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USA punished for sloppy play
by Paul Kennedy, October 9th, 2010 9:07PM
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TAGS:  men's national team


[USA-POLAND] Twice the USA went ahead but twice poor defending allowed Poland back in the game, and the teams settled for a 2-2 tie in their friendly before a pro-Polish crowd of 31,696 at Chicago's Soldier Field.

Oguchi Onyewu scored on a header off a corner kick by Stuart Holden to give the USA a 2-1 lead in the 52nd minute, but Jakub Blaszczykowski equalized with a bullet inside the far post after Jermaine Jones coughed up the ball on the edge of the area.

The Americans had a chance to win the game in stoppage time but Onyewu's header was deflected by Polish defender Lukasz Mierzejewski off goalie Artur Boruc's chest and Andrzej Niedzielan cleared the ball tantalizingly close to crossing the line.

The Americans' failure to control possession against a young Polish team was a major disappointment.

Jozy Altidore had scored to give the USA a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute, but the Poles then took control of the game and got a deserved equalizer to make the score 1-1 at the break.

Jones, making his debut for the USA in midfield alongside fellow Bundesliga player Michael Bradley, fed Altidore with a ball over the Polish defense for the opening goal in the 13th minute.

French product Lubovic Obraniak fed Adam Matuszcyk for the equalizer. The play began when Bradley gave up the ball in the U.S. territory -- another turnover by the U.S. central midfield -- and Holden (with an errant kick) and then Onyewu (a weak header right to Obraniak) failed to the clear a ball into the area following one of many Polish raids down the right side.

Altidore had two great chances at the end of the first half but skimmed his first shot off the crossbar and missed badly with an open header.

The USA finished with a 16-8 edge in shots, but the Poles had the advantage (7-5) on shots on goal.

Oct. 9 in Chicago
USA 2 Poland 2. Goals: Altidore 13, Onyewu 52; Matuszcyk 30, Blaszczykowski 73.
USA -- Howard, Cherundolo, Onyewu, Edu, Bocanegra, Jones, Bradley, Holden, Dempsey, Feilhaber (Bedoya, 63), Altidore.
Poland -- Boruc, L.Mierzejewski, Zewlakow, Pietrasiak, Piszczek, Obraniak,  Matuszczyk, Murawski, A.Mierzejewski (Niedzielan, 71), Blaszczykowski, Lewandowski.
Referee: Steven DePiero (Canada).
Att.: 31,696.

  1. Ian Plenderleith
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 8:57 a.m.
    International friendlies can be a turn-off nowadays, with too many players withdrawn by their clubs and some players seeming only half-interested. But I have to say this was a cracking, open game played at a breakneck tempo, with full commitment on both sides. I loved the Polish counter-attacks (that again exposed the US problem at the left-back position), and liked the positive look of the US midfield with Holden and Jones, even though both made respective errors that led to the Polish goals. Could this game indicate a more dynamic approach from Bob Bradley?
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.
    The two goals the US conceded were expected given the fact that harmony were not there on the defensive end. Edu was playing in a new spot alongside Onyewu who had not seen any meaningful action since the world cup. Jones was playing for the first time and getting used to his new teammates. Holden hadn't played as a starter with the first team for a long time. If this line up keep playing together, I think they will do great things on the long run.
  1. Rick Figueiredo
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 10:49 a.m.
    I am not sure what bothers me more, the sloppy defense that gave Poland their 2 goals or the lilly-white commentary by two announcers who sort of just know enough about the game to sound dumb? I was surprised at the low quality of play by Michael Bradley, who till now had been one of the bright spots in U.S. Soccer. Does the absence of Donovan drop the level of the team that significantly? Unfortunately, yes. But in its own right, it turned out to be a damn good game!
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 2:04 p.m.
    I agree with the above posts. The game was fun to watch. A casual soccer fan (eg shows up for the World Cup games and that's it) would have enjoyed the open style. The 2 goals we gave up - what do you expect with Mo Edu and Gooch playing together? Gooch has hardly been in the same stadium as the starters for AC Milan and Edu is not a very good fill-in in central defense (he has a lot of grooming to do and with no opportunity to practice at that position with his club team, I'm not sure what Bob's doing with Mo long term). I was EXTREMELY encouraged by the play of Holden and Jones in the midfield. They do not play the hopeful ball after hopeful ball that players like Ricardo Clark and Mo Edu often play from the midfield. Stu and Jermaine knew where they were passing and it often led to a forward being in a position to put pressure on Poland's defense and goal. What a breath of fresh air for our attack. Bedoya didn't show me much but then again Feilhaber didn't either (so there must have been something about Poland's tactics that took that position out of the game for us because Benny is usually a good contributor). Our left back was clearly the weak spot that Poland just attacked mercilessly, along with going with long balls toward Edu. It'll be interesting to see if Bob goes with Mo in the Back against Columbia or if he tries a Goodson/ Lihaj/Parkhurst combination.
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 2:09 p.m.
    All in all a pretty good result considering our best player was not dressed. A Landon-Bradley-Jones-Holden midfield would look pretty sweet..... Hopefully Altidore will start to get his finishing efficiency where it needs to be for a big time international striker. He gets way too many chances and only cashes in a small percentage of the time. Hopefully playing/training in Spain a bit will get his nose for goal a bit more tuned in.....
  1. Keith Wiseman
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 3:29 p.m.
    I've been calling for Bob Bradley's head for a number of reasons, the most important being our poor style of play and player selection that suits our poor style of play (athleticism over skill). I was pleasantly surprised to see the boys attempt to possess the ball and move it around with far more patience than usual in this game. I don't care if we lose games while players adjust to a more flowing ball possession style b/c to be honest while I'm typically proud of the heart of the team I'm often embarrased by how poor our style is. We have the talent pool in this country to play a better brand of football and the time is now to change it... hopefully today was a sign of a better trend.
  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 5:14 p.m.
    Scott the truth about Edu is that Bradley had to use him, so he inserted him into the backline instead of the midfield otherwise he would had to leave out "Junior". Or he couldn't have left Jones out without getting an earful from media and etc. So to make sure that "junior" plays this was an ideal set up for Bradley "Senior". Thus the backline was pretty inept and the midfield instead of one had two defensive players played the same role and the same style (Jones and Bradley. Junior has a ticket to every game so he can watch the game on the field. Yes of course the team scored two goals with a rather bias ref favoring the US at most if not all calls. Let's not dream because only Donovan was missing but Jones was playing and I think he made the difference with his solid,long and accurate passes. And yes we have tied Poland at home but if I recall we have beaten Poland in Poland last year if I rememember 3 goals and something. Let's see what happens Tuesday.
  1. Paul Bryant
    commented on: October 10, 2010 at 6:37 p.m.
    Gooch looks like the "Tin Man" at center back. He wasn't the most mobile guy before his injury, and he is even less so now. The back line put Howard under needless pressure with their "sloppy play." Cherundolo played a good game. Altidore will never be a prolific scorer, like say a Drogba. Our scoring will be a team effort between Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, and hopefully Holden.
  1. Dennis Mueller
    commented on: October 11, 2010 at 8:24 a.m.
    I thought that putting Edu in the center back gave the USA someone in that spot who can do more than simply clear the ball and would provide more opportunities to make better connections to the midfielders. That did seem to happen, at least the ball was not launched over the midfield nearly as often and the midfield did at least some of the time control the ball and made good feeds to Altidore.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: October 11, 2010 at 3:33 p.m.
    Get used to more of the same for the next 4 years, Brasil and Poland are just the beginning of the expose of MLS Bob and his handlers at USSF/MLS.
  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: October 11, 2010 at 4:07 p.m.
    David H. you are dead right I feel the same. That is why I said wait until Tuesday. The Brazil and Poland game games are just the beginning of the demise under Bradley Sr. and Bradley Jr. (Just like Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.) A draw against Poland a none football power at home hardly a great result. If my memory serves me well didn't we beat Poland in Poland by 3 goals a yera ago?
  1. David Huff
    commented on: October 11, 2010 at 6:06 p.m.
    @ Antonio, we have definitely beaten Poland in the past at their home, including one time in snow/ice conditions. The trainwreck aka USMNT will continue on the way it has under the failed leadership of MLS Bob and his handlers until people no longer attend their games or buy their merchandise.
  1. Dan Phillips
    commented on: October 11, 2010 at 8:40 p.m.
    Now can we finallty get rid of Bradley? Boycott US games until they do!

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