Monday, January 30, 2006

US 5 | Norway 0

Leading up to this summer's World Cup, the US will be playing a series of friendly matches in an attempt to evaluate borderline players, get definite players into playing shape and bring some cohesiveness to the squad.

In the first match, on 1/22, the US played a scoreless draw against Canada. The match wasn't televised but based upon the post-match articles, it was a miserable affair and we were lucky it wasn't on TV.

Conversely, this past Sunday, a US team comprised of MLS-based players (the European players are in the middle of their seasons and unavailable for national duty) trounced Norway 5-0. Normally I would dismiss such a rout and chalk it up to Norway sending a weak team. (It was their Under-23 team.) However, earlier in the week, this same Norway team was leading Mexico 1-0 before losing 2-1. So, the team can't be that bad.

I don't think the game says much about the starting team the US will field in Germany this summer. But it speaks well of the depth of the US team these days. !0 years ago, when a US starter was injured, we fell apart. We needed to have our best eleven players out there everytime. Now, we can field a B team and still be competitive.

The Man of the Match was Taylor Twellman who knocked in a hat trick. However, , I still don't trust Twellman in a high pressure situation. He had a good game but it still doesn't erase the long series of golden opportunities that he's missed while playing for the US.

He even missed that sitter off the corner kick in the first half. The guy had the ball at his feet six yards in front of the goal with nobody on him and he put it over the cross bar. Next time you are near a soccer goal stand six yards back from it and look how hard it would be to kick it over the crossbar. The guy just hasn't proven to have Eddie Johnson's composure in front of the net. Hopefully, he'll prove me wrong over the next few months.

You can watch highlights of the match here.

The schedule for the next few US matches:

Feb 10th | Japan | SBC Park | San Francisco

Feb 19th | Guatemala | Pizza Hut Park | Frisco, TX

Mar 1st | Poland | Fritz-Walter-Stadion | Kaiserslautern, Germany

Mar 22nd | Germany |
Westfalenstadion | Dortmund, Germany


Jim said...

Good recap.

The match against Japan will provide a better indication of where some of these players (particularly Twellman and Dempsey) are. If they can perform at the same level against Japan, then they both will have impressed me.

cj howareya said...

The US should routinely run up the score against such effing miserable sides. Those Norwegians were an insult to the game. I didn't see the Mexico match, but those clowns were an embarrassment.

As penance,we should demand their women.

And I fully agree on TT: Color me unconvinced. My friend who was at the match behind the goal said he spotted the stepladder the Norwegians had set up for him on one of his goals. Sneaky, game-throwing Scandanavians. I don't care what sort of sparkling pop groups come out of there, I'm calling for a cultural boycott against the entire region.

Either that, or more women.

Normally, I'd be front and center for the Japan match in SF, but -- Jah willing -- I'll be tending to the starting forward for the US Men's National Team in the 2030 World Cup.

Flatlander said...

cj, if there is any person I know that should be writing a blog but isn't, it's you. Great friggin' commentary.

Flatlander said...

I agree. Crappy name. However, being soccer fans, we've gotten used to not getting the "primo treatment" from advertisers, TV networks and corporations. Soccer is a second tier sport in the US right now and as a result, we get stadiums called crap like Pizza Hut Park and built in places like Frisco, TX (Dallas suburb).

K. said...

Pizza Hut Park--Frisco, TX? Now that my friends is one of the crappiest stadium names ever.

Flatlander said...

My last comment was meant to follow K's comment. Somehow, I travelled in time and got it in before his.