USA vs. Denmark: Matchday Commentary

USA vs. Denmark: Matchday Commentary

U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. Denmark: Matchday Commentary

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USA CrestDenmark logo 

The final match of the year is set to kick off today for the U.S. men's national team as the Americans take on Denmark (2:30pm, ESPN Classic/Galavision/ESPN2 after Ukraine-Greece) on the last international matchday of the year.

The United States will be playing its 24th match of the year and this match is an important one as head coach Bob Bradley looks to learn more about the depth of his squad.

I will be providing live commentary throughout the 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 action (Commentary is after the jump):

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FINAL– That's all for now. Please feel free to share your post-game thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for following along.

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FINAL– Denmark 3, USA 1. The Danes go off for three goals early in the second half to pull away in a game the Americans won't want to remember.

What did we learn? The second tier of American players isn't that strong. Definitely not as strong as Denmark's. The Danes brought in second-tier players who play for top clubs in Europe, quality talent. The U.S. team brought in MLS players and some players who have tried to find places to play in Europe.

Bright spots for the Americans? Not many. Robbie Rogers looked decent in the second half, Benny Feilhaber looked decent in the first half. Negatives? Jozy Altidore was ineffective and Frankie Hejduk was frighteningly ineffective.

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91st minute– USA corner leads to a header that is cleared off the line.

Not a great game today for the Americans. A nice 20-25 minutes to end the first half, but the rest of the day was a study in frustration and ineffectiveness.

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90th minute– Count me among the folks who will be VERY interested to see what players get called into January's national team camp.

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87th minute– So why didn't Bradley make subs earlier? He's always been a coach who leaves his starters in friendlies for at least 60 minutes. He likes giving his starters a good run-out. This loss is down to players not stepping up and making the most of this opportunity.

Bradley isn't blameless though. Hejduk clearly isnt in form and didn't need to play a full 90 today.

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86th minute– Rogers draws a good free kick opportunity. He's shown some good things playing on the right.

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84th minute– I'm not going to completely write off Hejduk after today, but right now he's reached the point where everytime he bets the ball you want to cringe.

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83rd minute– And playing Clint Dempsey's role of John Harkes' favorite target for criticism: Eddie Johnson.

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82nd minute– Dax McCarty comes on for Jozy Altidore. Actually he came on a few minutes ago, but who could tell?

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79th minute– Eddie Johnson has been largely invisible since coming in, though to be fair, the U.S. attack as a whole has been rather toothless this half.

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76th minute-  Conrad with a key interception after another Denmark break. The ref missed a clear handball on an attempted Hejduk clearance. That's the same kind of play that led to Denmark's second goal.

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74th minute– Still waiting to see Castillo get involved. Tough game for him to come into. It's a real mess of a game.

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73rd minute– Feilhaber with a turnover in a bad spot leading to a dangerous shot from distance from Denmark.

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71st minute– Hejduk wearing the captain's armband now. And he makes a good tackle, it was a two-footed lunge, but at least it was effective.

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70th minute– Jimmy Conrad is in for Spector. Clarence Goodson is coming in for Carlos Bocanegra.

Frankie Hejduk is still in the match. Is this one of these matches where you give a veteran the full 90 and then after the match you tell them "See, you don't have it anymore"?

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69th minute– SAVE SORENSON. Good shot from Rogers forces a save.

Conrad and Goodson coming on next.

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68thth minute– Jimmy Conrad is coming in, and if it isn't for Hejduk then I may start bleeding after scratching my head so hard.

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67th minute– Hejduk really is having a shocker today.

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65th minute– Castillo is playing on the left flank, in front of Bornstein.

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61st minute– Edgar Castillo is making his national team debut. He, Eddie Johnson and Robbie Rogers come in. Jeff Cunningham, Michael Bradley and Stuart Holden coming out.

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60th minute– BRADLEY JUST HIGH. Nice pass from Holden to free Bradley at the top of the box.

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59th minute– Robbie Rogers, Jimmy Conrad, Eddie Johnson and Edgar Castillo should all be in this match by now, or at least getting ready to come in. Even just one sub would be good against a team that gained a boost from three halftime subs.

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57th minute– The decision to start Hejduk is only being made worse by the decision not to replace him at halftime. Not sure what Bob Bradley is waiting for.

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55th minute- GOAL DENMARK!!! Bernburg finishes one from about 16 after a clear Denmark flop isn't called. Denmark 3, USA 1.

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52nd minute– On the replay it looked like a handball started that whole sequence when Spector tried to clear the ball away. Hejduk got sucked in, then when Spector came to clear the danger, his clearance hits Absolonsen, who runs onto the deflection, before finding a far-post run left wide open courtesy of Bornstein.

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51st minute- GOAL DENMARK!!! And the Danes just shredded the USA defense, with Soren Rieks tapping home a long pass from Absolonsen. Denmark 2, USA 1.

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48th minute– Denmark made three subs at halftime, with Johan Absolonsen being one of them.

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47th minute– That goal started off a beautiful long pass from Kjaer. And yes, Frankie Hejduk lost that mark. Spector knew nothing about the striker until he was already behind him.

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46th minute- GOAL DENMARK!! Absalonsong comes in as a sub and makes an immediate impact. He runs in behind Spector, latches onto a long pass, then beats Guzan. Denmark 1, USA 1.

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46th minute– We're back. No USA subs.

Cunningham with a dangerous ball in, but Altidore can't get to it. 

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HALFTIME– As well as Spector is playing in central defense, I'm beginning to wonder if we'll see him get some minutes at right back at all. It would have been good to see him on the right, with Jimmy Conrad in central defense. 

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HALFTIME- Bright spots? Cunningham's goal, Spector and Bocanegra in central defense, and Feilhaber and Bradley in midfield. Not so bright spots? Hejduk has struggled, while Altidore hasn't really put a stamp on this match.

We should see Castillo in the second half, and I think Eddie Johnson has to get a look. 

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HALFTIME– USA 1, Denmark 0. The Danes dominated play early, but Jeff Cunningham pounced on a defensive miscue and buried a beautiful goal. Since then it's been an even game, even as Frankie Hejduk struggles to stay on his feet.

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45th minute– Guzan reminds us why you don't want a live mic on a goalkeeper.

Dangerous corner misses everybody.

HALFTIME.

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45th minute– Hejduk with a hard foul, somehow he avoids a card.

Some great touches and moves by Bradley, but his pass is blocked.

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40th minute– Cunningham goes 1v1 against Kjaer, who wins that battle easily. The kid is quality (bad pass after the interception notwithstanding)

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39th minute– SAVE GUZAN! Stops a Bernburg shot initially deflected by Spector.

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38th minute– Denmark on the attack after a missed tackle by Hejduk, but Bornstein heads away the danger.

Hejduk with one of his trademark two-footed lunges. The ref came back and told Hejduk to cut that out.

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35th minute– Martin Bernburg is in for Morten Rasmussen for Denmark. Six subs allowed today for those wondering.

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34th minute– Denmark hasn't done well since the goal, that early possession has been tougher to hold on to now.

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31st minute– CLARK JUST HIGH! Great movement from the Americans, Holden with a nice run and cut-back, Cunningham with a good dummy, and Clark barely misses with a blast from 18.

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30th minute– SAVE GUZAN, A near-post shot is saved by Guzan, though Feilhaber had the post covered.

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27th minute– So maybe there are MLS-like defensive breakdowns on the international level. Poor turnover by the Danish defense and a great finish by Cunningham.

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26th minute- GOAL USA!!! Jeff Cunningham SCORES. He says "Forget service, I'll get the ball myself." Nice finish. USA 1, Denmark 0.

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25th minute– Cunningham runs onto a pass, and catches Sorenson off his line, but sends a sharp angled shot into the side-netting.

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24th minute– Cunningham's lack of impact isn't just about lack of service. Cunningham benefited in MLS from poorly organized defenses. On the international level, against top competition, you aren't going to see the types of defensive breakdowns that can often be found in MLS defending.

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23rd minute– Denmark corner after Spector heads clear a long free kick from the left wing.

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20th minute– Holden with a nice idea to spring Clark on a run but Clark can corral the pass. The U.S. team will want to consider sliding Feilhaber into the middle and pushing Robbie Rogers into the left wing role. As it stands, the current lineup isn't producing much of an attack at all.

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19th minute– Snoozer so far as Denmark's back four knock it around under no pressure.

U.S. midfield needs to start winning possession.

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16th minute– Cunningham isn't doing a great job of reading his teammate's passes and movement. Lack of familiarity is definitely an issue there.

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14th minute– Watching Kjaer operate on the ball you realize why so many big European clubs are after him. He's a big-ticket defender who should yield a high transfer next summer.

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13th minute– Lars Jacobson sends a ball in front of goal that Guzan grabs.

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12th minute– Denmark knocking it around a bit, Americans can't gain possession.

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10th minute–  Wow, Guzan dodges a bullet after Hejduk lets a loose ball roll at the area. Hejduk needs to do better there.

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8th Minute– Feilhaber looks good early. Playing on the left gives Feilhaber the freedom to float, much like Donovan is free to float from that slot.

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7th minute– SAVE SORENSON! Feilhaber with a stripped pass and hard shot on goal that forces a good save from Sorenson.

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6th minute– USA corner kick.

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4th minute– Let's see how long it takes Jeff Cuningham to make his mark on this match. It will also be interesting to see how Feilhaber does on the left.

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2nd Minute– Gronkaer is high with a clear look in front of goal.

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1st Minute– We're off.

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PRE-GAME– Here is the USA starting lineup:

————–Altidore———Cunningham————

Feilhaber—–Bradley——–Clark————-Holden

Bornstein—–Bocanegra—-Spector———-Hejduk

————————-Guzan—————————

BENCH-  Jimmy Conrad, Robbie Rogers, Clarence Goodson, Dax McCarty, Edgar Castillo, Marcus Hahnemann, Eddie Johnson.

MLS scoring leader Jeff Cunningham gets the nod up top, while veteran right back Frankie Hejduk gets the call on the right as Bob Bradley gets a second look at the Bocanegra-Spector centerback tandem.

Jonathan Bornstein starts at left back today, but something tells me we'll see Edgar Castillo before the day is done.

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Guzan; Hejduk, Spector, Bocanegra, Bornstein; Holden, Bradley, Clark, Feilhaber; Altidore, Cunningham

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