USA Recap - Let's Get Physical!

dis·ci·pline (dĭs'ə-plĭn) n.
  1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
  2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.
  3. Something not possessed by the Panamanian Men's National Team.

A win is a win and that's all you need in an elimination tournament, but the US should have pounced early and salted this one away in the first half hour. Panama sat back and invited the attack and the US obliged, but could just not seem to finish - Twellman and Donovan each should have had a brace early but managed to spurn their chances (though the Panama keeper's positioning did help a bit).

Bad finishing, rough play from the Panamanians, and curious decisions from the ref aside, the US somehow managed to not be leading at the half and were nearly behind within a couple seconds of the restart. Panama started to open up a bit and the US back line - as it has all tournament - started to look a bit confused. I'm still not sure why Bornstein and Hejduk got the call at fullback. Bornstein didn't add much and Hejduk launched his usual array of crosses deep into the crowd and flying-card-bait tackles.

In any case, the US managed to not surrender an early second-half goal and hit for a quick double. In deference to my previous post on Donovan's craptastic free-kickery, let's just review who dropped that ball into the six for Bocanegra to power home. DaMarcus Beasley - that's who! I hope somebody got the memo this time.

After the goals, the US should have been home and dry, but instead they managed to sleepwalk through the last half-hour, conceding a late goal to 10-man Panama and making sure I got rid of those pesky remaining fingernails in the last few minutes. I propose a new mantra for our back line: distribution, distribution, ohhhhmmmmm.

This is the best opposition we've faced so far in the tournament, and while I'm pleased with the result and some aspects of the play - creating chances, variety in attack, playing quickly but keeping possession - and I rate Canada somewhere in the same ballpark as Panama, we've got to play at our own level and not concern ourselves with sinking to the level of the competition if we expect to win the cup. That means more focus on the finishing, better communication and concentration at the back, and for God's sake, when you've got your jack-booted heel on the opposition's neck, stomp and twist and do whatever you need to in order to finish them off.


  1. I can't stand watching Hejduk. it seemed like he was always out of position and had to chase his man down, basically, he's terrible.

    Dempsey should have scored right near the end on a good pass from Donovan.

    a win is a win, i was nervous the entire game though.

  2. Agreed - he's a liability to the modern US style of play. Sure he can run all day, but his touch is awful and he can't cross to save his life. Back in the "we're fitter than you" days, he was adequate, but he's a round peg in a square hole now and I can't for the life of me figure out how he's starting over Simek in this competition.