Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

USA vs. Brasil Game Notes

A few things before the game begins. It must be awkward to be a top 20 team scheduled to play the United States. Awkward for several reasons. The first is that Fifa has the United States ranked 14th in the world which at first glance seems at least 5 places too high. Though, if you look at the rankings:

10, France
11, Portugal
12, Turkey
13, Paraguay
14, USA
15, Czech Republic
16, Switzerland
17, Greece
17, Uruguay
19, Ukraine
20, Serbia

perhaps the US doesn't seem that highly ranked after all. In my personal opinion numbers 15, 16, 17 and depending on the outcome today, other 17 should be ahead of them but I will avoid splitting hairs. What is quite clear, however, is that the USA has no business being ahead of Paraguay, Turkey, Portugal, or France. In that sense they are adequately ranked but the tier of competition falls off so dramatically at 13 that the ranking of "14" seems to indicate one place-value below "13," when in reality its more like BCS vs. Football Bowl Subdivision. The rankings are not perfect, i.e. Egypt, winners of the African Nations Cup months ago, are ranked 40th, ahead of Costa Rica at 41, who smoked the United States. Not to mention England, who didn't qualify for the Euro's and hasn't beaten a real team in years, is currently sitting 5th. Wow. I digress.

So it must be awkward because the US is clearly on a lower level than top 13 teams but they should be so much better than they are, yet aren't, so yeah, it's just awkward to play a team like that. If you win, great, everyone legit beats them, but if you lose, you got beat by a crappy team that the world seemingly hasn't aknowledged as crappy yet. Are they underperforming, overperforming, I don't know. Whatever.

The second thing I wanted to mention before the ra, er, match begins is that Kaka has not seemed himself lately. The decline I mention hasn't shown up in the stats, in fact, the stat sheet shows him in top form. He seems to have lost a step - Caceres ran him down more than once in the open field, something I have never witnessed. And he also seems to lose possession more often than I remember. I know it seems like this is a complaint that Kobe is dunking with his left hand more often than his stronger right, but still, the club world seems to have coronated him as the 2nd best player ever and to me he seems like he's falling from soccer-god to extremely talented mortal. Just throwing it out there.

Alright, here we go 5 minutes to kick...

Brasil has thrown out a diplomatically appopriate line-up. No Juan, Elano and Daniel Alves. Hmmm, I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the United States is Brasil's largest purchaser of exports by a wide margin. 18% vs the next highest (Argentina) at 8%.

The US however, trying to trump Brasil's subdued line-up has thrown out at least one turd in DeMarcus Beasley. What a joke. So far off to a bad start. Not to mention Bradley is leaving out Adu and a TLOCA favorite in Benny Feilhaber. If Adu continues to ride the pine I'm going to assume that Domenech has taken over our team and Adu must be a capricorn. There is no other reason. None.

1' - Announcer Del Carmen (or dellacamera or harkes, I forget) thinks that Bornstein has done a "good job" at full-back so far. True story, I wrote in the last entry that Bornstein was horrible but then Demerit stole the show so I deleted it because I didn't want to hate too much.

5' - The US hasn't gotten out of there own half but no threats of even half-chances yet so it's all good. We have fouled 3 times already and are on pace for 75.

6' - Whaddaya know. That foul apparently leads to an uncontested header from, hmm, 3 feet inside the six. I wonder when the United States is going to stop "zone" marking on free-kicks. Half our defenders zone mark, half man-mark and usually it ends with the defensive strategy of "not marking anyone." Brasil 1, USA 0

8' - We're already talking about how losing today won't necessarily eliminate us from the competition. Nice.

10' - Brasil starts dancing. Another foul. This time it was a dive though. This leads to Fabiano in on goal from a Beasley give-away who crosses to Robinho. The Chester City man scuffs it and misses an "easy 2nd." No bias here, those weren't my words.

14' - Kaka breaks through and leads to a corner. Del Carmen sarcastically describes the play, "well he's the most expensive player in the world ha ha." He's really bitter.

18' - I don't care how good the coach's son is, you still lose accountability to the fans and in the lockerroom. It's impossible to objectively analyze your son or criticize him in the lockerroom.

19' - Well so much for my Kaka has lost a step point earlier. He dribbled 60 yards and Bradley showed no signs of catching him.

20' - Um. Wow. Hahahahaha. A Beasley give-away from a botched corner kick in Brasil's half leads to a ridiculous run-out in which Michael Bradley is asked to run down 2 "flying" Brasilians. 2 on 1, Robinho finishes with ease. He then goes to talk to a microphone behind the goal.
Brasil 2, USA 0

21' - The replay shows that Beasley runs close to Donovan for a set short-corner play. Donovan passes him the ball, it rolls under Beasley foot, and causes the debacle. Technical difficulties, cue the Confederations Cup logo.

?' - Alexei Lalas back at the studio not so calmy explains that we need to "mark your men, its as simple as that." Not much analysis to be made I suppose.

26' - annnnnd we're back. We have absolutely no midfield marking whatsoever and Ramires, who is looking to pass, ends up slow dribbling 30 yards upfield, plays through to Fabiano running free and Howard clears. This diary is likely to end at half. My goodness.

33' - We have a corner and it doesn't lead to a goal by Brasil so we've fixed that snafu from before. The resulting crosses are cleared away. Oneywu takes a yellow to prevent another break. That's fine.

37' - The mexican wave has begun. Also, while I was trying to kill a gnat that somehow entered my apartment I look up and Fabiano is in alone. He kind of shoots but doesn't even care. That bastard always tries against Uruguay.

38' - Donovan makes that run he always makes which is really fun to watch. It leads to nothing because he passed to someone not named Jozy Altidore. You know the run, streaking up the field, flies by a few dudes. It happens once a half typically.

40' - Gilberto Silva misses a sort-of contested header over the bar. I remember that all too well. On a positive not we're sort of guarding people now!

42' - Robinho is being obnoxious and Oneywu barely touches him. Another weak call. This leads to a hilarious free-kick in which 2 Brasilians back post were so open they didn't really know what to do or how to comunicate who should do the scoring in such situation. It bounces, they kind of look at eachother, and then one of them shanks it over the goal and shrugs. I shrug as well.


50' - Best 5 minutes the US has played yet. It's obvious we're trying now.

57' - Another red card! What is going on here. Kleijstan (sp) cleated some dude in the ankle pretty flagrantly but my goodness, are there no warnings any more.

58' - Gilberto Silva heads over the bar again. Sorry, I feel obligated to mention every time he doesn't score when he probably should.

60' - Spector is our best player out there. Besides Donovan of course. Nah, just Spector actually. Bradley throws in the towel again by taking out Jozy. At least he put in Feilhaber.

62' - Let's go Egypt! Brasil 3, USA 0 Maicon completes a beautiful give and go and give and score utilizing 4 players in a staggered run. This will also end the game notes unless there is something worth noting.

We need Egypt to win. If Egypt draws against Italy then we'd have to beat Egypt by four (as of right now) plus whatever Italy beats Brasil by should they also win. So let's hope they beat Italy and then we can control our own fate.


Jim said...

That whiff by Beasley really was fatal. All I could do was laugh when I saw it. What the hell does the USA do after these embarrassments?

Also, that last Brazil goal was like an Arsenal in full form goal. It made me sad and happy all at the same time.

Ben said...

I remember when Beasley had such pace and thought, well, he'll learn to be good on the ball...Hmm, never learned that and now he's white-fast.