Dans son unique match de préparation avant la reprise des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde 2014, le Canada a fait match nul 0-0 avec les États-Unis. Un bon résultat dans l’absolu, mais il faut éviter de tomber dans l’enthousiasme démesuré.
S’il y avait une bonne discipline défensive, la construction du jeu était souvent déficiente, reposant davantage sur des inspirations individuelles que sur un collectif bien huilé. Le Canada a dominé la deuxième mi-temps, contre des Américains fatigués, et a même marqué un but annulé. Je rejoins toutefois davantage l’avis du capitaine des États-Unis, Carlos Bocanegra, qui n’a pas vu un grand match, que celui de Dwayne De Rosario, très heureux du travail accompli.
La rencontre a été précédée de diverses cérémonies soulignant le centenaire de l’Association canadienne de soccer. Sur la photo d’équipe, les joueurs canadiens (qui portaient un équipement rétro spécialement conçu pour l’occasion) avaient pris avec eux un maillot floqué du numéro 11 de Josh Simpson, leur coéquipier qui s’est cassé la jambe il y a une dizaine de jours.
Malgré le duel Canada - États-Unis, la MLS ne faisait pas complètement relâche ce week-end, et New England y a battu Chicago 2-0.
So in retrospect ... how bad were Scotland?
I expressed my concern that the 5-1 result for the US in that particular game was a bit of a false positive (usage, I know), and am now bemused in my correctitude. The US are still a mess, looking very much a team in "Who are we, really?" mode.
Canada, meanwhile, get the pleasure of knowing they were the superior team for 90 minutes against the US for the first time since maybe the mid-1980s. And the displeasure of another bad call going against them in this series.
Klinsmann's lineup choices are still baffling
About 95 percent of the Jose Torres-related comments we get on this site are positive. And that's fine — it's always nice to have a favorite player.
But if Torres was as good as you all seem to think, wouldn't he stand out in a game like this? Wouldn't the US have more than one win in 11 games with him starting? Wouldn't he find a way to carve out chances for his teammates — or even, heaven forbid, himself — when afforded time and space in the final third?
That's what he got plenty of on Sunday. And he produced nothing.
The problem is not just his lack of a cutting edge in attack, but that he's being asked to provide something that's not in his DNA in the first place. Torres' only outstanding attribute is his ability to put his foot on the ball and dictate the pace and tempo of the game. Put him in a central midfield trio in front of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, and you may have something.
On the wing? He's an absolute cipher, Klinsmann's white elephant.
That wasn't the only lineup choice that left me scratching my head. Against a Canadian side alligned to prevent up-the-gut penetration, the danger was always going to come from the US flanks. So that left just one forward — Herculez Gomez — to do the running and work of two. Even when Jozy Altidore was subbed in, he was tasked with playing wide on the left instead of as a No. 9.
It makes no sense. And the Scotland anomaly aside, this team feels no closer to realizing Klinsmann's vision than it did nine months ago.
The US have depth at left fullback
Edgar Castillo still has some learning to do, first and foremost when to put the ball into row Z instead of trying to play out of pressure. His turnover absolutely should have been a Canada goal.
But he was a demon patrolling passing lanes and the most consistent US threat on the night. And most importantly, he didn't look out of place physically against a big, strong team with some real power and pace on that right flank.
I'm not totally in love with the idea of him starting for the US in a game that matters — again, that giveaway was inexcusable — but hopefully Fabian Johnson's injury will be gone by Friday. Either way, though, this is a stronger position than it was two years ago.
Canada's two-thirds press caused the US more problems than Brazil's high press
Canada dropped off almost to the midfield stripe, then swarmed the US midfielders whenever they received a pass. Because of the way they were deployed, they always had numbers up, and were always on the verge of forcing a turnover and a breakout.
Truth is, they should have had three goals. The reason Brazil are Brazil is because they finish those chances; the reason Canada are Canada is that they don't.
But there's plenty of good to take from this for the Canucks. Their defense is certainly sturdier than the USA's right now, and from the run of play they allowed almost no real looks to a team that had Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Gomez all on the pitch.
For the US, the idea of playing through or around a two-thirds press seemed beyond them. Playing over it was a non-starter, since Kevin McKenna and Andre Hainault just about swallowed Gomez whole.
The situation called for two forwards. When the US are struggling to create, it often does.
But that's not what we saw. We saw a bad 90 minutes, a bad strategy and a bad result.
Wonder what we'll see next week when the games really matter?
Ce dimanche, le Canada reçoit les États-Unis dans les cadre des festivités du centenaire de l’Association canadienne de soccer.
Le premier duel entre les deux équipes est aussi le premier match à domicile de l’histoire de l’équipe nationale canadienne. Il a eu lieu le 27 juin 1925 à Alexandra Park, stade de Montréal domicile du club CNR (Canadian National Railway), basé à Pointe-Saint-Charles (si l’un d’entre vous sait où était situé ce terrain, merci de partager l’information).
Environ 3500 personnes ont assisté à la rencontre. Six joueurs du Québec faisaient partie du onze de base canadien. L’un d’entre eux, Ed McLaine, a inscrit le seul but de la partie peu après le quart d’heure. Finisseur redoutable évoluant au poste d’intérieur droit, McLaine a plus tard défendu les couleurs de Providence, dans le championnat des États-Unis, professionnel à l’époque.
Le match de ce dimanche sera le trentième affrontement officiel entre les deux pays.
Canada : Arthur Halliwell, George Campbell, Andy Clarke, Fred Dierden, John B. Foy, Bill McKean, Roy Faulkner, Jim Galloway, Ed McLaine, Dave McKenzie, Alex Smith
États-Unis : Jimmy Douglas, Irving Davis, Jock Ferguson, Tom Stark, Tommy McFarland, Henry Meyerdierks, Barney Battles, Davey Brown, Archie Stark, Bob Millar, Tom Florie
Arbitre : Horace S. Lyons
Le but : 16e McLaine (1-0)
When Jurgen Klinsmann was hired, the US were a mess. Their spacing was terrible, they couldn't get consistent performance from the fullbacks and the offense was inconsistent.
It looks like most of that has been cleared up. I'd go so far as to say that Klinsmann's done a pretty good job. But there are still some concerns.
This generation of US players is defined by their weakness in central defense
There's no disguising it against top-level talent. The US got a great result in Italy a few months back, but were protected throughout by a flag-happy linesman who blew five offside calls, and a handful of great 1-v-1 saves from Tim Howard.
Against Brazil, there was no such luck. Howard did make a couple of great saves and was bailed out by the post once, but for the most part, Brazil gave the US central defense the old orange cone treatment.
Oguchi Onyewu in particular — even without the (not remotely debatable) penalty — was awful. When defending on the ball he's on roller skates, and when defending in space he's basically lost. And he doesn't read the game well enough to make up for it against top competition.
What's even more disturbing is the US inability to hold a line. It happened at the beginning of the game, it happened in the middle, and it happened at the end with Onyewu (sorry to pick on you, Gooch), failing to step, leaving Pato to rip the fouth past a stranded Howard.
If you're slower and less skilled than the opponents — and against the great teams, that's always going to be the case for the US — then you have to be smarter and more organized.
This group is not. It's how Mexico killed the US last summer, and how Brazil killed them on Wednesday.
There were telltale midfield turnovers even against Scotland
And against Brazil, those turnovers became goals. It's something I stressed in our March to the Match podcast, but which went largely unnoticed otherwise since we were all stunned at the sheer ferocity of that 5-1 win.
I don't know how much scouting Brazil really did, but it's safe to say that the book on the US is "smother them, make them play combinations, and they will eventually beat themselves."
Even the Scots did it for a bit, specifically in minutes 15 through 35.
The Brazilians did it in minutes 1 through 90, and everyone on the US had their turn to play the goat. Including Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson.
Speaking of ...
Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson are really, really good
Bradley's probably too valuable as an attacker and too much of a risk-taker on the ball to play as a true, lone d-mid (as he was in Klinsmann's 4-1-4-1 for most of the game). The other options are unappealing against top sides, though: Maurice Edu has a poor first touch, and Jermaine Jones isn't exactly known for his ability to get out of traffic with the ball on his foot.
So for now, Klinsmann has to keep Bradley in that d-mid role and then find more dynamic players to put in front of him. I'd prefer to see Jose Torres or Benny Feilhaber in one of the "advanced midfield" roles, rather than the uninspiring Edu/Jones combo.
And as for Johnson ... there's not much to say but, "Wow." He's been the best, most consistent attacking force on the US team for the past three games. Who thought we'd ever say that about a left back?
Defensively he still has work to do, especially in 1-v-1 situations (he literally spun in a circle when trying to defend Hulk at one point), but he's got plenty of time to work on it before Klinsmann's side takes on the big boys in a game that counts.
So for now, it's clear that Klinsmann still has a little bit of a mess to clean up. But the good news is that he's already made progress with what was left behind for him in the first place.
Pavel Pardo hizo un pare a su preparación con el Chicago Fire – que jugará el único partido de la fecha este sábado en su visita al New England Revolution (7:30 p.m. ET; ONLINE: MLS Live) – para recibir a la que fue su selección nacional en 148 ocasiones.
México esta en la Ciudad de los Vientos para jugar un partido de preparación ante Bosnia-Herzegovina el miércoles y aprovecharon la oportunidad para reunirse con Pardo, quien acompañó a los jugadores y cuerpo técnico en una cena.
FutbolMLS.com charló un rato con el volante del Fire sobre su experiencia de volverse a encontrar con el equipo al que sirvió por tanto tiempo.
La selección nacional de México jugará este jueves en el Soldier Field de Chicago (8 pm; TV: Univisión) ante un rival que ha de ser especial para el director técnico del Tri José Manuel de la Torre: Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Especial porque ese fue precisamente ese seleccionado que ‘El Chepo’ tuvo que enfrentar en su debut como mandamás de la selección mexicana el 9 de febrero, 2011 en el Georgia Dome de Atlanta.
A pesar de que el marcador terminó 2-0 a favor de México, algo para notar de ese partido fue la gran cantidad chances que el Chicharito, Dos Santos y sus compañeros se perdieron.
Ahora que van a Chicago, ¿Veremos mas contundencia del Tri o será mas bien una sorpresa?
Just saw the news that Wales manager Chris Coleman -- the guy who first brought USMNT striker Clint Dempsey to Fulham, and now thinks he's ready for a bigger club -- called up Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale for the Welsh side's friendly against Mexico later this month in New York. The two sides will square off on May 27 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
Bale might just be my favorite player outside of MLS. (I'll keep my favorites in MLS to myself, thank you very much.) His mix of speed, power, magic, and doggedness consistently fill me with awe. It all seems so artistic, which is probably why I also love this short animated film about him, that was done by a Spurs fan named Richard Swarbrick.
Columbus Crew no jugó un partido oficial este fin de semana, pero eso no detuvo al chileno Milovan Mirosevic, quien anotó un golazo de tiro libre en un partido de exhibición ante el equipo universitario Michigan State.
Si Milo puede hacer esto en la temporada regular, creo que el Crew no tendrá de que preocuparse…
De vuelta en Orlando, Fla. para el juego pretemporada entre FC Dallas y Toronto FC, me topé con Zarek Valentin, el defensa del Montreal Impact que nos compartió su alegría por la victoria que obtuvo con el equipo preolímpico de Estados Unidos sobre México en un crucial amistoso esta semana… pero ojo, se le está olvidando el español por estar aprendiendo francés.
By Greg Seltzer
GENOA, Italy — The aftermath of the US men's national team's first-ever win over Italy on Wednesday is proving almost as fun as the event, and most of the report cards reflect that.
It looked as though Azzurri ace Andrea Pirlo was getting around to giving the home side's "B+" side the lead, but the visitors made sure that never happened. The Yanks played confidently enough in their own right to allow red, white and blue-hot Clint Dempsey to fire up the victory celebration.
As a periodic reminder, "6" is the average mark. All ratings are relative to match time played, with a 90-minute "7" standing higher than one given for 15 minutes.
Tim Howard (7) - It was very unlike the Everton star to have a couple of early calamities dealing with both the bouncing ball and an Azzurri onrusher, but fortunately he got away with them. After those nervous opening moments, it was Howard business as usual.
Steve Cherundolo (7) - Back in his corner, 'Dolo kept things rather tidy. Offensively, the Hannover 96 skipper was hampered by having a defensive midfielder up his flank. Cherundolo managed to rush forward into great crossing position once, but over-hit it.
Clarence Goodson (6.5) - There were times when he needed help or good fortune (and got it) dealing with Pirlo's paintbrush. However, Goodson more often than not was clearing attacks (even when he looked in trouble).
Carlos Bocanegra (8.5) - The captain was in total command, so he deserves a salute. Nearly flawless on the night, Bocanegra even managed to make a couple of big plays when he'd initially been beaten.
Fabian Johnson (6.5) - I'll admit to grumbling and shaking my head when the line-up sheet was handed to me. But fair is fair, and Johnson was largely fair. He found plenty of time to press into attack, contributed to the winner and eventually settled in at the back as a disruptor. It's those repeated issues in his corner over the opening half hour and the fact that he'd rather wiggle into the area on the dribble than cross that keeps my mind made up he should be properly played on the wing. Not budging on that, would rather he not have to travel so far to get to the area.
Maurice Edu (7) - Mo has gotten smoother as a guided missile defensive midfielder almost every time out for months now, both with club and country. His ability to periodically dip into attack is less convincing, though.
Michael Bradley (8.5) - I'll guess that I've been in the stands to watch Mikey "clock in" about 30-35 times. He may have two or three better overall performances than he had on Wednesday. The fully apparent fun he was having bossing midfield in the second half, however, stands numero uno.
Daniel Williams (5.5) - It seems so unfair to grade him for playing out wide, but of course we'll go right ahead with it. Williams actually performed a couple of genuine offensive intent actions this time, but the best we can say is still that he's sure one fine track-back wing man.
Clint Dempsey (8) - Deuce was filled with intent if not terribly effective before the break. He was just softening them up. Gianluigi Buffon, who hardly stood a chance on Dempsey's shot from 18 yards out, might want to start checking underneath his bed for the American; he was a monster post halftime.
Brek Shea (5.5) - To be fair, he was probably up against the second-best Italy player on the night, Christian Maggio. Shea's still a work in progress, but this match will help his art form.
Jozy Altidore (7) - I keep telling everyone how his passing is so underrated. This striker feeds an easy pass to hit. Altidore also did the hold-up work, showing again that AZ was the right move.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann (8) - As noted here, there are are still questions about his field placement for players. That unpleasantness out of the way, this team now plays out of the back until holding a 1-0 lead in the waning moments. This team now goes out on the Luigi Ferraris pitch and "plays football" like it expects to grab the game against an Italy, no matter who may be missing.
Yeah. You saw it. And you also saw why Klinsmann makes the big bucks.
Sacha Kljestan (6) - I'm not exactly sure what he's supposed to do on left wing, other than help at the back. And there ya go.
Jonathan Spector (8) - There aren't many 13-minute shifts that practically seal victory, some don't even get a grade. Spector may need an exorcism because he was possessed in the final minutes. He blocked, poked away or shoulder-bumped silly anything that came near him as the hosts scrambled for an equalizer that never came.
Terrence Boyd (-) - After the match, he still looked in a daze walking to the team bus. That about sums up his cameo, but I have a new research project to find the last international player in the world to get his debut cap before appearing for a club first team - which likely explains the cameo.
Edson Buddle (-) The guy with the shortest shift did manage to kill a bit of time.