Alas, Poor Hejduk! | a USA match reaction

Alas, poor Hejduk! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
step-overs, of most abysmal crossing. He hath lunged in like a hack a
thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it.

Quite literally, actually.

So I'm just going to start throwing darts at the wall (much like Bob handles his call-ups, I suppose) and see what sticks. Some of this will be from the implosion in Aarhus (in the middle of the street!) and some will be from a combination of the two matches in this friendly window. So let's get on with it...

* Does Bob do the whole "tactical adjustments at halftime" thing? Cause, ya know, we weren't exactly brilliant in the first half. Then to come out and get mauled like that right after the break...3 goals? By their three subs? And you don't make any changes? How could anybody watch that first half and feel confident about Hejduk and Bornstein protecting the flanks? Both looked lost positionally, Bornstein went all "deer in the headlights" whenever somebody ran at him, and Hejduk just decided to start mashing ankles instead of bothering with that "defending" crap. How hard would it have been to send on an honest-to-goodness centerback (Conrad and Goodson were both available, and their positioning, when they did come on, cut out a lot of those cut-back balls), push Spector to the right, and give Castillo a half at left back to see if he could cut it?

* Speaking of Castillo...Did we learn anything? Well, if the question is, as it should have been, does he offer a viable option at left back, then NO! C'mon, Bob, you know what your little pet Bornstein is bringing to the party. Why not have a look at what Castillo brings? Instead he gets stuck into midfield when we're chasing the game...

* Which reminds me...Down 3-1, you'd think the exercise would be "desperately throwing men forward to simulate getting back in a game." But no, instead we go 4-4-1-1. Hello, Bob? Anybody home? What was the point of this game again?

* We're not quite so deep, are we? Donovan (one injury and next summer looks pretty ugly) and Dempsey (lazy, arrogant efforts be damned) mean too much to this team. And we're struggling to find alternatives to Davies (back to oblivion for EJ, Cunningham makes his case for the January camp, Findley will get a look there as well) and Gooch (Why weren't we auditioning guys who actually play centerback again?). It also says here in my program that Altidore shouldn't be starting till he's getting more minutes--dude looked absolutely awful and contributed nothing but sloppy touches and wayward passes. And as for the Spector at centerback experiment? Not bad against Slovakians sitting deep, but against a Danish side looking to attack? Not so hot. Of course given how woeful the fullbacks' positioning was...

* And what about the passing? Sure, you can blame some of that on lack of familiarity, but shouldn't our nation's best, even if they were a "B" side, be able to connect the dots a little better than that? How many passes to nowhere or directly out of bounds did we hit? And can any of our forwards not named Brian Ching hold up a ball for more than a millisecond?

* Also, for those keeping score at home, please hold back on playing that "B" side card too quickly. The Danes were short a handful of their best as well. That being said, I don't see as much respect for Denmark as they deserve. They finished atop a qualifying group that included Sweden and Portugal, going 3-0-1 against those two teams in the process, including a win in Lisbon. Not too shabby. But we also shouldn't be meekly handing their second-string (or third-string?) attack three goals in 10 minutes.

* Dull. Uninspiring. Fragile. Any other adjectives come to mind?

What about positives?

* Feilhaber looks sharp. Regular minutes suit him. Too bad Bob insists on playing him out wide so much of the time.


* Okay, so maybe Rogers looks to be adapting better to international play than he was just a few months ago. I'm stretching now folks...

I suppose this is where I come up with some succinct paragraph that puts the last week in some kind of perspective and leaves us all with the warm fuzzies until the Annual Scandanavian Challenge Cup in January, right? Okay, let's give that a shot...

We suck without Donovan. We have no answers up top. Our fullbacks are dreadful. We're playing rough and tumble direct Brit-ball. Bradley is out of his depth...But we've got really good keepers?

Oh, the humanity...Or, more in keeping with our opening...
O, woe is me,
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!


  1. Yeah. I think Rogers could have done Much better on the left, where the rare cross from him is at least possible, and where is dribbling and speed is most effective.

    As for Hedjuk and Bornstein, I don't know anyone in the CIA. Rendition was our best hope. Castillo and Torres are for another manager.

    Clark isn't proving his worth when he plays. Despite that one goal, he hasn't helped us lately at all.

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but Cunningham's the best we got.

  2. Very perceptive, as usual. I don't understand why the powers that be at US Soccer haven't seen these issues coming for a while, or maybe they have and weren't about to do anything about it.

    Criticize the team too much and it's like you're not patriotic, but damn if this team isn't set up to fail spectacularly on the world stage . . . again.