USA Match Reaction | Jozy Christ, Superstar!

Job done, though it was a bit dicey there until Jozy got his second to put the game beyond T&T. It's pretty hard to be disappointed when you win 3-0 in a game that, while it may not have been "must win," was pretty darn close. But there were moments of disquiet and worry to be had. Let's jump right in with some topical talking points.

Bob's Choices

* So what was the deal with the Mastro + Junior pairing in holding midfield? We've been going with Junior as the wrecking ball to a more creative partner for a while now, so why go with less attacking flair in midfield when you know you're going to be recycling possession, looking for through balls, and facing opposition that wants to dump it over the top or out wide rather than playing it on the ground through the middle? Of course, immediately after I jotted my in-match notes about Pablo being a waste in this match (he still has his uses), he went and delivered a nice cross-field pass, followed shortly by cutting out a though ball on a potential counter. Still, I can't help but think that either a more creative (Torres, Kljestan) or dynamic (Edu) force would have been a better choice.

* The Beasely at left back experiment was inconclusive. While he got better as the match went on, getting forward and playing more quickly, for the first half-hour or so I thought that he was incredibly tentative, rarely wanted to get forward, and looked pretty uncomfortable having Edwards running at and past him. Of course, compared to the turd that Pearce laid in El Salvador, anything would have been an improvement. I think this can work in games where we expect to control possession. I wouldn't be too enthusiastic otherwise. I wonder what Spector did to get left out of the 18 altogether?

* Hejduk is an energetic stopgap at best. Look, I've made no bones about my dislike for Hejduk as a national team player. Love his enthusiasm. Like him in MLS. But he just doesn't have the technical chops going forward to complement this team. All too often his first touch is heavy, he cuts inside and delivers those lame left-footed crosses, or he wants too much time. You can see it whenever the side puts together a string of quick passes with slick one and two touch stuff. When the ball reaches Frankie, you see the quality gap immediately. Defensively, he gets the job done. Gets it done with some scary tackles, but done nonetheless. Of course, coming off his messiah act in El Salvador, I'll probably get panned for this, but I reserve the right to expect more from my eponymous brethren.

All About Altidore

* I want to watch that second goal again and again, because that is the future of the US National Team. Not a scrappy goal bundled over the line or a header in traffic from a set piece, but a good pass, a deceptive feint, and a well-placed finish. A technically beautiful and confident goal. Four goals in two games? I'd say that makes him pretty hard to ignore come the summer fixtures, even if he's languishing on Spanish pine. Hell, maybe that leaves him fresh and chomping at the bit. One word of caution though. Actually, make that three. Grown. Ass. Man. Let's avoid partido dos of that whole mess, shall we?

* The question becomes, what do we do going forward? Bob probably isn't going to go with two forwards very often unless one of those forwards is named Donovan or Dempsey and is playing a little deeper than a traditional striker. How long can Chinger keep Jozy at bay? Sure, Ching does a lot of heavy lifting, but goals win games. Of course, the counter argument is that Jozy doesn't work quite so well with Donovan. I do realize in writing this that Donovan directly assisted all three of Jozy's goals, but they don't have the sort of understanding that Chinger and the Kapitän do. You know, the understanding the two former Quake-mates demonstrated in the buildup to the opener.

So that's what caught my eye. How about you? Anybody that particularly impressed or disappointed you? Think the ship is now back on course for easy qualification? (I'm watching Honduras take apart Mexico right now, and they won't be an easy out) Depressed that we'll now have to wait two months to get the campaign back under way? Do you have questions for Bob, or are you satisfied with the team he's putting on the field?


  1. Loved the game; even though we were facing a weak squad at home. Was surprised that Bob chose this game to experiment with the lineup since it was a must win game; but I was delighted he did.

    I will quibble with your points. I think Mastroeni was in because of the Beasley/Donovan experiment on the left. He does stay home more which allows Bocanegra to slide over to cover for Beasley when he goes forward. I agree that it also unleashes Bradley a bit more. Edu might be a better fit in the same role and provide some better balls, but Mastroeni played his role well.

    I like Beasley at left back. Agreed that the experiment is inconclusive because we faced a weak team and he needs more time to relearn the position; but all in all it worked pretty well - better than when he was playing the left mid role. Donovan must have learned something from hanging out with Ribery because he pretty much assumed the playmaker role from the left flank. He crossed balls in but also opened space for Beasley to attack down the flank. This could be a good combo and I would like to see it tried against a tougher opponent.

    Putting Ching and Altidore together also worked well. Ching worked hard and setup the initial goal. Jozy also worked hard and both put a lot of pressure on the defenders. It could be a good combo down the line.

    Hejduk was fine except for some misguided long ball attempts.

    If this type of lineup can show well against Costa Rica on the road, then we have something. If it can't...

  2. No to Beasley. He can't do anything defensively but run fairly fast and stick a foot in. Fine when he's a left midfielder. Not when he's the last resort, against faster and/or stronger players.
    But he doesn't deserve to play left mid right now.


    I think Bob's going to keep Ching and Altidore together after this game. Watch out/congratulations, Ching. You are now officially training wheels.

    Hedjuk shouldn't go to South Africa. To his credit, unbelievably fitness, energy, and he Can cross (with his right foot). But Dolo's coming back, and Wynne should be the back up.

    ALTIDORE!!!!!! May you never leave the line up again. (Next: Torres+Freddy Adu).

  3. @Anon#1
    I take your point about needing cover for Beasley getting forward, but I think Bradley could have done that more than adequately to make way for a more creative central force.

    As I said in the post: Beasley at LB is fine when we're going to have the lion's share of possession. Otherwise, I'm with Anon#2 in pointing out his limitations.

    I don't think Bob goes with the 2-forward set against CR and Honduras next time around, but we shall see.

    Yep on Beas, Spector, Hejduk.
    See above for Ching + Altidore.
    Definitely yep on Torres (his touches oozed class and confidence when he came on), but Adu is still a ways off forcing himself into this team. I would like to see Wynne picking up minutes as well.