USA v Costa Rica - The Midfield (R)

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by Dr Jay, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Dr Jay

    Dr Jay BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 7, 1999
    Newton, MA USA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not that this CR game was so interesting or important that we need to dissect every minute detail (but hey..this is USA Mens N and A -what else do we do here ?), but I need to vent a little.

    Was this, or was this not, the worst USA midfield that Arena has trotted out for ANY game ?

    While O'Brien is a favorite here, mostly due to his excellent WC 2002 and the fact he played in Europe (so we couldn't over analyze him to the enth degree), he just wasn't effective as an attacking central midfield player. Sure he looks good with the ball, wins it well and holds it well, he was rusty and woefully out of position.

    Armas - in his defense, he did the things he does well, well. He tracks back and cuts the passing lanes nicely. He rarely gets caught out of position. He did make one nice forward through pass during the last few minutes of the game, but mostly his passing was poor.

    Olsen - "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"

    Ralston - I love the guy for the Revs, but the truth is he has been having a sub-par season in MLS so far and he just is not quite there for the Nats. Its not his speed per se - sure it would be nicer if he were faster - I am not sure Eddie Lewis is much faster, but Eddie is able to make space better for himself to get his crosses off. Ralston looked good the few times he cut inside, but he is wasn't on the same page as the rest of the midfielders and they didn't play him one-two. He had two excellent crosses but really only gets them off when he has space due to the defender not closing as apposed to space he creates himself. I share the BS dogma on Stevie - great guy, great player, can help you against weaker teams but against a true WC defender, will struggle. Its too bad his value was not recognized when he was younger and a step faster.

    So that grand experiment is over. Once again, Arena got the result right but boy was it painful for a fan to watch. Please Bruce...Never Again.
  2. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    His passing outlets were severely limited because Armas and Olsen offered next to nothing offensively and Hejduk was playing on his off-wing and was hesitant to drive deep. John was much better in his previous game when he could pinch inside and have Greg Vanney move up the flank from the outside. This gave him a partner in the offensive half.

    The emergency forwards Noonan and Dempsey were also not on the same page. Pat is better with the ball at his feet but poor in the air. Neither he and Dempsey established their body positions back to the goal and were outmuscled for the high balls by the Ticos defense.

    And thus, with his options to his left, his right and his centerforward severely curtailed, so was JOB's game.
  3. chad

    chad Member+

    Jun 24, 1999
    Manhattan Beach
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    We don't need to play with 6 defenders against Concacaf teams.
  4. lmorin

    lmorin Member+

    Mar 29, 2000
    New Hampshire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    BA accomplished a lot. The team has not lost a game or even come remotely close to losing one. Yes, at one level the midfield offensive game was horrible against CR. But, on the positive side, the defensive game was really sound. The midfield hounded the CR players relentlessly. I have no idea of the numbers, but nearly all of CR's time with the ball was in its defensive half. Not bad, in my view. That said, the linkages between the US midfield and the attack were abysmal. It seemed neither O'Brien nor Ralston could make a connection. Perhaps it was just the way the dice rolled last night. On the other hand, I am not sure that either Dempsey or Noonan was up to the task of being a forward and helping out by creating space and moving into space. Dempsey's one big chance resulted in a weak left footed shot. Gotta do better, Clint.

    On top of all that, I have to say that I think the US shooting from outside the PA is ridiculously bad most of the time. Cherundolo had a low probability, but nevertheless decent, opportunity that he put 15 yds over the goal. Olsen got one weakish low shot on goal (hurray!), but hit one or two more way over. If I were in BA's shoes, I'd give the kids a lecture and a little shooting practice from distance.
  5. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I thought JOB was our left wing???

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