Two victories off penalty kicks send the Americans to the semi-finals of Concacaf Olympic qualifying, with a likely matchup against Canada as of the time of this writing. I think the US is probably the favorite to win at this point, despite some pretty unconvincing victories.
1. Stuart Holden - Looked like maybe the Man of the Match for the second game in a row. Holden's dominance in this tournament, as well as the departure of Ngwenya, makes me think he could have a big impact for the Dynamo this year.
1. Sal Zizzo - Showed a lot of energy and some good touch. Makes me wonder though if he's got enough fitness to go the full 90.
2. Michael Orozco - The only defensive player who started in both clean sheet victories. I think Orozco has earned his way into the regular starting XI.
1. Chad Barrett - You knew this was coming. Add Barrett to the list of American forwards who have squandered opportunities on the national scene. If you get booed by the home fans, you're probably going to wind up on my Rail list.
So after these three matches, the US has certainly not dominated, but we've learned a good deal about our players, we've got some confidence, and I think Nowak has put us into a good position to win. We've likely got a semifinals matchup against a Canadian team with a couple of familiar names that just destroyed Guatemala.
Here's my starting XI for the Canada match, which will be essentially our most important match since this one:
D: Hill, Edu, Orozco, Sturgis
M: Zizzo, Kljestan, Adu, McCarty, Holden
What do I think Nowak will use? Pretty much the same, but probably Gaven for Zizzo. Or maybe add Ianni to the back and move Edu up to the wing.