USMNT / World Cup

US National Team: US v. Denmark Analysis

The United States did not play a good game today in Denmark. While the US had a one goal lead at halftime, they never dominated the game. Rather, Denmark seemed to have the better of the play for most of the match. After scoring 3 goals early in the second half, the Danish began to dominate by sitting back and passing the ball around the pitch. The US looked demoralized and out of gas.

Although a 3-1 loss in a friendly, which didn’t feature many regular starters, doesn’t mean much, the game also did not yield much useful information about how to fill two of the major gaps in the US lineup. Neither Edgar Castillo nor Eddie Johnson started. Edgar Castillo is possibly a solution to the weak left back position, while Eddie Johnson is possibly a solution for the loss of Charlie Davies as a forward. In addition, once they were both substituted in during the second half, the game was already decided at 3-1 for Denmark. Neither really had a chance to show what they could do since the US could not get the ball off the Danish during the second half.

Eddie Johnson didn’t show much after being substituted in, nor did he show much in the Slovakia match a few days earlier. I am not sure that he will get a call back. However, I think he needs a couple more games before we can be sure that he can’t contribute to the team. As for Castillo, he was substituted in as a left winger rather than as a left back. He needs a couple of chances as a left back before we can figure out whether he can contribute to the team or not. It is a shame he didn’t get the start. I also would like to have seen Eddie Johnson start up top or at least get subbed in right at half time.

There were some bright spots. I thought that Benny Feilhaber played quite well throughout the match. He looks like a good option for the left midfield position, which has been a problem since DaMarcus Beasley went out of form. Jeff Cunningham also showed a true poacher’s mentality, which the US has been missing. He jumped on a mistake by the Danish goalkeeper and fired in a beautiful shot with his left foot, which is his weaker one. Other than that, however, he didn’t do very much. I would say that he has earned another call up, but I am not convinced yet. He hasn’t been in the US National Team player pool for a number of years because he has been inconsistent.

I also thought that Dax McCarty played pretty well when he came on late. He also played pretty decently during the Slovakia game. He passes well and defends well, but I would say that he is a weaker version of Benny Feilhaber. However, he is young and has a lot of time to improve.

The game pointed out two things. First, the US team needs to be coached on how to pressure the opposing team across a large portion of the pitch at the same time. Second, the US team does not react well to a team pressuring it in this coordinated fashion. The Danish tactically outplayed the US by creating pressure, so that no short simple passes could be made. The US did not do this. As a consequence the US kept giving up the ball with long passes, while the Danish were able to possess for long stretches. Bob Bradley needs to focus on improving these two weaknesses because other teams have used this strategy to our detriment before, and I suspect smart coaches at the World Cup will use this strategy against us again.

Posted via web from The Philly Soccer Page

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