Second Viewing: US vs. Honduras

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Nimbus2000, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Nimbus2000

    Nimbus2000 Member

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    I rewatched the 1st half last night, a few thoughts:
    - Honduras was incredibly wasteful in the attack. Their shot selection and crosses were really subpar.
    - The US looked more dangerous than I recalled. EJ was really solid and the US was pressuring up top selectively and came close to creating some real danger a couple times.
    - It really looked like the US might rope-a-dope Honduras, absorbing their pressure and hitting them on the fast break. The Hondurans looked very vulnerable from about minutes 20-40.
    - The back 4 looked adequate, not stellar but not worrisome.
    - On the Honduras goal, it looked like Gonzalez didn't close down the second crosser per Howard's instructions. Howard was telling Gonzalez to fall back and Johnson (?) trotted over to close the Honduran down.
    - JJ makes strange choices with the ball sometimes. I was begging him to just play the simple ball.
    - Chandler looked slow from the beginning which causes me to wonder if something else was going on with him - eg. sickness, severe jet lag, sensory overload, niggling injury. He was just off from the start.

    In summary, if the US had played in the second half like they played in the first, it could've turned out quite differently.
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  2. Bookmesir

    Bookmesir Member

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    I re-watched the first half, as well. I agree with all your points. Honduras' goal was unforgivable...no effort to win the ball before that second cross. A crappy over hit corner turns into an assist coming from the opposite side of play. Our defense was flat footed, though Gonzo did try to get his head on the ball before the bike.
    Jozy worked really hard early on to win the ball and a couple of times was just inches away from making something from nothing.
    Chandler looked out of it, as noted. He looked as though he had never run in hot and humid conditions and was struggling from the start.
    Honduras might have had three goals in that half...we were very lucky they didn't convert their better chances.
    Once we got the goal, we needed to get to the break with the lead. There was zero sense of urgency, and/or simple game management awareness.
    john3628 repped this.
  3. braun

    braun Red Card

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    Give Honduras' coach and squad credit, they did what was needed to defeat the USMNT on their turf. JK is clueless and they exposed him. He has no tools to go on in the hex. I expect that whatever he drums up in March will end up as a clumsy stab of naming a roster that could really win three points.
  4. Berks

    Berks Member+

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    1) If that was the plan, don't understand why we didn't have someone with more pace out there. Specifically, Gatt. Yes, he plays with his head down, but he gives you more options on the break.

    2) Howard calls him back? Someone in the defense thread says that too. Ugh. Poor choice by Tim. Omar could have ignored him, but in his first qualifying cap, don't think that's going to happen. Thinking that Tim wanted Omar's tall head in the box.

    3) Forgot that Chandler played on Sunday. Could have been tired legs.

    4) Or if the subs had been better. We just got narrower and narrower. I still don't understand taking EJ off.


  5. manq360

    manq360 Member

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    Even one of the Honduras players before the game said that JK always uses the same tactics. This coming from one of their players, not their coach. JK obviously needs to shake things up a little and not be so predictable.
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  6. comoesa

    comoesa Member+

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    Both Dempsey and Chandler pretty much had a couple of hard runs and played a the rest of the match at a stand still jog.
  7. Etienne_72772

    Etienne_72772 Member+

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    I commend you for being able to stomach a second viewing.
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  8. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    I've rewatched the 1st half now (incl. playbacks and slowmo's). And I have to say Chandler wasn't that bad. He made one beginner mistake which was actually good defending, but poor ball control. And he had a slip up after a very poor clearance from MB. Other than that there was nothing 'wrong' with his first half. I would rate his first half performance at a 5.5/10.
  9. ChrisSSBB

    ChrisSSBB Member+

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    I agree with this. Considering the environment/conditions and that he had pretty much the entire right flank to cover for most of the game, he did alright and was still running at the end of the game. Yeah, Costly burned him and there was the funky control after MB's bad clear, but I think he'll look better on normal grass and less heat/humidity.
  10. El Naranja

    El Naranja Member+

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    "Less heat and humidity"? This is CONCACAF, the H&H factor doesn't get any better from here on out. That can't be a valid excuse.
  11. LongDuckDong

    LongDuckDong Member+

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    Costa Rica's players mostly play in Europe. They would gain no advantage by playing during the middle of the day. Ditto for Jamaica. Mexico City's climate isn't tropical. The average high temperature in the hottest month is 79 degrees.

    The only remaining team that would consider playing us in the same conditions as Honduras is Panama.
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  12. lurking

    lurking Member+

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    Costa Rica's players will have grown up in the environment and have a pretty good understanding of playing in heat and humidity. Guys like Jones, Williams, Fabian Johnson and Chandler will hardly have any experience, while guys like Dempsey and Bradley have been in Europe for a good while now. Of our starting field players, only Eddie Johnson, Cameron and Gonzalez have had recent (within the last 3 years) experience playing in that kind of heat with any regularity.

    Meanwhile most of the Costa Rican national team will have had much more experience in playing in central america, if for no other reason then the Copa Centralamericana and their home games (and road games vs. other central american teams).
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  13. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

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    Painful game to watch twice. Pushed me through it this morning.

    My conclusions after a second watching are similar after the first. I can understand JK. You got a bunch of mediocre forwards, mediocre wingers and mediocre CBs. You got a bunch of (on paper) solid CMs/DMs. What do you do? Use three of the latter, and keep it narrow.

    It makes sense and should work. It _almost_ did, losing 1-2 with 43% possession and two shots on goal (versus four for HON) doesn't paint a collapse or a drubbing. It wasn't that bad.

    If the USA had had the threat to score again, it'd have been very different. Defensive mistakes cost the HON goals, but the bottom line is that they were not scared because the attack lacked 'creativity' or just plain old intelligence.

    If I were JK, playing with 3 CMs and no width (my compromise to protect the weak back line), I'd be relying on my two (on paper) creative players to put the fear of God in their hearts: Bradley and Dempsey.

    Those two underperformed hugely. Yes, they were not the worst on the field, but they are the two guys carrying the flag, the two with the duty to keep the HON on their toes. They never were. They looked confident coming from the back and keeping the ball around the middle.

    Whatever the mistakes by Chandler, Williams, Cameron and Howard, Dempsey and Bradley played their part by being unimaginative and toothless. I was more disappointed in them than in anyone else, after my second viewing.
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  14. Konut

    Konut Member

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    This is very true. I'd throw Jones in there too given how well he plays for Schalke sometimes.
  15. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    The 2-1 came from a 4 v 7 situation where the back line was being shielded by narrowly playing CMs/DMs.
  16. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

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    1) The second goal was scored when there were only 2 CMs/DMs on the field: Edu and Bradley. They had the line of Zusi, Dempsey and (gasp) Kljestan in front.
    2) My basic point is that the game would have stayed 1-1 is the Hondurans had been more guarded in their attacks. But they realized Mike & Deuce didn't have another goal in them.
  17. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    I clearly see them not being 'in front'. In fact Zusi is 'narrowly' positioned.
    [​IMG]
    NB Chandler is @ right back marking a left winger.
  18. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

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    Yes, the JK lineups never work as intended. But neither of those three (Zusi, Dempsey or Sacha) were playing as a CM or DM. So the 2nd Honduras goal came when the USA had only two of those, not three.
  19. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    That image is clearly showing three if not four players in the CM/DM position.
  20. appoo

    appoo Member+

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    What's hilarious is you can see all 3 defenders ball watching, and none of them looking at their man.
  21. Suyuntuy

    Suyuntuy Member+

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    It's terrible. And even though JK had slotted Zusi as an erzats-DM, marking Espinoza, in reality he was marking no one and just walking around waiting for the ball.

    Please look from the moment Jones left, and you'll see how the USA totally lost it after then (67' in the game, 13:11 in the video):

  22. RangerC

    RangerC Member

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    Just watched the game for the '1st' time (followed the running commentary on ESPN/here while I was at work Wednesday). I actually feel much better about the team after actually watching the game, which was not what I expected.

    Few thoughts:
    - Chandler wasn't as bad as I expected. He looked incredibly sluggish and was embarrassed by Costly twice (to little effect, though) but I expected an absolute howler after reading all the writeups.
    - Honduras really only had 3-4 more good chances besides the goals (3 v 1 offside, Boniek's rocket shot after a Bradley giveaway, and the centering pass Johnson cleared). The rest of their chances were pretty speculative. We had 2 excellent chances besides the goal (Jozy's poke that went just over, Dempsey's blocked shot) plus a couple of headers on corners. While we in no way deserved to win (or even draw) the game, it isn't like we were lucky to lose just 2-1. If anything, Honduras was lucky to get two goals (1st was clown car defending plus the bicycle kick of a lifetime, 2nd was another clown car).
    - Bradley was absolutely awful besides a couple of nice chips (probably his worst game in a USA shirt). He had a hattrick of suck: hilarious botched clearance, failed corner, and horrid giveaway in front of goal (plus 5-6 other unforced giveaways).
    - Howard has a horrible habit these days of going to ground too early when he comes off his line and it almost burned us TWICE (he did the same thing today against RvP). He used to stand tall until the last minute and then make the reaction save if needed. I'm afraid he's looking less like a major advantage this cycle and more like a very average keeper.
    - Zusi and Sasha were absolutely dismal as subs, and the Kljestan sub was even more baffling considering EJ was one of the only guys who didn't look gassed at that point and was giving us a threat on the break still. Sasha shouldn't have even been called in since he played Sunday for Anderlecht (no point in calling up an overtaxed, extra jet-lagged sub). Edu looked good and was extremely sharp with his passing and tackles, but subbing a DM for another DM without an injury is a huge waste of a sub, which bit us in the ass when Gomez couldn't be subbed on after the goal. HORRIBLE bench management by Klinsy.

    Anyway, I don't think Bradley will have the worst game of his life every day of the hex, coupled with Jones, Chandler, and F. Johnson all gassing out after 5 minutes. The crappy bench and roster management is worrying, though.

    Ratings:

    Howard - 4 - Stay on your feet, man.
    Chandler - 4 - Needed some Red Bull or something.
    Gonzalez - 4 - Sloppy passing, embarrasing recovery on the 2nd goal (won't blame him for the 1st goal, though)
    Cameron - 4.5 - Also sloppy, involved in 2nd goal, but did step up to win the ball several times.
    Johnson - 4.5 - Got into the attack a couple of times, once effectively.
    Williams - 4 - Invisible.
    Bradley - 4 - Dismal for a guy who is one of our top 3 players.
    Jones - 5 - Wild, gassed, out of control, but did 'lay the wood' to a few Honduran players and his sublime chip set up the goal.
    EJ - 5.5 - Our best player in many ways (kinda scary). Stretched the backline at times and almost combined with Jozy for a goal. One of the only guys who wasn't wearing cement shoes out there.
    Dempsey - 5.5 - A step slow on many, many occasions, but did score an absolutely classy goal by anyone's standards.
    Jozy - 5 - He hustled and nearly scored in the 1st half. Completely out of gas later in the game but couldn't be subbed off thanks to poor management.

    Edu - 6 - crisp passing, moved well, did not look rusty at all
    Sasha - 3 - Brought zero to the game other than backpassing
    Zuzi - 2 - Ran around aimlessly in some sort of bizarre free role. Hand ball was embarrasing.

    Klinsy - 3 - Horrible subs.
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  23. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    In the infamous 2001 drubbing, Carlos Pavon wasted four (!!!!) breakaways. The highlight video is on on YT (I posted it on the post-game thread).

    Of course, then Pavon missed the net on the PK late in the 2009 match too.

    JK is not clueless. It was just a wrong plan against a wrong team on a wrong day (with wrong subs to boot).

    The idea was to have four (!!!!) good headers of the ball (Johnson, Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley) crash the box off crosses by Chandler.

    A reasonable game plan ... but it put its eggs in one basket - Chandler.

    And that bucket was sweating and dehydrating in the heat and humidity of SPS. The problem was in not having the second plan and in making absolutely woeful subs.

    On a different day, this may have worked. To quote an old military genius Graf von Moltke, the Elder (as translated into English), "No plan survives contact with the enemy". In other words, the real generals know how to make adjustments. JK doesn't. Me thinks he needs a good wargaming exercise to get his thinking up to the right level.
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  24. jclampit

    jclampit Member

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    Reminds me of that wise philosopher, Mike Tyson, and his similarly pithy observation: "Everybody got a plan. 'Til I punch them in their f*&#king face."

    [​IMG]
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  25. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    The nature of game/gaming is the constant readjustment to your opponent.

    Against a puncher like Tyson and Foreman, there're good strategies and bad strategies.

    An example of a bad strategy (by a nonetheless great boxer)



    Also one of the greatest calls ever.

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