Well, the first half was a comedy of errors with both teams blowing some great goal scoring opportunities. While the US dominated the possession, they also couldn’t notch a goal, and a few sloppy defensive mistakes left Perkins 1 on 1 with some speedy Honduran forwards. Overall, the US looked like the better team, but also the more nervous team.
In the second half, the US offense became discombobulated and could not muster much on the attack. Honduras also looked poor, but at least many of their players looked interested in the result. The US then put in Davies and Feilhaber, and everything changed. Quaranta got the 1st goal, sure. But Feilhaber created it and Davies assisted it. Unbelievable.
Benny and Charlie are the Men of the Match even though they only played 1/3rd of it. They can rest assured knowing they further improved their chances of a 2010 call up, but only a few other players who took the pitch last night can sleep as soundly. Here’s a “top-to-bottom” review of the US MNT last night against HON:
Up top, Freddy Adu and Brian Ching were given a few golden opportunities in the 1st half, but they both simply failed to cash them in. Adu also had plenty of opportunities to dish the ball to Rogers, but instead selfishly dribbled into a steal. Ching did his typical holding role decently, and his 79th minute header to put the US up 2-0 was well-executed.
Davies got only 30 minutes, but he tried to make the most of it and almost scored a dizzying goal in the 70th minute. Just minutes later, Davies assisted Quaranta’s goal with a perfect precision pass. His speed is truly intimidating for defenders. Cooper got just a little bit of PT too, coming in late for Ching, and he even chucked up a few shots.
In the middle, Robbie Rogers continued to make plays with his speed and hustle. Beckerman played very well in a Pablo-esque role. Quaranta was terrible early on. Just terrible. He was probably nervous, but I have never seen so many errant crosses/shots. His goal was good, but if he had missed he never would have got another call up.
Logan Pause didn’t give way to Benny Feilhaber until the 63rd minute. That’s when the game changed. Feilhaber once again did not disappoint, exploding onto the pitch and immediately creating problems for HON on both offense and defense. While his name won’t show up in the boxscore, he orchestrated the 1st goal, and he looked “in the zone” for 30 minutes.
In the back, Pearce looks great, and I love what he adds to the attack. He doubles forward often and has a great cross. Parkhurst wasn’t noticeable, but neither were the men he guarded. He is the silent killer with sneaky coverage. Marshall looked uncomfortable, but effective, which is all that really matters. He couldn’t get his head on one though.
Dolo looks like he’s getting back to full speed, and his amazing assist to Ching in the 79th was one of the game’s few highlights. He also looked raw and I think he still needs more PT to overcome his rust. Once he’s back 100%, I bet he challenges for a starting spot in 2010. In the net, Perkins stepped up when he needed to, and he looked confident.
Bob Bradley did a decent job considering some of his players still have limited familiarity with one another on the pitch. What I don’t understand is why Davies and Feilhaber didn’t start. They ignited the team’s attack in the last 30 minutes, and they have both proven themselves to be more effective than the likes of Adu & Pause. Ah, never mind.
How can I complain? The game had a great result. How could it also be somewhat disappointing? Well, it was basically our B- Team (at least until Benny and Charlie came in) against the HON B Team. I expected a little sharper play from our Nats, but the last 30 minutes were amazing. Benny and Charlie are booking their tickets to South Africa.
Who else will be joining them? Keep tuned in to the Gold Cup (next game vs. Haiti) here @ STO to see which U.S. MNT players can emerge as candidates for a 2010 call up.