As expected, the US Men’s National Team throttled Castro’s Cubans yesterday @ RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. The win secures the US a spot in the final qualifying round. Even more important though, the win signified many, many good things about the state of American soccer.
First of all, the man of the match, DaMarcus Beasley, finally broke out of his slump and notched a brace for the US. His 10th and 30th minute goals looked like vintage Beas. It appears he is finally feeling healthy again, which is very good news for the US, as they lack another consistently dangerous player on the left side.
Secondly, with all apologies to Mr. Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu is quickly becoming the defensive captain. He looks great out there, and he has proven that he is a huge threat with his head on set pieces. He is as sure a starter as anyone, including Donovan.
Thirdly, now that the US is through to the last round, Bob Bradley can (hopefully) try some different players and formations. Come 2010, Altidore and Adu need to be on the pitch, and to look polished then they need to play more now. Altidore looked fantastic in his limited time yesterday, but he needs experience against the region’s best defenses to become the player we will need him to be in 2010.
Fourth and finally, Bradley managed to get Jose Francisco Torres into the game late to ensure he cannot play for the Mexican Men’s National Team. Torres, a 20 year old midfielder with Pachuca, looked tiny out on the pitch (he’s listed at 5’5″, but I’m not buying it). He played well though and showed great vision and creativity. It’s nice to see us finally convincing a player to play for our squad, as it seems we’ve lost quite a few to other countries lately. While not as significant to our chances of success as Subotic would be, Torres is a nice player with improving touch. If he can pair nicely with Kljestan, he could be a future star for the US Nats.