World Cup 2010: A far from self assured US win

Three points is three points. Its a win. And that’s what counts. Till we start parsing. The US was able to evade a spirited El Salvador side on the strength of its set pieces. The problem is, the US still has to figure out when to play smart possession football. The Salvadorians till the last minute had a chance to pull of a draw.
The second half degenerated into a free for all as both teams relied on cheap giveaways to start fast counterattacks and there were many. The US does not have a genuine holding midfielder who can close down shop. The closest they have is Ricardo Clark who was not used. Landon Donovan with his “Onward Men” has pretty much one gear. So does Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey. Benny Feilhaber is a smart player but he also gets pressurized into the trap of doing too much. He is better off slowing down the game.
The match needs a certain type of tempo depending on its exigencies. The pitch is as much lateral as up and down. I keep thinking someone like Juan Roman Riquelme would not have lasted one day in the USMNT.
The refereeing left much to be desired. I still have no idea why Altidore’s goal was disallowed. Possibly a dubious foul. They did however amazingly get the Dempsey goal right when everyone else was offside. Jonathan Bornstein had a nightmare with Cristian Castillo. The rest of the defense was not much better.

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