Sunday, January 21, 2007

Now That's More Like It - USA U20's Pound Panama Like They Mean It

The USA U20 team won their World Youth Championship qualifying group with a resounding 5-0 victory over host team Panama. After a fairly dull first half and a 1-0 lead from a nicely finished 8th minute Freddy Adu goal set up brilliantly by Johann Smith, Team USA got serious in the second half and played like a dominate team with 4 more goals. Good way to end the tourney. In style!
Let's run down the lineup one last time shall we:
-Johann Smith started up top on the right in place of Sal Zizzo. Z was nice in the games one and two. JS was awesome in this one. He did not see the ball nearly enough from his teammates, but when he did he just blew past defenders. The first USA goal was all Smith's doing. He dribbled down the right wing, past a coupla Panamaniacs to the end line then laced a hard cross that Josi Alitdore nearly got to only from Freddy Adu to step in behind and poke it home. In the second half he took off toward goal as Nathan Sturgis launched a perfect pass over the defense, Smith stayed on side, then bolted past everyone with his incredible speed, got the ball after one touch and flicked it to the left side of the net for his first of the tournament. Brilliant. He tried hard every time he got the ball, which like I said before, was not enough. They better fix that so they can do some real damage next summer in Canada.
-Robbie Rogers had a decent game, played with more verve and attacked better. His goal was great as he cut inside then outside sending his defender tumbled, then one more cut inside to a right footed blast at the low near post beating the keeper badly.
-Freddy Adu had a game more like he should but still only rating a 6.5 on my scale. While he did have 2 goals, they were both set up by other people, and he did not do a lot to set up his teammates with direct goal scoring chances. I really wish Rongen would play him on the wing.
-Josi Altidore was fairly quiet all game, worked hard, but added little beyond occupying defenders and keeping them from double team situations.
-Danny Szetela had three good games in a row. If he hadn't had that suspect first 30-40 minutes in game 1 it would have been a perfect tournament. And he had a great long pass for the goal by Jonathan Villenueva.
-Anthony Beltran, you can't say enough about a guy who was cut and brought back when another player fell out. He started two games at two different positions and played long minutes in the other. This time he was at d-mid and backed up Szetela nicely. No flash, no glory, just simple and solid.
-Quavas Kirk & Tim Ward as the outside backs gave it there best. Ward is a better defender, Kirk is better going forward. But I think Ward is the better passer of the two, and can get off a nice shot. Both were subbed out for less offense minded players in the second half.
-Jules Valentin & Nathan Sturgis made a solid tandem again. Valentin was at his best with a late hard foul that got him a yellow card. Why was this a good thing? Cuz his teammates were getting hacked pretty hard by the frustrated Panama and Jules said "ENOUGH!" Quality move man. Sturgis was solid too and again he placed a long pass spot on the money to Johan Smith who blew past defenders to score.
-Chris Seitz - had to do a little more than in the other games and seemed to actually struggled forming his defensive walls for free kicks. This should get better with experience, but he may get burned by it before he really learns.
-Jonathan Villanueva took a long pass over the top from Szetela and got a goal for himself late.
-Ofori Sarkodie & Bryan Arguez did little to hurt their cause for the long run, but had no tough job to do either except hold a late lead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Freddy, the Hype monster he carries on his back follows him to Panama - the recap:
Game One - plays efficient passes throughout game helping to maintain possesion and setting up the attack in a 4 to 1 victory over Haiti. The DuNord assessment: "Freddy did very little..."
Game two - Freddy has a bad game missing a shot he should have made and sets up a few opportunities for his teammates that they also miss. The DuNord assessment: borderline awful.
Game three - Freddy has a direct roll in three of five goals, scoring two of them and is named man of the match. The DuNord assessment: a 6.5 (or so-so performance).
The most telling line from the posts was this one: "He is supposed to be special! Heads and tails above the rest!" The Hype Monster at work again...

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Ken said...

Nice to see someone actually disagreeing with Bruce about something besides spelling and hairstyles...

...oh, and it's "direct role", not "direct roll"...unless you're talking about his breakfast.

9:26 AM  
Blogger brucio said...

not to quible, but my only problem with the anonymous assessment of my freddy adu assessment is that 6.5 is not a so-so performance. 5 is a so-so performance. I have never seen any player ever come close to a 10 or a 0. to put it another way, he was close to a solid B on my scale. the rest i stand by. and freddy is as responsible for his own hype as anyone else at this point. this is his THIRD u20 world cup. he has experience and is the team captain. that is why i expect more from him.

oh, and i really appreciate your comments too, they are excellent, thanks

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and I meant to add a belated Welcome back from the land of percocet! Now excuse me I have to eat my dinner role.

1:08 PM  

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