« on: June 22, 2016, 09:10:39 am »
Thoughts from last night. 1) They were better. 2) We didn't help ourselves. Lot of things need to go right to pull off an upset, and we did none of them. From the coach to the players, it was a shambles as the Brits say. Wondo should never have been on the field. I respect him. He's a great MLS player and he's had a great career, but he doesn't have anything to offer at this level. That's on JK. In all the permutations I thought of for our line up, I never thought he would start Wondo. Read my above post for the outcome of that decision.
The first goal was just poor defending by Beckerman and Bradley. You can't lose track of the best player in the world when not in possession on the outskirts of your own box. Seems simple, we failed. Guzan could have done better to save it. That save was the thing that our goalies have made in those epic games where we pulled upsets or held top teams. This time it didn't happen. It would have been an amazing reaction from Guzan. We needed it. We didn't get it. We were not built to chase Argentina from behind.
The other two goals were just icing on the cake. We weren't going to score 2 or 3 times versus Argentina, we didn't create 2 or 3 good chances all game. So at this point we can just talk about why we couldn't create chances.
1) Our passing was awful. Their press completely rattled us. Even when we had time, we scuffed passes, didn't hit them with conviction, or sent them off target. It's been a while since I've seen that many hospital passes. Yes I'm looking at you Bradley! I love Bradley. He's the kind of American player I think we are going to play with going forward. Smart, hard working, reliable. Generally. This game sucked. He worked hard but he wasn't smart and he wasn't accurate, and he wasn't reliable. The last 30 minutes he finally found his footing, for the most part, but way too little too late.
2) No possession. Yeah, this is related to the passing. Possession? What's that? We had none. I didn't expect to play them straight up. I figured we'd need to counter, but we had to be able to string together a couple minutes here and there just to catch our breath. Our passing never let that happen.
3) 50/50 balls. Usually this is where the American work rate shines. It didn't. They won way too many 50/50 balls. Especially on the ones we panicked and bombed out of the back. Part of this was Wondo. He isn't quick enough to get to those balls at this level and, as we saw with goal number 2, he doesn't have the touch for this level.
4) Moderate good points. Brooks was strong. Cameron wasn't bad, although goal 4 might have been him or Birnbaum making an awful error. At that point I was hardly watching so I don't know which. Yedlin got forward well. He's high risk and high reward, but he might have been the only one that even troubled Argentina. Williams didn't. Zusi worked hard. I don't see much difference between him and Bedoya. Probably why he's the first off the bench. For what it was worth, Zardes was good, especially the last 30 minutes in a more natural advanced role. Even without that though, he worked hard and even demonstrated some touch that was mostly missing during the tournament.
5) Disappointing players? Wondo by a factor of 1000. Although how disappointing could it be when everyone but JK knew he shouldn't be on the field? Beckerman. He didn't have a good game. Bradley didn't seem to trust him, leading to some of those awful passes and indecision and part of the reason why I thought Bradley picked up after Beckerman exited. Regardless, Beckerman didn't have the bite needed, the speed, the anticipation, basically he wasn't good enough. Unlike Wondo I think Beckerman could have played well enough to help, he just didn't have a good game.
6) Other thoughts. The two subs everyone wanted, Nagbe and Pulisic, didn't do much. Granted at 2-0 down when Pulisic came in, and 3-0 for Nagbe, we were looking beaten. There wasn't much to offer. Birnbaum... eh. Was he at fault on goal 4? If so, that's about all he did.
7) Going forward. I really don't care who we play, there are two ways to go into the consolation round. With the team most likely to win, or the players most likely to be needed in this next cycle. It's only a one player difference, but it's a big one. I'd leave Jones on the bench and play Nagbe. Otherwise go back to the group game line ups with the possible exception of Zusi for Bedoya, but I think that's a wash. Give Nagbe a chance to show if he can be an advanced playmaker at this level and drop Bradley back into his comfort zone. Bring on Pulisic early in the 2nd half.
I really hope the consolation game can get that Argentinean aftertaste out of my mouth. We could and should have done better. Not necessarily a win. But certainly a better effort.