Hang the Nepotism Naysayers

I'm not going to do a big reaction post on the US victory over Italy, just a couple of notes prior to the United game...

* The US were fortunate that Italy (and the linesmen) were not terribly accurate when it counted.

* Fabian Johnson looked a credible left back going forward. Not terrific defending, but adequate enough given the options. I think he's better suited playing higher up the pitch, but needs must, I suppose. His technical quality on the ball is a huge bonus over the other options.

* Altidore's getting better as a lone striker. Helps to be playing regularly in such a system.

* Why did it take until half-time for Klinsmann to make the change and have Dempsey dropping deeper to hassle Pirlo, when the little man was dictating everything?

* Michael Bradley was immense.

Can we end by finally burying the issue of his quality? Not that I'm getting tired of defending him, but if you didn't see how excellent he was, you're just being ridiculously stubborn. Gone were the frenetic chasing and lunging tackles, the trying to do too much. Instead, he played a subtle and unhurried game, keeping possession with good control and assured passing, even in tight spaces.

When Giovinco burst through the left side of the box late in the second half with Bradley in pursuit, I thought he was going to throw away all the praise that was building up in my head. But instead of lunging in, he muscled the little man off the ball and touched it clear with quick feet, remarkable given the quickness of Giovinco's own feet.

Not that it was a flawless performance, but it was a mature, assured outing from a player that would be one of the first names on my USA team sheet.

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