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Post-match: USA @ Mexico- 2nd Viewing Analysis

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by FirstStar, Aug 16, 2012.

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  1. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

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    Welcome to the latest stop for the Jurgen und seinen Menschen Grateful Guests World Tour. After wearing out their welcome in Italy, we smash and grab in Azteca- breaking the curse of that stadium. After watching the first half again tonight, I felt like posting a few key observations. I'll go through the 2nd half tomorrow.

    1. What 4-3-3? The US was flat 4-4-2 for most of the first half, frequently moving to a flat 4-5-1. Luis Castillo played well, yes, but he was closely shielded by Landon Donovan for much of the half. In fact if you go back and count up the times Mexico got lose against our left side, most resulted from times when Landon tried to get forward into the attack. I'm tempted to grade Castillo down a bit (looked poorer when left unshielded) and Landon up a bit (making Castillo look good on defense took a lot of effort and helps explain his ineffectiveness in the attack).

    2. Everybody knows Edu can't defend under pressure as a CB, right? Not. I'm eating crow here. He played well, very well, in his positioning. In fact, Edu was supposed to be an upgrade in possession and passing out of the back while being suspect in his defending. Quite the opposite-- excellent positioning all the first half but some really, really sucky passes.

    3. Possession soccer is winning soccer, right? Not really. We did nothing with possession when we had it because we were defending too deep and Mexico was leaving players back to take away our counter. Mexico really did nothing with possession when they had it because we were defending deep and they left players back to guard against our counter. Torres had a bad game, but he was in an impossible situation- no CM behind him who could be counted on to possess allowed Mexico to double team JFT at every turn. With Landon playing so deep, we had no linking play at all. To me, this was JK's only big coaching error- JFT can't be the possession player on a defend-and-counter team.

    4. Perhaps, just perhaps, Jurgen can really coach. Mexico is very dangerous in the attack when (1) they have space AND (2) they can keep the ball on the ground through the middle. We funneled their attack to the wings and forced in crosses where our big CBs (and big F. Johnson at times) ate up those crosses. US defenders stayed back from Mexico- allowing them to hold and move the ball but not pass into the middle or dribble into the middle. Mexico bit and got nothing out of it. They did get off a few decent long-range shots (which is the book on what to do against us) but their shots sucked. Whether by design (laying off the right players) or luck, Mexico wasn't able to lure us out of our shell by shooting from distance. Shape discipline won the day for the US. For all of Mexico's possession, they really weren't able to do anything useful with the ball.

    5. Oh Danny Boy. I'm not sure what to say about Danny Williams. He's terrible going forward. Really, really terrible. Mexico virtually stopped defending him (focusing extra effort on JFT and Landon instead). And yet . . . Italy 0 - 1 USA . . . Mexico 0 - 1 USA- both games with three defensive mids and Danny Williams at RM. Perhaps there's something to this, but I'm not sure. In Italy, it took Dempsey's brilliance to score. In Mexico, he was off the field when we scored. I think JK needs to look at whether we can be just as defensive with Mike Bradley in Danny's place.
     
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  2. Bob Morocco

    Bob Morocco Member+

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    No second viewing but it looked like a 4-3-1-2/4-3-2-1 depending on where Donovan shifted. Then we changed to Beckerman and Jones as 6/8 CMs after a sub or two.
     
  3. Maximum Optimal

    Maximum Optimal Member+

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    It was a really odd sight seeing Torres leading the forward line for long stretches of the first half. That couldn't have been by design could it?
     
  4. Berks

    Berks Member+

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    I was so freaked out I watched the first time with the sound off (didn't want to hear 60,000 people cheering a Mexican goal). So I rewatched a second time with the sound on. Decided while I did that to put some key plays on paper:

    '1 - Johnson and Williams covering a runner down the left with Beckerman running parallel. Jones is a little slow coming back (and not communicating with Beckerman), leaving a hole in front of the backline in the middle. Mexico passes there, Jermaine goes "oh shit!" runs up, pressures, fouls the player.

    '2 - Interesting little yelling match between Cameron and Jones.

    '5 - JFT sends in freekick. It's short. Beckerman sends back in, Mexico clears badly, Edu heads back towards Gomez who gets pulled down and shanked his shot. When I first watched this I thought it was a PK. Now I think Herc should have muscled through it.

    '7 - Castillo doesn't pressure Barrera and is pedalling backwards, allowing him to thread a ball through for Chicharito. Cameron makes one of his few mistakes and goes to ground early to clear, completely missing the ball. US is lucky the ball is slightly over hit, and Cheech doesn't look bothered.

    '8 - Danny Williams tries to make a forward pass to Gomez on a counter. It's comically bad and way too far in front of him, effectively killing a counter. (I feel bad for Danny, I'd like to see him at DM).

    '9 - Barrera once again skins Castillo and sends another through ball to Chicharito. Cameron this time is onto it, and muscles Cheech off the ball. Who flops.

    '12 - Cameron muscles Chicharito over on a cross into the box.

    Note: Edu's positioning and communication with Cameron is surprisingly good. Castillo really started this game not so great. Maybe explains why Landon was shackled to him for periods as FirstStar says.

    '14 - Mexico plays a dummy than a give and go with Jones caught behind the play, forcing Edu a bit out of position, and Cameron into panic coverage. Reyna threads through and Edu is forced to foul by tripping Chicharito. Earns a yellow card for his efforts.

    '15 - Guardado skins Castillo and Jones comes in for an emergency block.

    '16 - Azteca actively and loudly boos LD while he's on the ball. Tee hee.

    Note: Just realized I've mentioned JFT like...never.

    '18 - Jurgen tells Cameron to hold the line and not step into midfield. Aka, keep your shape and limit getting caught out too high.

    '19 - Williams gets free on a nice long ball from Cameron, scampers down the right, then sends in a terrible cross. -wince-

    '19 - Johnson passes to JFT (with LD standing in acres of space on the upper left with his arm raised). JFT with the touch of an elephant turns the ball over, then walks and watches the rest of the midfield scramble to defend. Yikes. Twellman comments on it.

    '20 - Guardado sends in a cross that deflects off Johnson. Edu doesn't clear it far enough and then plays a game of "you got it!" with Beckerman. Luckily Guardado shanks the resulting shot. Howard has a coronary and gives Edu and Beckerman an earful.

    '21 - Finally a nice passing sequence. Castillo to Cameron to JFT to Jones nice pass to LD who plays JFT wide nicely and JFT sends in a great cross that Gomez is -this far- from stabbing in. Williams late to the play on the far post. :(

    '22 - Castillo plays LD wide, who plays Gomez wide. Gomez does some nice dribbling to get inside a Mexican defender, but he recovers and strips Gomez. Good play all around.

    '23 - Cameron strips Chicharito. Jones nearly springs LD on the counter, but his pass is a touch too heavy.

    '25 - Castillo gets passed around, forcing LD into a rash challenge in a bad spot. Though he is back defending like a LM for some reason. (4-5-1 anyone?)

    '26 - LD doesn't pressure Barrera enough who sends in a cross that Howard punches out.

    '28 - Jones with a bad turnover at the 30 leading to a Mexican (bad) shot. Mexico possession 63%.

    '31 - Gomez does a great job forcing a yellow card when he's 1 v 5.

    '32 - LD and JFT both head towards a ball, it pings around, LD goes down, JFT halfheartedly tries to stick ("defend") with Reyna who speeds away and springs the counter. Cameron cuts out the cross.

    '34 - LD feeds Williams at the top of the box. Danny stands there and can't figure out what to do. Passes back to Johnson. Passes back to Williams who has now worked himself to the endline. Mexico pings it off him and out. Ouch.

    Note: There are many many minutes where Torres is playing higher than LD - essentially closer to Gomez than LD is. I have no idea why this is.

    '37 - Guardado scampers down the right - Beckerman a little bit behind the play to cut out the pass through the middle. Edu and Cameron both block out Chicharito from taking the shot. Good defending. On the subsequent corner Jones has a critical clearance.

    '38 - Castillo stuffs Barrera. LD with a bad pass out though.

    '45 (yeah, nothing for ages) - one-two with Guardado leaves Williams in the dust, but Howard comes to snuff it out.

    Observations:
    1) As Maximum Optimal says, JFT spends an awful lot of time above LD and Danny Williams on the pitch. What was up with that? It rendered him invisible. Oh, and he doesn't defend.
    2) Cameron had Chicharito in his pocket.
    3) Castillo started scary, then settled down. Was helped a ton on the left by LD who for all intense and purposes played as a LM for a good chunk of the half. (He also was not as poor as people thought. Spent the majority of his time defending. 5-6 would be accurate for him, and that's what most press gave him. However, could have found the game more and been more active, probably related to his hamstring.)
    4) Danny Williams, not an attacking player. At all. But we knew that already.
    5) Mexico didn't really create much of anything. Other than a couple of plays, Howard kinda had nothing to do. Ochoa on the other hand, could have left the building for wide swaths of the first half, but hey, who's counting?
    6) Edu + Cameron = not bad.
    7) Johnson struggled with Guardado, but didn't break.
    8) Gomez worked hard.
    9) Jones was not good enough on the ball.
     
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  5. Berks

    Berks Member+

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    I didn't see this yesterday. Just rewatched the first half. LONG stretches where he is essentially 2nd striker. Bad on his part? Tactics????
     
  6. Berks

    Berks Member+

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    Second half - Boyd, DMB in, LD, JFT out.

    '50 - Castillo cuts out a bad pass, but then manages to have E Hernandez strip him of it. Hernandez puts in a ballooned cross that an open Guardado whiffs at. Cross sent back in and Beckerman loses Lugo who puts his header wide.

    '52 - Hernandez strolls through midfield scot free (DMB hustling back) and takes a shot that Howard parries.

    '53 - Watching this now, it's a painful play. Williams makes his 1 attacking play by taking a quick throw-in to an onrushing Gomez. Gomez takes the bad shot, ignoring a criminally wide open Boyd in the middle. And I mean OPEN.

    '55 - Jones literally watches as a dangerous cross gets put in which barely misses Chicharito (he was offsides anyway). Howard has his second coronary.

    '56 - EHernandez once again skins Castillo (why wasn't Hernandez starting over Barrera I don't know) and puts in a decent cross. A last ditch header by Cameron -who is backpedalling- saves a goal.

    '57 - EHernandez nutmegs Castillo, then puts in a cross against DMB. Edu completely loses his mark Zavala, wide open header put too high.

    Note: Castillo is now getting eaten alive, partially because the cover he had in the first half is gone. Barrera is nowhere near as dangerous as Hernandez, but DMB is playing higher up the pitch than LD was.

    '58 - Dangerous turnover by Castillo goes unpunished when Chicharito thinks he's offsides. Don't think he was.

    Zusi on, Williams off

    '61 - Kyle Beckerman nearly gets a freak goal while trying to prevent a counter.

    '63 - Chicharito gets frustrated and dives for a foul against Geoff Cameron right at the top of the box. Guardado fires just wide.

    '65 - Fabian Johnson takes the ball off Chicharito's foot. Great recovery after a series of quick passes. Cameron heads in the wrong direction and EHernandez takes a shot wide.

    '69 - Jones gets the ball stuck under his feet on a counter, turns it over. Frustrated, earns a deserved yellow card less than a minute later. Lucky not to be sent off.

    Note: Other than that throw-in and wild Beckerman shot, 24 minutes of 0 offense and counting.

    '71 - Chicharito nearly gets a foot on the ball behind Edu. Touch fails him.

    '75 - Another Jones turnover. You know what? He's been terrible. Followed by a DMB turnover, but he hustles ass to get back. Cameron cuts out the cross with a header.

    '76 - Castillo once again gets skinned by EHernandez who puts in a great cross. Chicharito flat out misses it after losing Cameron.

    Castillo out, MOF in.
    Gomez out, Shea in.

    '78 - THE GOAL (Our first real attacking thrust in the entire half).

    '82 - Zusi with a hard tackle, yellow card. Shouldn't have been one, but welcome to Azteca.

    '84 - Boyd with a bad turnover.

    '85 - Howard super save #1 on deflected shot after a whiffed clearance by Cameron.

    '88 - Boyd strips Mexico of the ball, Shea leads the counter and puts in a peach of a cross into Boyd (who was confidently calling for it). Boyd just misses with an outstretched leg and defenders draped all over him.

    Jones off, Corona in.

    '89 - Guardado with another cross in (boy we've been making them play the flanks), Cameron and Johnson get beat, Tim Howard supersave #2. Jurgen's loving it.

    '94 - US gets a foul for breathing and you can see the entire US bench standing and up in arms. Mexico bench = seated and hunched over.

    History.

    Kudos to Ochoa for coming over and congratulating Howard at the end of the match. Class.

    1) Jones was even worse in the 2nd half. Wow, turnover machine.
    2) Cameron was tested, but came out okay.
    3) Castillo looked much, much worse - think he was removed so that Johnson could go over to the other side.
    4) We still had no offense except on two plays generated by Brek Shea.
    5) DMB showed veteran wiles at the end.
    6) We are very, very lucky to have Tim Howard.
    7) Graham Zusi didn't do much, but he didn't do much wrong either.
    8) Still love Boyd's enthusiasm.
    9) MOF - no idea what you were doing in the 6 yard box, but hey, we'll take it!
    10) Remember when these two teams didn't even do handshakes? Not a ton of handshakes, but the hug between Ochoa and Howard did say a lot. Good stuff.
     
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  7. cpwilson80

    cpwilson80 Member

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    On the second watch, I was most reminded that this is a makeshift team. In a way, it will make me remember this result with even more fondness. Apparently, we need an against-all-odds situation to grab points at Azteca!

    With that in mind, what struck me most was how we earned this result with so little going forward. Against Italy (again, with the A-team), we showed some great stretches of possession. Here, we lacked some of the basics in attack, let alone creativity.

    Totally agree with the observations above - Torres was incredibly high up the field, Donovan tracked back and shielded Castillo, and Edu-Cameron-Johnson held it together in the back.

    Also, Tim Howard for president.
     
  8. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

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    Hell, the coaches exchanged an embrace. By this time after a loss LaVolpe would be talking about how small the US plays. Like his Mother or Sister.
     
  9. raza_rebel

    raza_rebel Member+

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    Before it gets taken down.
     
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  10. Spursfan1

    Spursfan1 Member+

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    a thing of beauty. love that 2012 has 2 moments for youtube vidoes of the future. two historic wins.

    cemented forever in US MNT history. FOREVER.
     
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  11. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

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    Watched the 2nd half of the game today.

    1. Beasley is no Landon Donovan. The left side was wide, wide open well into the 2nd half. DMB left Castillo out on an island a lot and that led to a period of 20 minutes or so (early) where Mexico created seriously good chances by attacking down our left side. Flip side, of course, is that the USA look a bit more dangerous going forward as well, although I'm not sure how much Beaser contributed to that.

    2. You can take the team out of a 4-4-2 . . . But you can't take the 4-4-2 out of the team, it seems. Should come as no surprise to anyone that we looked more dangerous with two forwards in the game. Jozy has played well in the past in the USA 4-4-2 when paired with a target forward- would be interesting to see Jozy and Boyd on the field together.

    3. All he does is set up goals against Mexico. The goal was beautiful and goes as a testament to youth and fresh legs. Fresh legs (Boyd and Zusi) were pressing, leading to a turnover deep in Mexico's half. The fearlessness of youth led to Brek's 'meg and attack to the line (and his ability to adjust to his bad touch and still get the ball into the center). Can't say enough about Boyd's back-heel pass and Fiscal's cool finish (scuffed it, but got it in). Brek had a beautiful cross in the 88th that almost found Boyd in the box. Good subs by the coach and great attitude from the youth on our team.

    4. You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads. Lasers in the eyes of any player, in any sport, are completely unacceptable. We can laugh at (and even respect) a lot of the fan behavior in Azteca, but laser pointers go too far. USSF needs to have this addressed in advance and know exactly what we will do if it happens during the qualifier. To me, this is every bit as dangerous to Tim as throwing flares on the field (see NY Times article on green laser pointers-- www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/health/01laser.html).
     
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  12. dlokteff

    dlokteff Member+

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    I thought it was even more shocking. Torres at times was the HIGHEST on the pitch, well ahead of Gomez and Donovan. When your "linking" player is the last chain in the link, something has gone awry.

    I do remember Castillo struggling early, but you seem to indicate it went on all match. I'm no fan of his, but thought he did more good than bad.
     
  13. Spursfan1

    Spursfan1 Member+

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    torres was subbed off for a reason.
     
  14. dban

    dban Member

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    [/quote]

    I think our engineers should come up with some really cool looking laser filter glasses for Timmy to wear. They already think he is Darth Vader, this will cement it, they will never score on him again.
     
  15. WrmBrnr

    WrmBrnr Member

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    Did you mean Castillo? Torres wasn't on the field with DMB.
     
  16. Mr Martin

    Mr Martin Member+

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    Let me just say that Berks' two game recap posts were the most enjoyable reads I had the last 2 days on BS. Well done and much appreciated. Repped twice.
     
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  17. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

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    You are correct- fortunately not to late for me to edit my post, which I have now done.
     
  18. WrmBrnr

    WrmBrnr Member

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    Cool - I thought you meant Castillo - just wanted to be certain.
     
  19. FirstStar

    FirstStar Hustlin' for the USA

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    I think Castillo only looked OK in the first half because he got so much help from Landon. DMB did not support LC as much. Johnson, on the other hand, was able to lock down that side on his own.

    MOF was playing right back at the time and pushed up into the attack. He's certainly no natural at RB (although he does have excellent foot-speed) but he was playing the position correctly.

    I've thought about this a bit. Between the Gold Medal and an open acknowledgment from the US (especially Jurgen) recently that Mexico are a very good team and we'd like to be more like them, I think some of the chip was gone from their shoulder this week. I'm sure it will come back, but this was less intense from Mexico. I don't buy the "it's just a friendly and we weren't trying" BS- no one can honestly say that El Tri were happy to lose to the USA in Azteca. But I didn't get the sense that the El Tri players hated the USA as much as the prior generation.
     
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  20. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

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    [​IMG]
     
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  21. nbarbour

    nbarbour Member

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    I think your analysis has been spot on for the most part, but I have to quibble a bit on the quoted part above. I believe Danny Williams played a significant role in keeping Mexico's left side in check while he was in.
     
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  22. TrueCrew

    TrueCrew Member+

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    Nice OP, and the minute by minute notes were fantastic.

    Two nits. One, it is Edgar Castillo, not Luis Castillo. 2nd: I think I read in the post-game quotes that Orozco Fiscal came up for a throw in, but when we recovered the ball so quickly, he just decided to stay up there and, in his words, "see what happens." Glad he stayed in the box.

    On the formation, it was hard for me to tell, even on second viewing, and Torres' meanderings (by design or not) are part of it, as were Landon's playing so far back. I kind of think it was supposed to be 4-3-1-2 with Torres as the 1 and Donovan supporting Gomez. But man, that is a narrow formation. Looked like it morphed into a flat 4-5-1 with us defending so much, and a 4-3-2-1 on those rare times when we had the ball.

    On Danny Williams. He is awful going forward. But it VERY good defensively. If we are going to bunker, and make no mistake, with Beckerman, Jones, and Williams in the MF, we were bunkering, then he is an option. Would love to see him play some more defensive positions (DM or RB/LB).
     
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  23. colins1993

    colins1993 Member

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    I need to re watch yet but IIRC our D gifted way too many headed chances to El Tri. Balls in the air caused us all sorts of probs @ the back. This won't cut it next time. Not sure why many are praising our D as much as they are personally.
     
  24. EL MONO MARIO

    EL MONO MARIO Member

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    A great day for American soccer, a win is a win in Mexico and a great confidence booster. This team was really make shift, Mexico was riding a high, and got beat at home by the US. A wake up call for Mex that the US still can beat them any place, any where. For the US a make shit roster, where Donovan played 45 min, got one of the biggest wins in US soccer history.

    Nothing wrong with that.. Plain and simple it was a friendly yes. But an important one.
     
  25. Berks

    Berks Member+

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    He had a solid 2nd 20 minutes of the 1st half, shutting Barrera down. First 20 minutes he was a little asea, 2nd half DMB left him on an island, and it all went to pot. For him it was definitely more good than bad, but he's not starting XI material.

    I was surprised as well when I rewatched.
     
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