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On the field performance vs on paper expectations

Discussion in 'USA Men' started by Eleven Bravo, May 19, 2014.

  1. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

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    To be honest, the USMNT is unquestionably the worst team on paper in our group. Ghana may be comparable, but if you really look at it... They're clearly better on paper. Also, even without Ronaldo, Portugal is superior, and we all know we probably don't have a single player minus Howard or Guzan who could have even made the preliminary roster for Germany.


    That's the bad news. The good news is that the US always tends to up their game in the underdog role. But I don't see where we are being underrated this go round. So, it is going to have to be more than suprising these teams.

    So, what is going to be our secret ingredient that we need to get results?

    Without question, we need to be absolutely fit and more fit than any other team in the group... But where I hope that the US strength lies and where we need it to come from is that we are a more effective unit.

    Therefore, the question is will our team fitness and unit cohesion be enough to see us perform well against these teams that clearly have the advantage on paper?
     


  2. aarond23

    aarond23 Member+

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    This is true, we have less pedigree, but thats always been the case aside from the '10 group where we were pretty much even with Slvovenia, and far behind England. Ahead of Algeria, who played us even to the very last minutes.

    We are very slight underdogs against Ghana, bigger underdogs against Portugal, and clear underdogs against Germany.

    I dont think Ghana will take us lightly as they have plenty of experience playing us. Maybe the average Portugal player will think 'who are these guys?' and not expect as tough of a fight. Probably unlikely but its possible.

    We just have to be on our game, no stupid mistakes and see where the chips may fall. We could easily lose all 3 games and still play decent enough that you can say the other teams were just better. The more likely scenario is there are going to be alot of 'shoulda coulda woulda' and its going to be a rough way to go out.

    Of course the opposite side of that is we beat expectations get 6 points and make it through the group. Here's hoping :)
     
  3. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    Bradley would make Germany's preliminary roster.
     
  4. ttrevett

    ttrevett Member+

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    I have a hard time seeing why we're only slight underdogs to even Ghana, who have not only guys who clearly have a lot of quality, but also a long list of guys who are scoring bags of goals. This is on a team that is known for its attack. Who do we have that is an in form striker, Dempsey? You could mention Boyd, but he isnt even a lock to be in Brasil! I guess it only takes one in form striker and Ghana can't play all theirs at once, but I don't understand reading how Ghana is not clearly superior to us right now. Now, what's actually going to happen on the field? That's where the beauty of this sport comes into play. I take solace from Switzerland. No where on god's green earth were they hoping to beat Spain last time, but it happened. I hope we get a little bit of the 2002 Portugal overconfidence from Ghana, b/c if they come out ready to overlook us, we could stomp them.
     


  5. jimmy2823

    jimmy2823 Member

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    no
     
  6. aarond23

    aarond23 Member+

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    Based on the last 2 games, both teams have had stretches in those games where they were on the front foot. The US totally controlled about the last 40 minutes of regulation in the 2010 Ghana game. 2 of Ghana's goals have come from awful turnovers in the middle of the field, one where Reyna basically just falls down and another where Clark gets runover at midfield that leads to a goal, there just isn't much seperation between those teams on the field, despite Ghana having better pedigree.
     
  7. ttrevett

    ttrevett Member+

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    You can't really look at the last two games as the talent, depth and experience of Ghana has ballooned since then. Please don't look on this as me saying Ghana is going to kill us. I think it will be a tough game for both sides, but it would seem on paper, consistent with the O/P, we are clearly underdogs. I like that role though.
     
  8. aarond23

    aarond23 Member+

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    Our talent hasn't gotten better also...Is JJ not an upgrade for Rico Clark? Fabian Johnson not an upgrade for Jonathan Bornstein or Boca at left back?

    Robbie Findley also started that game, I would take any of our forwards over Findley easily, even Wondo.

    I will say our center backs haven't gotten any better.
     
    SPA2TACU5 and TabLalas repped this.
  9. TabLalas

    TabLalas Member+

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    The Prince-Boateng to Gyan connection still scares the hell out of me, and I agree, I still don't feel any better about our CB's.
    I just hope that Jermaine Jones has more self-control than Ricardo Clark did in 2010. After Clark got embarrassed he made things better by losing control and making terrible tackles, being yellow-carded for one.
    I just can't get this image of a World Cup ref waiving a red-card in Jermaine Jones face out of my head because he's getting embarrassed against one of these three teams like Clark did against Ghana.
    Hope I'm wrong.
     
  10. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    Just ask @TheHoustonHoyaFan how many red cards JJ has collected throughout his career.
     
  11. Eleven Bravo

    Eleven Bravo Member+

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    I guess I would rate Bradley over Ginter, Kramer, and comparable to Draxler (as of today) and Bender. He's not as good as Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Reus, Schurrle, Kroos, Muller, Khedira, Gotze, and Podolski. So, I could see him making the preliminary, but failing to make the 23... If he had stayed in Europe.
     
  12. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

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    Easy on the Absinthe there, buddy.

    Anyhow, Ghana has considerably more talent per player but they are not a well organized side and can be had ... you just don't want to press them high up the pitch (Bob says hello from Norway). If that can be solved favorably, one then needs a point in the next two matches. Portugal may be tougher than Germany because they will crash the box with 3-4 aerial threats - CRonaldo, Almeida, Pepe, Bruno Alves (if he starts), making the bunker a dangerous strategy. Germany has little size upfront w/out Klose and Miro is pretty effin' old by this time. Plus, Jogi keeps answering his phone, "Hello, this is Pep". On the other hand, go up the field against them and they'll rack four on the counter alone.
     
  13. ImaPuppy

    ImaPuppy Moderator Staff Member

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    Mike isn't comparable to Draxler or Bender, and I love Mike.
     
  14. Canuckamericano

    Canuckamericano Member

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    The only reason Ghana is feared is they dumped us in the last 2 World Cups and represent the type of team our chronically plodding team footspeed struggles with. (what's up with that? In every other international sport the US is known for it's speed but guys like Yedlin highlight just how slow the rest of the squad is...again). Anyway, since 2011 Ghana has played 2 (!) teams going to this world cup, Nigeria & Japan and they lost to Japan (also their only national team game outside Africa in 4 years). In qualifying they crushed Bob Bradley's Egypt side 6-1 in ghana but lost the away game to Egypt. They're #38 for a reason, FIFA's bizarre formula notwithstanding.
     
  15. thetank123

    thetank123 Member

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    How does Yedlin show how slow the rest of the squad is? By being faster than most of them?
     
  16. Gamecock14

    Gamecock14 Member+

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    The optimism in this thread is just WOW. I was expecting a realistic and somewhat downtrodden thread.
     
  17. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    What's stopping you? :D
     
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  18. aarond23

    aarond23 Member+

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    I'm very realistic but not downtrodden, I cant wait to see how this 270 minutes plays out. We could lose all 3 but it will give us a good measurement of where we are and how far we have to go still.
     
  19. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    :laugh:
     
  20. Gamecock14

    Gamecock14 Member+

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    I was trying to be nice to the few posters who were surpassing what could be called hyperbole.
     
  21. SPA2TACU5

    SPA2TACU5 Member+

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    Surpassing hyperbole? (oh I guess that was a joke)
     
  22. Wessoman

    Wessoman Member+

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    It's Big Soccer, man. Passing hyperbole is not a bug, it's a feature.

    Back on topic---I agree with the guys in blazers on this one. Sure, on paper, we are the "Weakest team", but as we all know 1-We don't play on paper, but grass, 2-the group of Death is the Group of Death because WE are in it, and let's be honest, nobody really wants to play the USA either, and 3-there are always two big teams that crash out of the group stage, except in 2002, when there was three, so the point is, the best TEAMS advance in the world cup. Having world-class players is not going to save you from the flames when you have no team chemistry.

    But I would counter point 1-The "Paper" issue. The US looks deceptively weak on paper, but I think this is genuinely a consequence of MLS not being taken seriously and player movement. For example, take the US 30-man roster compared to the other two rosters. Now, change Clint Dempsey's club to Tottenham Hotspur (Yes, a typical Spurs mistake to lose him), change Bradley's club to Roma (Another big mistake from a club), change Donovan's club to Everton (The only reason why Everton never bought Landon was the fact that he was too expensive), and consider altidore a top scorer in the Eredivisie (We all knew Sunderland was a bad deal). Jermaine Jones is no longer with Schalke, but my point stands---The US players didn't exactly drop out of form (We shall see about Altidore)--especially Dempsey and Bradley, who are certainly playing at the level they were when they were in Europe. Both Dempsey and Bradley would have easily made the 30 for Portugal and Ghana, respectively.

    Simply changing club names, while keeping international stats intact, reveals an ugly truth, it's Ghana, not the US, who are the weakest team on paper. Portugal, furthermore, aside from CR7, are suprisingly not much better than the US. Ghana have struggled, as Canuck has said, and Portugal have dropped easy points. It should be said that the two times were the US dropped points in the Hex (Honduras and Costa Rica), in both instances the US was expected to lose or at best draw. More often, we took points in unexpected places (Mexico, Jamaica, Panama).

    Overall, I find the handwringing on Big Soccer annoying and counterproductive. Truth is, only Germany really stands out of the group. It's going to be a dogfight for the #2 spot, and our dog doesn't exactly look bad.
     
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  23. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    TheHoustonHoyaFan Member+

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    KPB and JJ are conspiring to make your dreams come through: ;)

    "We sat next to each other during the draw. The U.S. was drawn, Germany was drawn, Ghana was drawn," Boateng told ESPN FC. "We had to laugh, and Jermaine said: "Just think that the U.S. and Ghana make it out the group, and we knock Germany out."
    ...
    "Jermaine plays in holding midfield, and I, hopefully, in attacking midfield. I've told him that I will play the ball through his legs, and he replied that I will no longer be able to run after that," Boateng added, although he admitted that both had not talked about the World Cup in a while. "It'll be enough to see him on the pitch
    ."
    http://www.espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1819204/boateng-ready-meet-us-friend-jones-brazil?cc=5901
     
  24. Adiaga Two

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    Much of this has truth to it...but it still makes up and unbalanced and underwhelming side that doesn't really come close to what the other teams in the group are offering up in terms of club achievement.

    We all know Landon could have had an impressive career in Europe had he chose to go that route, but (as has been overplayed by many in this forum lately) he is past his prime and increasingly unable to use the qualities that made him special as an attacker running out of midfield.

    Spurs had an iffy season (still finished 6th) but you're kidding yourself if you believe the club or any of their fans think Dempsey would have made a difference either way. Clint is a great player in US history who put together a fine career, but he definitely had/has a ceiling which he has long been at. Smart, dedicated player with a great nose for goal, but lacking quickness and the sensibility to create for others - was never going to be a top-class Champions League-level attacker.

    Love Michael Bradley and have defended him to death on these forums over the years...but in the larger scope of major European competition he is a vanilla central midfielder who only hung around at Roma level for a year-and-a-half. Jermaine Jones is an exciting ball-winner and runner in midfield, but has too many flaws in his game to be a consistent force for any side he's been in. All the other teams in the group have multiple central mids who have more dimensions to their game and years more top-level experience than MB and JJ.

    It's really not that reassuring at all that we have at most 4-5 field players who would make the squads of the other teams in our group.

    Even if it is the case that a handful of Ghana squaddies play for Botswana Meat Commission FC, the top end of their roster is littered with young, dynamic talent who would waltz into the US lineup. A past-it Michael Essien would still be the best American player of all-time, while guys like Boateng, Muntari, and the Ayews provide a dynamism in attack that just doesn't exist in the US team even in the big names like Donovan, Dempsey, and Bradley.

    Portugal other than CR7 still boasts a dozen players at perennial Champions League clubs, and their strikers (long considered to be the weak link in the Portuguese team) would all start for the US.
     
    Mr Martin repped this.
  25. TheHoustonHoyaFan

    TheHoustonHoyaFan Member+

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