Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
U.S. newbies and vets shine against China
by Ridge Mahoney, June 4th, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Benny & SachaThis one can be encapsulated rather easily: effective and at times dominant, the USA. pasted an inferior Chinese team, 4-1, Saturday and scraped away some rust in its only run-up match for the Gold Cup. The U.S. opens defense of its regional title Thursday against Guatemala at Home Depot Center.

No Landon Donovan, no Taylor Twellman, no Brian Ching, no Eddie Johnson, yet still the U.S. scored four goals by four different players while officially generating just 10 shots. There were long spells of possession, crisp touches to escape midfield pressure and penetrate the attacking third, and a few dangerous crosses that missed connecting by margins that more tinkering and cohesion can eradicate. This was a tune-up, nothing more.

A sloppy equalizing goal blasted high into the net by Zhang Yaokun in the 15th minute sprinkled some nervousness onto a starting 11 featuring debutant Sacha Kljestan and four other players with five or fewer caps. Yet two of those with just a few caps, Michael Bradley (his fifth) and Benny Feilhaber (third), controlled much of the match in midfield, and Kljestan set up Feilhaber for the go-ahead goal with a lobbed ball Feilhaber looped over keeper Chen Dong and over the goalline just before charging Chinese defenders could reach it.

A blazing DaMarcus Beasley run in the ninth minute, after he'd twice earlier threatened the creaky Chinese back line, latched onto a great long ball from Bradley, who had just won possession with a crunching tackle in his own half. Dong's dive clipped Beasley, who stumbled before sliding to the ground and thus winning a penalty kick he dispatched himself with a fierce shot right down the middle.

The pace and cohesion of the U.S. play, both laterally and lengthwise, constantly stretched the game but bewildered Chinese. They never really solved the problem of balls played over and diagonally through their back line; the first two goals resulted from chips over the top, and twice in the second half Dong saved from Clint Dempsey after he'd been sent through alone.

China gave away too many set plays for the USA not to score again and it struck twice four minutes apart to blow the game open. Dempsey looped back post to head in Feilhaber's inswinging corner kick with a quarter-hour to play, and then the imposing Onyewu just overpowered his marker to crash home a Beasley free kick.

Tim Howard played the first half as the recently anointed No. 1 keeper and tipped away a dipping free kick with a superb fingertip save. He commanded his box with quick, decisive collections and catches. He shared some blame in the Chinese goal, not for the shot itself, but his failure moments before to deal with a floating ball that seemed to hang in the air forever before dropping at the edge of the goal area. A few second later, he flailed futilely as Yaokun's shot whizzed past him.

Spurred by the willingness of outside backs Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein to push the ball upfield at the right times and the ability of Feilhaber and Bradley to play early balls when possible, the U.S. seldom let China settle into a comfortable tempo. As the match wore on, Dempsey and Ante Razov found more and more space, as the Chinese tired and Dempsey took on more of a forward's role than the underneath slot he'd occupied at the outset in something resembling a 4-3-2-1 formation.

Rather than relying on bunkering tactics that at least a few CONCACAF teams will employ against the U.S. at the Gold Cup, China got into the game quickly, reacted bravely after going down a goal, and deserved its equalizer. It may have not erected an organized phalanx of resistance, but it did force the USA to play sharply and smartly -- on a tight field -- and carve out openings. Two goals from the run of play and two more from set plays are good results from a tuneup.

 

GAME SUMMARY
June 2, 2007 in San Jose, Calif.


USA 1 China 0

Goals:
TEAM - Scorer (assist) minute

USA - DaMarcus Beasley (penalty kick) 10.
CHN - Zhang Yaokun (Wang Peng) 15.
USA - Benny Feilhaber (Sacha Kljestan) 28.
USA - Clint Dempsey (Benny Feilhaber) 75.
USA - Oguchi Onyewu (DaMarcus Beasley) 79.

USA -- Tim Howard (Kasey Keller, 46); Jonathan Spector (Frank Simek, 74), Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), Jonathan Bornstein; Sacha Kljestan (Kamani Hill, 74), Benny Feilhaber (Jesse Marsch, 80), Michael Bradley; Clint Dempsey, DaMarcus Beasley (Lee Nguyen, 80); Ante Razov (Charlie Davies, 66)

CHINA -- Chen Dong; Zhang Shuai, Zhang Yaokun, Xu Yunlong, Sun Xiang; Dong Fangzhuo (Zheng Bin, 67), Li Tie (Li Yan, 76), Zhao Xuri (Du Wenhui, 89), Wang Dong; Shao Jiayi (capt.), Wang Peng (7-Qu Bo, 59)

Stats Summary: USA CHINA
Shots 10 6
Saves 2 4
Corner Kicks 4 4
Fouls 18 11
Offside 8 3

Misconduct Summary:
CHN - Chen Dong (caution) 9.
USA - Michael Bradley (caution) 81.

Officials:
Referee: Hugo Guajardo MEX)
1st Asst.: Arturo Velasquez (MEX)
2nd Asst.: Alfonso Horcasitas (MEX)
Fourth Official: Brian Hall (USA)

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
USL: Roughnecks hire Vaudreuil as head coach    
David Vaudreuil, who started all five playoff games on D.C. United's 1997 MLS championship team, was ...
MLS Expansion: LAFC links up with OC    
LAFC, slated to begin play in MLS in 2018, has reached an agreement with the USL's ...
MLS Moves: 'Caps decline option on captain Morales    
After struggling with injuries the past two seasons, Chilean Pedro Morales has been officially cut loose ...
What They're Saying: Ashtone Morgan    
"It got to a point where it was harder to play at home than away." -- ...
MLS Moves: 'Burrito' is no longer on the RSL menu    
In 2017 at Rio Tinto Stadium the only place to get a burrito will be at ...
MLS Rewind: Mid-season splurges prove tricky    
One of the strongest arguments for MLS switching seasons from a spring-to-fall to fall-to-spring calendar isn't ...
MLS Cup Countdown: Newcomers deliver for finalists    
Neither the Seattle Sounders nor Toronto FC would likely be in the 2016 MLS Cup without ...
Video Pick: Terrific volley for Porto by Mexico's 'Tecatito'    
Mexico's 23-year-old Jesus "Tecatito" Corona scored Porto's second goal in a 5-0 UEFA Champions League win ...
USMNT: Arena meets Bundesliga quintet    
Less than two weeks after taking the job, new U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena has ...
MLS Moves: Hedges signs new deal with FC Dallas    
Keeping a successful team together can be a challenge in MLS, and rather let the contract ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives