Wednesday, March 30, 2011

US falls to Paraguay in Nashville

I was in Nashville the past two days with the US National team to watch them train and visit with their coaching staff, and the trip culminated with watching their 1-0 defeat versus Paraguay.

I know that this cliche is used a lot in the game, but it certainly was not a fair result - the US carried the game in regards to possession and scoring chances, and did everything but score.

Below is the recap by Mike Woitalla from Soccer America, as well as a link to the game highlights-

Three days after Argentina barely let them touch it, the Americans got reacquainted with the soccer ball when they hosted Paraguay in Nashville, Tenn. But they still lost, 1-0, to drop their post-2010 World Cup record to 1-2-4. Here’s what we liked and didn’t like about Tuesday’s game …

Didn’t like …
The USA had much more possession than it did against the Argentines, which is to be expected against a notoriously defensive team such as Paraguay. And the Americans got to spend some time in the opponent’s half. But the U.S. game remains too hectic, too impatient. A couple passes before storming forward is simply too predictable, as the futility of Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan’s efforts demonstrated.

Liked …
Juan Agudelo, the 18-year-old who scored the goal that gave the USA the flattering 1-1 result against Argentina on Saturday, got his first U.S. start after three appearances off the bench. He didn’t score or create a goal as he’s done in his previous three appearances, but hunted for the ball and did some clever things when he got it. His future continues to look bright.

Didn’t like …
Referee Jose Benigno called 18 fouls on the visitors, who repeatedly chopped down Dempsey, but the Honduran official showed only one yellow card – to Paraguay’s Enrique Vera in the 29th minute – despite the persistent fouling.

Liked …
Tim Ream’s crisp passes out of the back were a welcome relief from the usual tendency of U.S. central backs to boot it at the first sign of any pressure.

Didn’t like …
There’s nothing wrong with the U.S. national team fielding players who grew up abroad. Any U.S. citizens who are best at their positions deserve to wear the jersey and should be welcomed. But what does fielding three German-raised players -- outside back Timmy Chandler, defensive midfielder Jermaine Jones and goalkeeper David Yelldell -- say about U.S. player development?

Liked …
They weren’t as effective as one would have hoped, but both wide defenders -- Chandler and Jonathan Bornstein -- launched forays out of the back, as did late sub Jonathan Spector.

Didn’t like …
The USA has played seven games since the 2010 World Cup and won once while mustering five goals. On Tuesday, Bob Bradley's team got shut out at home in front of nearly 30,000 fans to a team that Mexico trounced, 3-1, three days earlier. We wait for signs of the "good plan and vision" that Bradley spoke of when he was rehired to take the USA "further in the next four years."

March 29 in Nashville, Tenn.
USA 0 Paraguay 1. Goal: Cardozo 18.
USA -- Hahnemann (Yelldell, 46), Chandler (Spector, 80), DeMerit (Bocanegra, 41), Ream, Bornstein (Kljestan, 77), Dempsey, Edu (Jones, 46), Bradley, Donovan, Altidore (Lichaj, 60), Agudelo.
Paraguay – Villar, Caceres, Mareco, Da Silva, Samudio, Vera (Veron, 79), Molinas (Riveros, 63), Riveros, Perez (Martinez, 68), Cardozo (Barrios, 79), Estigarribia (Torres, 90).
Referee: Jose Benigno (Honduras).
Att.: 29,059

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