57 Minutes of Stink, Stank, Stunk …

Did it really take the U.S. a full half and then some to get their first shot on goal against Mexico? I didn’t expect miracles the first match out with Jurgen Klinsmann leading the way, but I was expecting the U.S. to show off a more attacking approach based on the buildup to this not so “friendly” with bitter archrival Mexico.

Instead, the U.S. was adrift; playing on its collective heals until the final 25 minutes before managing the equalizer. 1-1 sure does look better than 1-nil.

Mostly, the U.S. walked away with a draw in which it actually had the bulk of chances because Mexico didn’t look sufficiently perturbed by the score line to actually do something about it.

Agree. In fact, while the US may have been missing its full complement of players (i.e. Dempsey), Mexico certainly didn’t bring its A game to Philadelphia.

Yet much that ails this team is still far from resolved. Mexico eventually began running through the lines, tapping the U.S. into oblivion and picking it apart like it had in June, destroying the Yanks in the possession department. It was only the U.S.’s sturdy play in the middle and El Tri’s inability to connect with a forward through the middle that kept the scoring floodgates from opening. Not until Mexico tired in the final 20 minutes did the U.S. start producing on offense, when young forwards Robbie Rogers, Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea created problems for Mexico with their movement. Before then, however, the U.S. had mustered nothing of consequence on offense, establishing a presence neither on the wings, through the middle nor at center forward.

The bad is still bad; defensive play is shaky at best, and no real attacking threat. The U.S. now has a tendency to exhibit miraculous, tenacious spurts of attacking, which is nice until you analyze and consider that the opposition is either digging in, waiting to sting the U.S. via a counter. Or in the case of Mexico, not pissed off enough to take the game back.

The good news is that we have some young talent (Juan Agudelo, Brek Shea, Robbie Rogers) that made a difference in the second half, but I temper that by saying how much did Mexico care at that point in the game? Agudelo can only get better; needs to not be so feather light getting position. I hope in the upcoming September matches, we get to see more of Shea and what he can bring to the team. Rogers? I’ll be honest, I do not know much about him, but was pleased to see him immediately go over to Shea and congratulate (thank) him on the open net assist. It looks like Rogers may also bring some much needed speed to the pitch. It should be fun to see how these guys develop.

The ratings always tickle me because sometimes they are so arbitrary; everyone sees the game differently. I thought Jermaine Jones was useless, and that Landon Donovan played a solid game on offense, defense, in transition, and servicing the ball into the box.

D Carlos Bocanegra, 7.5: The captain is still completely irreplaceable in the middle of the U.S. defense. He had another strong game and was caught out just once by Rafa Marquez.

Agree. Major concern over the buildup to World Cup qualifying next year has to be shoring up the defense and finding the eventual replacement for Bocanegra. At some point age will catch up with him. It always does.

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4 thoughts on “57 Minutes of Stink, Stank, Stunk …”

  1. Rogers – left footed, above average speed, nice touch, not terribly consistent – fades in and out of games. (He’s on the Crew.) In my opinion, he has looked better on the US team than his club team, and I’m frankly surprised he gets the call-ups he does. To his credit, he shows up for the US squad. He only shows up sometimes for the Crew, but he is capable of moments of brilliance.

  2. He also had a very successful career as a youth national. The skills are there; he just needs to put it together every game. That’s exactly how he is on the Crew. He should score more and have more assists than he does with his talent. Maybe it’s a lack of focus at times?

    He’s had his best year as a member of the Crew this year overall, so maybe he’s maturing. He’s still in his early twenty’s.

  3. Now would be a good time to mature; if Rogers can become a key member (starter or top sub) in the build up to WC qualifying and then into qualifying next year, the timing would certainly be appreciated.

    I’ll have to try to catch the Crew the next time they are on TV … Rogers better be playing balls out! 😉

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