The next round

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by RevsRule, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    I have been extremely critical of BA and our play over the first 5 or 6 qualies yet a see an improvement now. The younger more skilled players are getting there shots and I'm sure a few will breakout and impress.
    It's the classic glass half empty, half full scenerio.

    All I know is that Mexico is not going to look that good against CR, Guatamala or us. When you are put under pressure, marked closely and not given all day to basically do whatever you want, when you feel like it, they will start looking less "awesome".

    Again, Mexico is an excellent team, and their home field advantage is fantastic (smog, altitude, heat, then that order) but let's see what they actually look like after playing a couple of decent squads. Especially the teams that play like CR, Guat and we do. Have a feeling they won't like it. They never do, and their glass will look a little less full.

    What it shows again is that no matter how much I want it to be different, and say it is different, is that we play in CONCACRAP. For the most's crap.
  2. Metrogo

    Metrogo Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Washington Hghts NY
    What you said originally was that we have to lift our game 10 notches "to do anything" in our group. I would presume that to do anything means qualify for the WC, which is the only thing that matters in qualification. Having said that, do you truly believe that the team as it's playing now is ten notches below Trinidad, Panama, and Guatmala, the three teams we will likely have to stay ahead on points against for auto-qualification? I don't believe that, and I'm an incurable pessimist.
  3. StillKickin

    StillKickin Member+

    Austin FC
    Dec 17, 2002
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    But what about our 6-0 pounding of Panama? Play that way against Mexico, and we win. You see, those types of arguments really don't stand up. What about our game against Haiti? Play that way against El Salvador, and we lose. Again, doesn't stand up. Bruce has shown that we adapt our play, our lineup depending on who we play against and what we HAVE to accomplish. You really can't use our last game as a guide to what we're going to do against the next team. Each game is different with its unique set of circumstances. Bruce and the team have shown that they can meet those challenges.
  4. tacos

    tacos Member

    Aug 5, 2003
    Hahaha. En muchas cajitas?
  5. SoccerFreak

    SoccerFreak Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    Didn't Mexico play and beat Guatemala last month 2-0 in a friendly? I remember reading that Mexico looking pretty good in that game. I'm not sure if Guatemala had a full squad though.

    I also want to add that when the US destroyed Panama (which some here consider a much weaker team) most people were posting how it showed that the US is a dominant team. So how is that different from Mexico dominating St. Kitts, or St. Vincent or TNT and still being considered very dangerous?
  6. onefineesq

    onefineesq Member+

    Sep 16, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hate to agree with everyone on this, but let's get real. I'm half Nevisian/Kittitian (my mother is Nevisian and I have a Nevisian passport), and even I don't believe that St. Kitts/Nevis is in the class of Jamaica. The team just ain't that good, and again, this is coming from someone who was seriously considering travelling to Basseterre for the Mexico/St. Kitts game when the semifinal round was first announced. The fact that Mexico made them look bad means less than nothing.
  7. Nutmeg

    Nutmeg Member+

    Aug 24, 1999
    Thanks NS. I think that 8 years may be too long of a sampling, though.

    Under Arena, in WCQ, the US has the following record against our Hex opponents (W-L-D):

    MEX: (1-1-0) -- 3/6 PTS
    CRC: (1-1-2) -- 5/12 PTS
    GUA: (1-0-1) -- 4/6 PTS
    PAN: (1-0-1) -- 4/6 PTS
    TNT: (1-0-1) -- 4/6 PTS

    Total: (5-2-5) -- 20/36 PTS = 55.5% Winning Percentage

    If we maintain that level of play in this round, we can expect to get 16-17 points. We got 17 points in the last cycle. I think we'll do better. This time around, I think we'll win every home game, and I think it is conceivable that our away record will be something like 2-1-2.

    That would put us in the 22-23 point range, which should easily qualify us and put us on top of the region.
  8. Bob Morocco

    Bob Morocco Member+

    Aug 11, 2003
    Billings, MT
    Is Blanco in their side and can he not travel to the US because there is a warrant out on him?

    I see us winning all games at home but maybe one, barring us qualifying earlier, winning two away, tying two away, and losing one.
  9. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    I'll be a pessimist based on the play so far and problems integrating the new roster: 3-0-2 at home (11 points), 1-3-1 on the road (6 points).

    Overall: 17 points, 3rd place.

    Bruce deems it as job accomplished and praises his crew.

    PS. This changes if Wanchope gets hurt.

    PPS. The US doesn't begin to hit its stride until late 2,005 and 2,006. It'll take post-WCQ matches for the young Euro based players (Onyewu, Spector, Casey, Simek, Karbasiyon, Whitbread, GAM, Dempsey) to fully assimilate and the old guard (Pope, Armas, Cobi) to retire from the USMNT for good. And that's just fine. The World Cup is in June, 2006.
  10. Adam Zebrowski

    Adam Zebrowski New Member

    May 28, 1999
    I'll bew cautious too and say usa draws two home matches and wins the other three for 11 points....

    from away to costa rica and mexico..get a draw...and a loss

    beat panama, and t&t for 6 points and draw in guatemala....

    total 19 points...
  11. cocreator

    cocreator New Member

    Oct 27, 2004

    yes mexico did play guatemala. And it supposedly was guatemalas full squad.(rumor was that some guates were upset because they felt mexico wasnt taking the game seriously enough to take a full squad, like they were going to do)

    And honestly they didnt look impressive at all. They probably had one , maybe two good chances to score.
    On the other hand mexico had many more than that..
    It could have been some thing like 5-0.
    And mexico was using a bunch of youngsters.
    You can draw many conclusions from this..mexico is playing very well, guatemala sucks, or just had a bad game..etc.....
    but once the hex comes we will find out

    Any way have a nice day everyone :)
  12. twenty

    twenty New Member

    Sep 28, 2004
    :confused: Didn't we beat them in Korea by sitting back and conceding the midfield?
  13. cocreator

    cocreator New Member

    Oct 27, 2004

    that was sort of my obsevation..
    It seemed to me that the us just played bunker ball and counter attacked.

    while mexico desperately tried to break through the defence.
    At least that made the game kinda exciting .

    imagine if both teams were play boring..

    Although what i would love to see is if both teams played an aggresive attack oriented foot ball,
    Now that would be on hell of a can only dream :)
  14. Walter3000

    Walter3000 Member+

    Apr 8, 2004
    gainesville, Florida
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    that was almost 2 and ahalf years ago, dear i say the teams have changed a little.
  15. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Yes. You are correct.

    But I would still contend that it was an exception to the rule.

    A certain hand ball gets called and it's 1-1 and the US down to 10 men...

    Having said that, if the US wants to rely on the counter exclusively, it'd need to have a lot of speed on top (Beasley, Donovan, West, Johnson). A lone Brian McBride probably won't do.
  16. PSsoccer123

    PSsoccer123 New Member

    Jul 22, 2003
    It is obvious that this is the most talented team we ever had, but you don't win on paper or talent. Everyone's arrogance in saying "This will be a cakewalk" is scaring me. WE don't have the grttiness and ability to hold on to leads as we seemed to a few years ago. That was one of our major attributes. We have improved skillwise, but I'd still be willing to say Mexico is right there with us in that department. I'm not saying it will happen, but I'm worried of getting upset.
  17. NoSix

    NoSix Member+

    Feb 18, 2002
    You are right to be concerned about how representative results from 8 years ago are. But in order to account for home field advantage you have to split your 12 matches into home and away. Now you're predicting results based on a sample size of 6, which is a more egregious error, in my opinion. That's why in my power rankings I try to "get the best of both worlds", by going back 8 years (to get a larger sample size) and weighting more recent (more representative) results more heavily.
  18. Bob Morocco

    Bob Morocco Member+

    Aug 11, 2003
    Billings, MT
    And we all know a pk against the US with Brad Friedel in goal at the 2002 worldcup was a gimmie.
  19. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    I'm don't think everyone beleives this will be a cakewalk. Just countering the initial post that because
    Mexico beat a bunch of amateurs who play part time that they are other worldly.

    There is a clear talent gap between the top 3 and bottom 3. Over ten matches these three teams just don't have the depth and talent. It's that simple. Of course there will be the odd upset and tough match, but over the long haul the only way Guat, Pan or T&T is going to get in the top three is if they go at least 3-0-1 against the other weaker teams and pull an upset and a couple of ties against the top three teams. If the bottom three start tying each other or trading victories they are shot.

    I said it last round - Jamaica was over rated. They were. Some talent (key word is some - wildly over rated by many on these boards talent wise), but not a team. Yes, we tied the first match with a Geritol crew and more chances with that terrible, terrible line up, and in desperation they couldn't pressure a rag tag thrown together group in Columbus. Performances against El Sal and Pan weren't so hot either.

    I'll say it this round - Guatamala (who I think will finish 4th), while doing a commendable job of getting to the Hex is just plain overmatched. They will play organized, tough, and I fear as usual, very dirty (oh sorry, I mean passionate:rolleyes:)

    How are these teams going to get points in Saprissa, Azteca and here?
    How many wins at home will they get against the top three?

    Nothing wrong with being concerned, but this is a different age for the US team, and this isn't that concerning. It would be a true embarrassment not to qualify. It would have to be because our team wasn't motivated and was cocky. Don't see it happening.

    Not with the talent and depth we have now.
    Not after the collapse after the hot start in the last Hex.

    This is a different age. No need to live in fear anymore. People fear us now, and with good reason. Bring it on.
  20. XYZ1234

    XYZ1234 New Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    After reading Nutmeg's post on the new players compared to the last cycle I went back and looked at the lineups for the 2000 semis. The difference in quality is really amazing. The other thing I noticed is that there were very few new faces in the 2000 semis. Klein, Wolff, and Albright were the only ones with little experience and Klein was the only real new guy. His first cap was about 3 weeks before his first qualifier. Wolff, and Albright only had a couple caps but their firsts were over a year before their first quallies.

    There was a definite improvement this time around, Arena used twice as many new guys. Ching and Casey only had a handfull of caps before they played in their qualifiers(much like Wolff, and Albright in 2000). The big difference is that EJ, Gooch, Spector, and Dempsey all got their first caps in qualifying. Plus EJ and Gooch got starts and EJ has had a big impact with the team.

    Jesse Marsch was the only player to get a first (and only) cap in all of qualifying last time(his 8 min vs TnT(game 10)).

    Dolo, Donovan and Beasley were the new guys in the Hex but each of them had appeared for the Nats long before playing in a qualifier. Donovan had 4 caps before his first qualifier, 3 before the Hex even began, and Arena didn't use him until game 7 of the Hex. Beasley had 2 caps before the Hex began and Arena didn't play him until the 10th game of the Hex, after the US had clinched.

    It really looks like Arena is learning from his mistakes, it is a "young man's game".

    I don't exactly believe this will be the case, atleast not like 2001/2002. EJ and Casey have already played significant minutes and I'd expect that(at least for EJ) to continue through the Hex. Heck, EJ already looks fully assimilated. Gooch, Spector, and Dempsey have been capped. I'd expect Gooch to play some more in the Hex. Spector, Simek, Karbasiyon and other Euro based players have the gold cup and if they impress there they can get time in the second half of the Hex.

    Hopefully Arena continues mixing in young talent with the team. Should be interesting to see who stands out, how the team evolves, and how Arena handles the Hex. The Gold cup should be pretty useful this time round. I really like having it in the summer in the middle of the Hex instead of during the winter after the Hex is over. It will be a great opportunity to look at new players.

    Things certainly look a lot better than they did 4 years ago.
  21. Kevin Etzel

    Kevin Etzel Member

    Jul 18, 2000
    New York
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The Mexican fans that I have talked to are also not taking their cruise through the Carribean too seriously. They feel that the weak opponents they faced will hurt their confidence and sharpness at the beginning of the Hex. We shall see what quality friendlies Mexico can schedule between now and the first Hex match. I hope for another early matchup with them.
  22. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    A +44 GD and a 100% record in qualifying is a big thing, I don't care if Mexico was playing the janitors at the Azteca. If the US had anything close to that they wouldn't have been dulled for the Hex.
  23. SoccerFreak

    SoccerFreak Member

    Oct 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I don't think people are saying Mexico is other worldly, but you have to admit the US hasn't been able to beat the minnows (except for maybe Panama in their second game) in the qualifiers as convinclingly as Mexico has. Hell even Canada beat Belize 4-0 twice. We haven't been able to consistently blow out teams that most people would consider technically and athletically inferior. i still think that if Mexico had played Grenada (bad pitch or not) they would have beaten them by a much larger margin than we did.

    And I don't buy the BS excuse that it's our style of play that doesn't let us blowout weak teams. A bad team is a bad team and a good team is a good team, no matter what their style of play is, a good team should for the most part usually beat a minnow in convincing fashion and the US hasn't done it consistently like Mexico has, and we've even struggled against our weaker opponents for the most part. I'm not against optimisim, but I think this should be a concern. And it might not mean anything thing that they've won by large margins, but at least it shows they've been consistent throughout the qualifiers.
  24. SgtSchultz

    SgtSchultz Member

    Jul 11, 2001
    Parts Unknown
    During the last Hex, the US played a wonderful team game. Talent wise we were slightly better than our opponents. This time, teams will have to combat our speed. DMB, Donovan and Johnson will force teams to play more conservatively. Our conterattack and defense should be better. Midfield play will continue to be our achilles heel.
  25. TAKK

    TAKK New Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    When someone says we have to step up 10 times to do something it is an exaggeration of Titanic proportions or an ignorant statement. Plain and simple.

    As for struggling? I guess you haven't been reading my posts. I'm hated you know. Criticizing BA for playing old, skill deprived, over the hill players in the early rounds (which as you pointed out we struggled mightily in and got lucky) over real talent because of experience (ha). Like our youngsters couldn't handle Grenada, El Sal, et al.

    Now the more talented players are being brought into the fold and we have seen the results in the last 3 matches against Pan, El Sal, and a desperate Jamaica.
    This new talent will start dominating minnows in a way that's similiar to Mexico because of skill and talent.

    The post that says it's not our style of play is partially right. When you play guys who don't have basic skills, or who are extremely limited in their tactical and technical abilities, of course you will struugle. When you play guys who don't have the physical attributes to over power weaker opponents, no matter what the supposed "experience (ha) level, you get what we got in the first matches. How could we not?

    Moving forward the quality of our player, and depth, will way surpass that initial sorry crew by the middle of the Hex.

    Your concerns are warranted, but this isn't being overly optimistic or enthusiastic anymore, because you know what?

    ......we finally have the damn talent!!!!! Finally!!!!!!

    If BA keeps them motivated and professional there is no way we finish below the bottom 3. No way. Rememeber, they wil get injuries and suspensions also, and thay have no depth on these teams. Our second stringers tower over theirs.

    These are just the facts now, and it's wonderfull. Be concerned, but don't ignore the talent and depth, don't give the other teams that much credit. Respect your opponent, but understand them also. The new age is finally here after all these years of suffering. Enjoy it. the evolution of the US player is just getting better and better.

    We have struggled against weaker sides becuase we lacked the skill, but we have it now, and it looks like BA is finally going to use it. Thank goodness.

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