Posted on: June 12, 2010 3:19 pm
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.
Posted on: June 7, 2010 8:12 am
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?
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)
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)
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)
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.
ENG 2-1 USA ENG 3-0-0, 9 pts, +5 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.