In case you haven’t heard, the United States finished off Guatemala, 2-0, last night in Commerce City, Colorado, eliminating the visitors from the upcoming Hex and finishing with a 5-1 record for this round.
I know somewhere, deep in the recesses of BigSoccer or other gathering places for US fans, there are folks working through their brains to highlight all of the things that the US did wrong and how that all means coach Bob Bradley should be fired and all that.
If you are looking for that here … wrong blog. But thanks for reading.
The only complaint I’d have with the US last night was that they really should have put something home in the first half. The game didn’t deserve to be 0-0 at halftime. But two goals in the second half took care of that and I think 2-0 was a pretty deserved result. Freddy Adu is getting pub for scoring his first international goal on a sweet free kick with about 20 minutes left, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I thought Adu had a strong game overall. He was an active part of the attack, I don’t think he made any mistakes defensively, and I think he showed that he deserved to be out there. The free kick was well-taken, and the culmination of his shooting on the night, which was a bit off early, but seemed to improve as the night went on. Guatemalan goalkeeper Jerez stepped the wrong way when Adu struck it, but he wasn’t going to save it anyway, I don’t think.
You can make an argument against ever wanting to see Jonathan Bornstein crossing the ball again – the US attack sputtered a bit on the left flank in the first half. I had questions about the pairing of Altidore and Cooper up top, because early it seemed like they were playing sort of the same way and I wasn’t sure if that was going to work strategically. But Altidore’s ball from the left into Cooper for the first goal was brilliant. It was hit with the right weight, and put in a spot where the defender on Cooper had no chance to do anything about the play. That left only the keeper to beat and the whole goal to shoot at and Cooper’s touch past Jerez was enough to make it 1-0.
I’m content with what I saw last night in the match and I’m happy for the most part with how the US got through this round. The rest of the Hex includes Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Trinidad & Tobago. I think the US will advance, but they can’t assume that to be the case. The US made great strides in the last round with the road win at Guatemala, and that’s something they’re going to have to draw on in the next round to get road points in Mexico and Honduras especially. I think the US will qualify – but I wouldn’t assume it’s a slam dunk.
I know one thing, I can’t wait for it to start.