You can cut the tension beween these two teams witha a knife. That is of course unless they have taken the knife and are trying to stab each other with it.
I’ll be updating this post as the game goes on.
First up, starting lineups. Mexico came to play. 14 of the players on this roster were on the roster for WC ’06 last summer. Cautemhoc Blanco is starting… I hope somebody cracks that dude and breaks his shin, can’t stand that guy. i always hold dear the memory of the German team crushing him in WC ’02 when he tried that stupid bouncing rabbit trick.
USA’s lineup is… well. Experimental. Sorta. Missing alot of top guys here. Forwards are Rolfe and Donovan… Say whuh? Two withdrawn strikers = recipe for disaster. I really wish that the coaching staff would realize that Donovan should NOT be an automatic starter. I like the outside mids of Convey and Dempsey, which is a combo we should have seen last year in the WC. convey is coming off of an injury and may be out of shape. He’ll probably be one of the first subs. Bornstein gets a start again at left back.
20th Minute – Albright and Bornstein have been tucking in centrally alot. As a result the wingers for Mexico have a lot of room to receive and cross the ball. It’ll be interesting if the US pushes them out more and the potential for more space centrally opens for Blanco and Borgetti (neither of whom is very fast).
25th Minute – In the opening few minutes, the ref called a lot of fouls in the US’s favor. He has completely flipped that now. Bastard.
30th Minute – Mexico has finally learned how to match the intensity of the US. Not necessarily more than US, but has matched it. Very good game so far, I’m on the edge of my seat
37th Minute – Finally, the ref calls a foul for us.
43rd Minute – Borgetti *just* missed a goal from a corner kick. Donovan shoots into side netting from a close angle. The run he made tho (off a turnover) is EXACTLY what we need to see from Donovan, and EXACTLY what he doesn’t do anymore. He has to be one of the fastest players I’ve ever seen and yet he seemingly always slows down to the speed of the other players and fails to challenge them 1v1. Bastard.
Whew! That was a great first half. The combo of Donovan and Rolfe was HORRIBLE. Very little movement an NO combination ply between the two of them. Quite frankly they are just too similar in style of play. I expect a sub here, and it will probably be Rolfe although if it were up to me, I’d take them both out. Or leave in Rolfe and give hima chance with another strike partner. Dempsey has been effective whent he ball has come his way which so far has only been a handful of times. Convey is doing OK, but as Wynalda pointed out, he’s taking just a little too long in either taking on the defender or making the pass. Seems to be a little rust after his injury layoff. Otherwise seems very confident, fit, and on his game.
Bornstein has done very well. I mentioned in the Denmark game that he looked just a tad out of his depth, but that with some more experience he’d be a real nice prospect. I stand by that statement. He looks a little less green, more confident. As I said above he was pinching in quite a bit early, but looks like he got the spacing figured out by the end of the half. Well done kid. He’s bringing the ball up well, supporting Convey on his side, and has covered in the center when Conrad and Bocanegra were upfield.
In the center of the field, it looks like Mastroeni and Clarke are kinda doing the old school Italian style. The style where the central mids hang just in front of the central defenders and the outside mids and fullbacks push up the field. The problem is that they are a little too deep and have to run up about 5-10 yards each time Mexico gains possession in midfield. Will be interesting if Bradley makes a change here. Mastro might get pulled since he is VERY prone to picking up cards and I would hate to see the USA have to play with 10 because of a stupid card by Pablo.
A more general note, is that Mexico has been very compact in defense and the few times Rolfe and Donovan have gotten the ball they have quickly been swarmed by players. The strategy seems to be stay compact, get numbers behind the ball, counter when you have the advantage, no silly turnovers and wait for your one chance and finish it. Ironically thats what the USA normally does to Mexico :)
60th Minute – USA is up 1-0 off a goal by Conrad from a corner kick. Instantly, you can see the difference in posture by both teams. The Mexican team has the smell of desperation (which is not necessary), and the US is confident. Donovan gets a breakway and draws a foul. Again, this is what we need from Donovan. The ensuing freekick, however, was terrible. He should have let Convey take it.
63rd Minute – The pace is crazy! back and forth, very helter skelter. Mexico is pushing numbers forward, and the US is countering. Mexico consistently has men in the box and several crosses have been near misses. Eddie Johnson checks in for Rolfe. Glad to see a change up top, EJ’s speed will make the Mexican defenders think twice.
67th Minute – TWO near misses by Mexico. Wow, they are knockin on the door. Tense moments folks…
70th Minute – DC United’s Josh Gros comes in for Albright. Albright didn’t have a good game. There is a formation change now with Donovan moving to righ midfield, and Dempsey moving up top with EJ. Gros’s first touch is unsure and his defending was a little scared. EJ rana break with Dempsey and shot from long range when he should have pushed closer into the box before firing. Looks like he just ran out of ideas.
72nd minute – Dempsey looks at EJ who SHOULD HAVE been moving forward into space, but sat there like alump ona log. Bastard, he ruined the fast break.
77th Minute – Donovan on another break *almost* gets by, stopped by the toe of the defender. Good stuff, we need more of it. Carroll has checked in for Dempsey who was just gassed.
85th Minute – The pace has slowed considerably. Basically, I think Mexico blew their wad between the 60th and 75th minutes. They are now just heaving balls into the box which is just cake for the US to defend. EJ and Marquez get into a little scuffle and the ref (bastard) is actually yelling at EJ??!!? no cards tho.
90th Minute – GOAL by Donovan. Once again, he did what he is supposed to, took on two defenders and went FAST right by them. While Mexico will be complaining about the ref (bastard) getting into the way which led to the fastbreak, I will be complaining about EJ. That dummy just WATCHED Donovan run past him! Not until Donovan, with his 10 yard head start past the Mexican defenders, TURNED AROUND and WAVED AT HIM TO HURRY UP did he pick up the pace. IDIOT!!!! MLS should have sold him for 5mil 2 years ago, cus no one will give you a half-eaten ham sandwich for him now. Oh, and I hope FIFA gets a copy of the tape of this match since the Mexican goalie tried to take out EJ after the goal. That would have been real nice to potentially end his career since your team can’t play defense. More on that tomorrow probably.
End of Game
Great game. Lots of Mexican fans, which should be no surprise since the game was in Arizona. This went just like all the other games with the USA just getting that one goal, Mexico getting desperate, and then USA finishing it late. Also as usual, Mexico cannot lose with class. I’ll post some more thoughts tomorrow…