[USA-TURKEY] The win over Turkey on Saturday marked the midway point of the USA's World Cup dress rehearsal. But how much do these final friendlies really
reveal about the USA's chances at the World Cup?
As it does before each World Cup, the USA plays three exhibition games to mimic the first-round schedule.
Last Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic, the win over Turkey, and next Saturday’s friendly against Australia in South Africa have the USA playing three games in 12 days, as it will in Group C, against England, Slovenia and Algeria.
Against the Turks, a cohesive second-half performance enabled the USA to over come a 1-0 first-half deficit for a 2-1. It also marked its first victory since a 2-1 win over El Salvador in February and upped its 2010 win-loss-tie record to 2-3-0.
Before the 2006 World Cup, at which the USA exited in the first round with two losses and a tie, then-Coach Bruce Arena’s team lost to Morocco (0-1), beat Venezuela (2-0) and squeaked by Latvia (1-0). The weak competition in these final warm-ups would later be partially blamed for the Americans' poor showing at in Germany.
Before its quarterfinal appearance at the 2002 World Cup, the Americans, also under Arena, beat Uruguay (2-1), thumped Jamaica (5-0) and lost to the Netherlands (0-2). The loss before leaving for South Korea came against the strongest team not to have qualified for the World Cup.
The USA exited the 1998 World Cup with three
straight losses. Before leaving for France, the Steve Sampson-coached team tied Macedonia (0-0), beat Kuwait (2-0) and tied Scotland (0-0).
The USA's worst performance (1998) in the last three World Cups came after its poorest dress rehearsal. Its best, in 2002, followed its most impressive run in the warm-ups.
The friendly results may be meaningless on paper, but the win over Turkey provided a much-needed confidence boost.
in 2006 the friendlies vs Morrocco and latvia featured hideous defensive lapses (which didn't result in goals in the Latvia game) and the first goal in Cup competition was a replica of one of these lapses. the hype in 2006 was focused on what Donovan (and Beasley?)would do; now the defense is being looked at by the media, which is progress. Maradona is comfortable leaving Cambiasso and Zanetti as spectators?
The US defense is the weak link on the team.If Bradley will field a 4-4-2 formation as expected,he has to find the right 4 players to have his strongest chances of repelling fast breakaways and counterattacks by the opponents.I think that the best back line is Cherundolo RB,Gooch and either DeMerit or Goodson in center;LB has to be Bocanegra,even thou at times he gets caught ball watching ,so he has to be focused for about 65-70 mns. with Spector as a sub, LB his best side, and not Borstein,for he has shown that the goal against Costa Rica is not enough to deserve the ticket.
Sometimes I wonder: as a World Cup USA coach what could I do to surprise the other group teams. In these days, technology allows even a fisherman, in a southeast asian, non-qualified world cup nation, to be able to follow and know about even the most personal of events around the preperation of our players. With everything so transparent, I would probably mix my formations and try players in different positions ( EXPERIMENTING )during the final friendlies. Maybe I would tell my defensive players to take it easy and to just warm up during these pre-WC matches,since I already had alot of time to figure out who and how to play in group stage at least. I would even throw in a fake fight between players to fake a possible failure of comunication between our starting offensive players...................I HOPE THATS WHATS GOING ON WITH THE USA MNT. I hope BB shows us that he is a crafty tactician and that Bornstein show us that he went to south africa to do more than to make sandwiches!!!!