Last night, the United States took on Honduras in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal @ the historic Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to the game, the murky weather dampened many Sam’s Army members’ clothes as they gathered inside the stadium. But, it didn’t appear to dampen their spirit or their ability to encourage the US team, both of which were in full force as usual.
Meanwhile, I was @ home watching FSC, dry as a bone, and nervous as all hell.
After all, Honduras had historically given us headaches, though we did have their # as of late. Plus, last night we would see the US C Team against the Honduras B Team, so anything could have happened. Here were my notes as the game progressed. (Editor’s note: I was cooking dinner – and then eating it – during the game, so forgive me for not doing a minute-by-minute “live blog” or some sort of depraved Thompsonesque stream of consciousness piece).
(00:00-15:00): Not too much is happening. Holden looks confident, Arnaud looks confused and Costly and Honduras look as sharp as – if not more than – the Yanks. Ching missed a good opportunity, but that is at all so far.
(15:00-30:00): The US is really dominating the chances, but Honduras is holding possession for long stretches and has generated a few close calls themselves. A goal is going to come eventually, and I think whoever scores first wins.
(30:00-45:00): Oh yeah, 1-0 USA! Hey, I’ll take it, even if it was somewhat lucky. The US got the goal courtesy of a Holden cross that Goodson headed into the net. Great finish by the youngster, but Stu Holden was really the creator.
(45:00-60:00): The US isn’t “playing it safe”, instead going for the second goal. A two-goal lead really is the only security Bradley seems to care about lately, and I have to say – I completely agree with his new aggressive style.
(60:00-75:00): Both teams are looking a little loose, making defensive mistakes. Luckily, because both squads are so sloppy, neither offense can take advantage of such errors. Holden still looks like he is in control of the match.
(75:00-90:00): The 2nd goal for the US featured Ching heel the ball to Holden, Stu slot a perfect pass to Cooper, and Kenny bury the ball squarelly in the back of the net. It was a fitting end to a dominant Semifinal match for the US.
All in all, it was a good match. Stu Holden played very well, and I’d love to see him on the left with the A Team. MC Deuce has surely locked up the right side, and I don’t think DMB, Torres or Special K have what it takes to start out there in 2010. Marshall has also looked like a solid backup, while Pearce continues to merit strong consideration.
Some will jump on the Kenny Cooper bandwagon now that he has scored once again, but I do not think we will see him on a 2010 roster. Against Panama, he just scored on a PK, and last night he was simply in the right place at the right time (which there is a little something to be said for). In the end though, I think he’s just not up to snuff talent-wise.
But, he is an example of just how deep the US team has gotten. Guys like Cooper and Goodson probably have little chance of making it to the World Cup in 2010, but they can notch goals against Honduras, and Troy Perkins (who I would estimate is our 4th or 5th best keeper and will probably not get a ticket to South Africa) has three shutouts.
Now, the US must prepare for the Final where they will meet a team that is much stronger than Honduras. Hopefully, Bob Bradley will once again go “bob”bing for apples by wading through his deep player pool and picking a starting eleven that can win the US the Gold Cup. Wow, that was the worst pun involving bobbing for apples ever.
Eh. “It is far better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre.”