeah, he can run…if that’s all it takes to be a good wingback, I vote we cap Seabiscuit.

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  • Don

    Well, Spain ran us around quite a bit, but we managed to put together some good chances. If only we had a striker right now. Eddie has speed, but until he gains a first touch and a shot is pointless. Let’s hope that Altidore really develops in Spain the next 2 years and is ready for WC 2010! I though Adu was by far the most impressive player going forward. Edu looked REALLY tentative. In fact, the whole team took quite a while to make a pass strong enough to get to its recipient. We really have to get past jitters this bad on ANY stage. Thought Pearce did a good job and managed to get forward too. I still wish Gooch could pass. He also got badly exposed by Xavi on the goal.

    Well, overall this seemed a good growing experience, although I still wish we had been able to get a few more of the young MLS types involved. Lets hope that happens with the Arg game.

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  • joshW

    there’s another josh on here – so i’m adding the ‘W’ for what it’s worth…

    Javier, as for other central midfield options, i wouldn’t mind seeing brian carroll, the rooster from the revs or rico start along side edu in the next game. i think that we owe it to ourselves to see other combinations. why does it have to be m. bradley + X? he’s 20 years old, plays a different position for his club and his defensive positioning (or concentration) has been really poor at times during the last two games. and for that position, positioning is the key aspect of the game when your team does not have the ball. plus, he’s supposed to be organizing everyone around him to an extent – how can he be expected to do that when he’s lost half the time himself? maybe we’re trying to get him ready in time for the qualifiers for a role that is different than his role at his club (trial by fire, no?), but i think that we have players (from the list above) who are more seasoned and ready to go right now. one of them should be given a chance to pair with edu (who i think really distinguished himself yesterday) in the game against argentina.

    as for ej, i don’t think folks are viewing his performance realistically. he has to be judged within the context of being off form and without regular appearances for his club. this is really more a problem of depth (donovan’s injury) and availability (mls schedule and altidore’s transfer). we clearly have suitable players who are match fit but who for some reason or another were unable to be included for this match. that left us with ej as the best option despite the fact that he was in no way ready to play against spain. he was not match fit, which can explain why he didn’t have legs after running from one side of the field to the other to pressure spain’s center backs by himself for much of the game. and the main reason he was benched at fulham is that he’s not in goal-scoring form – so his confidence in that regard is in the basement – which is probably why he didn’t do better on the two nice chances that he had on either side of the half. as discussed above, his selection was clearly not based on form alone; if form was the sole basis for selection, ej would have been on the bench. he was asked to do a job because he was the best player available for this match to do it.

    as for his hold-up play, i have two points. first, we all know that that’s not his strength to begin with – so how can you complain about as if it’s something new. he’s in the picture because at times he has been a good finisher for us. if he’d finished two chances last night, nobody would be talking about how poor he was with his back to goal. my other point is that, based on his level of preparation (it’s been months since he got a game at fulham), what he was asked to do in this game was incredibly difficult. i contend that any of the best strikers in the world would potentially look like crap if he hadn’t played a game in two months and was asked to play as a lone striker on a wet, fast pitch with two spainards up his a$$ all night. ej was simply not prepared to give a good performance, and it showed. at times he looked incredibly frustrated (as if saying, “i’m better than this”) because the speed of play was too much for him. i’ve felt the same way myself in games at a level that i’m normally comfortable with when i’ve come back after being out of action for a while. and i’m just talking about A league recreational indoor in suburban US. i imagine you have to take that feeling and multiply it by 1000 to compare it with being rusty and suiting up against spain in a full international. he just needs games.

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  • brett

    for all the MB haters, lemme just piont out one thing…

    when Adu was on the field , MB and Edu played very well… however, once Adu left the US lacked any form of creativity on the field…. Spain respected and allowed Freddy to have space… they focused alot of their attention on him, opening the field for the rest of the team…. once he got subbed (DUE TO AN INJURY) Spain possessed the ball 95% of the time… MB and Edu were running all over the field trying to hold the ground, but all it did was tire them out resulting in some bad tackles…

    Like

  • NJ Guy Stuck in DC

    JoshW – not sure of your points. Those are just excuses for EJ. Sort of like saying he has a disability so we shouldn’t judge him by how he plays.

    He’s not playing regular minutes; so are half the European-based players, + EJ has been playing reserve games which is serious business in the EPL. He’s “out of form.” You can’t be serious – that’s called not being good enough. Forwards are paid to finish and hopefully set others up, simple as that. And saying we already knew he had no touch and can’t be a target and distribute – one of the things he has to improve upon to ever be a regular in the EPL.

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  • inkedAG

    All of you guys harping on Ives’ criticism of Eddie Johnson are nuts!! Ives is stating the obvious and he’s no way near how some of us posters have been against other players. Ives is professional and calls it like he sees it, just like we call it like we see it. Because…it’s a BLOG!!!

    Now why Ives is so critical of Eddie Johnson, yet shows nothing but love for Claudio “Little Nothings” Reyna, is a mystery and another story for another time.

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  • Mike Caramba

    Ives can rip on EJ all he wants…I’m not his biggest supporter…in this case, though, I think he’s wrong–EJ wasn’t great, but he was doing stuff he has been too scared to do for years (a promising performance despite his shortcomings). I’m not “harping on Ives”…just expressing a differing opinion.

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  • joshW

    NJ Guy Stuck in DC, i’m just saying that i don’t think you’ve really considered how difficult his assignment was given the circumstances. if you had, you probably would have expected a performance like the one he gave and would not seem so suprised.

    Like

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