Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Thoughts on U.S. Win Over spain

Is this the greatest upset in American international competition? I think it is better than the 1950 win over England, the 1994 win over Columbia in the World Cup or the win over Brazil in the 1998 Gold Cup. The circumstances were similar, the clear underdog U.S. playing against arguably the best team in the world. I think this game is a more important win in the grand scheme of things because the U.S. needed this game to be a good performance more than the 1950 squad. The U.S. didn't need to win this game, but did to play well on the heels of their win against Egypt. A poor performance by the U.S. today would have subjected them to the common complaint of inconsistent play. The U.S. played well against Italy until the last 25 minutes or so. They played very poorly against Brazil and then phenomenally against Egypt.

Which U.S. Players improved their stock in this competition? I think Jay DeMerit should be expecting some calls from lower level Engligh Premier League clubs in the next couple of weeks. His pairing with Onyewu for the entire tournament has been good. Charlie Davies certainly made an impression both on Bob Bradley and the rest of Europe. I wouldn't not be surprised to see Davies move to a more high profile league in the transfer window this summer or in January. Certainly I think Davies will continue to get call-ups and rightfully so. Landon Donovan showed all tournament long why he is and should be considered by European clubs. He has definitely matured, showed massive work rates, great on attack, phenomenal speed, always checking back on defense. He is a world class players and it showed. Benny Feilhaber has showed that he knows how to hold the ball, possess the ball and pick apart defenses. His fitness is low right now, but as a super sub, Feilhaber has shown that he can make a difference when he comes in.

The specifics of this game that impressed me most. The shape of the U.S. defense. All game long you could see that the U.S. midfield was organized which is necessary against the fabulous Spanish midfield. The back line was likewise well organized. Jonathan Spector, Jay DeMerit, Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra have made a case for the starting back line going forward and with Jonathan Bornstein and Frankie Hejduk available, you can see that the weakness of the U.S. back line in the past is finally getting addressed. So long as they stay healthy, the back line is solid. The central midfield pairing of Rico Clark and Michael Bradley look solid and improving.

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