First of all, let me say: “What a comeback.” For those of you out there who think soccer is boring, I encourage you to watch the US-Slovenia game. I think it would change your mind pretty easily. After all, how could it not be persuasive, what with its controversial calls, critical comeback and incessant drama. It was quite simply one of the most entertaining and exciting US soccer matches I have ever seen, and Nats’ fans know not to always expect exciting soccer.
The result, a 2-2 draw, is not what US expected though. Plus, due to a terrible late penalty call against the Yanks that erased a goal, it is not what the US deserved. Yet, it is what we have ended up with and I am quite pleased with it if you would like to know. You see, the US should have lost that game, and in every previous World Cup it would have lost that game. We fought back though and we still have life. We will need to lay it on Algeria though, no doubt about that.
We should have picked up three points. “The Call” cost us the game. Edu was onsides. If anyone was being manhandled in the box, it was Bradley, not his rival. It was simply inexplicable. I am going to do the same thing I hope Bob Bradley is telling his boys to do: forget about it. It’s over. There is no way to go back and change it. Move on. Focus on Algeria. We need to practice well up until then too, because we didn’t look very sharp in the first half against Slovenia.
Howard was frozen on the opening goal (though it looked like Gooch blocked his view). He bounced back to play another solid game, but his woes were tied to the fact that his defensive did not show up like they did against ENG (except DeMerit, who is having a fantastic tournament). Boca looked bad (and was beaten badly) and Dolo seemed to think the attack was supposed to run through him. We will need to tighten up in the back if we want to succeed.
On the attack, Altidore was terrible in the first half, but showed some sparks toward the end of the game. Findley looked decent in spots, but made too many hasty decisions. Gomez didn’t do a damn thing and didn’t have time too. In the middle, Dempsey was neutralized for most of the game. Donovan turned in a heroic performance and I think if there had been no top netting to catch his goal that thing would still be in orbit right now. He stepped up big time.
Torres did not. Torres looked like a kid who – every time he touched the ball – started internally thinking: “Oh my God, I have the ball. In the World Cup! Oh my God. What do I do?” He hurt us dearly and some of the blame for that I guess must go to Bob who selected him. But credit for the tie must also go to Bob because his second half additions, Benny and Mo, were a catalyst for some of what the Yanks did right in the second half. The biggest hero of all though?
Michael Bradley. He played with a tenacious box-to-box style the entire game and deserves props for clutchly putting that last shot past the posts to secure a point for the US. He is one of our best players, so I would just ask that people stop saying “the coach’s son” after every time he touches the ball. He is not a stereotypical “coach’s son”, he deserves to be out there more than anyone other than Howard, Donovan and Deuce probably. He is the crucial cog for our team.
He must be ready for Algeria, and I think he will be (as will his father, Skeletor). The Yanks will win big and make it to the next round. I believe it is our destiny. Just like the Confederations Cup, we have sort of struggled in the first two group matches and we will rise in the final one. We will go deep in this tournament ladies and gentlemen, so get ready for the ride of your life. I will be here at STO to provide you with commentary along the way. Hope to see you here.