USMNT / World Cup

US v. Netherlands Postgame Analysis

The US loses to the Netherlands in Holland by one goal. Coming away with a 2-1 loss to a full strength Dutch side at home without some of your key players is a pretty good result in my book. I thought that there were positives to take away from the game. I also like that Bob Bradley was able to use all of his 6 substitutions.

The positives were that the US walked out of Holland only having lost by one goal, especially when both Dutch goals were a bit lucky. The foul on Sneijder was foolish, but Sneijder obviously dove on the play. I think the referee could easily have waved play on. In addition Klaas Jan Huntelaar’s goal went in off an unlucky deflection. Beyond that I liked how the US pressured over the entirety of the field on many occassions. I thought the US looked like it could play against the Dutch even if they were on their heels a bit. Furthermore, I like that the US showed again how they will fight the whole game and not give up. It is nice to see the attacking flurries even at the end of the game when you are two goals down.

Bob Bradley also got a chance to see a number of players against top opposition. It was nice to see that Jay DeMerit played so well in Oguchi Onyewu’s absence. I also thought Altidore continued to look dangerous. Holden had his moments before coming off injured. In addition I thought Jose Francisco Torres played relatively well. DaMarcus Beasley played pretty well and had the assist on the goal. Maurice Edu also looked very strong defensively.

On the negative side I do feel that the Dutch outplayed the US. They had the majority of possession and their individual skills proved more than a match for the US players. The Dutch were able to break the US defense down and had a couple opportunities that they probably should have finished. Jonathan Bornstein had a rough night. He was involved in both Dutch goals, and he had to defend against Arjen Robben for a great deal of the match. Considering what he was up against, I still think he played pretty well. Many strong defenders in the World would have a rough night defending against Arjen Robben.

Also Stuart Holden was injured badly during the match. I can’t believe the referee did not red card that foul. When I saw it happen, I immediately said to myself, “that is a leg breaking type of challenge”. I was hoping that there was no break when he limped off the field. Unfortunately, there was. Landon Donovan also had a very quiet game, which is not good. Although the strategy didn’t work in 2006 under Bruce Arena, Coach Bradley might want to place Donovan in the center of the pitch behind Altidore, so that he has a better chance of influencing the game.

The US was not able to keep possession of the ball for any extended period of time. The Dutch were much better at playing keep away than the US. Our quick passing skill level has to improve, but that isn’t something that will get better before the World Cup.

On the other hand the line up was not one that has played together that often, so the coordination of the US team should improve dramatically before the World Cup. This makes me feel very optimistic about our chances at the World Cup in June. We have shown that we can keep the game close against top opposition including the Spanish, the Brazilians, and now the Dutch. The games against the Czech Republic and Turkey just before the World Cup should give us a good barometer of where the US really is. If we can win those games, then we can beat England and will most certainly be able to handle Algeria and Slovenia. If we show poorly in those games, then I think we will be in trouble. Unlike the game against the Dutch, the results in those matches will be a true test of the US team. Let me know what you think.

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