Save for one Freddy Adu pass and one Eddie Lewis finish, the U.S. national team’s World Cup qualifying victory against Barbados on Sunday was just plain ugly.
From the soccer to the field to the backdrop at the cricket stadium, watching the U.S. team’s 1-0 victory was slightly more difficult than watching Spain’s penalty kick triumph over Italy (let’s just say that after watching it on my TIVO late last night I was able to get to sleep).
Should we read much into the result?
Not really. It was a chance to see some Olympic team prospects, some national team back-ups and some players who needed field time after injuries or disappointing European seasons. Maybe another 8-0 drubbing would have satisfied the bloodlust of some spoiled fans, but a 1-0 victory in essentially a meaningless match shouldn’t suddenly be used to suggest that something is wrong with the national team (it won’t stop some folks from doing just that).
Now the real fun begins. No, you can’t exactly call the U.S. team’s qualifying group of Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala a group of death (the group containing Mexico, Honduras, Canada and Jamaica has that label locked up), but those matches will provide tougher test for the younger national team regulars about to pass through their first World Cup qualifying campaign.
So what did I like seeing on Sunday? Here are some observations:
Danny Szetela looked sharp and his time in Italy has helped him mature as a player.
DaMarcus Beasley needs to shake off some serious rust. He just looks like a shell of himself. Then again, playing forward probably didn’t help him look that sharp.
Michael Bradley needs a rest. He looks like he’s on fumes.
Freddy Adu impressed and I’m anxious to see him against a team that actually defends with some pressure.
Drew Moor showed us yet again that he can get forward at times (sometimes to his team’s detriment) but isn’t really a natural right back so he’s a defensive liability. Frank Simek and Jonathan Spector need to get healthy ASAP because if Steve Cherundolo gets hurt there will be problems.
Eddie Lewis is an ageless wonder and based on Beasley’s rustiness and his own form I think Lewis has stated the stronger case for starting once the qualifying group stage begins.
Overall, the second leg against Barbados is a game to forget, though it wasn’t a complete waste.
What did you think of the match? Who stood out? Who disappointed? Are you in the "How dare we only win 1-0, Bob Bradley should be fired" camp? Or are you in the "We were already up 8-0 so this match didn’t really mean much" camp?
Share your thoughts below.