The U.S. men’s national team got through its trifecta of England, Spain and Argentina with no goals, two losses and a tie. Come to think of it, that looks like the U.S. performance in the last world cup!
So what did we learn about the U.S. team heading into World Cup qualifying? Well we found out that Tim Howard is the heir apparent to Brad Friedel. Howard’s performance against Argentina was fantastic and it will be very difficult for Brad Guzan to dislodge him.
Heath Pearce was really impressive in these three games and has solidified his hold on the starting left back position.
Michael Bradley has solidified his position in the midfield and playing for Middlesbrough is the Premiership will really help his game next year.
Clint Dempsey and DaMarcus Beasley showed signs against Argentina that they are rounding into form and that they will provide the width and speed that the U.S. needs.
Freddy Adu showed that his time in Portugal with Benfica is paying off. By the time the World Cup rolls around, Freddy could be one of our stars.
On the negative side, Oguchi Onyewu is still a liability against fast, skillful forwards. He will be ok in the qualifying games, but the U.S. needs a better option come South Africa in 2010.
Eddie Johnson was just terrible in the three games. He had three starts and no goals. Johnson is not the heir apparent to Brian McBride and the U.S. needs to find a better goal scoring option.
Goal scoring is something that should not be a problem in the early qualifying rounds, but will become more of an issue as the U.S. progresses. The U.S. has goal scoring options with Donovan, Beasley, Dempsey and Adu and don’t forget that Jozy Altidore is waiting in the wings. After playing the next two years in Spain, Altidore could well be leading the U.S. attack in South Africa.
The one thing that worried me about the three games was the inability of the U.S. to maintain possession against good opposition. Often we dribbled into trouble or ran 40 yards with the ball instead of quick short passes. One challenge for Bradley is to get more speed into the lineup and a more fluid short passing game.
What did you think of the U.S. men’s team recent performance?