Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Draw with Argentina

My quick thoughts on the U.S. versus Argentina friendly; what with Argentina coming out and smoking Mexico a few days earlier, I would have thought the U.S. would suffer a similar thrashing. There was an intensity to the first half and the game from the get go. Kasey Keller received some kind of honor before the game – perhaps a big gold watch for his services, a retirement present.

Eddie Johnson finally showed up – at least a little bit. He’s got to show more fight though. Adu and Edu both should have played the whole game. Dempsey got a little pissed off and played better than he has in quite a while. Think he’s got a bad back though, saw him holding it and stretching it before the second half started.

The crowd at Giants Stadium looked wild and ‘fight club’ like as the rain started to come down – believe they were on their feet for a majority of the game. Tim Howard saved the U.S. on at least four occasions. Messi came off in the second half – the U.S. giving a collective thank god. If he’d stayed in his good for at least a goal or setting someone up for a goal, especially as players tire. Heath Pearce is the real deal at left back. Technically, the Argentine side is like no other, they are dazzling with their skill.

Landon Donovan is turning into the leader of this team and he’s a fighter. The U.S. should walk through the qualifying phase of things, however, they do need to bring Brian McBride back into the fold or find a forward who can score goals. I have no idea why Pablo Mastroeni received his red card. Sacha Kljestan came on and was a big spark. Adu still needs to be humble – he did get whacked a few different times towards the end but he’s got to just concentrate on playing, look at Messi, he never gets ruffled no matter how many times he’s chopped down. Let your teammates take care of the complaining to the referee and revenge.

This has got to be a big boost to the confidence of the U.S. team. They had a rough game against England, improved some against Spain, and then showed some heart and potential against Argentina. But, if Howard doesn’t make the early saves then this is an entirely different game. Momentum and confidence is so important.