I am so at a loss to figure out the US-Holland game, I'm forced to take refuge in badly out-of-date pop culture references.
So! The old Play Incredibly Horrible Soccer For Forty-Five Minutes Until The Other Team Wants To Claw Out Their Eyes trick!
I don't think much of our Olympic team. (Either one, but today it's about the dudes.) I think Nowak picked the wrong people, and lines them up in the wrong positions. Yet, the US nearly beat Holland, which in my opinion would have been pretty much as if Holland had beaten the US in a war or something.
This game was really a lot more about Holland than the US, to be honest. I keep meaning to do a Holland football post based around "Brilliant Orange", and when I get around to it, one of the topics will be how it's humanly possible for a national team whose 1974 World Cup final was seared into its collective conscience could EVER take its foot off the pedal against anyone, ever. If it was Nowak's strategy to bore the Dutch into a stupor, then it was a tactical masterpiece.
I think I would have preferred a strategy where Maurice Edu's considerable talents are applied a little bit closer to his skill set - as a central defender, he could start for the Galaxy. (I can't think of a worse insult.) And stop me if I've told you this, but I'm not entirely sold on starting McBride ahead of Altidore. Is it fair to say those two changes might have made it 0-0 at halftime, or maybe even 1-0 US, thus changing the course of human history? Probably not. But if life was fair, Sacha Kljestan would have been the game's big hero yesterday.
I can't even blame Kljestan - all in all, he's just another gap in the wall. I can sort of understand the theory behind jumping, even though it opens up a nice inviting hole at ground level, since shots on the ground tend to have less velocity. The problem is, when you have a bunch of different guys jumping in different directions, twisting and such, your steel plate becomes chain mail, and three points turn into one. Maybe Nowak and the team did practice free kick walls, and maybe they looked great in scrimmages. Who knows.
I'm sure Balboa is taking some heat today for "Smart yellow card! Now he'll miss the meaningless final first round game!" analysis. But I also hope Marcelo Balboa doesn't speak for the Federation, because "We've only played together twice" is super mega jumbo weak. Did I imagine all that with Cuba and the girl in the bikini running onto the field and such? Yes, the overage players weren't there - nor did the Dutch have their overage players for Olympic qualifying. Yeah, the US team is scattered all over the world - pretty sure the Dutch players have club commitments, too.
I realize Balboa's job description is to illustrate the game for the Olympic audience...in other words, the casual sports fan...you know. Morons.