Everything there but the end product for New England against Vancouver

1 Comment

Remember what we said on Thursday about New England: Pe progress would be more important than the result. Though fans may rightly worry about a team that’s gone 270 minutes without scoring this season, the underlying parts showed improvement. In today’s 0-0 draw against visiting Vancouver, both the Revolution’s attack and defense showed signs of becoming their 2013 selves.

Going forward, the benefits of having Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen, and Saer Sene on the field at the same time were obvious. The trio’s ability to link up at the edge of the attacking third meant New England were a threat all day, with Sene’s ability to come in from the right and augment play helping offset the influence of Vancouver’s Nigel Reo-Coker and Matías Laba. When we (read: I) use clichés like “able to consistently create chance,” this is when we’re talking about. After being starved of the ball last week in Philadelphia, New England held the better (if not necessarily more) possession on Saturday.

Unfortunately, that didn’t produce a goal, even if Teal Bunbury had two opportunities to open the scoring in the first half. But on both a long header from Chris Tierney and a beautiful cross from Rowe, Bunbury failed to show the aggression New England needs. On Tierney’s ball headed past the defense, Bunbury hesitated as David Ousted come off his line, allowing the Vancouver No. 1 to suffocate the chance. Later, Bunbury let Rowe’s cross get caught in his feet, failing to test Ousted on another good ball. Two chances. No shots.

At the other end of the field, a defense led but the newly restored José Gonçalves went largely untested, but avoiding the mistakes the group had made in Houston and Philadelphia, the back four still showed progress. There was no overrunning of crosses to gift chances for Will Bruin. There was so misreading of passes to let Leonardo Fernandes set up goals for Sebastien Le Toux. The defense may not have had to do much, but they didn’t give much, either.

Aside from the lack of a goal, it was exactly the type of performance New England needed, but from a team still trying to assess if Bunbury can replace Juan Agudelo, perhaps this was the result we should have predicted. It was too much to ask the Revolution to go from zero to hero in one week. Baby steps are enough this early in the season.

With a strong performance on Saturday, the Revolution were able to identify their one, big problem area. That’s progress.

AT HALF: Lletget, Bradley, Dempsey spur USMNT to 3-0 lead

Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States men’s national team’s bid to recover their 2018 World Cup hopes is off to a flying start.

As it stands, the 3-0 halftime lead provided by Sebastian Lletget, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey has the Yanks up from sixth to fourth in the Hex table.

Sebastian Lletget scored a fifth minute goal to ease the tensions of the Avaya Stadium crowd in San Jose, though he’d leave the match with injury before the match was 20 minutes old.

Sloppy Honduran defending caused a turnover outside the 18, and Jozy Altidore played Christian Pulisic in on goal.

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Keeper Donis Escober got a piece of Pulisic’s shot, but no one followed Lletget to the back post and the ex-West Ham and current LA Galaxy man quickly put the Yanks up 1-0.

Then it was the captain who doubled the lead, as Honduras inexplicably gave him the room to walk across the arc of the 18 to rip a shot across goal. 2-0.

It was Clint Dempsey’s turn in the 33rd minute, after an otherworldly scooped pass from Pulisic.

What. A. Pass. Kid.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Brooks, Cameron; Bradley, Lletget (Bedoya, 18′), Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore.

Goals: Lletget (5′), Bradley (27′), Dempsey (33′)

LIVE – USMNT looks to right ship vs. Honduras

Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States starts to make amends for its 0-2 start to the final round of World Cup qualifying with a match against Honduras on Friday in San Jose.

Losses to Mexico and Costa Rica cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job and Bruce Arena will try things differently

[ LIVE – Play-by-play via @USSoccer ]

Most importantly for Arena, Geoff Cameron and Tim Howard are available this time around.

Cameron starts at right back, with John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez in the center of the back four. Jorge Villafana slots into the mix at left back.

Captain Michael Bradley will sit atop the midfield, with Darlington Nagbe, Sebastian Lletget, and Christian Pulisic in the midfield.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore are the forwards. Kickoff is set for 10:55 p.m. EDT from Avaya Stadium.

Minnesota’s Molino lifts Trinidad and Tobago to big win (video)

Leave a comment

Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino has given Trinidad and Tobago life in the race to win a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Molino’s 37th minute goal gave hosts T&T a 1-0 lead against visiting Panama at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday, and the Soca Warriors held on to win its first points of qualifying.

Panama had a Luis Tejada goal controversially ruled offside as Los Canaleros nearly pulled their fifth point of the Hex. Panama faces the USMNT on Tuesday in Panama City.

[ WATCH: Zaha scores wonder vs. Russia ]

Molino fooled long time LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo with a low shot across the body. The Panama backstop couldn’t get low enough or far enough with his dive to stop the shot.

The win has T&T in fifth place on the Hex table, behind Honduras on goal differential and three points ahead of the last place USMNT.

The U.S. needs a two-goal win to pass T&T, and a three-goal win to climb above Honduras.

WATCH: Zaha drives Russia nuts with mazy dribble goal

Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images
1 Comment

Wilfried Zaha combined balance, deft touch, and breakneck speed to score his first international goal for the Ivory Coast.

With his side leading Russia 1-0 on Friday, the Crystal Palace winger worked his way through four defenders before burying his shot.

[ MORE: Smalling hurt, Gibson called up ]

Zaha especially fooled with Ilya Kutepov, a harsh cut nearly tipping both to the field.

He’s just 24, and it seems much longer ago that he made his failed move to Manchester United in 2013.

Failed may be a rough verb considering it all contributed to making him the player he is for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast today.