Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Post: USA v Paraguay, An Armchair Analysis

PWT-Blog is happy to welcome back our guest blogger, Chris Shaffer.  I'm tired from getting home from Nashville wee hours.  So thankfully, Chris breaks down the game for us, as only he can.  I'll have further coverage of the game in the next day or two.

In tonight’s USA/Paraguay friendly, seen as a key warm-up for the USA as it prepares for this summer’s Gold Cup competition, the US succumbed 1-0 to a typically hard-nosed, defensively organized Paraguay side.

I was going to go with a blow-by-blow, minute-by-minute account of the match but, honestly, it’s just not worth the effort.

The approach, therefore, will be a Lessons-Learned tutorial. Mind you, none of these lessons will deal specifically with Paraguay.

Let’s also remember that some key players in the USA’s stunning 1-1 draw with Argentina were not involved, including GK Tim Howard.

USA: 23-Marcus Hahnemann (18-David Yelldell, 46); 21-Timmy Chandler (2-Jonathan Spector, 80),15-Jay DeMerit (3-Carlos Bocanegra, 41), 6-Tim Ream, 12-Jonathan Bornstein (16-Sacha Kljestan, 77); 8-Clint Dempsey, 7-Maurice Edu (13-Jermaine Jones, 46), 4-Michael Bradley, 10-Landon Donovan (capt.); 17-Jozy Altidore (19-Eric Lichaj, 60), 9-Juan Agudelo


 Lessons Learned:
  • If Honduran referee Jose Benigno is any indication, Hondurans have utterly failed to appreciate the great things US companies like United Fruit and our government’s financial and military support of their death squads and dictatorship have done for their people. Also, Jonathan Bornstein’s last gasp goal against Costa Rica in an otherwise meaningless final World Cup Qualifier for the US vs. Costa Rica put Honduras into the 2010 World Cup finals.
  • This is the last positive thing I’ll say about Mr. Bornstein.
  • Paraguay is not just defensively organized and stout, they are masters of the professional foul, yet only one Paraguayan was booked at all despite repeated fouling of US players holding the ball at midfield with their back to goal.
  • Paraguay’s Directo Technico Gerardo Martinez must find a sport coat that doesn’t cause pixallation on TV.
  • Kyle Martinez, doing color commentary, referred to US left back Jonathan Bornstein as, “not the best one-on-one defender.” This is a vast understatement in more ways than I care to list.
  • The aforementioned may have something to do with just how much Bornstein blows at every phase of the game. He minored in giving the ball away under no pressure.
  • Conversely, Timmy Chandler, a right back of Amero-Germano (sic) parentage is really, really good. He defends, he goes forward, he can cross the ball. He plays for Nurnberg. He is the real deal. Meanwhile, Bob Bradley’s out looking for David Regis on the Streets of Metz after the Born-de-bacle.
  • Nike’s new “Indivisible” US Jersey will be plugged continuously from now through the Gold Cup
  • Oscar Cardozo (Par) knows how to finish, especially when US central defender Tim Ream (NYRB), who played respectably, is pulled down from behind. Or maybe he just fell.1-0 to Paraguay. Tim Ream was a Billiken in College.
  • Paraguay received one booking (yellow) and the US none.
  • Did I mention the Honduran ref was awful?
  • Estonia inexplicably drew 1-1 with Serbia today as a Serbian goal in stoppage time was not acknowledged. Look up Luddite in the dictionary and you’ll see a pic of Sepp Blatter.
  • One moment Clint Dempsey seems somnambulant and the next he’s hit a knuckling 30-yarder on goal.
  • The Nashville crowd was great, and was repeatedly acknowledged as such by JP Dellacamera. Evidently 1,000 more than WC qualifier!
  • 37th minute: J. Bornstein completes his 1st pass of the game
  • Jay Demerit is no Carlos Bocanegra…J. Spector is no Jay Demerit.
  • Evidently there’s a product called “ProActive,” you know for acne and whatnot. I’ve never heard of it.
  • BTW, props to Eric Wynalda for his ad promoting AYSO soccer, where you can, “learn soccer and have fun doing it.” And I thought you were an arrogant jerk…
  • 2 halftime subs for USA: GK David (Who?) Yelldell (Duisburg) for Hahnemann, and Jermaine Jones for Mo Edu. I can’t believe Bornstein is still on the pitch.
  • Did you know the new Nike USA “Indivisible” jersey is available?
  • OK, Bornstein’s mark fell down and lost the ball, yet Bornstein still was beaten. Doesn’t this violate a law of physics?
  • 50th minute: Bornstein completes 2nd pas of game.
  • Dempsey/Altidore/Agudelo repeatedly fouled, yet they’re not…Thanks a lot Allen Dulles. (If you didn’t know, who owned a whole bunch of United Fruit stock)
  • US player Eric Lichaj’s last name is pronounced “Lehigh.” He comes in for Altidore, not Bornstein. He actually plays sometimes for Leeds Utd., but is on loan from Aston Villa, where Michael Bradley sits. Bradley is having a solid game in the holding mf spot. Why can’t this guy get a start for Villa?
  • Best US chance of the game comes in the 69th minute when Agudelo crosses from the right side and Landon Donovan, unmarked, can only hit side netting as the ball bounces through the Paraguay box.
  • Clint Dempsey now looks like he’s taken a worse beating than at a Fulham away match to Stoke.
  • Lots of subs now. Sasha Klejstan on for US. Every time he touches the ball the game seems to go into slow motion.
  • Aside from Agudelo and Timmy Chandler, the squad lacks pace and plays too slowly. Of course when Paraguay has 9 field players behind the ball after the 18’ mark and fouls at will with no consequences, Barcelona might have problems.
  • Last 10 minutes: US has some offensive breaks, but they’re all 3-on-6
  • Final: 1-0 Paraguay.
  • This ProActive stuff must be really effective.
  • Credit to the USSF for playing a tough schedule of Amistosos (“friendlies” not in MSWord dictionary), instead of padding its FIFA ranking with games vs. Macedonia and Austria.

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