Posted on: June 12, 2010 3:19 pm

World Cup 2010 - USA 1-1 ENG - 1st Half Analysis

The USA found themselves in an early hole after Steven Gerrard (4') made a nice run in the early stages of the game past a unorganized US defense and past Tim Howard to score the opener. But the USA was handed a gift when English keeper Robert Green fumbled Clint Dempsey's (40') shot from distance and put the USA back on terms. The US defense have not looked great early, but for the most part have been able to get the job done so far. The USA have had some good chances off of set pieces and corners, particularly Oguchi Onyewu's headers and a nice cross from Donovan to Altidore that also went wide. The USA has done a pretty good job of possession, at one point having 60 percent of the ball in the middle stages of the half. Apart from the early goal I like what I'm seeing from the USA for the most part. Yes, the defense needs to get organized but the attack is there.

KEY INUJRIES: GK Tim Howard (USA) - Took a hard tackle from Heskey in the center of the penalty area and stayed down for few minutes. Heskey also stayed down late in first half after a challenge but also was back onto his feet after a minute.

KEY SUB: Milner, OFF; Wright-Phillips ON (ENG) - Milner picked up a yellow after a second hard challenge on Cherundolo on the wing. Also apparently has been ill and coach Fabio Cappello wasting no time taking him off.

KEY CARD: Steve Cherundolo picked up a card and that would probably mean he's coming off at some point which is a shame. For all the emphasis on the outside defense for the USA, he's been great today, especially on the attack.

2ND HALF: I expect to see much of the same from both teams. England seem almost content to protect their lead in the first half before the USA equalized but revved up the attack after Green's blunder. Both teams have had their chances on set pieces, free kicks and corners but nothing really has come of any of them, especially for England as the US has been much more dangerous on set pieces. Clearly the weakness for England in goal has come to a head and further fuels the questions for England moving forward in the tournament.
Category: Soccer
Posted on: June 7, 2010 8:12 am

World Cup 2010 - Group C Preview

Day Two of the World Cup previews brings us to the most anticipated soccer game in the United States, um, well, ever. Without question Saturday June 12th, win or lose, probably will be highest rated soccer game of all time. But will it be one of the highest finishing World Cups of all time for the USA?

Algeria [ALG] – Rankings (30 FIFA / 62 SPI)
Qualification – CAF (Africa) – Won Group C playoff vs. Eygpt 1-0
Recent Matches – L 0-3 vs. Serbia, L 0-3 vs. Ireland, W 1-0 vs. UAE

The Desert Foxes (fantastic nickname) are not coming into the World Cup in good form. Their last two matches against European opponents ended very unfavorably and I’m having serious doubts about their attack heading into the World Cup and where the goals are going to come from. I know that they’ll have the support of the home continent, but will that be enough to advance?

England [ENG] – Rankings (8 FIFA/ 3 SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Won Group 6
Recent Matches – W 3-1 vs. Mexico, W 2-1 vs. Japan

Some people are down on England a heading into the World Cup, but I’m not one of them. Off-field issues and injuries aside (and yes, losing captain Rio Ferdinand will hurt), this is one of the best teams in this tournament, consisting of all Premiership players. They haven’t fared well against top teams on the road in the past calendar year, but their friendly win over Japan came on a neutral field.

Slovenia [SLO] – Rankings – (25 FIFA / 33 SPI)
Qualification – UEFA – Finished 2<sup>nd</sup> Group 3; Won Playoff vs. Russia 2-2 (away goals)
Recent Matches – W 4-1 vs. Qatar, W 3-1 vs. New Zealand

Another team who decided on a light warm-up schedule, Slovenia has played just those two games mentioned above since that playoff vs. Russia in November 2009. A young country with little soccer history, Slovenia makes just their second World Cup appearance (Korea/Japan 2002). However, they have enough young talent to advance out of the group phase, but they’ll need to be flawless to do so.

United States [USA] – Rankings (14 FIFA / 15 SPI)
Qualification – Won CONCACAF
Recent Matches – L 2-4 vs. Czech Rep., W 2-1 vs. Turkey, W 3-1 vs. Australia

I’ve already given a full preview of the good ol’ USA, but I’m going to explain the difference between this team and the dreadful performance in 2006. The USA had unrealistic expectations coming off a 2002 quarterfinal run, they struggled leading up to the 2006 World Cup and we probably weren’t that good anyway. This USA team has experience, confidence and is in form. That is a very dangerous combination for the rest of the world.

IMPORTANT MATCHDAY – June 12th / 13th – ENG vs. USA; ALG vs. SLO

That’s right, this Saturday will pretty much set the tone for this group. A win by the USA or England would put pressure on the loser for their final two games. A win for Algeria or Slovenia would pretty much dash the hopes of the losing side and make it very difficult for them to advance out of the group.

PREDICTIONS                                     STANDINGS

ENG 2-1 USA                                      ENG 3-0-0, 9 pts, +5 GD
ALG 1-1 SLO                                       USA 2-1-0, 6 pts, +3 GD
SLO 1-2 USA                                       SLO 0-2-1, 1 pts, -2 GD
ENG 3-0 ALG                                      ALG 0-2-1, 1 pts, -6 GD

Sorry everyone, but I think the USA will have a very competitive loss at the hands of Wayne Rooney and Co. Other than that I expect the USA and England to dominate in this group despite Slovenia potentially posing a problem for the rest of the group. Even if the USA loses its first match, they should be able to advance through to the next round, but they’ll need a win against Slovenia and nothing less to do so.

Posted on: December 4, 2009 2:23 pm

FIFA 2010 World Cup Draw - USA Analysis

I have watched the USA struggle in the World Cup for as long as I can remember them playing in it. Even in their run to the quarterfinals in 2002, they barely escaped the group phase before dispatching Mexico and losing a heartbreaker to Germany. They needed a miracle on the last day to advance at the Confederations Cup last summer, which lead to that stunning upset of Spain and agaonizing loss to Brazil.

Now, I don't want to get my hopes up. I really don't. I'm going to fail miserably at it, but hey, I'm a sports fan. It's hard not to get excited after watching what just happened. To me, this is the greatest sporting event in the world. This is bigger than March Madness, the Super Bowl (unless the Eagles are playing) and the World Series. And this year, the USA will have expectations, and that didn't go over so well in 2006.

The USA will make there 2010 World Cup debuts in South Africa against England and both are going to be heavy favorites to advance into the next round over Algeria and Slovenia. And no disrespect to either of those teams, Slovenia won't be an easy out and could play spoiler to make it out of the group, but England is one of the game's giants and the USA is on the verge of being an emerging power with a good showing this year. They've already played several games in South Africa at the Confederations Cup last summer and qualified first in CONCACAF.

Plus, we could have one of the best matches to open the World Cup between the USA and England. Let's face it, there's a natural rivalry here. Two big world powers, close political allies, The American Revolution, the War of 1812 and a 1-0 upset at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, considered by many to be one of the greatest upsets in World Cup histroy.

Plus, Landon Donovan and David Beckham can start hating each other again. I mean the possibilites are endless there. I'm sure Beckham won't let Donovan forget that missed PK in the MLS Cup Finals with the Galaxy, but I digress.

Assuming that the USA and England both advance as they probably should, they'll be paired with the runner-up and winner of Group D, which includes seeded Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana. Germany is favored to win the group and advance but I wouldn't be stunned to see them bounced by one of the three darkhorses they've been paired with.

The USA and many others were very lucky to avoid the dreaded "Group of Death," which this year happens to be Group G, consisting of Brazil, Ivory Coast, Portugal and poor North Korea, making their first appearance since 1966. N. Korea upset Italy back in '66 and they're going to need more results like that to survive this bloodbath of a group. which contains three of the world's best.

Depending on the matchups of the Knockout round, it's easy to predict that the USA could make it back to the quarterfinals or even farther. But that first game is pivotal for the Americans. They are not known for starting fast in the group phases of tournaments and a result against England, even a draw, would go a long way to build the confidence of this team. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and the rest of Team USA will need plenty of that going into the later stages of this tournament. They proved last summer that they can play with the best. But can they play with the best on the world's biggest stage?

We'll find out in the summer of 2010.

Category: Soccer
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com