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Hoosier Red
02-08-2007, 09:09 AM
Anybody else watch the "friendly" last night?

My thoughts:
-It is amazing what the Mexican team could do with the ball at their feet.
-It is more amazing that despite what looked like an obvious mismatch in technical skill the US was able to win.

-Bornstein played exceptionally well defensively.
-Rolfe was pretty useless up top, and Chris Albright makes me feel better that Steve Cherundelo will be back for any meaningful games.

-I thought Dempsey was pretty empty but he did have some nice runs in the 2nd half.
-I'm not exactly sure where DeMarcus Beasley fits in if he comes back. I feels like the US has 10 midfielders.

Heath
02-08-2007, 09:35 AM
I'm shocked they played a friendly in Arizona against Mexico. I guess that gets the US back from sending Mexico to Columbus in February about 2 years ago.

Good match - it also looked like that the US had some speed. That, or Mexico was really slow.

Hoosier Red
02-08-2007, 09:56 AM
I think they realized a Pro-Mexico crowd of 60k is better for the coffers than a Pro-US crowd of 20k.

M2
02-08-2007, 12:25 PM
Footwork is nice, but size and superior athleticism come home to roost when the U.S. plays Mexico. Borgetti's aerial assault gets shut down and when a U.S. and Mexican player try for a 50-50 ball, it seems the U.S. player gets it most of the time (thanks to some combination of superior speed, size, strength or springs).

U.S. players can make space in set pieces and throw a lung-busting run on the Mexican defenders. If the U.S. national program ever finds some central midfielders who can deliver a long pass out to the wings, the team could create some dangerous quick strike offense. Build up is never going to be the team's strong suit.

As for the Mexican team, it needs finishers something fierce. All the pretty short passes in the world don't mean a thing if you can't ultimately bury the ball in the back of the net.

reds1869
02-08-2007, 05:59 PM
If the U.S. national program ever finds some central midfielders who can deliver a long pass out to the wings, the team could create some dangerous quick strike offense. Build up is never going to be the team's strong suit.

The US could take the English game and add our own physicality to it. That would make us very dangerous.

M2
02-08-2007, 06:43 PM
The US could take the English game and add our own physicality to it. That would make us very dangerous.

I kind of prefer the German game for U.S. adaptation - run faster, jump higher, kick harder. Wonder if The Kaiser is available for a coaching gig?

Red Heeler
02-09-2007, 08:33 AM
I kind of prefer the German game for U.S. adaptation - run faster, jump higher, kick harder. Wonder if The Kaiser is available for a coaching gig?

I disagree. The US needs to learn a style where the ball stays on the ground for most of the attack. Sure, the US can out muscle Mexico, but when the World Cup comes around, they have to play the northern European teams. Germany's most athletic big men play soccer. Ours play football, not futbol.

I would be looking more at Spain or Portugal for models. Their games take better advantage of speedier, smaller men that the US will likely have to depend upon. It might not work as well for the current national team, but I think a change in philosophy will pay long term dividends if the skills are emphasized at the lower levels.

Yachtzee
02-09-2007, 10:05 AM
I disagree. The US needs to learn a style where the ball stays on the ground for most of the attack. Sure, the US can out muscle Mexico, but when the World Cup comes around, they have to play the northern European teams. Germany's most athletic big men play soccer. Ours play football, not futbol.

I would be looking more at Spain or Portugal for models. Their games take better advantage of speedier, smaller men that the US will likely have to depend upon. It might not work as well for the current national team, but I think a change in philosophy will pay long term dividends if the skills are emphasized at the lower levels.

I'm inclined to agree with Herd Fan or M2. We are a country of athletic, big men. Even with top big guys going to other sports, we've got enough to go around. I think the US talent pool is ill-suited for a Portuguese or Spanish finesse-style attack because we don't have the kids out there playing pick-up games in the street at a young age like those countries do. Kids there play soccer year round and play just about anywhere you can find a ball and some kids. Here, kids have soccer season, then baseball season, then basketball season, etc. and it's all organized. Americans don't acquire the creative ball handling skills that are developed through constant free play on the street. Compare it to basketball, where American kids play a ton of pick-up basketball and Euros play their basketball in organized athletic clubs. In that case, Americans excel at creative ball handling whereas Euros do better with passing, shooting, and set plays.

If the US were to adapt any style of play for their own, I think it would be best to emulate the English or Germans. Not only do those styles of play fit better with the kind of talent the US has in the pipeline, but I think it's the style that the American public is more likely to watch. Many people I know, including myself, just could not stand the flopping antics of the Southern European teams, especially Portugal and Italy.

reds1869
02-09-2007, 10:08 AM
I would be looking more at Spain or Portugal for models. Their games take better advantage of speedier, smaller men that the US will likely have to depend upon. It might not work as well for the current national team, but I think a change in philosophy will pay long term dividends if the skills are emphasized at the lower levels.

We do not have enough players with the ball skills needed for that style of play. "Hustle" has been overvalued by the USSF for years, much to the detriment of dribbling and ball control. I agree that emphasizing it at the lower levels will pay dividends, but that will take a LONG time to pay off, possibly long enough to harm interest in the game in this country.

M2
02-09-2007, 10:26 AM
I disagree. The US needs to learn a style where the ball stays on the ground for most of the attack. Sure, the US can out muscle Mexico, but when the World Cup comes around, they have to play the northern European teams. Germany's most athletic big men play soccer. Ours play football, not futbol.

I would be looking more at Spain or Portugal for models. Their games take better advantage of speedier, smaller men that the US will likely have to depend upon. It might not work as well for the current national team, but I think a change in philosophy will pay long term dividends if the skills are emphasized at the lower levels.

I don't think it's in our national personality to play that style. We could try it forever and a day and never do it well. Don't get me wrong, I love watching that style, but I don't think Americans can be made to spend all day working on short passes and ball tricks. We like putting the ball into the net. We need to attack.

I agree the U.S., lacking 6'5" attackers, would need a more ground-based attack, but a the team needs to play a quick-hitting vertical game with rapid forward transitions. Bornstein looks like he might be the sort of left back to pounce into the attack, don't know that he's got a foot that can create havoc though. The American team is getting better athletes than it used to and I'd expect that trend to continue. It's why the team has owned Mexico this century. Mexico simply can't deal with the Americans' physical superiority even though Mexico boasts superior skill players. The American team also used raw physicality to give the Italians a tough game in the World Cup. It was when they tried to get cute agains the Czechs that they got dismantled (such a soft back line and the U.S. wouldn't attack it).

Anyway, Germany, Nigeria and the Czech Republic all play the sort of athletic style I think the U.S. needs to embrace. The Brits aspire to that style as well, but they tend to be a step too slow. They're strong, tenacious and they've got guys who can thunder the ball, but they never quite have the legs to put it all together. It looks like the U.S. can find a higher gear. IMO, the two things the team really needs moving forward are guys who can crack the ball from 20 or 30 yards away and deft long passers.

Actually, now that I think of it, the Aussies have embraced the sort of style I'm talking about.

reds1869
02-09-2007, 01:11 PM
Actually, now that I think of it, the Aussies have embraced the sort of style I'm talking about.

Not coincidentally, they've also had great success. It is a style that really compensates for inadequacies in many areas.