Saturday, June 17, 2006

I've watched Mastroeni's tackle a good ten or twelve times, and while the straight red may have been harsh it wasn't unreasonably unwarranted, being late, cleats up, and vicious. Frankly it was no worse than de Rossi's elbow on McBride, and yes, that makes it a makeup which is what made the red card wrong, two wrongs not making a right and all. I stand by my bitching about Pope.

McBride was offside, and admitted so after the game, on the Beasley non-goal.

Donovan finally got involved in the second half, and until playing not only down a man but with only nine killed the legs of the Americans they were the better side, and I honestly if with admitted homerism believe they were the better squad today. Maybe the Czechs losing took some urgency out of the Italians (which was probably lacking anyway in their respect for the US), and the US clearly had more at stake, and they played like it. Besides, the Italians are diving whinging pussies.

What I take out of the game is the speed the US lacks. They're at the point where they can see and intuitively know what to do but do not yet have the technical and physical skills to do it. Passes arrive where they should but not when they should, a fourth, an eighth of a second too late, just late enough to allow the defense to react and defuse the danger. I do want to make a big deal of this as an important development: against one of the traditionally most difficult defenses to attack, the US had a plan, they had a vision, and they almost executed it. Playing Italy even 11x11 would be an achievement; playing them even 9x10 for half the game is an accomplishment.

The US could have come out and folded, especially after giving up the set piece goal in the 22nd. Yes, their score came on an own goal, but the pressure was there, and it felt like a goal was coming. Dempsey played well, and actually ran at the Italian defense, something perhaps only he and perhaps Donovan are capable of right now, and Mastroeni was wonderful until his ejection. Onyewu is stil struggling, but Cherundelo and Bocanegra rewarded Arena for the starts, and Keller redeemed himself.

They are still alive. They need to beat Ghana and Italy needs to beat the Czechs for the US to advance, and neither of those is particularly more or less likely than the other. Think of it this way: the US has to beat a team that beat the team by two that beat the US by three. Italy only needs a draw. The US will be without Pope (no biggee) and without Mastroeni (a biggee judging by today). But they are still alive. I taunted gods and they're still alive. Ba'al.

* * * * * *

I see by internet DCU gave up another late goal, went scoreless another second half. Didn't see it, busily fulfilling husbandy duties, so no game commentary this time. Two home games this week, Wednesday and Saturday, and I expect six points, dammit.


Anonymous mdp said...

You fail to mention the Bobby Convey we remember fondly from his DCU time sailing the ball 10 yards over an essentially open net.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Landru said...

Otherdog: I'd have liked to see Convey get the minutes Reyna got when Heart of Darkness was subbed in. I understand a defender was necessary, and I have nothing in particular against Jimmy-Joe; I just wasn't happy that Convey, who seemed to be attacking the ball and the defense, was the sit-down.

bDr: I didn't mention it in my account, but yes, it is astonishing, the Italians' diving pussitude. I thought nothing could top the diving pussitude of LAG, or of TT the Terp, but I stand corrected there.

And I'm sorry, but I think it's real significant that the team has yet to manage a goal on its own dime. I concede that the own goal came off of a piece that, as you say, deserved a goal. But the generalized failure to punch it into the old onion bag is pretty disturbing.

1:24 PM  

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