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Armchair Analyst: Three things we learned from Guatemala vs. USA

13 June 12:08 am

Armchair Analyst: Three things we learned from Guatemala vs. USA

By Matthew Doyle

Was a 1-1 draw the right result? Probably. Well, 2-2 might have been more accurate.

We'll get to the rest of this just after a few of those match balls come down out of orbit.

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Geoff Cameron has proved that he's the right choice in central defense

Was he perfect? No, far from it. His first touch was a giveaway and he needs to be smarter defending set pieces.

But he was significantly better than Clarence Goodson, and miles better than Oguchi Onyewu was against Antigua and Barbuda. It's always been a matter of "when," not "if," with Cameron, and it looks like the "when" is just about now.

There will still be tough days to come. Someone will sucker him into a bad foul, or he'll get caught ball-watching, or he'll blow a trap. But he put in a tough 45 minutes and did so with a fair share of aplomb. It was a good first "big" game from Cameron, who should be in the starting lineup from here on out.

Of course, it was also a bad game by Carlos Bocanegra, who totally misplayed the longball that led to the foul that led to the one decent (read: spectacular) free kick of the evening. Let's hope Tim Ream, George John, Matt Besler and whoever else is on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar make a Cameron-like leap in the next few months.

Fabian Johnson is irreplacable at left back

One of the things I wanted to see was how Johnson would combine down the left with Landon Donovan. And it was good.

Donovan's in a particularly passive mode right now, which means he's totally willing to drift wide when Johnson darts inside. It's what happened on the goal, and why Johnson only had to beat one guy instead of two.

And the fact that we can casually talk about one of our players beating a defender off the dribble ... man, that is a nice weapon coming out of the back. Edgar Castillo is functional, and I have high hopes for Justin Morrow, but neither of those guys has the raw creative ability Johnson shows every time he takes the field for the US.

Of course, he can also be spun like a top in one-v-one defensively, and is prone to ball-watching. Two of Guatemala's best chances on the evening were directly attributable to his poor defensive play.

But I don't care. He brings so much other stuff to the table that it hardly matters.

Nobody's on the same page in the final third

Just about the only quality link-up of the night for the US came on the goal. The midfield play was better as a whole (though Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones were turnover machines), and the defense was relative solid compared to previous outings.

But the final third is still a mess. If Donovan played the ball early, the runs came late. If Dempsey tried a flick, he should have went for a through ball.

And there aren't enough expletives in the world to describe Jozy Altidore's thought-process on that late chance that Michael Bradley served up on a platter.

It is ugly, and not showing signs of getting better. Klinsmann's biggest job is still shoring up the defense, of course. But a close second is reminding his attackers how to attack.