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USA settles for tie vs. Poland

Clint Dempsey 2 (ISIphotos.com) 

Photo by ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team showed good attacking qualities and introduced a new talent to the squad on Saturday night, but defensive frailties caused the team to blow leads twice in a 2-2 tie against Poland on Saturday night.

Jozy Altidore scored the opening goal, but missed on a plethora of other chances, including one hard shot off the crossbar. Oguchi Onyewu scored a go-ahead goal on a header in the second half, but a Poland equalizer spoiled the result for Bob Bradley's squad.

There were bright spots to be sure. From Stuart Holden, who was confident and effective in attack, to Jermaine Jones, who provided sharp passes and bite in central midfield, the U.S. midfield did well to create chances, many of which Altidore squandered.

Not all was positive for the Americans.

Defensively, there were issues for a somewhat surprising back-line. Maurice Edu clearly looked like a player playing an unfamiliar position, while Oguchi Onyewu battled the rust associated with not playing at AC Milan.

The U.S. team returns to action on Tuesday, when the Americans face Colombia at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.

One player who won't be facing Colombia is left back Carlos Bocanegra, who will return to French club St. Etienne as part of an arrangement with the national team. FC Dallas defender Heath Pearce will be joining the U.S. team in Pennsylvania, as will teammate Brek Shea.

What did you think of Saturday night's match? Impressed with the U.S. offense? Worried about the state of the defense? Can't wait to see the full U.S. squad play together?

Share your thoughts below.

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Comments

  1. I don’t see what BB did in this game as being stubborn. Everyone has made it clear the Gold Cup, which starts in June next year, is the short term priority

    I see this as the starting lineup for the Gold Cup minus Landon. I think BB was giving Edu and Jones 90 minutes to learn their new positions/ teams. MB is going to be in that starting lineup and he needs to mesh with Edu and Jones in their respective roles.

    Soccer isn’t like most American sports. You don’t just pull players when they aren’t playing well because they have to learn to survive the bad patches and then do enough together to get a result over the course of 90 minutes. You don’t do it especially in a “meaningless friendly” when the result is irrelevant and you have so few game to perpare in as it is.

    However, you’ll notice they did not lose. So in my view the experiment worked. The new guys got some time with the starters, the 4-2-3-1 formation got a test run and they didn’t lose the game.They even got a goal from a striker. The Colombia game wil be where you see more new guys, as Bradley said.

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  2. “Altidore doesn’t feel a threat, hence his latest lack luster performance. BB needs to try new guys…i mean, isn’t that what these friendlies are for, to try new options?”

    So you’ve spoken with Jozy and are sure about how he “feels”? Scoring one well taken goal and coming close a few other times is not lack luster.

    So who are all these new guys? To have a “competition” for the USMNT forward slot you need to have people doing it at the club level. And before you list all the MLS guys, remember that the MLS was largely left out of these two games due to their season.

    I can think of only one other US forward who is doing better than Jozy at a similar level of competition; Dempsey. Dempsey is a very fine attacking soccer player who can, wonder of wonders, actually play both at midfield or at forward. The 1974 Dutch World Cup “total football” team must be rolling over in their symbolic graves. US fans are so hung up on postion designations. Clint has played many games for the US at forward especially back in 2007-2008(go look it up)and seems to be playing a lot there for Fulham this year.

    This year Jozy is finally getting time for Villareal paired up with Rossi( he’s even scored!). He wasn’t doing that before. Some people would term that progress.

    I’m not concerned with the forward slot. Jozy and Clint can only get better and the US has shown it can get enough goals from the rest of the team. The defense is of more concern.

    “i mean, isn’t that what these friendlies are for, to try new options?”

    The US did try a new options, Jones at midfield and Edu in central defense, as well as a 4-2-3-1 lineup. What you saw in the Poland game was the starting line-up for the Gold Cup, minus Landon. That’s why MB wasn’t pulled even though he wasn’t doing well. They needed him and Edu and Jones to play together as much as possible. This may shock you but BB isn’t screwing around.

    You’ll see the other new guys in the Colombia game. Bradley pretty much said as much.

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  3. The notion of a “natural position” is pretty bogus. The best soccer players can play anywhere in the field. Rooney may be the second best keeper on the Man U squad. Pele might have been a better keeper than any he played with and was probably the best or second best at every outfield position for Brazil. Edu is a flexible player because he is young, seems fundamentally sound,very athletic and intelligent. He should be able to do a good job in any position on the field.

    “he did not get a first touch on it, ”

    Actually, if Jozy did not get a first touch on it then how was he credited with a goal? When I saw the sequence his shot put the ball in the net. That was his first touch and it was a great one.

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  4. Says who? Michael Essien has played all over the field for Chelsea and Ghana. Darren Fletcher dos the same thing for Man U. And they do that sometimes in the same game.

    Both of those guys would walk right into the USMNT lineup.

    Edu himself played striker in college and at CM in the OLympics. If you are a fundamentally sound soccer player and are also a good athlete, which Mo appears to be, you should be able to do a good job most anywhere on the field.

    This isn’t the NFL or the NBA where players have gotten exceedingly specialised.

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  5. “I say give some of the mls Strikers a chance to prove themselves in upcoming friendlies and the Gold Cup. ”

    You say this as if Bradley, who is the guy who will decide, has something against MLS strikers. In the last World Cup Buddle and Findley were from the LA Galaxy and RSL, which, the last time I checked were MLS teams.

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  6. If you ever wondered how an american football player (wr, safety, etc) would look playing soccer, altidore is your answer, great physical speciment, strong, fast but gets winded. will score 1 out 25 shots. I rest my case.

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  7. Contrary to the general concensus…I think Holden had a very Holden-like performance. He was solid however, he really was not that effective with respect to creating chances…he played defense the majority of the night in an attacking Central MF role. It defeats the purpose of a 4-2-3-1. He takes a share of the blame for a goal on a piss-poor clearance. Holden was clearly not playing the role he was intended to play in that formation. Jones created more oportunities from a further distance. Give credit where credit is due.

    Also, I wouldn’t have known Benny was playing had I not taken a look at the starting lineup.

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