Sunday, June 2, 2013

Highlights and Reactions - USA vs. Germany (6/2/13)

Before I get into the game, I just want to point out that I sat and watched this game from beginning to end with my undivided attention while the Brazil vs. England game was on at the same time. How's that for loyalty?

Pregame biases:
  • I immediately hated that Beasley was at left back and that Brad Evans even dressed.
  • Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler were be the starting center back pair. Although Omar is my boy, this scared me. Let’s be honest, though… this is the best we've got at the moment.
  • This German side was watered down, but still probably had enough quality to take this game.
The US controlled the game in the early goings, and they were rewarded in the 13th minute when Jozy Altidore scored his first goal in a US jersey since November of 2011. Minutes later, a huge blunder by German ‘keeper Mark-Andre ter Stegen saw him chase the ball into the net after he failed to trap a simple back pass. The first half ended with the Americans up 2 – 0.

After halftime, the Germans looked more dangerous, floating in crosses and winning corner kicks. Just six minutes after the restart, Heiko Westermann lost his marker and powered a header from one of said corners. However, Clint Dempsey scored two goals in the space of four minutes to put the game out of reach. With the score line at 4 – 1 and seemingly out of reach, the US appeared to relax until the final whistle. That whistle wouldn’t come until twenty minutes and two German goals later. Timmy Howard came up with a huge save on a shot from twelve yards out in the 90th minute to ice the game.  Final score: USA 4 – 3 Germany.

First half breakdown:
What the US did well:
  • Michael Bradley controlled the tempo well, making smart decisions in midfield both defensively and offensively.
  • No mental mistakes by the defense, along with aggressive defensive play from  midfielders allowed the US to head to the locker room with a clean sheet.
  • Created chances and scored goals! Altidore made the most of his opportunities; he and Dempsey looked dangerous throughout the half.
What the US did less well:
  • The defense didn’t make many mental mistakes, but they were technically outclassed at times. Mertesacker and Schurrle each missed a sitter after beating Beasley.
  • Tim Howard, somewhat dangerously, punched away a weak shot by Draxler which looked catchable, but if that’s his biggest blunder, I’ll take it.
Halftime tune changes:
  • The 2 – 0 scoreline is a surprise, but it is well-deserved.
  • Brad Evans has, surprisingly, not been half bad.
  • The Germans are not looking very German.
Second half breakdown
What the US did well:
  • Beasley had a couple of dangerous runs down the left wing, keeping pressure up.
  • Dempsey was clutch in his finishing, scoring two goals, the first of which was quite pretty.
  • Jones stepped in where Bradley left off, controlling the game from midfield. He looked tireless, continuing to close down opponents and surge forward when applicable.
What the US did less well:
  • Checked out once the game was “out of reach”. It seemed like the defense completely lost focus at   4 – 1.
  • Bradley looked out of breath at around the 70th minute. His defending got to be pretty lazy, and that played a role in Kruse’s goal.
  • Once the game was pretty much settled, the Germans did their best Bash Brothers impressions and started muscling our guys around. Man up, team.
Postgame rant:
I’ll be the first to admit that I expected the Germans to come in and boss the US around all day. That clearly didn’t happen, with the US dominating the pace of the game from the get-go. It’s obvious how badly Michael Bradley was missed in the Belgium match. Aside from being our most consistent midfielder, he is also a leader on the pitch. I've said it before, and I’ll say it again: that inspirational bald man should be wearing the captain’s armband. Nothing against Dempsey, but Bradley is the vocal leader this team needs.

The defense looked pretty good today, but it is still a work in progress. Gonzalez had a solid showing, redeeming his performance against Belgium (although he did lose his mark on the corner for the first German goal). He and Besler look comfortable together in the center. Evans held his own, but will he be able to do that on a consistent basis? Beasley had a good game, overall. He was very involved throughout the match and stepped up, for the most part. However, he is not a fullback. He is a winger. He cannot mark, or tackle, and he is easily pushed around. Beasley’s biggest strength at left back is getting forward. Which is what wingers do. Stop this nonsense and switch him with Johnson.

Jozy, Jozy, Jozy. Finally. I might just be getting too optimistic here, but let’s see if this sparks a fire in him to bring his club form to the Nats.

Man of the match:
Based on his production, Captain Deuce takes it. I am tempted to give it to Altidore, though.

Awkward moment of the match:
A few minutes before Germany’s second goal, Matt Besler was getting a little cocky. From the edge of his own box, he cheekily scooped the ball over a German player to Brad Davis. Davis, understandably flustered by the unnecessary flair, did his best Liu Kang impression to try to clear the danger. Luckily, Edgar Castillo was around to prevent the corner kick and quell the danger.

No comments:

Post a Comment