Remember what we said about a match against Guatemala a few nights back? How you could tell just a smidge about attacking players against these over-matched bunch of tourney misfits, but very little about defensive players?
Well, same deal.
I am fairly certain the United States could have handled business against tiny Belize with me in the midfield. That said … here are a few things we can gain from Tuesday’s lopsided match at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland:
Artificial turf is better than temporary grass: At the risk of picking this old scab until it starts bleeding again, this game came and went without much comment about the surface. So, in the future, why not just play on the doggone stuff rather than spending $200,000 to create an inferior and potentially injurious playing surface, a la Seattle last month? Just sayin’.
You have any concerns over the U.S. starting selections? You shouldn’t: Don’t read too much into Jurgen Klinsmann’s lineup selections. The United States will play almost certainly play four matches over the next two weeks. Most likely, Klinsmann’s team will play in five or six, landing in the July 28 final in Chicago.
Four nights from now they’ll be on the field once again, this time against Cuba. Three nights after that they’ll be up against Costa Rica. And they’ll be traveling in between each stop.
So if Stuart Holden or Herculez Gomez or Oguchi Onyewu wasn’t in the starting 11, relax. The lineup wasn’t just about Tuesday’s match against the weakest team in the group, it was designed with a nod toward six matches over 20 days.
No, Klinsmann doesn’t have Chris Wondolowski over Herculez Gomez in the big picture ordering. And he clearly values Holden. Check back after the starting 11 is announced against Cuba and the Costa Rica.
Mix Diskerud is “cap tied:” The Norwegian-born man, who played so extensively for Caleb Porter’s under-23 team last year, had already pledged his allegiance to the United States. But this makes it official, and that’s important, if only symbolically.
Parkhurst lost his man: Landon Donovan committed the foul that led to Belize’s goal – still cannot believe I am writing the words “Belize’s goal” – but he was chasing the play from behind. Why? Because Jose Torres wasn’t, and the action was happening in the area where Torres should have been patrolling.
But that wasn’t the worst violation, because it was Michael Parkhurst who fell asleep as Belize scored on an uncontested header, a real no-no if the United States wants to win against better teams.
Defensive inattention and set-piece marking that turns into a fiasco? Those is hardly the way to beat a path into a World Cup roster spot.
Wondo’s hat trick: You know, the next time someone in a U.S. shirt has a hat trick, let’s hope he gets his name spelled correctly on the doggone jersey. I mean, seriously?
This was the first U.S. hat trick in more than a year. Donovan had one last may against Scotland.
Growing Liga MX influence: Four starters (Michael Orozco, Jose Torres, DaMarcus Beasley and Joe Corona) earn their wages in Mexico. Even though this is the U.S. “B” team, that’s a significant development. Liga MX is a more technical association, something Klinsmann clearly values over the more physical style seen in most European leagues.