US soccer is touches away from being competitive with the top countries in the world. Playing at world class level that is no small feat and more work than it may seem, but we are getting there. I find no need to summarize the game. I feel bad for you if you missed it. This tournament showed that our defense can make mistakes, we struggle to possess the ball in the middle, and we lack a natural goal scorer who just seems to find new ways to put the ball away. This tournament also showed that we can hang with the likes of Ronaldo, Gyan, Mueller, and Hazard. Yes some of those names still hurt us, but in no match did we have no chance to win. Bradley struggled all tournament, but his energy and chipped ball over top did lead to the teenager Julian Green scoring a goal that gave the US hope for almost 15 more minutes at the end there. Up top it was a shame to lose Altidore. Dempsey had moments of greatness and it will be interesting to see if he vies for a place in the team for the next World Cup when he is 35. Tim Howard is as good as his performance against Belgium. That was no fluke. He’s the reason we were in every game and he showed that he is absolutely a top 5 keeper in the world. At 35, I hate to think that he may have seen his last minutes at the World Cup. The future looks extremely promising though. Yedlin did a great job today, Julian Green gave us a preview of next World Cup, and Altidore, Brooks, Chandler, Diskerud, and Johannsson are all also under 25. Also the younger US teams have continued to feature greater talent and the MLS as a whole improves every year. It was something else watching these four games. I can’t wait to see what we bring to the tournament for years from now.
Dempsey’s goal was incredible. I thought it looked like he meant business when they were playing the national anthem and then he just went and took it to the g-palace. From the minute after the goal to the Ghana equalizer I thought we completely
lacked connection. Hardly any possession and we just faced cross after cross into the box from Ghana’s wings. One of the commentators, Taylor Twellman, said that good teams suffer. This was said in reference to the US continually dealing with advances to goal from Ghana and not possessing the ball much of their own. Just another example of absurd commentary. Good teams move as a team, connect passes, and possess the ball. All three of these were strongly lacking the majority of the game. I was happy to see that we certainly didn’t give up after the equalizer. A lot of people have taken to saying there’s an America spirit and determination on our team and I don’t want to be cliche, but there’s definitely something there. Brooks’ goal was somewhat reminiscent of Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria last World Cup. Welcome to the big leagues kid. His celebration was a little excessive, I wondered if he would ever get up, but I can’t even imagine what was going through his head. I had predicted earlier that we would tie with Ghana 1-1. I’m happy I got this one wrong. Interestingly, two players I mentioned to pay attention to already showed up in this first match. With the Altidore injury about 20 minutes in, Aron Johannsson was called into the game. Overall he wasn’t spectacular, but he was able to make a few positive passes and did create one significant chance. We may need to see more from him later in the tournament. The other player I mentioned to be on the lookout for was Graham Zusi, the man who hit the corner kick assisting John Brooks goal. Zusi had been known for his set piece prowess in the MLS. 3 points after the first game is excellent. Also with 3 of the Portugal starters from today likely out for our next game against them, things are looking up for the boys of Stars and Stripes. Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be playing Germany on his own today and that is not a compliment. He is so demanding of the ball from his teammates that he gives up and pouts if he doesn’t get it. His teammates seem to be scared of
him sometimes giving up better opportunities for themselves to give him the ball. If we can control him when we play, we definitely have a chance to get another 3 points.