Our defense (R)

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by superdave, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    1. Chris Albright made alot of nice runs and tackles, esp. the last half hour. I think he could have contributed more to the attack.
    2. Cory Gibbs' positioning was excellent. Better than excellent. IMO, he brought nothing to the attack. He should only start at left fullback on the road against Mexico and maybe Costa Rica.
    3. Sanneh...interesting experiment, but no. Gooch, Pope, and Gibbs all clearly better, and Boca too if he's in the middle.
    4. Gooch was looking pretty decent before the sendoff. I'm not gonna overreact to the red, but dude, that can't happen again.
    5. Mastroenni did a fantastic job as the windshield wiper, and contributed to the attack well too. A well deserved MOTM.
    6. Spector made a dandy run near the end. He may be the answer at left back when we are at home, and wanting to attack. Or, if Pope doesn't regain his form, we might need to pair Boca and Gooch in the middle.
    7. Kasey made a great save, and a few nices ones.
  2. Mason16

    Mason16 Member

    Apr 11, 2001
    South Florida
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    CB is set, RB is OK and Spector is finally improving our prospects at LB.

    Good job on D tonight with a few anxious moments. I love the Big Cat but tonight was not his night and he looked slow. Gooch had a rough time too but I think he will continue to improve and become a fixture. Boy did Gibbs look much better at CB.
  3. nobody

    nobody Member+

    Jun 20, 2000
    Albright was strong on the right. He ket up defensively and pushed forward down an overcrowded right wing from time to time.

    I thought Sanneh was mostly strong in the middle. He won balls and played forward well. He made a couple slips at bad moments though, so I can't give him top marks.

    Gooch looked strong in the air, good at reading the play and supporting his teammates defensively. He's also got a nice long pass, strikes the ball very nicely. Despite getting tossed, I would have actually liked to see a bit more power in his tackling. He got shrugged aside way too easily for a big guy just before the penalty call. His first yellow was cheap, and the second was stupid. (on his part, gotta keep the hands down)

    Gibbs was asked to do a lot of work on the left and did well. He's just no real threat coming forward.

    Spector looked like he's gonna be a real player. He made a couple of poor decisions, but he's still young and hasn't played with these guys in such a situation before. I'm looking forward to seeing more as he looked to have all the tools.

    Pablo played he best match for the US in a long time. He was strong throughout.

    Corrales seemed to be sharing defensive duties in the middle and he was crap, provided nothing going forward and was a non-factor defensively outside a rash challenge for their penalty in the box. I'll be surprised if he gets sertious consideration in the future, but who knows. Frankie's still getting caps.
  4. Arisrules

    Arisrules Member

    Feb 19, 2000
    Washington, DC
    I think the question should be asked...we have a plethora of CBs, who are all much better than the garbage we currently have at the fullback positions, do we go with 3 in the back, or do we continue to fit square pegs in round holes? I've always been one to believe that you conform your game plan to the pieces you have.

    Second, I think the LB position could be Burciaga's by 2006 honestly. He's good, a natural (much more than Albright) at LB.

    Gooch is a good player. He could be back there for a while (we have so many CBs, it's insane, don't forget about Marshall, and maybe even Parke...)

    Finally, Sanneh was very poor.
  5. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    The team is in transition defensively and it's a tribute to the players and Arena that while in transition they play as well as they do.

    Yes our fullback position is in radical flux. As such we saw three canddidates tonight in Albright, Gibbs, and Spector, all of whom have quite a ways to go before they are ready for WC competition. But good news! Said WC competition is two years away and the Hex won';t be as tough. I remain optimistic that in two years the defense will be settled and tight.

    But back to the three fullback players tonight. I think that as part of their learning experience Arena told Gibbs and Albright to stay back and becaause of that you can't fault them for not pushing forward. Albright in particular was a pleasant surprise using his speed to seal off his side. He deserves another look, several of them in fact. Remember it's Arena who first played Albright at right back, not Sigi and I think Arena is gonna give him time and chances to grow into the position. Arisrules is right in that Burciaga is also a candidate and you'd have to say now that he's more of a natural fit but Arena is thinking two years down the road, not now.

    Gibbs and Spector are now officially in the mix too but are so new that to judge them now, it would be like judging Gooch negatively. Let's give them all some playing time.

    I feel good about our defense come 06- better than our offense really.
  6. GringoTex

    GringoTex Member

    Aug 22, 2001
    1301 miles de Texas
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    That was my first time to see Spector play since the U-17 World Cup. Jesus, he has a sweet touch.

  7. zcgf02

    zcgf02 New Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    I'd like to echo the props given to Albright. For a converted forward, he sure showed a lot of smarts, speed and strength in defense. He was able to read the plays so well and anticipate the ball almost perfectly. The nice thing about Albright, is that we know he can contribute to the attack so his growth as a defensive player is very promising.

    I thought Sanneh did OK but there were a couple of times where he seemed so confident on the ball that he became careless. He never cost us a goal but he made me nervous a couple of times, which is not something you want your center back doing.

    Gibbs had a very strong game but should not be played as an attacking defender. He seemed to do very well in terms of positioning and fighting for the ball in intelligent ways. But he didn't exactly strike any fear into the hearts of the Jamaican defense when he pushed forward.

    Gooch played find and got pretty unlucky on the two yellows. I agree with nobody's point about him getting pushed off the ball to easily. On the play that lead to the PK: I'm sure getting a hand in the face hurt a little, but as a center back you can't hope for the call and fall to the turf holding your face. Stay in the play!
  8. chad

    chad Member+

    Jun 24, 1999
    Manhattan Beach
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Spector really teased us in his time out there. Like GringoTex said, his touch was sweet and he was solid in his tackling. Now we just need to see that for a whole game. Every indication is he could play LB. Nothin wring with having players who can play in more than one spot. I don't think Gibbs is the answer out left.

    Gooch's game was tough for me to gauge, in large part because of his partner, and in small part because he seemed easily to win balls and the ref was meeting Corrales' playing level. I thought Sanneh (who, lest I be accused of being a hater, was outstanding in 02) seems to have gone past his sell-by date. He was slow and while he did get touches on the ball, they often were mis-hits. He stumbled on it, he headed it in crazy directions, etc. He should have been sharper than that given that MLS just ended, but I fear that he just has gotten too injured and too old to play at this level. No shame in being a once incredibly important player for your national team and hanging it up when the time comes.

    Albright did well, too. I was surprised. Long term of course I hope he isn't our best option, but he has gotten much better quickly.

    There's nothing that can't be said about Corrales that can't equally be said about a pile of feces. He was shaky defending and completely useless in the middle. He brought down the level of everyone's game.

    Pablo did well, I guess, but he was over-worked because of Sanneh and Corrales. Like others on the team, he looked much better when Dempsey came in.

    So, I guess (and no doubt Arena had this in mind in part) that we now know a bit more about who won't be fringe players in the next round. It's a legit exercise earned from clinching early... but somewhat aggravating to watch nonetheless.
  9. DaMa

    DaMa Member

    Jun 17, 2002
    New York
    Albright- was very solid defensively. They seemed determined to break him down (probably wise since Gibbs is a lot more steady reputationally on defense) and he didnt let them beat him with spead and was solid with his head on those long balls. Wasn't as much of an offensive factor as I expected a converted forward to be.

    Gooch- God he's big. I thought he played okay. Defensively, he got badly beat on the play leading up to the pk (not that the pk was his fault at all) and went down after he got hit instead of trying to recover. I thought his service from the back was very subpar. A lot of his balls went to nobody other than the Jamaican keeper.

    Sanneh- Looked out of Position to me. Had some unsure touches on the ball. Didnt get beaten badly per se but just looked uneven all night.

    Gibbs- Obviously isnt a true left back. That being said he was unbeatable from what I recall. Just doesnt have the touch to play wide left. If he ever developed that...

    Spector- Showed some obvious touch. I am not sure what the true answer at left back will be with Whitbread also lurking on the horizon, but it very well may be him with some practice. Also noticed a lot of communication from him. I am not sure if this was just his habit as a centrald defender or if it was his lack of experience with the guys he was playing with, but as the left sided player before he left the guy making a run to mark the ball, always noticed him quickly turning to gibbs or sanneh to make sure they were picking up the runner.

    as for the defensive midfielders... a contrast. Corrales was... well I guess I just dont get it. Forget completely about the pk. His touch was awful, his long shot was embarassing, he was never in a good spot for the man with the ball and his passing was ... to the wrong team.

    Pablo was the polar opposite. Made a pretty solid claim that if we are going to play with a true defensive midfielder it needs to be him. Looked as good going forward and passing the ball as he did in the last world cup.
  10. juventino3

    juventino3 Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Alexandria, VA
    Spector is the obvious choice at left back for the future. Convey, Burciaga, and Dunivant are other young guys in the picture. Unless you want a guy with the foot speed of Greg Berhalter playing left back for the US, you will never see Whitbread on the left. His future is at central defender.
  11. Wahoo

    Wahoo New Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    Seattle, USA
    My take.

    First, and I cant' believe I'm saying this, I think Albright was our best defender tonight! Granted he had the luxury of marking Damani Ralph who looked pretty bad.

    Gibbs did a pretty good job on the left.

    Sanneh - I just don't know what to make of him. At times he looked confidant and cocky, at others he seemed disinterested. Made way to many casual passes for my liking.

    Gooch - unlucky on BOTH yellows. I have the game taped and the first tackle could have warrented a yellow, but there were so many other tackles that went unpunished much less uncarded. The 2nd yellow for the handball was unlucky. That hand was up before teh kick and was being used as leverage - not to swipe the ball. Anyway. He seemed a bit nervous out tehre which suprised me. He played fine overall but did overcommit on the play that eventually led to their pk. I still think he's going to be good - just needs to feel comfortable.

    Mastroeni did a really nice job filling in in the back. Was good both ways and to me looked like he was really gunning to get back a spot on the team as either a back or (most likely) a defensive mid.

    Spector has got a nice touch and did a really nice job defending in his limited minutes. I think he too has a big future - possible outside back (as a sub) for 2006.
  12. Wahoo

    Wahoo New Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    Seattle, USA
    Don't forget about Bocanegra... unless you are moving him back to the middle. Boca has done better than allthe others you named above.
  13. juventino3

    juventino3 Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Alexandria, VA
    I definitely did not forget about him. He's a central defender in my book. Boca and Gibbs are good options at left back when we need to play a bit more defensive. Until we groom a big time left back who can both push up in attack and defend with the best of them (Spector eventually), we will platoon the position.
  14. Mr. Knowledge

    Mr. Knowledge New Member

    May 10, 2001
    I agree. Nice to have a big back like that, but his play was only OK. On the play he got beat leading to the goal, he really made a poor decision. In the defensive 1/3 like that if you're gonna step up and try to win the ball, you GOTTA win it. He should have just stayed on the attacker's back pocket and kept him from turning. I thought his decision to step up and try to win that ball was poor, and it allowed the attacker to turn on him and go to goal, leading to the PK.
  15. bigtoga

    bigtoga Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    Dallas, Texas
    Spector played very much last night like he has with United this preseason and season. he likes to advance up the wing, cut inside, and dish or shoot. He has a nice shot as well so hopefully he can score once or twice each year if given enough time. LB, however, is not his natural defensive position - he played there for the first time in September. He "trained" for centerback but he's doing a good job on the left. Hopefully he goes to WBA on loan to get some time in and can improve quickly.
  16. Scoey

    Scoey Member

    Oct 1, 1999
    Gibbs -- sure, he wasn't a serious threat coming forward, but he attacks out of the back as well as any of our other options there. It's not like we have Roberto Carlos waiting in the wings. I thought he sent in a few nice crosses in the first half.

    Gooch -- the PK play reminded me of Regis against Italy. No reason to go down like that. Some rather hopeful long-balls out of the back that didn't help, and unlucky on the red, IMHO.

    Spector -- if tonight was any indication, this guy is going to be fantastic. What sweet touch.

    Albright -- I was one of the first on the Albriht-to-right-back bandwagon way, way back when. And I'm still on it.

    Hejduk -- I know he wasn't playing. But about minute 75, I realized that I would have liked to have seen him on the field because I knew he'd never quit on any play. His absence unscored what looked like a little lack of hustle by our guys toward the end. Understandable that they'd be tired, but not forgivable.

    When you look at all our options, we have some pretty nice depth in the back: Pope, Boca, Hejduk, Sanneh, Gooch, Gibbs, Albright, Convey, Vanney. Good to see.

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