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Good and bad of big U.S. win
by Paul Kennedy, June 5th, 2010 11:37AM

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TAGS:  men's national team

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[USA-AUSTRALIA] Who needs Jozy Altidore when you have Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez? Who needs Charlie Davies when you have Robbie Findley? Buddle, Gomez and Findley led a attack that paced the USA to a 3-1 win. For the good and bad of the U.S. warmup game, as well as video highlights ...

What we liked ...

-- Edson Buddle picked up where he left off in MLS with the first two goals against Australia. The first goal was a patented Buddle effort -- three steps with the ball at his feet, a quick step to his right and a long-range shot that flew past Aussie keeper Mark Schwarzer.

-- Robbie Findley demonstrated the same qualities that made Charlie Davies so effective last year. Time and again, he broke down the Socceroo defense with his pace and created opportunities for himself and his teammates.

-- The USA attacked effectively down the flanks. Steve Cherundolo, who set up the second Buddle goal, looks to have won the starting job at right back.

What we didn't like ...

-- The central defense of Clarence Goodson and Jay DeMerit hardly inspires confidence. They gave the Australians tons of chances they were wasted. Wayne Rooney must be licking his chops at the prospect of facing the Goodson-DeMerit combo. The over and under on Rooney goals in the opener? We'll put it at 2.

-- The USA must break its habit of coughing up the ball in bad positions on the field. Ricardo Clark was the worse, frequently turning the ball over in midfield. Again, a fault that England -- and Slovenia and Algeria for that matter -- will punish.

-- For all Findley's work, his finishing was atrocious. He'll never get an easier goal than the one he missed in the first half when he rounded Schwarzer and shot wide.

What we're not sure about ...

-- The Jabulani match ball sure seemed to bother the keepers on Saturday. We're not sure whether that will help or hurt the underdog Americans against England on Saturday. Will it give the USA a lucky goal? Or will the odds be that a barrage of England chances will result in that much more trouble for Tim Howard in the U.S. goal?

June 5 in Roodepoort
USA 3 Australia 1. Goals: Buddle 4, 31, Gomez 90; Cahill 19.
USA -- Howard (Hahnemann, 46), Cherundolo, DeMerit, Goodson (Onyewu, 61), Bocanegra (Bornstein, 55), Bradley, Clark, Dempsey (Gomez, 82), Donovan, Buddle (Beasley, 79), Findley.
Australia -- Schwarzer, Wilkshire, Moore, Neill, Chipperfield, Grella, Culina (Vidosic, 62), Garcia (Rukavytsya, 72), Cahill (Valeri, 46), Bresciano, Kennedy.
Yellow Cards: USA -- Dempsey 37; Australia -- Moore 37, Grella 76.
Referee: Addul Ebrahim (RSA)
Att.: 8,000.

Stats:
USA/AUS
Shots: 11/14
Shots on Goal: 6/6
Saves: 5/3
Corner Kicks: 3/8
Fouls: 10/6
Offside: 4/0

USA-Australia Highlights:



0 comments
  1. Ted Hartwell
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 11:48 a.m.
    Liked most of what I saw offensively from the US today, though with better finishing the US should net another 2-3 goals in this one. Some good defensive pressure in the midfield, but still lots of uncertainty in the final defensive third...a stronger team puts another couple goals past the US in this one, methinks!

  1. alfredo gaudry
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 2:21 p.m.
    I have a couple of comments and would love to hear some feedback.....why Clark again? I do not see his value on the field at all, especially with Torres there. How about Demerit? Is he the best choice? It seems like he is either grabbing, holding and/or arguing about the calls agst him. Can you imagine Rooney going at him all game long? Thanks

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 2:49 p.m.
    It was great to get the win and especially to have Buddle and Gomez show BB that he actually has 2 strikers that can finish. However BB is very conservative and it's unlikely that we will see a Buddle-Gomez strike team. We'll be especially lucky if EITHER of them shows up against England. The good news about the defense was that the only score was really unstoppable -- maybe Dempsey could have stopped it. The big issue in my mind is the midfield, central midfield that is. Dempsey and Donovan on the outside is as good as we can get. In the middle however, BB seems adamant about ignoring Jose Torres. In the game against the Roos it appeared that he was content to ignore the central midfield with passes from the wings and the back that totally bypassed Bradley and Clark. Admittedly with respect to Clark that is probably a good idea since he is not going to create anything. I predict that we have seen the starting 11 for England, with the exception of Gooch. We will play very defensively, giving the midfield to England and hoping to get a goal like Buddle's or to keep the number of England goals down (remember goal differential could be critical in advancing). Strategically this makes the most sense so don't expect too much from the first game---nil-nil would be BB's ideal result.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 4:46 p.m.
    The good: Buddle and Gomez can score. The bad: Findley cannot. Even into an empty net. What's the point of having blazing speed if you can't hit an empty net or give a simple pass? The good: Cherundolo and Bocanegra are sufficiently solid. The bad: the middle of the defense is a shambles. Gooch is clearly not ready to play yet; his only role in the WC should be coming in towards the end of a game if the US needs to hold the score. More bad: Bradley is clearly determined to go with the "runners" in the center of the midfield; so, there will be no place for Torres or Feilhaber.

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.
    I think Bradley thinks that torres will be outmatched in a big and physical midfield, like australia's. Which is why we probably won't see him in action vs England, but probably will in the next two games. Vs England I think he's gonna go with his tried and true team, the same one that we saw start today.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.
    David -- I agree 100%. I know it's easy for me to say it since my job isn't on the line, like BB's but just once I would like to have the US go out and play the most entertaining soccer that we are capable of and let the chips fall where they may!! Pretty naive, right !!

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 5:04 p.m.
    Terence -- totally agree but I think that that the physical problem is much overstated. Look at Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi -- all extremely small, yet they seem to survive relatively well!! Yes, I know they are exceptional players and have exceptional players around them but if we continue to ignore the smaller stature players we will be shutting the door on some great talent. Oh I almost forgot--how about Tevez. He seems to have done pretty well in the EPL !!!

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.
    I thunk so too, as what you say is really the next step in the evolution that US soccer is going through. But you know in this results oriented business ( and knowing bob) that he will go conservative and look for the options with thi highest probability of producing results,especially after the last WC. Not to mention the overexpectant and often delusional fanbase that we are will be up in arms if it's anything less than a win. :) there will be a time when we can develop a tactical philosophy to match spain's, but that time just hasn't come yet.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 5:50 p.m.
    I'm with you !!! Go USA

  1. Steven SIegel
    commented on: June 5, 2010 at 10:55 p.m.
    Clark and Bradley proved themselves on the field in the confederations cup. Maybe Torres is better, but I am not sure on what basis anyone would say that. A good half in a friendly against Turkey in which the other team already scored a goal?

  1. Hector Jordan
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.
    It was good for the US to save face and get a win;but i still criticize BB 's mentality in coaching...starting an athletic team, instead of mixing it up with some tactical players; I think that Clark and Findley are at subs level still,Clark gets lost in the marking and doesn't create plays,and Findley locks eyes to the ground too much and doesn't look up for passing or shooting,that's how he squandered that open net shot..he's gotta learn that, to be a complete player. But BB prefers players that can run mostly,typical University soccer mentality, that's why i think that he wont start Torres or Gomez against Eng. i hope he mixes it up and gets positive results..Good luck to the team.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 9:25 a.m.
    If we want to play like Spain (and I do like Spain), we should put Dempsey and Buddle up top (bring in Findley for Buddle near the end of the game to get some pace), Holden and Donovan as outside mids, Feilhaber and Torres in the middle (Torres as the defensive CM), with Bornstein and Cherundolo outside defenders (who like to attack), Gooch (assuming he's healthy) and Bocanegra in the center. That would give us a skillful, attacking team. Not sure how that line-up would do on defense, but it would be a fun team to watch! Instead of trying to outmuscle England, perhaps we could go the other way, and try to get mismatches with speed and quickness against their strength.Of course, my job is not on the line, so I'm guessing Bradley will go a bit more conservative on us.

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
    Hector--agree completely. I have seen comments on other blogs suggesting that BB may be under some pressure to use MLS players. If that has any truth it would make sense to bench Torres and Gomez since they are from the Mexican league. I don't generally believe such "conspiracy" theories but given Torres continuously superior performance without breaking the starting lineup it seems worth a thought!!!

  1. David Borts
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 9:50 a.m.
    Unfortunately BB suffers from a case of supreme arrogance and a defense first mentality. Witness the arrogance of allowing Brazil enough space to totally dominate us and win a game at the Confederations Cup that we actually could have won. Torres has never been liked by "El Supremo" and to not play him yesterday was an insult to the player, to attractive football and a precursor of the "Rambo" midfield that BB feels is necessary to beat England. "Rambo" Clark has a history of unnecessary and irrational fouls and cards at the highest level. We need to attack the English, take it to them and let the chips fall where they may

  1. David Bafumi
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.
    Starting lineup-- 4 4 2 Bocanegra Goodson Demerit Cherundulo in the back (dont trust onyewu yet) Torres and Bradley center mids ( feilhaber hasnt showed us anything) Donovan and Dempsey outside mids Buddle and Altidore up top Holden, Gomez and Beasley coming off the bench. Agree or Disagree?

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.
    David -- I agree with two very slight reservations. One, I agree tentatively that Gooch may not be ready so I would start your defense hoping that we can keep the goal differential down and then start Gooch in the remaining two games where our future will actually be decided. Two, regarding Feilhaber, I agree that his recent outings haven't been stellar but I still have a high regard for his skill and creativity. However, like Torres he doesn't fit BB's "Rambo" mold like David B mentioned. Will the US ever break out of the 1970's English style play??

  1. Greg Williams
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.
    I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to see BB's approach to the international game being handled like a HS soccer match. Torres is leagues above Clark, and Goodson is shaky, regardless of his height. Heath Pierce should have been brought, and Beaseley's inclusion in the 23 shows no ability to make the tough decisions needed to manage at this level. It will be a long day if Demerit and Goodson start in the center against England. What good is raw speed without technical abilty? The midfield also is a culprit in our defensive shakiness, with way too much space given, and marking as a whole is much too loose. We have gone from a good defensive team, to an attacking team with little emphasis on defending, when we need a balance in all 3 areas of the field. We have available talent, but no direction from the top, meaning BB hasn't a clue in this level of competition, and Gulati is too busy promoting MLS to see the big picture.

  1. Charles Stamos
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 11:32 a.m.
    Bradley may start the same 11, except Altidore for Findley and Gooch for one of the center backs. I'm OK with that, but he better be ready to switch in Torres, Findley, and get Goooch out. Better would be to start Torres for Clark and get Gomez in at halftime for Buddle and sit Gooch if he's not 100%. Right now it looks like Bradley is playing not to lose to England and that's a mistake. Our best chance is to play aggressive soccer and take it to England. That also helps us prepare for the next two lesser teams. Good luck USA. You'll need it based on recent efforts.

  1. Christian Navarro
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.
    we will get raped if "RED"cardo plays! his report card is way too high! he should be a three! If tores doesn't play or if "fail"habber doesn't see the field, it will be 6-0 total rape! Yesterday we had no control of the midfield because of him and a team like England will expose us! BB is still getting canned after the world cup so why not go all out and play attractive soccer!

  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 11:47 a.m.
    Martin Tyler said it best yesterday: "With the ball the US has had a lot to offer. Without the ball, it hasn't been so good." Brilliantly efficient analysis of a team he's, frankly, not that familiar with.

  1. David Mozeshtam
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.
    The only way to get a result against England is to try to mask our weaknesses, the main currently being central defense. So, the US needs to field an attacking line-up capable of holding the ball as well. Which means that Torres should play, probably Feilhaber too. Unfortunately, we all know that Bradley will field a defensive minded team which will voluntary give up territory and the ball. This bunker mentality worked once before (last year against Spain), but the lightning surely can't strike twice.

  1. David Bafumi
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.
    "It will be a long day if Demerit and Goodson start in the center against England." Who would you like to see start Greg?

  1. Lance Kansas
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 12:43 p.m.
    David, totally agree with you. We looked soooo vulnearble on crosses and corners. Australia should have easily scored 2 or 3 goals on us. If it would have been England easily 5 goals. By the way what an awful pitch to play on.

  1. arthur chester
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 12:51 p.m.
    my big issue at this point is not individual players, but rather keeping the defensive shape between the midfielders and defenders. the shape has been terrible at points. the australia game was on a narrow field so it was not as big of an issue as in the prior one. the us will employ a counter attacking style versus england and we will see if the defensive shape holds. they definitely have not mastered this sytle like the italians. they have two dangerous outside midfielders who are perfect for this style. you also need a speedy forward and whether you like findley or not, there are probably no other options at striker to take on players one on one on long runs. hopefully, bradley can make the right decisions on picking the right player center back, center mid combo for defensive cohesion.

  1. Alex Lozano
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.
    TOTALLY agree on the good & bad points. I was pleased with the attack but Findley's finishing was HORRIBLE & we can't afford to miss those opportunities in the "real games"!! Our midfield continues to give up too much space, which, in turn, is putting pressure on our central defense. Why did Bradley not play Torres, Holden & Feilhaber? Much as I like Buddle, I'm inclined to start Jozy v England. If he doesn't do the job, then we can go with Buddle. The more important question is who to pair with Jozy...Findley or Gomez? Findley creates MANY chances but Gomez finishes his! I want Torres to start in CM with M. Bradley & would go with Gooch & DeMerit at CB...more of a default move than anything else. Still, I'm cautiously optimistic about the England match!!

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.
    This is the first blog I've seen that is almost 100% behind Torres and playing creative attacking soccer. Wow !! This makes my day.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 2:47 p.m.
    The game was club level pathetic and even when the Aussies did not show much. I agree with the comments as a whole, but for some reason, Banal Bradley does not want to see the trees for the forest with his tactics for mid and defense. As for the strikers, well the proof is in the pudding as to which players can put the ball in goal: I like Findley but his lack of finish was just plain horrible, and I doubt if Altidore can recover enough to take the pitch. Torres? Hell yea, he should start and prove to Banal Bradley why he was snatched up by a Mexican team. And as for Gomez - totally ignored by the MLS wizzez- and then goes on to break scoring records for Puebla of the Mexican Primera, well how about smelling the coffee BB? Bradley's clonish son will cause us to lose the midfield, instead I put in Beasley with Dempsey and Landicakes. On defense, lord only know what Banal Bradley will conjure up, but it better not be Bornstein who perhaps should come in from the bench to harass the opponents defense late in the game (he's somewhat good at that.) On Goal, let's hope Howard and el Gusano Guzan don't get hurt, 'cause Hanemann sure didn't look too comfy back there. On RFB, it is a toss up, but I do have some confidence in Bocanegra as LFB. OK, I didn't name all of the players, just the same, we need a solid performance next Saturday, else, we'll be part of Englands "crumpets and tea," for the game. BUENA SUERTE USA! Now, can we all say collectively "Si Se Puede?"

  1. Eric in DC
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.
    Anyone know where Torres was? Wasn't hurt I hope...

  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 3 p.m.
    He's probably trying on a Tri-Color jersey. They would certainly play him

  1. Christian Navarro
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 4:48 p.m.
    ouch! that hurt! F-el tri que chingen su madre! USA all the way baby!

  1. Frank Cebul
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.
    With the defense so shaky I think that the best strategy is to go with more attacking style of soccer. I do not see Altidore beating John Terry, et al, but maybe the combination of Buddle with Gomez up top with Torres as attacking central midfielder, Donovan and Dempsey outside midfielders, may create interesting chances. I would use M. Bradley as defensive central midfielder in front of Onewyu and DeMerit as central defenders. If Onewyu can not perform then Bocanegra would probably have to be pressed into service in the center with Spector as the left back and Cerundolo as the right back. Howard better stay healthy because we suffer a tremendous drop in quality without him.

  1. Eric in DC
    commented on: June 6, 2010 at 8:50 p.m.
    El Tri son pendejos! Me alegra que Torres juegue con nosotros en los EEUU

  1. Shawn Blymiller
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 12:48 a.m.
    I don't understand how nobody really talked about set pieces. Honestly, I am terrified with our organization in the back on dead ball situations. England is one of the best teams in the world to capitalize on set pieces. We look so timid and frantic in our own penalty box. Also was anybody else really worried about the possession disparity that we suffered against Australia. If we can not keep the ball for long periods of time with Australia, who in the world can we do it against. We need mid-fielders that settle down our attack and allow us to control the times when we go forward. Michael Bradley is not that good, he is so chaotic in his decisions. Everything in our mid-field is straight forward. Can we please find a center mid-field combo that can actually keep the ball for us and allow the entire team to get into the attack and not just the counter attack. We have the talent but I don't see the tactics being put in place.

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 6:42 a.m.
    Well for my two cents... the player that needs to be used is Maurice Edu, either at CB or in at DMF, he has the size, he's used to playing "British" style ball and he has a good delivery of the ball to the flank...Torres MUST play, simple as that...without him against Turkey we looked like crap, he played and we had a midfield...against the Czechs, when Torres was in we had a lead, and if not for Gooch's inability to jump two inches off the turf we would have had that lead at the half...after Torres was removed we were playing run and gun ball and were outscored 3 to 1!... Torres must start for us to have any sort of a chance against the English. I'd go with Cherundolo and Boca on the flanks, Edu and Onyewu at CB (...we're short on defense...thanks a lot Bob!) play Torres and Jr at DMF, play Donovan and Holden on the flanks play Dempsey as a deep Striker/attacking center midfielder and start Buddle up top. Both Donovan and Holden can cross balls in and both Dempsey and Buddle can and WILL shoot... but unless Torres is there to help control the middle before the defense has to mark up...it'll be a damned shooting gallery on Tim Howard!

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 6:49 a.m.
    Oh and please remember that next time up we only have THREE subs not six so if things aren't working too well there likely won't be much we can do about it... my bench would include Spector, Feilhaber, Gomez, Altidore (if healthy),Goodson or DeMerit, Findley, and one of the back up GK's.

  1. Eddie Rockwell
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 11:38 a.m.
    Robert, I was wondering why this entire discussion left out Edu. Agree with tons of comments on here but we have a quasi-solution to the CB posts & Edu is it. His natural position, no. But he's played there with success and DeMerit is just plain scary. Also, loved Buddle's finishing (obviously the most important factor for striker), but he's got to get better at holding the ball & dishing/dropping to the Donovan/Dempsey combo to help create the attack. Especially since it doesn't seem likely (for whatever crazy reason) that we'll see a whole lot of Torres. We simply don't have the skill set to consistently bring the ball from D to M to F like a Spain, Brazil, Argentina or Dutch. So we're forced to long-ball to the holding forward who has got to be able to hold (Altidore struggled much with this against the Chechs & Turkey as well) the ball for a bit while everyone catches up - McBride is the best we've ever had in this role... Just my two cents...

  1. Terence Chu
    commented on: June 7, 2010 at 3:57 p.m.
    I like Edu but he is not the solution to our center back problems. Based on his 30 minutes or so vs Czech, he was beyond awful, directly responsible for the last goal and making a mistake that could have led to another. I think he should start in midfield over Clark though against England, since Bob seems set on playing 2 DM's in the opener.


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