US survives Group of Death
Even when we lose, we win. ‘Murica
1. It Wasn’t Pretty but the US did what they needed to do
In the days leading up to the Yanks final match against the mighty Germans many questioned the fitness level of the US players after a rumble in the humid jungle against Portugal. Every team that played in Manaus went on to louse their next game in the group stages. The US were not an exception to that phenomenon, the Americans look heavy legged against the Germans lacking the attacking ambition that they displayed so finely against Portugal. Brad Davis and Omar Gonzales were brought onto to replace Cameron and Bedoya, which was most likely a result of the two players running themselves into the ground against Portugal and not being fit enough for the Germany game. I had some concerns about bringing Omar Gonzales in to pair with Matt Besler but I have stopped doubting Klinsmann’s decision making and once again it paid off. Gonzales contained the German attack and prevented any chance of a German onslaught and made a few key defensive stops in the first half. Davis worked hard but didn’t get on the ball enough to make an impression on the game, Bedoya and Cameron should be back for the next game. Unlike the first two games for the US this one did not have the dramatic flair of the past two. The American’s took a largely defensive approach and Howard made a few key saves. Besides a Dempsey header at the end the US did not have a lot of attacking ambition in this game. Considering the US only had three days to rest after their game in Manus the mind set was acceptable. Expect a more offensive strategy against Belgium who is susceptible in the defense.
2. Yanks shock the World
When the draw happened some 5 months ago to decide the group matches many people, including myself thought America’s fate was sealed in this World Cup. But a dominant run in qualifying and three impressive victories installed a sense of belief in the American people. The US had the same defensive organization they have had in the past three World Cup’s but also displayed an attacking prowess that the world has not seen before. The US created chances going forward and scored goals when they needed to. Bar a miraculous late minute goal the US would have had a chance to win the group today but I think we’ll all take the second place. Considering America’s current form and a team in Belgium that has been mostly underwhelming at this tournament, the US will fancy their chances.
3. How far can we go?
Regardless of what happens next Tuesday this has been a successful World Cup for the USMNT. It’s almost not fair that a nation that has more NASCAR supporters than soccer fans can send a soccer team to the World Cup and have them advance out of the group stage in three out of the last four World Cups is an insane feat but speaks to how the sport is growing in the states. Our next match is Belgium a country who makes a mean chocolate bar but also has a pretty decent soccer team with a plethora of attacking talent. US fans can take solace in the fact the last time the two teams met in the World Cup the US won, their last game was in 1930 but history will repeat itself on Tuesday.