Now, winning in Guatemala is no easy task. Winning anywhere on the road isn’t actually, so it’s an excellent start to this World Cup qualifying round to pick up three points.
In spite of the win though, I took away only one really positive thing from this match, the knowledge that Howard may be the best keeper right now America has ever had. He looks fantastic out there physically and mentally. I loved it when he got in Ruiz’s face after The Fish (not so inconspicuously) kicked him in his grill. He may be the kind of leader our team could really rally around.
The defense was a mixed bag. Carlos Bocanegra solidly headed in the winner. You have to give some credit for the goal though to the Gooch. He was tackled so fiercely as the kick was taken some of the GUA players had turned their heads already expecting a whistle to blow. Both Gooch and Boca looked active, though not always sharp, on defense. Other than Howard, these two were the next two guys looking like they’ve nailed down their starting position (for now). Pearce looked poor. Frankie looked frustrated. Dolo just looked dumb picking up that second yellow.
The midfield was functional, but not fluid. Eddie Lewis took one for the team and probably had a splitting headache after the game. Good that he’s starting with them now though because he’s probably going to have a lot with the Galaxy. Donovan was pretty quiet and seemed content to do some flashy dribbling to nowhere. DaMarcus looked good in his limited time. I’d like to see him play a little more now that he’s injury free.
Michael Bradley has played a lot and he still looks frenetic out there. He reminds me of one of the plastic toys my nephew plays with that you wind up real tight and then watch as it quickly spasms all over the floor in random directions. He gets an A for effort, for sure, and he makes nice defensive contributions, but his touch looked suspect both in the Olympics and @ GUA. Near the end of the GUA game, he was just giving it away for no reason it seemed.
Pablo concerns me too. He doesn’t score. He just breaks heads and gets cards. We need Edu to supplant Mastroeni and soon. Mo is the better option now and he needs more experience, though Rangers will help. It’s time to get ready for 2010, and time for Pablo to pass the torch.