USA vs. Czech Republic: Match Night Commentary

USA vs. Czech Republic: Match Night Commentary

U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. Czech Republic: Match Night Commentary

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The U.S. men's national team takes on the Czech Republic tonight (8pm, ESPN) in their first of two friendlies before departing to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.

Tonight will be the last chance for some of the fringe players on the 30-man provisional World Cup roster to prove themselves and earn a place on the 23-man World Cup roster, which will be announced on Wednesday.

I will be providing commentary on tonight's match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the match (Commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– That's all for me tonight. Be sure to check into SBI for more post-match coverage on SBI.

Feel free to share your thoughts on tonight's in the comments section below.

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FINAL– Czech Republic 4, USA 2. Not a great scoreline, but with all the second-half changes, you can't make a ton about the score.

Who helped themselves tonight? Herculez Gomez, Alejandro Bedoya and Edson Buddle stated their cases to survive the bubble. DaMarcus Beasley impressed and Oguchi Onyewu held up well in his first match in seven months.

Who didn't help himself tonight? Heath Pearce and Eddie Johnson are looking like REAL long shots.

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90th Minute- GOAL CZECHS! And it's 4-2 to the Czechs as Tomas Necid beats Edu on a goal sequence that began with a Goodson turnover upfield.

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90th Minute– So who else could vie for the final roster spots based on tonight's performances? Edson Buddle showed good energy despite lacking chances. He's probably a good candidate as well. Could be between him and Bedoya. Will Bradley choose to go with Altidore, Ching and Gomez as his three forwards, or will he also bring along Gomez and leave Bedoya?

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88th Minute– Some good hustle from Gomez tonight. You have to love him as a super sub option. He's got the edge over Buddle and Johnson.

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86th Minute– Bedoya has had great energy since coming in. Not as sure about Kljestan at this point. He's disappeared.

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85th Minute– Seeing Holden in a central midfield role makes you wonder if we could see him there in the World Cup as a second-half option.

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85th Minute– The Czechs make their first sub of the night, putting in Jan Moravek.

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85th Minute– 36,218 is tonight's attendance.

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84th Minute– USA is down 3-2. Who will score the equalizer? Could it be Gomez?

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81st Minute– This morning I wrote that I thought Bob Bradley would bring eight defenders. At this point, I'd say he brings seven and banks on Maurice Edu and DaMarcus Beasley for defensive cover if he needs it. That means either Alejandro Bedoya or Sacha Kljestan could make the team. My money would be on Bedoya.

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80th Minute– Heath Pearce is looking like a player who has cost himself a roster spot, assuming he was close.

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79th Minute– Goodson and Heath Pearce and Robbie Rogers all failed defensively on that goal.

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78th Minute- GOAL CZECHS! And it's Fenin with the finish off a loose scramble in the area. Somebody has to clear that away.

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76th Minute– Gomez forces a corner after a long run and long-range shot.

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75th Minute– As it stands, the fact that Edu is playing centerback makes you wonder if Bradley is seriously considering taking seven natural defenders to the World Cup instead of eight.

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72nd Minute– Bedoya has shown some flashes since coming on, and Kljestan has looked good so far. Could he be a surprise pick for the 23?

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70th Minute– Onyewu has a big ice bag on his surgically-repaired knee, likely just the post-match treatment.

Holden and Kljestan in central midfield is an interesting tandem.

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68th Minute– How do you not root for Herculez Gomez? Just an amazing story. Six months ago he was out of contract, and no MLS teams wanted him. Now, he's looking like a World Cup player. Just wow.

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67th Minute– Bedoya has come in for Gomez. Edu is at centerback and Holden is now playing centrally, with Bedoya on the right flank.

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66th Minute- GOAL USA!!! And it's Herculez Gomez with the FINISH! Wow, nice header by Goodson. USA 2, Czechs 2.

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65th Minute– Bedoya likely to come in for Holden. That would mean no Robbie Findley or Chad Marshall tonight (or Marcus Hahnemann).

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64th Minute– Bedoya is preparing to come into the match.

GOMEZ WITH A BLAST right at Cech. Nice back-heel from Ching to set that up.

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61st Minute– Robbie Rogers tries one from about 40 yards out, forces a save from Cech, not that he was all that troubled.

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58th Minute- GOAL CZECHS!!! And it's Jan Polak with the finish. He beats Heath Pearce on that one. Czechs 2, USA 1.

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58th Minute– Rogers with a nice run down the left flank, but he holds on to it too long.

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57th Minute– There's still a big gap between the U.S. midfield and the forwards. Will Kljestan play the role of playmaker and create something for Gomez.

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55th Minute– Czech goal is ruled offside. Nice sequence for the Czechs though.

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54th Minute– Cherundolo got schooled by Fenin, who looks sharp.

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53rd Minute– Rogers to take a USA corner.

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52nd Minute– Rogers getting the nod over Bedoya makes you wonder if this is it for Bedoya.

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50th Minute– Gomez with 45 minutes to state his case for a spot. Neither Johnson or Buddle were all that stellar in the first half.

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47th Minute– Five subs for the USA: Gomez, Ching, Kljestan, Rogers and Pearce. Out are Johnson, Buddle, Torres, Bornstein and Beasley.

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46th Minute– We're back.

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HALFTIME– USA 1, Czech Republic 1.

Who looked good? Beasley, Torres, Edu

Who's looked okay? Buddle, Cherundolo, Holden

Who hasn't looked good? Bornstein, Johnson, Goodson

Onyewu was looking pretty good before getting beaten on the header.

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45th Minute– DaMarcus Beasley has been the best player on the team tonight.

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45th Minute– Onyewu misread the free kick and jumped too late. Definitely some rust on that one.

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43rd Minute- GOAL CZECHS!! And it's Tomas Sivok with the header, beating Onyewu on the header. USA 1, Czech Republic 1.

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42nd Minute– Goodson gives up a foul and a free kick on the right flank for a foul on Fenin.

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41st Minute– Buddle takes a hard foul after receiving a great pass from Torres.

You have to like what you've seen from Torres and Edu tonight.

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40th Minute– Beasley does well again, earning a corner.

Cech handles Holden's corner kick easily.

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39th Minute– If you can believe it, the last of the cars to drive into the stadium parking area are rolling in. Those folks can catch the second half.

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38th Minute– If the forwards are going to only get 45 minutes they can't be happy with what they've had to work with tonight.

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37th Minute– Beasley with a nice idea for a pass, but Johnson was offside.

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35th Minute– Beasley is getting abused physically, but he's still playing great.

You would think the Czechs would take it easy on Beasley. Didn't they abuse him enough in 2006?

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33rd Minute– Cherundolo just got Jacked Up. Yellow card for Rajnoch. Deserved.

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31st Minute– Bornstein just got beaten by Sionko on the flank. Czech team with a free kick on the right.

Guzan tips the cross away for a corner.

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29th Minute– Tell you what, if Beasley is going to have this kind of energy in South Africa, he will be a starter.

Bornstein hasn't looked good tonight.

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28th Minute– Jose Torres looks sharp tonight. Can't see him not making the 23.

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26th Minute– FENIN WIDE!!!  USA lucky not to give up a goal there.

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23rd Minute– Buddle is back on the field after being treated for a split lip.

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22nd Minute– Guzan gets clattered into by Tomas Sivok. He held up well under the pressure as the foul was called.

Onyewu gets in late on a challenge. Would probably have been a card in a regular match.

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19th Minute– Fenin jukes Goodson, but has his shot blocked by Onyewu, who is looking good so far.

Czech corner.

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18th Minute– Edu is the master inside the six-yard box, isn't he? Rangers fans know all about that.

Edson Buddle took a shot to the face and is being treated on the sideline.

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17th Minute- GOAL USA!!!! And it's Maurice Edu with the finish. Holden with the service.

And the USA players do the Stanky Leg, definitely in honor of Charlie Davies.

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17th Minute– Buddle has looked good early on.

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16th Minute– Onyewu gets fouled and the crowd grimaces. He's up and shaking it off. Nervy moment there.

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14th Minute– Great crowd tonight, and there are still cars pouring into the parking lots.

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13th Minute– Beasley showing good energy to track back and help the defense. He hasn't gotten into the attack, but he's been buzzing around. Talk of a good camp appears true.

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8th Minute– Onyewu showing some good poise on the ball, though he hasn't really been pressured hard yet.

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6th Minute– Czechs with a dangerous free kick. How will Onyewu handle this?

Holden races out to block the kick.

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5th Minute– Buddle nearly gets a gift thanks to a bad Czech back-pass.

Onyewu wins a challenge as he was tested in the air for the first time.

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3rd Minute– Beasley looking good early. Onyewu still hasn't been challenged yet.

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1st Minute– And we're underway.

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PRE-GAME– USA in the all-white uniforms tonight. Not bad.

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PRE-GAME– For those who remember, Eddie Johnson had an awful match in the last USA game here at Rentschler Field, during the USA's 2006 send-off series.

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PRE-GAME– Nice to see Nike making the U.S. team wear the warm-up jackets during the anthem. It's only 90 degrees on the field.

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PRE-GAME– The referee tonight is Mexican ref Mauricio Morales, heading an all Mexico crew.

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PRE-GAME– I wonder who U.S. fans will be watching more intently, Oguchi Onyewu or Edson Buddle? I'll go Onyewu.

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PRE-GAME– This is a new-look Czech team, though not exactly a young team. Only one starter tonight has more than 50 caps, but only one player is 23 or younger, Eintracht Frankurt striker (and Ricardo Clark teammate) Martin Fenin.

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PRE-GAME– A broadcast note for those of you who haven't figured out, tonight's match is on ESPN, not ESPN2. ESPN is pulling out all the stops with its World Cup coverage and tonight should be a good glimpse into the type of things the network has in mind.

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PRE-GAME– The Czech midfield is a pretty strong group. Don't be surprised if Hubschman plays in central defense with Sivok, with Rajnoch playing left back and Kusnir at right back.

Plasil and Polak should present a good challenge for Edu and Torres, while Sionko will test Jonathan Bornstein.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the Czech Republic's starting lineup:

————-Martin Fenin—–David Lafata————

———————-Jaroslav Plasil———————-

Daniel Pudil———-Jan Polak———-Libor Sionko

——————–Tomas Hubschman——————

—Jan Rajnoch—-Tomas Sivok—–Ondrej Kusnir—

————————-Petr Cech————————-

BENCH– Milan Cerny, Tomas Necid, Tomas Pekhart, Mario Holek, Rudolf Skacel, Michal Danek, David Limbersky, Jan Moravek, Jaroslav Cerny, Jan Lastuvka

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PRE-GAME– So who will the six subs be? You figure Spector, Ching and Clark aren't likely to need looks. Same goes for Hahnemann. That leaves seven subs. I'd go with either Chad Marshall or Robbie Rogers as the odd man out tonight.

I'm sure some Ching haters will go crazy at the thought of Ching not needing a look, but the sense around camp is that Ching is a safe bet to make this squad. He's healthy, at least that's the word, and if he's healthy he's making the team.

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PRE-GAME– Edson Buddle and Eddie Johnson get the nod tonight. Are these two vying for the same roster spot?

Oguchi Onyewu is starting as expected, but he will be paired with Clarence Goodson for what may be the first time. I can't recall them teaming up before.

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PRE-GAME– As expected, the top stars are being rested tonight and will play vs. Turkey on Saturday. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit and Benny Feilhaber are not in uniform tonight.

There is some buzz that Feilhaber may be carrying an injury that could be keeping him out. We'll look into that after the match.

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PRE-GAME– Here's the USA bench- Hahnemann, Spector, Ching, Clark, Kljestan, Pearce, Marshall, Rogers, Findley, Bedoya, Gomez.

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PRE-GAME– As expected, several veterans are out of the lineup today. The real question is who is on the bench for tonight's match. We'll post the bench as soon as it becomes available.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the USA lineup for tonight's match:

—————-Johnson—-Buddle——————–

Beasley——-Edu———–Torres———-Holden

Bornstein—–Onyewu—Goodson—–Cherundolo

————————-Guzan————————-

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