Three set piece goals on a bobbly pitch and you could be forgiven for mistaking the men in gray for the men in white. The Lewis strike was a beauty, and I'll give Donovan credit for his service on the other two, but what was up with the Polish set piece defending? They looked like they scanned the tape of Drew Moor's hapless dead ball work for the US against Mexico and took it upon themselves to emulate the young FC Dallas defender.
It's been over 24 hours, and it wasn't a pretty match, so I'll just do some quick impressions . . .
* Cherundolo can bomb forward and get the crosses in. I'd like to see a lot more of Dempsey/Donovan pushing more central from a right midfield position, not only to clear space for 'Dolo, but because they're both much more effective on the inside. Pearce had one or two nice moments as well, and turned in a solid shift defensively. Was that enough?
* In fact, the whole defense looked pretty solid. There were a few wobbles, but the Polish chances were few and of low quality. Not bad against a team with their fair share of dangerous attackers. But as for the boys up top . . .
* I don't want to see Eddie Johnson in a national team shirt again until (1) he takes those lead boots off, (2) he figures out how to finish again, (3) he gives more than about 60-70% effort, and (4) he either passes in one or two touches or gets on his horse and attacks. Indecision is a crap attribute for a striker. Ugh.
* Paging Brian Ching. Chinger? Where were you buddy? I saw an early headed attempt, but after that? Nada. Brian Ching = spent force. Time to move on down the list of probable target forwards. Mr. Altidore? Mr. Cooper? Deuce, you wanna get back up top?
* I like Ricardo Clark in theory, but in practice he's still a bit too raw. Bradley wasn't able to influence the game as much as he might have because he was too busy hanging back and covering for Clark. I still have high hopes for Rico, and he did have some nice moments. What I like is that he's willing to stick his head in, give it a go, and try things. This is why I'm so enamored of Dempsey as well, though his lack of playing time at Fulham seems to have taken some of the luster off his game. I loved what he was bringing against Mexico, but it just wasn't there last night. Playing in midfield or not playing at Fulham? You make the call.
* Eddie Lewis is in a fine run of form. The last couple sets of Derby highlights, particularly his showing against Man U, have been pretty impressive. I'll hold up my hand on this one. The guy still has something left to give this team.
* The two holding-mid system is here to stay. I don't mind that too much, I'd just like to see us put four mobile attackers out there and give them license to interchange positions and get after it, à la Roma, Man U, or half of Spain. Not that we can pull that type of system off against everybody, but against CONCACAF opposition outside of Mexico? The current two up top and two banks of four is compact and solid defensively, but doesn't exactly make for scintillating attacking play.