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USA 2, Honduras 1: A Look Back

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What a difference three days can make.

Last Thursday morning, after the U.S. national team's 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, pessimism was king and there was little reason for optimism regarding the U.S. team and it's future this summer and beyond. One gutsy comeback win later, there is once again reason to believe that there is something to look forward to in the coming months if you are a U.S. fan.

Yes, the Americans needed a comeback to beat Honduras, but they delivered one of their gutsiest performances in recent memory. That, and the inspired performances of players such as Carlos Bocanegra, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber, Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein (to name a few) bodes well for the U.S. team's summer.

Here are my grades for the U.S. players on Saturday:

Tim Howard (7) – Very aggressive in the area, thwarted several aerial attacks from Honduras.

Jonathan Bornstein (7) – The left back job is his for the foreseeable future after this stellar performance.

Carlos Bocanegra (7.5) – A rock in the back and showed tremendous courage on game-winning goal.

Oguchi Onyewu (7) – Slow start but helped lead the defense, especially once Bocanegra left the match.

Jonathan Spector (7) – Effective getting forward and never got beaten, Spector played a smart and effective game. Absolutely should start in the Confederations Cup.

Landon Donovan (7) – As aggressive as I have seen him be with the national team in some time. Still struggling with his set piece delivery, but did hit the corner on the game-winner to go along with his clutch penalty equalizer.

Pablo Mastroeni (5) – Struggled to deal with the tandem of Amado Guevara and Wilson Palacios in the first half. Played better than Wednesday, but has fallen down the pecking order in central midfield.

Ricardo Clark (7.5)– Best national team performance of Clark's young career. He definitely struggled early, but came on strong before halftime and looked completely poised in the second half. Made a few clutch defensive plays.

Clint Dempsey (5.5) – Shocking mistake led to the Honduras goal, but Dempsey made up for it with the header on Bocanegra's goal. Still not having the impact expected of someone coming off such a good EPL season.

Jozy Altidore (5) – Wasn't overly dangerous but put constant pressure on the Honduras defense and put in the type of defensive work coaches love from their strikers.

Conor Casey (4.5) – Wasted a handful of chances, and struggled as one might expect in a first game in four years, but he was active and aggressive and should get some Confederations Cup minutes.

Benny Feilhaber (6.5) – Got off to a slow start after coming in, but quickly found his rhythm and played some beautiful soccer. Looks capable of sliding into a starting role and providing some sorely-needed creativity.

Jay DeMerit (6) – The U.S. team has needed a reliable third centerback for some time and DeMerit sure looked like that player after replacing Bocanegra. He should get some good playing in the Confederations Cup considering the compact schedule.

DaMarcus Beasley (4.5) – Came in to play on the right flank but quickly had to move to left back after Bornstein cramped up. Proceeded to make some awful plays that nearly gave Honduras a chance to equalize. Bob Bradley will be hard-pressed to trust Beasley with starts given his recent form and lack of club playing time.

(NOTE- Player's grades are affected by playing time, so someone who plays 45 minutes and plays great won't get the same grade as someone who played great for 90 minutes.)


Some more thoughts on the match:

The U.S. team was definitely fortunately that Wilson Palacios wasn't fully match fit. Palacios was a beast in the first half and control the middle of the park, but his lack of playing time over the past month (due to the mourning of his brother's murder) hurt him and he eventually left with an injury. Once Palacios left the U.S. team dominated the middle of the field.

Benny Feilhaber could be the missing link. The U.S. team has needed some midfield creativity for some time and Feilhaber looks poised to fill that void. Jose Franciso Torres showed some flashes vs. Costa Rica, but Feilhaber is stronger on the ball and just as good a passer. As for Freddy Adu, he will struggle to get minutes in South Africa and, at this point, looks like a better bet to play a key role in the Gold Cup.

Conor Casey was frustrating to watch at times but he was also very involved and showed no fear despite playing his first national team game in four years. He doesn't lack for confidence and could start showing his MLS form on the international level with some more playing time.

Bob Bradley should seriously consider starting Clint Dempsey up top with Jozy Altidore. Dempsey has struggled badly to make an impact in the past two qualifiers and could be more dangerous closer to goal. Moving him up could also make room for Benny Feilhaber and Ricardo Clark in the U.S. midfield.

Beasley's role at this point should be as a reserve winger, which is what Bradley intended on Saturday before Bornstein came down with cramps, forcing Beasley to drop back. The Confederations Cup was supposed to be a chance for Beasley to showcase himself for potential suitors but his form is so off right now that Bradley would have a tough time justifying starting the veteran midfielder.


Who's performance stood out for you on Saturday? Who disappointed you? What U.S. player surprised you the most on Saturday? Are you feeling better about the Confederations Cup, or are you still fearing an 0-for-3?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. @Mike Caramba, as a proud and self-professed NEEEEEERRRD, your exclamation made me do a spit take, it was so funny. Good on you!

    I’m hoping BB, with injury questions/problems abound (Ching, Edu, Dolo, and now Boca and Bornstein) I think Confed Cup is a GREAT chance to let our younger guys play at a high level. Brazil and Italy?!?!? Bornstein, Feilhaber and Spector can really hone some skills for as often as they’re going to get schooled.

    But that’s a good thing, because we need to keep our eyes on the prize, and that’s a good showing/KO round trip to SA next summer.

    Watched the EGY 0-3 ALG game yesterday, with EGY getting worked like a rib by Algeria AT EGYPT. That is definitely a game we can win. We’re going to have a chip on our shoulder the size of Gibraltar when we play Italy. I think we might win 2 games and get through.

    Just, dear God, please, leave Pablo and Beas home…or at least have Beas be a last minute emergency sub for a spark of offense with 15 min to go in Africa. Give the guys who can improve the chance to do so. Players will rise with higher expectations.

    Word to your mother!

    Be Champions.

  2. Also, the idea that Dempsey’s almost-goal was a “sitter” is laughable. Yes, it’s a make-able goal, but by no means was that an easy angle, to say nothing of the fact that it’d be a half-volley, on the run, with the goal-keeper having a good angle on the shot.

  3. Dempsey is fine. He just looks like a guy that hasn’t had a break in 8 months of playing soccer almost continually. I think it’s a stretch to say that he had little positive impact on the game in Honduras. He almost scored a very difficult goal, set up the second goal, and had a nice breakaway where he perhaps passed the ball a stride to early, but he certainly had an impact.

  4. “The win was fantastic. I’m not a Bradley supporter but he did something right on Saturday. Let’s revel in the win because it ain’t gonna be pretty at the confederations cup.”


  5. I feel like gutsy a nice way of saying “ugly”. Some players definitely put in good performances, but don’t you think it’s a little disheartening to see the US continue to start games so slowly. El Salvador, 2-0. Costa Rica, 3-0. Honduras, 1-0. Obviously we had “gutsy” comebacks in two of those three, but I’m a little worried that second-half grit/guts/heart won’t be enough against teams like Italy and Brazil. We need to start playing well from the first whistle.

    I don’t want to take any credit away from the team–I’m certainly happy we took 3 points at the end of the day, and that is what is important. But I also don’t want to get too excited about our team when they can’t seem to take control early. Saturday eased some of the pain from Wednesday, but there’s something still lingering…

    Let’s hope it gets sorted out for the Confederations Cup.

    Posted by: Mike Caramba | June 08, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    Well put, we need to get our heads out of the sand for the first 20 minutes and maybe even score the first goal or two before we can handle italy, brazil, egypt….I think our offense doesn’t know how, and our defense isn’t warmed up until the half….maybe they should scrimmage during warm up time.

  6. Nice comeback, but it’s a little frightening that we needed to against Honduras in our own country.

    And, when it was tied, Honduras had a virtual breakaway that was *wrongly* ruled offsides (and naturally Harkes wrongly congratulated the linesman on getting it right!).

    Our depth was severely exposed this past week. I like our first 11, but when we have to call in guys who are past it (Mastro) and never were that good and guys who aren’t even playing for their own clubs (Adu, Altidore, Beasley), we’re too thin.

  7. >The team was not playing to Casey’s strength, ala Ching and McBride.

    Isn’t he supposed to be great in the air? I haven’t seen that many crosses by the US in years.

  8. Conf. Cup starting line up?



    Jonny B.–Boca—Gooch——Spector


    most likely subs to come in Clark, Casey or Davies

  9. The team was not playing to Casey’s strength, ala Ching and McBride. He was being forced out wide where he was trying to outrace defenders. Jozy needed to be out wide more and Casey inside more.

    Cooper is smooth in MLS, but on the international level he can’t play with his back to the goal and his passing his weaker than the passing of a number of alternatives. I really enjoy watching him play in MLS, but he has got to work on those parts of his game.

    Scoring in MLS doesn’t automatically translate to the international level, ask Jason Kreis and Jeff Cunningham about their time with the Nats.

    Dempsey’s problem may be: ironically, playing too many games with his clubs, and frequently playing different positions for club and country.

  10. I feel like Bradley, Edu, and Clark are too much of the same type of player to stick 2 of them in together. They need a more technical, creative player to compliment them and hopefully Feilhaber can continue to progress and take over that role. I’d also like to see Jozy as the lone forward with Landon playing behind him, Torres out on the left, and Dempsey on the right. That would be a much more technically gifted line-up than anything we’ve put on the field in a long time.

  11. “When Dempsey lost possession it was in the same place Honduras got the ball when they kicked off the game. The problem is that the US team was so out of shape that they could not defend.”

    Precisely the reason why trying to take on three players in the defensive or middle third is usually a very bad idea. It IS about shape, and the quickest way to get OUT of shape are have a lack of shape screw you is to start dribbling around the wrong parts of the field. Somebody in an earlier post said something like “save the cheeky stuff for the offensive third”. Like I said earlier, I like his creativity, but I couldn’t agree with the above statement more. It was great in releasing Spector later in the game, but that was the correct decision at the correct time and location.

  12. The essential problem with the US team is their failure to maintain posession. Benny and Torres are the obvious answers in the midfield, but our back line also has to step up. Enough with the hopeless longballs (Gooch). Enough with the kicking it out at the slighest hint of pressure. Someone in the midfield, Bradley perhaps, needs to consistently track back and become an outlet for the transition, with Benny and Torres moving play forward for Donovan. Alitdore is spending too much time with his back to the goal. And Dempsey isn’t spending enough time in a place where he can shoot from, and neither is Donovan, which is why they both need to move around the field more. The U.S. will not be sucessful against good teams, or consistent in the region, unless it stops playing dump and chase hockey and starts possessing the ball and creating shots (not headers) on goal.

  13. US Soccer, the spot I see Dempsey playing is as a second striker, behind Altidore in a 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1. I happen to think that’s the best spot for him to maximize his strengths.

    He’s been deployed on the right wing for two straight matches and hasn’t done much. And no, it’s not about him being on the right as opposed to the left. All the things you talk about him being able to do are things he does with Fulham, with a completely different cast around him (and not in a traditional left wing role). Trying to say that he can do those same things with the U.S. team when he doesn’t have the same support system around him (and is playing in a different system) is misguided. Dempsey is hurting from Ching’s absence and Beasley’s terrible form. If Ching were healthy and Beasley were the old Beasley, you would see much more from Dempsey. That’s not to deflect all the blame from Dempsey either. He has to shoulder some of the blame for his inability to have an impact.

    As for his costly turnover, yes there were Honduras defenders closing in on him but he caused the turnover by trying a ball trick in a terrible spot on the field. He tried to force one of his tricks and it led directly to a Honduras fast break.

    Lastly, about Donovan, yes, there is an expectation of him doing more considering his reputation, but I still don’t think a 7 is way high for a game where he converts the equalizing PK and hit the corner that led to the game-winning goal. Yes, his free kick service can be frustrating to watch, but talking about the Saturday game specifically, I’m not sure how you can give someone who had a hand in both US goals less than a 7.

  14. Why wasn’t Kenny Cooper playing instead of Casey?

    Why does Bob Bradley favor awkward, pudgy, bald strikers instead of able-bodied, fit, fully-haired ones?

    What the deuce?!

  15. It’s a little absured for people to criticize LD for scoring goals by converting PK’s. It’s his job and he has nerves of steel when called upon to deliver in those instances. Saturday night’s PK was about as pressure packed a situation as I can remember for our guys and he made it look easy… IT’S NOT EASY!! We should be so blessed to have someone that converts from the spot like he does when given the opportunity.

    Sometimes I think these same people don’t stop to ask what our squad would look like if he were hurt or benched like some of them want… do these same people really believe we’d be competitive without him on the field??

    While he was more assertive Saturday night in making runs and attacking, YES, I too think he can do more, but he’s still the best we have from our AVAILABLE POOL of players…

    my 2 cents…

  16. Why does Donovan continue to get a free pass? He has one goal from open play in the last 22 national team games. This is our best player? He takes players on 1 v 1 but is continuously dispossessed or fouled. His free kick service is atrocious. Can we stop pretending that he is good?

    As far as the game…a win is a win but we are a year from SA2010 and the guys that were supposed to help us take the next step are either nowhere to be found (Adu) or stagnating(Altidore, Dempsey). Gutty performances are great for CONCACRAP but without skill it’s another first round WC exit.

  17. US soccer fan — have you watched even a minute of wher Roy plays Clint? It is not along the touch lines, not even close. Clint plays left mid but Roy knows playing on the touch line and crossing is not Clint’s strength, so Roy has him pinch in to the point that he looks like he’s playing in the center with Murphy and Etuhu. That’s why there is some talk about Roy going out and getting a “true” left winger this summer (which is unfortunate, because then Clint, who tied for the team lead in goals, will have to compete with Gera and Davies for playing time on the right).

  18. Confused — in a nutshell, in ’07 Benny moved to Derby County in the EPL and couldn’t crack the starting lineup (amid lots of rumors of being arrogant and uncoachable), and this came after he scored that golazo in the ’07 Gold Cup final. Lots of people assumed he got a big head after his goal against Mexico. He later lost his place with the Nats and Bradley gave a couple interviews suggesting that Benny needed to mature before he would get his place back. I think he’s finally healthy now and maybe we’ll see the old Benny again.

  19. Ives you got Dempsey all wrong.

    He is a terrible finisher and should never play up top. It is a disservice to him talking about him as a forward. He isn’t, not at a high level anyway. Trust me, I’ve watched a lot of Dempsey minutes over the last year.

    That said, he is remarkably good at possession play against high level opposition working as a wide midfielder. Right or left. He’ll win balls, tackle, defend, pass, initiate attacks, work in tight coordination with teammates, etc. Very effective.

    About that goal – when everyone criticizes Dempsey failure to keep possession in the center circle when triple teamed, ask yourself where the holding mids were? Where were the center backs? There was no one there to help him.

    When Dempsey lost possession it was in the same place Honduras got the ball when they kicked off the game. The problem is that the US team was so out of shape that they could not defend.

    Possession is lost all the time, especially when double or triple teamed and that wasn’t a particularly dangerous place to lose it if the team has any shape.

    That said, Clint is most effective along the touch lines. Ask Roy.

  20. I have been following the National team on and off, but pretty closely for a few months now. I always people talk about Feilhaber’s bad history (that he has a huge ego and stuff), but I don’t know what they’re talking about, or what events caused this. Whenever I’ve seen him play he seems solid.

    Can anyone give me the synopsis of how Benny earned this reputation???

  21. For those saying Dempsey can’t play up top because you’ve decided he’s a poor finisher because he missed that one shot against Honduras served up by Feilhaber, I have this to say to you: Dempsey is a very efficient finisher. He was one of the highest goal scoring midfielders in the EPL this year, has been effective playing up front for Fulham, and has, generally, taken his chances well (many of which he’s created from nothing).

    Saying Dempsey is a poor finisher because of that one missed shot, is like tuning in to one minute of a laker’s game, seeing kobe miss a three, and then deciding based on that one minute of tv viewing that kobe is a poor three point shooter (not that i’m comparing dempsey to kobe…u get the point).

    Look, if the honduras game was the first professional soccer game you’ve every seen with Dempsey – we weclome you. You obviously are free to post whatever you want on the internet, but, just at tip for y’all: if, in life, you are going to express opinions about things, it’s usually better if they are based on something meaningfull.

  22. looking at the game again on ESPN360. Dempsey and Spector combined well defensively on the right. But there was one time in the 27 min when Dempsey gets an open cross and he just banged the ball low as if he was taking a shot- no guile in the cross what so ever. And Gooch was big. did you folks see how many times he stepped up and shut down plays? Folks need to look at the game a second time to really make accurate assessments of what happened. Too much of the first view is through the lens of bias- whether you like a player or not.

  23. I think the Casey and Jozy tandem works. They are both big and strong and they make any defense sweat especially on set plays. I hope Bob Bradleys plays them again in the future. It’s a just matter of time before they connect. Great rebound by our boys!

  24. This was my first “cap” as a fan for the USMNT so I am just thrilled that we saw an exciting game and a win for the US. SOme thoughts:

    1.Spector and Bornsteing were solid and at this point the best options for the USA.

    2. Donovan: It’s good to see him in a position to run at opponents with the ball at his feet.

    3. M. Bradley was sorely missed and would have be a huge upgrade over Mastro.

    4. Benny Feilhaber is my favorite player and has the class and calmness to be a huge contributor when placed next to Bradley.

    5. It would be nive to see a speed demon like Davies paired with Jozy to cause more concern for an opponents back four.

    With that said sometimes winning ugly has to be taken for what it is: 3 points that had to be had.

  25. Why does everyone seem down on the idea of playing Boca at LB like he plays for Rennes? I personally like the sounds of Boca, Demerit, Gooch, and Spector.. Who’s with me?

  26. I don’t know, Adam, I think qualifying is EASIER than it used to be. Think about it:

    ’90 — first time we qualified in 30+ years and barely so

    ’94 – auto qual as host

    ’98 – tough qual

    ’02 – tough qual, I think we qualified on our last or second to last game

    ’06 – easy qual

    ’10 – probably will an easy qual when all is said and done unless we blow either of our remaining home games

  27. Clark was fantastic.

    No one has mentioned that he made a great carry into the box and drew an obvious PK that was not called. Could have been the first goal of the night.

  28. I am still worried.

    That said…

    is it just me or is CONCACAF improving across the board. Qualifying isn’t as easy as it used it be.

  29. Casey-I thought Casey showed enough for more playing time. He did let a few balls get passed him which he normally controls and distributes in the MLS. His volley was a good aggressive shot and I don’t think much more could be expected off of that. He received no service to his head in the box all game which is how he scores a majority of his goals. However, he did not show enough to prove he is a starter by any means.

    Dempsey- I am still confused on where Dempsey should play. Its a little frustrating to have so many tweeners on the roster. It’s also frustrating to have star players have such little impact on the game. Dempsey and Donovan worked hard, but if these other CONCACAF teams can rely on their stars to score goals and wreak havoc, why can’t we?

    Spector, Feilhaber, and Demerrit all showed enough to get many more looks this summer.

  30. Our inability to find that final pass to get behind the back line will hurt us in the Confederations Cup. However, Benny is the answer to that.

    I am calling for Boss Bradley to start Benny and Bradley in the middle of the park together. They played extremely well together at the Olympics. Benny has the flair, poise, and creativity to surprise defenses. Michael has the grit to help our back line fend off attacks. THEY are the future of our midfield. He should also consider switching Donovan and Dempsey during the game to spice things up a bit.

    IMO Spector and Bornstein shone better than any other Saturday night. They deserve to start until they prove otherwise. I was disappointed with Donovan’s set-piece deliveries, I think he is more dangerous at the top of the box to scoop up a loose ball.

    The biggest thing I saw at the game (besides the unbelievable see or blue and white) was that when our team fought for the ball, they played better, but when they were lazy, they sucked. I don’t know what goes on in the locker room, but I feel the team is missing a bulldog to jump start the team when they are down or have their heads in the clouds.

    And let me just say when Honduras scored, I’ve never heard a louder noise than what their fans produced. It honestly sounded like a jet engine inside my head. Credit to them for making the trip. I met a lot of cool native Hondurans in Chicago. Before the game, I wanted to cry at the sight of all of them, it was absolutely disgusting that it was supposed to be a U.S. home game. But like the saying goes.. “you only sing when you’re winning…”

  31. deuce as a striker? don’t like that idea. he missed to point blank opportunities to score against honduras. both off crosses into the box where he ended up shanking wide. strikers have to be clinical finishers as the opportunities are rare.

  32. dempsey losing the ball was catastrophic but to me it looked like he was fouled. that could have gone either way and the ref just didn’t call it. later in the half, dempsey tried to switch the ball from his right foot to his left and was fouled in much the same way. this time the ref called it. was the ref making up for the first call that he let slide? anyway, the ref was curious at times. how about the foul on clark inside the box?

  33. – Spector should start at RB so long as Dolo is out injured….once he comes back then Johnny should move over to LB.

    – Demerit is no doubt our 3rd option for CB

    – Benny looked good and that ball he fed Clint at the 6 was giftwrapped, too bad he choked. I wanna see him back in the middle with Bradley and get that tandem going again

    – Speaking of Deuce, I am unsure what to do with him. Either move him up top as he has been pretty ineffective in the middle with frequent turnovers, or bench him so he can get the urge to come out and prove his worth

  34. For those that were uninspired by the game… you should have been there. The tension in that stadium, that game… whatever it felt like watching it on TV, it was magnified greatly. The entire stadium stood… the entire game.

    My fiancee was practically in tears when Bocanegra headed the second goal in.

    As far as the team goes, if I can borrow words from Christopher Sullivan… The US players “played for the shirt.”

    Jozy and Casey busted thier humps, and I think that hustle rubbed off on the others.

    Clark played end to end, and saved a goal late. (Did anyone see him begging LD for the ball on a free kick in the first half? Did that make it to TV?)

    I give Bornstein TONS of credit for playing injured, and being effective when placed at forward.

    Spector was sublimely fantastic.

    Benny showed 45 minutes of what he can do, and I hope he can repeat and build upon the performance soon.

    This team will go as far as Dempsey and Donovan will take them. They both ratcheted up their effort and intensity about halfway through the first half, and the rest of the team followed. It is reliant upon the coaching staff to find a way to keep them consistently motivated and involved.

    As bad as Costa Rica was, this game was 180 degrees the other way.

  35. I’ll take the win, but I think everyone is being pretty generous in their assesment. Perhaps the worst 180 minutes in US soccer history.

    We have have more people playing soccer in this country than the entire CITIZENSHIPS of Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador. We should not be satisfied with “gritty” comeback wins against ES and Honduras. Granted, the conditions at Saprissa are tough, but not enough to be humiliated there. We should be CRUSHING everyone (except Mexico) in CONCACAF by now. The entire USMNT has hit a plateau, we haven’t improved since ’02.

    We haven’t even established an American “style” of play yet. Our best players go off to individual success in foreign leagues, but return to no common ground on the National Team. One word, coaching.

    Our situation is unique in that we’ve come onto the international scene late. We have the best athletes in the world, but no established style of play. Our coaches are (through no fault of their own)trying to keep their jobs, so results are their priority. Development has taken a back seat.

    We have NO ONE with a first touch. Casey should habe BURIED that volley. Dempsey should have buried his chance on Benny’s cross. Donovan showed the desire to try to take over the match (finally) in the second half, but lacked the technical ability to pull it off.

    These guys had HUGE potential 5 years ago, but none have gotten any better. Same with Freddy and Jozy.

    Granted a lot falls on the coaching they receive on their respective clubs, but our boys should be able to return to a consistent model when they put on their National Shirt.

    But on the bright side, at least we’re not in Mexico’s boat!n

  36. Much better summary and ratings than your peers/hacks at ESPN (sans Jen Chang), honestly, well over half the posters on this blog could do a better job than Charlise

  37. During the match commentary I might have been a little tough on Bornstein, but now that I mentally recall the game he had a solid showing. He’s got pace to burn and at the very least should be our LB option until we get ‘Dolo back in the mix. I believe that BB will have some tough decisions to make once we have a healthy Cherundolo, Spector, and Bornsteing to choose from. I also missed Bradley’s presence in the midfiled. Benny and Rico were terrific but we could have used him. I’m glad we’ll have him for the Mexico game.

    Last thing, Ives. What do you think the chances are of getting Jeremiah White some PT during the Gold Cup? Has that roster already been anounced. I can’t recall if he plays on the left or the right but with beasley potentially fading into the background a bit, it seems like a decent opportunity to see what else is out there.

  38. I agree with the minority above who think the rest of you are crazy for thinking Dempsey is coasting. The guy has been playing for 11 months, he is exhausted and he is not getting service from our midfield due to the two holding midfielders approach. Dempsey is not a pure forward or wing so Bradley is going to have to use some creativity to maximize his potential

    Before we hand a starting spots over to Benny, Ricardo and Borenstein, let’s watch them against Brazil or Italy. They have never played against the caliber of player or the speed that these teams have. I think it will be enlightening. I believe Spector will do better considering the level of competition that he has in the EPL. There are a couple of us who think DeMerit in central D with Boca out left is a stronger backline than Boca in center and Borenstein.

    The win was fantastic. I’m not a Bradley supporter but he did something right on Saturday. Let’s revel in the win because it ain’t gonna be pretty at the confederations cup.

  39. I am not sure that “gutsy” is something we should aspire to against the Hondurases of the world, particularly at home.

    I would like to see us not have to have “gutsy” games against small third-world countries at home. The fact that we had to win in a gutsy manner is an indictment of the skill and passion of our players, not an endorsement.

    It certainly is better that the pasting we received at the hands of Costa Rica, but I am still not satisfied with the play of the USMNT, not by a long shot.

  40. Dempsey’s performance against Honduras was probably his best in the last 12 months (excepting his early, costly give-away). If he keeps it up, he belongs in the starting XI. If he reverts to the type of play he had against CR and other previous games, we might as well get him off the field and find someone who can bring some energy and effort (Stuart Holden?). It doesn’t matter if the Deuce is one of our top 3 or 4 – if he doesn’t make an effort, he’s useless.

    Those of you with Adu stars in your eyes are you blind to his glaring deficiences – inability to hold the ball while the rest of his teammates join the attack, excessive dribbling, dribbling into tackles and losing the ball, no defense at all, punching bag for the physical backs in CONCACAF, flopper and whiner while play continues around him. Yes, he’s great at stepovers, Cruyff turns, and free kicks, but on balance he is a liability in international play. His club managers are not morons – they see him every day and won’t let him off the substitutes bench.

    Freddy’s greatest days have occurred when he has been playing age group soccer; when he has been playing other players with comparable levels of experience. When you take off the age cap and put him against experienced defenders in their late 20’s and 30’s, he’s not effective. No way is Adu ready to be a starter against the likes of Italy or Brazil (Gattuso would DESTROY him). Bradley should continue to find ways to get him experience so that when he matures he will be ready to make a contribution.

  41. I think our problem is more mental than physical. Not much we can do about our personnel or who is injured, in form, etc. If we don’t play hard for 90 minutes every game, we might as well forfeit. We will probably improve a little bit as the team gels together over these few weeks but hope we learned our lesson from these games (don’t give up early goals and play hard with heart) and we’ve got a chance.

  42. Ives, I thought your ratings were spot on. However, I wonder about Bornstein against a team that is of higher caliber than Honduras and puts more pressure on the defense, i.e. how he would do just from a defensive standpoint when he may have less chance to go forward. Not sure of the answer but won’t be convinced he is the answer until I see him against a team like Brazil, Italy, etc.

  43. The Gentleman Masher-

    i was thinking the same thing after watching the game. i like the fact we take advantage of the opportunities from set pieces, but still wish more goals came for the run of play.

    Overall, I’ll take a win anyway we can though.

  44. Agree that Benny, Bornstein, Spector, and Clark were the stories of the game.

    Maybe Dempsey is just plain tired. He should take a break, he just came off a long EPL season. I really have no idea how these guys play so many games during the season, and so many Cups, then play the summers and then go back to their teams.

    Don’t they need to rest?

  45. For me, the most encouraging performance from the Honduras match came from Jonathan Spector. I don’t worry about right back – Hejduk and Cherundolo are both excellent options when healthy – but I worry about left back (in spite of Bornstein’s good performance on Saturday) and the third center-back spot. It’s extremely rare to get through the group stage of a World Cup with your entire back four entact – you’re going to need a sub somewhere at some point. If Spector is in form, he could be the go-to guy no matter what gap needs to be filled.


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