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U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. Italy: Match Day Commentary

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The U.S. Men's national team takes on Italy today in Genoa in what will arguably be the toughest test the United States has faced since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as head coach six months ago (2:30pm, ESPN2).

The Americans come into the match short-handed, but will still feature several top players, including Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley. They take on an Italy side led by Andrea Pirlo and Gigi Buffon, a side that will also feature some talented young standouts.

The USA lineup doesn't have any surprises. It is the same starting XI we projected on Monday, with Fabian johnson at left back and a Michael Bradley-Maurice Edu-Danny Williams trio in midfield.

SBI will be providing live commentary on today's match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Commentary is after the jump):

 

196 comments
  • TomG

    Bradley was insanely good today. He’s become a bit of an artist with the ball. His first touch is so good it’s scary, not just the weight on the touch but the direction and planning. It’s like he’s two moves ahead of everyone else. He can have 3 or 4 guys around him yet always makes the play to space. To think, there was a time when I didn’t think this kid had any ball skills. I remember him w/ the M-Stars and wondering why he was playing at all. Just goes to show how much I know.

    Like

  • elgringorico

    Mark my words: Fabian Johnson and Michael Bradley just locked down their starting spots for Qualifiers and potentially the 2014WC. MB himself was incredibly calm on the ball, distributed perfectly, and was the stalwart of the defense. Donovan will come back and put DWill on the bench (who did have a good 2nd half, but still)…. things are looking up.

    Like

  • Since 82

    Bradley is BOSS. Great combo play between Altidore and Dempsey on the goal. Hyperbolic, manic depressive NAT fan boys and girls need to calm down.

    Like

  • hush

    Sasha continues to show his pure wackness! It doesn’t matter if he plays for 5 minutes or the full 90, he is wack in a U.S jersey. Trade him to Canada.🙂

    Bradley! A BEAST!! Enough said.

    Fabian: The dude played amazing on the left. It’s difficult to say who starts there. Crazy. I’m very excited the depth we have in that position. Just 8 months ago we were going crazy to find someone, I think we have a few now.😉

    Dempsey… probably will go down as the greatest U.S player. At least to me he is and will be.

    Everyone was solid toady. Good dribbling and possession. Would like to see more, but todays possession was better than I have ever seen…. especially considering we were in Italy.

    Like

  • eric

    J-Spect coming up big at the end. Great performance by the boys. Bradley Man of the Match in my opinion. Boca and Goodson got beat quite often but recovered every time. Dempsey with a class finish and Jozy with some great hold up play. Fabian Johnson was wonderful as well. Edu played well with some great tackles. I didnt really see Shea or Williams get involved much except when they were giving the ball away. Great, great win

    Like

  • dutchtwista

    Poster Ben should never use the internet again. Completely lazy use of blowhard cliches. Disrespecting the efforts of players representing our nation in difficult circumstances.

    Like

  • TomG

    Seriously, though. Very good result for Klinsi and the team. The strategy for him in tough games appears to be to put 11 guys behind the ball early and hope to weather the storm then open up a little later in the game to try to take advantage of an edge in fitness. It’s a little boring, but I understand it, and it worked today. I generally judge a game not on goals but on scoring chances and we lost by a pretty fair margin on that rubric. But I don’t want to rain on the parade. It’s a great win, and Klinsi and the boys should be proud.

    Like

  • elgringorico

    I don’t think anyone could honestly argue that the team is better off without Donovan, but it is an interesting thought…

    Like

  • Tyrone

    Hmm, Goodson helped to solidify a backline that (along with Howard) just stoned Italy. Please respect his performance. I agree with you on Onyewu. Gonzo is injured and who knows what he’ll be like when he comes back. Whitbread would be ahead of Goodson, if he could only stay uninjured. And John hasn’t played nearly as regularly or has the NT experience that Goodson has. Wait til John shows in Europe before we crown him a starting CB for the NT.

    Like

  • Tyler

    Great result, all things considered. I was pleased with the improvement from Jozy and Danny in the 2nd half. Danny should probably be a sub for Bradley-Edu rather than a right winger but today we were short on options. Going forward I thin Goodson should be dropped down a few spots on the depth chart behind Whitbread, Boca, and Gooch. Gotta like Johnson and Chandler as the future fullbacks. When you talk about being able to catalyze the attack from the back those two guys are essential to that vision. I’m excited. We are taking baby steps and that’s all we can expect.

    Like

  • Luke

    Sheesh! What does Jozy need to do to impress you?!?! Score a brace and get an assist? I didn’t watch the game, just followed the commentary but everyone seems to agree that he played a strong second half and had the assist on the ONLY GOAL of the game. He also played through a sprained wrist the 1st half that, I’d assume limited his physical play.

    Like

  • Mig22

    Two questions to consider there:
    1) Is there a lineup that the US can field without LD that is better than lineups with him?
    2) Do the other players try harder, play smarter, etc. when LD is not there and thus the team is better.

    I think we can agree that the answer to 1) is clearly not. He is the best all around player on the US and thus can fit into any formation and improve it. As to 2), who can say and the answer will be probably be subjective anyways.

    Like

  • Tyrone

    Goodson helped to solidify a backline that (along with Howard) just stoned Italy. How does that drop him down the depth chart behind Whitbread, who hasn’t played for the NT, and is oft-injured?

    Like

  • jai_brooklyn

    Wow! That was the US playing? Actually keeping possession and controlling tempo instead of just running around like chickens with heads cut off?

    We’ve come a long way, baby.

    Awesome, awesome result!!

    MOM: General Bradley.

    Like

  • Bumby Hemmingway

    Funny how the comments stop as soon as Dempsy scores. Not as fun when there is nothing to complain about, I guess.

    Like

  • marco

    Not in Germany they didn’t. The US Army in Germany was waiting for the Ruskies to come storming through the Fulda Gap. They never could afford the diesel fuel.

    Like

  • Tyler

    I’m not saying he played badly today, he played well. But it is my personal belief that when healthy, the aforementioned players would help us more than Goodson.

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  • JoJo73

    Compliments from Italy for the victory… Italian tv commentators have highly praised Bradley’s game as well as the composure of USMNT. I don’t know how good MB was before, but it looks like that training and playing regularly for Chievo (a mid-low table team, but good at finding and growing talent) has done wonders!

    It looks to me that many US players are tactically still a bit naive… hopefully MB performance has shown to a wider audience the merits of the Italian approach to the game.

    However, great win for US soccer. From today on the movement has definitely won respect in Italy.

    Like

  • TomG

    I really don’t think there’s anything to it at all. This was a great win, but did we OUTPLAY Italy? No, the Azzurri had many more chances than us. We essentially had one decent chance and a setpiece Jozy drew while Italia was around our goal the whole match. LD would have helped immensely with possession and service on the wing. D-Will held up well and put in a yeoman’s effort, but this is a stepping stone match that shows we CAN beat the big teams if we bunker down, but it’s not how we want to be playing in 2014. We should be happy but recognize that there’s still a lot of work to do.

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  • Indigo Montoya

    Nice opinion – where does this ‘he doesn’t play defense’ notion come from? He definitely does for Fulham – and Edu and Bradley have a job to play defense for the U.S. And he is great at defending corners – you have espoused a tired argument for somebody that just helped the U.S. defeat Italia for the first time ever. First time ever.

    Like

  • Indigo Montoya

    Amen x 2!!!

    Bradley was the main cog in the wheel that just beat Italy, in Genoa. He’s the next captain of the U.S. in my opinion.

    Like

  • Indigo Montoya

    donovan in the squad is a no brainer. maybe the U.S. scores two with him on the pitch. a wholly different squad with donovan – much better.

    Like

  • Ben

    I don’t know what game you were watching. I don’t think I ever saw him sprint, including his 2v2 opportunity which he botched. With 10 or 15 minutes left in the game he should almost never stop running and I didn’t see him sprint once. I can forgive all the fouls and mistakes, but lack of effort is too much.

    Like

  • wildchild

    Just goin over the comments tonight, about 9 hours after the game. The amount of negativity, pre-goal, is disgusting. What a bunch of wwhiny knowitall batches. True SUPPORTERS can rejoice tonight.

    Like

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