Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
USA strikers hot going into Gold Cup opener
by Ridge Mahoney, June 7th, 2007 7AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  gold cup, international

MOST COMMENTED

The first competitive match of the Bob Bradley Era - the Gold Cup opener against Guatemala Thursday (9 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel) - give him and his team a chance to redeem a goalless draw the teams played March 28. As Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney reports, odds look good for the USA if Taylor Twellman and Eddie Johnson bring their MLS hot streaks to tonight's game ...

Despite facing a massed opponent, the Americans carved out enough chances to win in their last encounter with Guatemala. But Eddie Johnson had yet to emerge from his barren funk by scoring nine MLS goals in as many games, and he failed to put away two good setups. A point-blank Clint Dempsey header failed to beat the keeper, and Landon Donovan seldom sliced his way into a shooting position.

Both Johnson and Taylor Twellman (seven MLS goals) are in sharp form, so if chances fall to them, the odds of conversion are good. Dempsey failed to put two good prime opportunities Saturday against China but did crash home a Benny Feilhaber corner kick for the third goal.

"We felt that he made a lot of progress in the camps earlier this year," said Coach Bob Bradley of Johnson. "You could see he went back to Kansas City and from the get-go Curt [Onalfo] and his staff have done a good job of challenging him and keeping him going and it's nice to see that he's gaining confidence and having success."

The Americans also didn't utilize their set plays, two of which yielded goals against China. With bigger, stronger defenders available in Oguchi Oneywu and Carlos Bocanegra, Bradley might opt for them in the middle, especially since Jimmy Conrad's hamstring injury has ruled him out of this tournament. On the other hand, if he wants to rotate defenders, the larger set could be aimed to play Trinidad & Tobago Saturday.

The U.S. also didn't much get attacking out of right back Frankie Simek in his U.S. debut, and the other Frankie - Hejduk - has been in scorching mode for Columbus, so Bradley may opt for pace and a player well versed in Gold Cup competition. Either of the Jonathan options at left back, Bornstein and Spector, are effective pushing forward.

Michael Bradley and Benny Feilhaber were paired in midfield against Guatemala and both played well in the 4-1 win over China Saturday. Each had an assist and Feilhaber raced through the middle to lob home the winning goal.

"When we play in the Gold Cup there's going to be different challenges," says Bradley, "and certainly one of the main things is how we deal with teams that will be very organized defensively and not look to attack so much but be patient and wait for opportunities on the counterattack.

"After the Guatemala game in March we talked about how there has to be an understanding of how to play in these games. We can't get frustrated and we have to know what type of game we're in for."

Carlos Ruiz isn't the only MLS connection on the Guatemala roster. Guillermo "Pando" Ramirez, goalscoring hero of the Galaxy's 2005 MLS Cup victory, is in the squad, as are veterans Dwight Pezzarossi, Henry Medina, Pablo Melgar, and Gustavo Cabrera. They are experienced at keeping things tight and looking for a chance to break out quickly.

The Chapines finished third in the UNCAF Nations Cup to qualify for their eighth Gold Cup. They gained confidence by tying and frustrating the Americans in Dallas.



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: CMN Sports    
"As an organization, CMN Sports takes pride in providing some of the most exhilarating soccer matches ...
Road to Russia: Belize survives Caymans' scare    
Belize, Nicaragua, Bermuda and Dominica wrapped up series victories in the first round of World Cup ...
Video Pick: A 60-yard goal from young Belgian     
Marco Weymans, a 17-year-old Belgian who plays for Dutch club PSV, scored from his own half ...
Europe in a Nutshell: Big week for the British Isles     
An international break for Euro 2016 qualifying in the pursuit of Paris: Reviewing an interesting week ...
Freddie Adu signs with Finnish club KuPS    
Freddy Adu has signed a one-year contract with Finnish club KuPS, the 11th club in 12 ...
Morris replace Johannsson on U.S. roster    
The second forward is the snake-bitten position on the U.S. national team's trip to Europe. After ...
MLS Week 4: Results & Standings    
Real Salt Lake remained one of four unbeaten teams in MLS when it beat Toronto FC, ...
USL Week 2: Results & Standings    
The new Roughnecks celebrated the return of pro soccer to Tulsa a sellout crowd of 8,335 ...
USA romps in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 5-2     
The U.S. team preparing for Olympic qualifying defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina's under-21 team, 5-2, in a friendly played ...
MLS Week 4: FC Dallas puts its perfect record on line    
FC Dallas, the only remaining unbeaten and untied team in MLS, hosts the 2014 Supporters' Shield ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives