The U.S. played much better than the had against Argentina, dictating play, but once again failing to convert possession into goals.
Bob Bradley went with Juan Agudelo and Jozy Altidore up-front and they caused the Paraguay defense problems all night, especially Agudelo. Their physical presence drew several fouls as a result of Paraguay’s physical marking, but unfortunately the U.S. could not capitalize on the dead ball situations, something that Bradley alluded too in the post-game press conference:
“Attacking set pieces, deliveries weren’t as good as they needed to be,” said Bradley. “Paraguay is also physically a big team and when you’re now getting these opportunities, the timing of runs, the mixing up of the deliveries, but at the end the fact that you’re getting balls into dangerous spots with guys arriving at that time, we didn’t do a good enough job of that.”
In the last ten minutes the U.S. threw everything at the Paraquay defense and twice came close to scoring. First Michael Bradley blasted a shot from distance that looked destined for the upper corner, but goalkeeper Justo Villar made a brilliant fingertip save to deny him.
Then Jermaine Jones almost equalized in the final seconds of the game, as a cleared ball fell to him. His ensuing shot, a powerful one-timed volley, was too close to Villar, however.
Overall I thought it was a good performance by the U.S., even though they lost. The tempo was good and the attacking play down the wings was good to see. The difference between the top 8-10 teams in the world and the next group is a world class goalscorer. The U.S. has never really had one, and they will not be able to break into the top ten teams in the world without one.
What did you think of the U.S. performance last night?