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USA vs. Colombia (Match Night Commentary)

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The U.S. men's national team is in PPL Park in Chester, Pa. tonight to take on Colombia in the second of two home friendlies this week (8pm, ESPN2).

The Americans recorded a 2-2 tie against Poland on Saturday in Chicago, and will be looking to finish the month off with a win before taking a break until a November 17th friendly against South Africa in Cape Town.

U.S. head coach Bob Bradley figures to field several new faces, with veterans Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo back in Europe after starting vs. Poland. FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea will make his U.S. national team debut tonight, while Jermaine Jones makes his second start in a row. Bob Bradley will field Jones, Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu together in a five-man midfield.

I will be providing commentary throughout the evening so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your 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 me. Please feel free to share your post game thoughts below, and be sure to check out SBI's full post-game coverage on Wednesday. 

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FINAL– Bright spots for the USA? Jones was clearly one, as was Lichaj and Goodson. Brek Shea's national team debut was forgettable and Eddie Johnson

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FINAL– USA 0,Colombia 0. An ugly match, but a chance to see some new players and systems. The Colombians were always going to be a tough team to play against, but the American attack was unable to get anything going. 

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92nd Minute– Not many bright spots for the USA tonight, but Jermaine Jones has been the man tonight. It will be fun to see him play with the full squad. He just drew a free kick for the USA about 30 yards away from goal, just right of center.

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91st Minute– Colombian yellow card for a hard foul on Feilhaber. Long free kick from 45 yards out for USA.

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90th Minute– Altidore gets whistled for a foul he isn't happy about being called for, earning a yellow in the process. Lost his temper a bit on that one.

USA gets the ball right back and Feilhaber finds Altidore, but his pass to Johnson is off.

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88th Minute– Jones sprays a long pass to the flank for Pearce, but Pearces gets stripped. Some great vision from Jones on that one.

Doesn't look like there will be any more subs for USA, so no Bedoya.

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86th Minute– Parkhurst looks quick tonight. Reads the game well, as he always has.

ALTIDORE HEADER SAVED!! So it was a header right at the keeper but it was a great cross from Lichaj and Altidore got up well to put a strong header on it.

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81st Minute– Jones with a great long pass to Altidore, who earns a corner. Jones has been the U.S. team's best player tonight, not that it was too tough to be tonight.

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75th Minute– Jones gets a yellow card for a foul on the right side of the area. Free kick from the right flank for Colombia.

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73rd Minute– A USA goal is ruled offside. Altidore judged to be offside on a quickly-taken free kick.

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70th Minute– Have to say the most fun player to watch tonight has been Giovanni Moreno. Truly a class player.

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69th Minute– Pearce and Goodson have done well tonight. Pearce is moving especially well, looks very quick tonight.

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68th Minute– Altidore breaks out on a counter and lays it off to Johnson, who loses the ball trying to dribble it when he had a streaking Jones making the run into the area. He has to find Jones there, but had his head down.

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66th Minute– Starting to look like a 4-3-3 again for the USA, with this formation:

—-Dempsey———Altidore————Johnson——

————-Bradley———–Feilhaber—————

———————–Jones——————————

Pearce——Goodson———Parkhurst——–Lichaj

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66th Minute– Colombia on the attack now and Parkhurst does well to break up a dangerous sequence. Colombia corner is taken short and Bradley heads away the threat.

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62nd Minute– Viafara and Ibarbo come out for Colombia. Falcao came out a few minutes earlier. Moreno is still in the game.

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61st Minute– Early thoughts on Lichaj: he's built like a bull and motors down the flank well. Hasn't shown anything in terms of service yet, but hasn't had the chance to really. He definitely moves well up and down the flank.

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59th Minute– Feilhaber comes in for Holden, he'll be deployed on the right flank, and will likely move inside for Bradley or Jones when they come out.

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56th Minute– Benny Feilhaber is coming in soon. Alejandro Bedoya is also warming up. (Yes, Alejandro Moreno may have been warming up somewhere at PPL Park, but not playing in this game).

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53rd Minute– Holden with a shot on goal that forces a tame save. Americans playing better in the second half, Colombia hasn't gotten going yet and is struggling against the USA 4-4-2.

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49th Minute– The 4-3-3 experiment was ugly, but it should be noted that it might work much better with Dempsey and Donovan on the wings. Don't be surprised to see that one worked back in down the road.

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48th Minute– USA in a more traditional 4-4-2 now. We'll see if Eddie Johnson can combine with Altidore. Dempsey's inclusion should help spark the offense.

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47th Minute– We're back, and hopefully we'll see more offense.

Eric Lichaj, Michael Parkhurst, Eddie Johnson and Clint Dempsey are in for Edu, Onyewu, Spector and Shea.

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HALFTIME– USA 0, Colombia 0. No real dangerous chances for either team on a night when USA is struggling with a new system while Colombia defends well and keeps looking for cracks in the U.S. defense.

What might we see in the second half? I would imagine we'll see Eric Lichaj, Eddie Johnson and Alejandro Bedoya. 

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45th Minute– Very good job by Onyewu to hit the full sprint and close in on a streaking Jhon Viafara in the area. That's the best I've seen him move on the full sprint in a long time.

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41st Minute– When did Heath Pearce trade in his old hair style for the "What every fullback in the Mexican League wears" mop curl? Guess it goes better with his moustache.

Seriously though, the U.S. defense is doing well to handle Colombia's counters. Pearce hasn't been bad  and Goodson has done well.

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38th Minute– Hasn't been a pretty game for the Americans, but you had to expect that playing a new system against a tough defensive team. The real test will be presented to the central midfield and defense in how they deal with Colombia's attack and dangerous counter.

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37th Minute– Another strong challenge by Jones. Colombians think that was a foul but it was a clean challenge. He overpowered the Colombian midfielder.

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35th Minute– The first 35 minutes of this match are a harsh reminder that, without Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, the American squad sorely lacks an attacking spark. Holden isn't doing it tonight and Shea is a non-factor.

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34th Minute– The next well-struck long ball by the Americans NOT off a set piece will be the first one.

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32nd Minute– Edu called for a foul on Moreno. Not sure about that call.

Right now I'm not sure anybody but Jones looks totally comfortable tonight in the U.S. lineup.

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31st Minute– Yes, that was Onyewu getting forward and joining the build-up. You can call him Gooch-inho.

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30th Minute– If you are following along with my commentary, please let me know in the comments section below. Also, let me know where you're following along from.

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28th Minute-Better spell of possession for the Americans, started by Jones with a daring run forward. The USA shows patience in the build-up, but can't break down the Colombian back-line. 

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26th Minute– Colombia does a much more effective job getting the ball to their playmakers. The incisive passes they've connected on greatly outnumbers those of the United States so far.

Giovanni Moreno is a joy to watch. He moves effortlessly for a big man and has a great passing touch.

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25th Minute– The way Americans are hitting the ball you would think the ball was over-inflated. Too many over-hit balls so far, and from everybody. Colombians aren't having as much trouble, but then again they aren't really hitting many long balls.

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23rd Minute– Bob Bradley just sent in some instructions to Michael Bradley to tell the wingers to press forward more. Holden has been basiclaly playing as a right winger, even floating centrally. He has to press high on the right attacking channel for the system to work like a 4-3-3 should work.

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21st Minute– Altidore called for a foul on what looked like a harmless play. He isn't finding quite as many chances as he found on Saturday. Will he convert one if and when it comes?

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20th Minute– A great long free kick swung in by Holden that Onyewu sends wide. Good pace and swerve on that service from Holden.

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19th Minute– The free kick hits the wall and a follow header is caught easily by Guzan.

Shea's touch has been off tonight. You have to expect some first-cap jitters. He's  looking a bit overwhelmed.

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17th Minute– Brek Shea with a terrible pass that leads to a COlombia break. Jones gets back and fouls Moreno to stop the counter, but now COlombia has a DANGEROUS free kick about 26 yards out, just to the left of center.

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15th Minute– Spector with a very suspect decision to play a ball back to Onyewu in the area with an attacker looming. Onyewu did well to thwart the danger, but Spector has been a bit shaky early.

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13th Minute– Colombia is very organized defensively and will be much tougher to break down than Poland was on Saturday. Still waiting for Shea and Holden to get involved on the wings.

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8th Minute– Jones with a nice forced turnover. He tackles so well you see the quality in his game, but defensively and offensively. Right now though, he and his teammates are still trying to sort out this system.

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6th Minute– Jones and Edu are still trying to work out spacing. Jones doesn't look too happy with something.

This 4-3-3 sure is looking like a 4-1-4-1. The wingers aren't pressing forward enough to call this a 4-3-3, at least not early on.

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4th Minute– A Bradley pass intended for Edu is intercepted, leading to a Colombian counter. The visitors can't get a good shot on Guzan though and the Aston Villa goalkeeper saves it.

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2nd Minute– The Goodson-Moreno match-up will be a good one to watch. Two tall guys. Moreno looks like the Colombian Peter Crouch out there (okay, so he's not THAT tall, but still).

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1st Minute– And we're off, and Onyewu with an early successful challenge.

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PRE-GAME– Will Colombia sit back to start, or will they go after the United States?

Lively crowd tonight. May not be full here but it's an energetic crowd.

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PRE-GAME– It's going to be interesting to see the Jones-Edu-Bradley triangle work, and we are about to see Brek Shea make his national team debut. Will it be memorable, or forgettable?

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PRE-GAME– Count me among the people who thought this match would sell out. Unfortunately, U.S. Soccer didn't really do much marketing at all and the ticket prices were too high (at least that was the complaint from locals). I thought we'd get 15K easy. We're lucky if we get 10K.

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PRE-GAME– Falcao is Colombia's star, and will give Onyewu all he can handle. The Porto striker is explosive and will absolutely find chances of given space and service. Will be interesting to see how Goodson holds up and how he does if he gets isolated with Falcao.

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PRE-GAME– Jozy Altidore will have a much tougher time tonight, matching up against Mario Yepes and Aquivaldo Mosquera. The key for the Americans will be Shea and Holden putting pressure on the Colombian flanks. Jones, Edu and Bradley will be handed the task of controlling play in central midfield. They will form a formidable wall for Giovanni Moreno to break through.

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PRE-GAME– Apologies for the delay. I had to give away some tickets (and yes, there are TONS of empty seats tonight).

Stat of the day? Brek Shea will become the first player born in the 90s to make a U.S. national team appearance. Yes, that makes us ALL feel old.

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 PRE-GAME– We'll see if this group plays like a 4-3-3, or more like a 4-3-2-1. Bradley and Jones will have the freedom to join the attack while Edu offers support and stays in front of the defense. Shea and Holden will work the wings, but press high to go at Colombia's fullbacks.

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PRE-GAME–  This is what U.S. Soccer is listing, a 4-3-3:

——————-Altidore———————–

——–Shea——————–Holden———-

———Bradley————-Jones————–

———————–Edu————————–

Pearce——Onyewu—–Goodson——Spector

———————Guzan————————

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PRE-GAME– Getting the formation confirmed, but with that quintet, you would imagine it will either be the 4-3-2-1 OR a 4-2-3-1 like this:

——————-Altidore———————–

Shea————–Bradley——————Holden

————–Edu————-Jones————–

Pearce——Onyewu—–Goodson——Spector

———————Guzan————————

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PRE-GAME– Here is the USA starting lineup

——————-Altidore———————–

————-Shea———–Holden————-

———Edu——–Jones—–Bradley————

Pearce——Onyewu—–Goodson——Spector

———————Guzan———————-

Here is the Colombian starting lineup:

———–Falcao———Moreno————–

Ramos—–Restrepo—-Viafara——-Ibarbo

Valencia—-Yepes——Mosquera—-Zuniga

——————Mondragon—————–

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Comments

  1. yes! i agree! but their defense is already set for now but in 2 years they just have to call up hurtado and olave because yepes and cordoba will not have anyomre legs by the time its 2014. restrepo will be older by that time too. I do love viafara in the middle and i think montero can do a better job than moreno. give ferreira another shot as well. they dont really need angel back.

    Reply
  2. Quoting the writer of the Live Commentary….”Have to say the most fun player to watch tonight has been Giovanni Moreno. Truly a class player.” Gio Moreno is the worst player on the field for Colombia and has been for the last couple of months. Colombia needs to stop having their pompous attitude and start calling their own players who play abroad in MLS like Freddy Montero, Wilman Conde, and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. All these players (at least Montero) can contribute more than what the current players can. But the typical pompous South American attitude disregards the talent that is present in the MLS.

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  3. A stationary Adu would be better than the whole lot of our attackers on display. Why he doesn’t get any love like the rest of Euro-bench sitters on display is beyond “soccer” logic.

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  4. Ugly, boring game that lacked offense. As always, the fault lies with the coach, who puts too many defensive midfielders on the field at once, and continues to give chances to chronic under-performers. It’s not easy being a fan of the Nats with Bradley as coach.
    PS. Why didn’t he play Bedoya, even for a minute? The dude had tons of family and friends at the match, and is of Colombian descent? That’s the kind of bonehead stuff that Bradley does. Same thing with Lichaj and Guzan in Chicago.
    The only bright spots tonight were Jones (despite some forced passes) and Lichaj. The latter should become a mainstay.

    Reply
  5. “Brek Shea’s national team debut was forgettable and Eddie Johnson” …

    Yeah, nothing more needs to be said about Eddie Johnson. He still hasn’t learned how to not stare at the ball when it’s at his feet, and he never will.

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  6. I thought Jones looked good but not as good as last game but two 90 minute games a few days apart is a pretty good workout. Lichaj looked good. Definitely someone to watch for the future. I hope he gets some PT at AV. Dempsey and Holden were reasonable and I thought Feilhaber played a few good balls. I saw Goodson make a lot of solid plays. Mikey and Edu not at their best. Not a BB fan at all but at least he tried a few things this game.

    Reply
  7. Don’t get the love for J Jones, he’s a slightly better version of R Clark. I would rather see Edu at 24 then jones at 28 as we move towrds 2014. Brek Shea = back pass. Now we know why EJ does not get many call ups. Jozy still a beast, but needs a real forward to complement him. Lichaj was very good.

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