08 June 2007

Thursday Night Soccer Reviews I : Copa Oro

Wow, two games on last night, and a ton of other things to write about. So let's get onto it. Managed to somehow, thanks to the staggered start (one of the few blessings ESPN bestowed upon us last night), catch most of both the Colorado-Houston and the Copa Oro* match against Guatemala, although I must admit my priority was watching the second match. So let's start there.

For most of this game, I had the queasy feeling that the USA could drop points thanks to a goal against the run of play. Carlos Ruiz managed to get inside of Gooch's head, aided and abetted by center official Jose Pineda. Pineda has a textbook case of how not to manage a game as an official, letting several hard tackles by Guatemala go early in the match, and booking the US later. If ever a game called for an early yellow to get things under control, this match did. Ruiz is a diver, but a damn good one, and honestly it helps his team so I can't imagine that he should stop diving from a competitive standpoint. Gooch's red was coming, you could feel it. He should have known it as well, and gone out of his way to avoid fouls unless it was to save a goal. Donovan was annoyingly inconsistent on his free kicks (if you haven't figured out you need to beat the first defender by now...), but decent on his corners. Eddie Johnson didn't get much of a chance to show his form given that he was the lone striker for most of the half hour he spent on the field.

Still, this was some of the better defensive organization I've seen from Bradley this year for most of the game, and they (obviously) deserved the victory. Guatemala is the toughest team the US will face in their group, so getting them out of the way before T&T and El Salvador was a blessing.

*Referring to Gold Cup as Copa Oro because, as Kinney point out to me, don't you feel a little silly saying "Gold Cup?" Sounds like something you search for in a World of Warcraft type game.

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At 08 June, 2007 10:04, Blogger I-66 said...

Still don't know why Onyewu's first yellow came. Awful officiating.

At 08 June, 2007 11:22, Blogger Kinney said...

Last night's game had me continually going back to our conversation and your post.

"COUNTRY: Let me throw a theory out there that I bounced off Kinney last Saturday. Under Bob Bradley, the United States seems more creative but less organized than under Bruce Arena. True? False? It was an idle thought, and one that I think can go either way, but I thought I would throw it out there."

I completely agree now, even if I was more ambilivelent before. Remembering to that Bradley is trying young people out for the World Cup down the line, I still think it is true. The US does need to slow it down a bit and organize, but the creativity is what got them the points. Compare this game to a much more organized outing last time against Guatemala but no points. The funny thing is that given one or the other I don't know which one to choose. I think the more organized will be necessary when we play massive teams like Argentina, Brazil, England, Italy but even against really big teams like Mexico, Sweeden, Ukraine the creativity will help us. Just my two cents.


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