Amidst all the drama with the Ireland vs France match and earlier the Egypt vs Algeria showdown, the USA played a friendly with Denmark. Bob Bradley started Jeff Cunningham and I am happy to say, it turned out well because he scored his first international goal and nearly set up Altidore with another. Thomas Sorensen was a bit off page with some of his goal handling and Cunningham pounces on one of his mistakes to score.
The USA played decently in the first half. But the second half was a different story as Martin Olsen’s substitutes provided an immediate impact. All their goals came off defensive lapses on the part of the USA. Carlos Bocanegra was just awful in this match.
First Danish goal:
Notice how the US defenders did not track the long ball to Johan Absalonsen. They had their backs turned towards the pitch and were blindsided when the ball landed in the box with Absalonen getting his foot on the ball. If Bocanegra or Spector had faced the pitch they would have seen the ball coming, and could have resorted to more effective marking.
Second Danish goal:
Frankie Hejduk no longer has the speed or the jumping ability to deal effectively with the ball and Michael Lumb gets to it first. As the ball falls free, Absalonsen and Spector converge on it with the Dane coming away with it. As he races down the left, Bocanegra who was marking Jørgensen, charges towards him leaving Jorgensen to break free and head to the near post. The end result, Bocanegra is stranded in no man’s land, Bornstein is forced to run across goal to cover the near post exposing the far post giving Absalonsen the freedom to pass to the arriving Soren Rieks for a simple goal.
Third Danish goal:
As Jacob Poulsen runs down the left towards the center, it is
Robbie Rogers Stuart Holden giving chase as Hejduk is left stranded further up field. When Poulsen flops, the ball is pushed out to open space. Rieks manages to avoid Rogers Holden’s slide as the ball bounces off his foot in front of him. Again Bocanegra who was marking Bernberg rushes out, again gets stranded as Rieks flicks the ball into the gap which has opened up for Bernberg to tap the ball home.
Lots of reactive defending giving too much space to the Danish attack, back pedaling, getting caught out of position, and ineffective clearances of the ball. It was a forgettable match for Frankie Hejduk and Carlos Bocanegra. At least Hejduk could blame a long international layoff for looking so rusty. But Bocanegra does not any such excuse.