Thursday, February 7, 2008

A rivalry refreshed

Some good and some bad from the "Friendly" match last night.

Despite all the criticism, and all the emergence of new talent, Landon Donovan proved again in the first half that he was still the best player on the field. And actually, for the first time in a long time, I'm pretty satisfied with the offense on the USMNT. Between Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore, and super-sub Adu, we were definitely the better team in the attacking third.

The defense was a bit more troubling. Boca and Gooch still have a steady hold on the two center defensive positions, but it appears that there's still a big dropoff on the flanks whenever Cherundolo is out. Moor and Corrales got the start this week, but neither were impressive, and they should both probably be behind Bornstein, Spector, Simek, and Pearce on the depth chart.

Actually, Drew Moor is kind of hard to assess. Last night he was almost Heydudesque. He gets an assist with a beautiful cross to Altidore, and would have had another assist if Dempsey wasn't offside on his goal. But then Moor was responsible for BOTH of the Mexico goals as he let his man get in front of him.

But I'm the most confused about our central midfield. I feel like it was so much easier before when Reyna and Mastroeni's names were seemingly carved in stone as our starters. Now we've actually got options, but it's not apparent who our BEST options are. We've got Ricardo Clark as a bruiser, Benny Feilhaber as a holding midfielder, Michael Bradley as some sort of combination of the two, and Freddy Adu as an attacking midfielder. It's certainly nice to have options, but I have no idea which of them I'd start in a World Cup right now. My sense is Feilhaber and Bradley, with Clark or Adu coming off the bench depending on the situation. Luckily, we have a couple years of qualifiers to let this thing shake itself out.

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