U-17 Recap - Oh Those Pesky Prussians!

Well, at least the US gave their best performance of the tourney to go out with, if not a bang, at least a non-whimper. The 2-1 defeat by Germany was justified, though at times I felt like giving the US an "are you Bolton in disguise?" chant as all the danger seemed to come from set plays and giant tosses into the box. That said, they did create chances, but didn't have the finishers to put them away - a quality that Germany sadly possessed, though they did manage to squander quite a few chances of their own.

I think the encouraging thing to note is that one of the two major flaws that have haunted US teams in the past - poor first touch and passing - seems to be improving. Early in the tournament, the first touch wasn't there, but as the games progressed, that tendency seemed to evaporate a bit to where it didn't become a major liability. What never came around was the passing. Not that they can't pass - far from it - the short passing game was on, it's just that the US doesn't seem to have players that can deliver the cross-field pass to open up the play, the laser over distance that splits defenses. Similarly, the passes all seem to be a step behind players - played to where they are, not where their run will take them. That keeps possession, but also slows play down and reduces the options going forward, stifling creative and dangerous attacking play.

Overall though, I was fairly encouraged both by the recovery as a whole that took the US into the second round and pushed a good German side hard, right to the end. Fighting to get a goal back late after going down two showed some real determination. Unfortunately, that determination was somewhat lacking in the first round - which got us stuck with a match against a very tough side in the round of 16.

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