« on: June 08, 2016, 09:37:19 am »
Hard to complain about that last night. Costa Rica missed a few gold plated chances, but so did the U.S. so I think the score, if not the clean sheet, was pretty reflective of the U.S. dominance. I though the PK was a bit soft. Not sure I would have called it (though it was clearly a push), but it got the U.S. comfortable and kicked them into gear. Hopefully they will take the magic into the Paraguay game.
Costa Rica isn't a bad team, but I think they had their tactics wrong last night. They believed a bit too much of their own hype thinking that the WC and the last few CONCACAF results had them the better team. They simply aren't better than the U.S., though they aren't 4-0 weaker either, and they aren't going to play the U.S. straight up on the road.
Setting up in a 4-5-1 or something even more defensive and then trying to play high pressure cost them dearly. They were awful at getting back on the flanks from the high pressure. If they were going to set up that way, they should have played as a road dog and worked for the counter. Granted once they went down 2-0 they would have had to shift, but they didn't start out that way anyway. Just didn't get the CRC starting tactics.
Other thoughts. Zardes needs to work on his touch. Good chances are too hard to come by at this level for him to squander them the way he did last night. But he worked his rear off and made some good passes as well. Tough to tell whether it was he or Yedlin that was the weak link. Both did good things, but both had nasty moments as well. Yedlin's defensive decision making is still not good enough, but boy can he recover!
Bobby Wood had a very good night, better once we shifted to a 4-4-2 and he was in his more natural spot. He and Dempsey seem to be generating an understanding, something that might have happened earlier if the darn coach would play the same lineup occasionally. Didn't really hear much from Bedoya. He worked and worked, but never found the right pass and passed up on his one gold plaited opportunity to score for some reason. Similarly Bradley played the role he should play. It's not glamorous, but it's what he is best at and what helps the team the most. Wish the coach would stop trying to make him something he's not. Jones was excellent. Wondering if he will have the legs versus Paraguay. I'd love to know his running stats from last night. Miracle of miracles, a couple games together and the defense actually started to communicate as well. Who would guess that experience helps with consistency? Not Klinsmann.
Finally, if it was me, I'd go to a 4-4-2 against Paraguay. Guzan, Yedlin, Cameron, Brooks, Johnson across the back. I wouldn't change this up at all. Bedoya and Zusi on the flanks, Bradley and Jones or Nagbe (if you want to rest Jones) in the middle. Bradley withdrawn obviously. Dempsey and Wood up front.
This pulls Zardes, who ran and played hard but didn't look comfortable out wide and just didn't have the touch, and possibly rests Jones or at least puts him on partial duty. Nagbe won't have Jones' bite, but Zusi offers more defensively than Zardes and a gelling back line should be able to pick up the slack. Nagbe will give you a bit more creativity going forward, and I'd love to see a spine of decent ball handlers that stretches the field with Brooks, Bradley, Nagbe and Wood, supported by the outside quickness of Yedlin and the craftiness of Dempsey and Bedoya.