With the anthems and kickoff just minutes away, some thoughts on the lineup for tonight’s match:
First off, and perhaps most importantly, Gooch is back. Will his presence alone makeup for the woeful inadequacies on defense in the El Salvador game? No. But he should be the stabilizing defensive force that he usually is, and that alone makes the team more solid at the back. Not to mention the size, strength, and aerial goal scoring threat he brings to the table. Hopefully he’s back to one hundred percent.
As far as Bradley’s other lineup decisions go, I’ll applaud him putting Jozy Altidore in the starting lineup, but was very disappointed by the exclusion of both Jonathan Spector and Freddy Adu from the squad entirely. I’d also rather see Kljestan starting on the field than on the substitutes bench, but coming off a bad game the decision is understandable. My buddy Raf (Super Sacha Fan #16) is gonna be pissed.
Alright, kickoff time, more later.
11th Minute: What position is DeMarcus Beasley playing? With this three defender lineup it looks like Boca and Gooch are both playing central defense, Hejduk is on the right, and the left side of the field has been left to Beasley… the WHOLE left side of the field, endline to endline. I’m a big DeMarcus supporter but we can’t have him defending the left flank, just not his skill set.
12th Minute: GOAL! Clinical Donovan cross from the left side deep in the box, straight to Jozy’s foot for the one-timer finish. One-nil Yanks! Great leaping effort to get his foot to the ball by Altidore.
Also, Bob Bradley pulls Beasley aside during the celebration for a chat. Now Beasley seems hesitant to even cross midfield into the offensive end. Why start DeMarcus if you’re not gonna let him play his game? He’s not a tenacious defender but maybe Bradley likes his pace against the speedy Trinidadians (and Tobagans).
26th Minute: Jozy should have just bagged his second goal, but he squanders a great chance. As he matures as a striker, balls like that have got to go in the net.
28th Minute: Just as I was thinking Clint Dempsey was having a quiet game, the Fulham man hits a nifty back-heel that sends Frankie Hejduk free down the right wing, something Frankie’s getting accustomed to today. Hejduk sends great service into the box, but to no avail.
40th Minute: Beasley’s getting help on the left flank from Bocanegra now and pushing forward a bit. A wonderful exchange involving him, Landon, and Ching results in cross from deep on the left side of the T&T box that reaches Altidore’s foot roughly one yard in front of an open goal mouth. He puts it over the net. To say he missed a point blank chance is an understatement. It was actually a lot harder to do what he did than it would have been to score a goal from that position. One minute later Altidore gets a free header from the middle of the box and cranks it directly at the goalkeeper. Frustrating.
Halftime. USA 1 T&T 0.
This team is playing exciting attacking football with creative buildup in the midfield, reminiscent of the home game against T&T in September in the last round of WC qualifying.
70th Minute: A great left footed strike from Jozy! Yanks up two nil! Donovan with the perfect pass to spring Altidore free on the run, Landon’s probably been the man of the match to this point. And it’s great to see Jozy strike again with after he was off the mark late in the first half.
80th Minute: Torres for Chinger.
83rd Minute: Kljestan for Dempsey, I’m assuming Raf just got very excited.
88th Minute: Hat Trick Altidore! And why not! Donovan and Torres alone with the keeper pass amongst themselves and eventually give it up to the trailing Altidore who puts enough mustard on the shot from the top of the box to get it to the back of the net despite a touch from the keeper! My only disappointment is that there aren’t any hats on the field! Give it up Yanks fans! Throw that cap!
Game! USA 3 T&T 0!