Wednesday, March 27, 2013

US Take Point in Mexico

The US did something last night they've only done once before in Mexico City.  Against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier, the US walked out of Azteca with a point thanks to a 0-0 draw last night.  The US didn't put on the greatest performance offensively, but defensively the team was solid.  Starting center backs Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez were making just their 2nd and 6th cap respectively and in arguably one of the toughest places to play in the world, looked World Class.  Gonzalez probably had the better match of the two, but it wasn't by much as Besler was all over the place, doing the exact same things he does for Kansas City on a regular basis, cleaning up the trash in the box and cutting out lanes.  Both center backs certainly made Jurgen Klinsmann's choice to start them look genius.

It wasn't just the USA's center backs that played well defensively.  Arguably everyone had a good defensive game for the US, even DaMarcus Beasley, who was the go at target for Mexico all night, but Beasley kept plugging away and frustrated Mexico.  Sporting's other call up, Graham Zusi also had an impressive performance defensively, making a nice tackle in the first half and then making a 20 yard sprint to head away a ball at the back post on what would have been a free header on goal. 

That said the US did get lucky to not have a penalty called on Maurice Edu in the second half for a poor challenge in the box.  But overall the night belonged to the US defense and Besler, Gonzalez, and Brad Guzan.


Nathan Martin said...

Classic Besler.

Matt prevents attacks with routine-looking tackles.

Gonzalez/Collin are forced to defend attacks with spectacular tackles.

I'm sure Jimmy has some influence on his positioning and anticipation.

hartley said...

I just wish JK would trust Zusi to man the attacking mid. Dempsey is not a midfielder. He is a forward. And so, there was too much space between Clint and Bradley for most of the match. Take Altidore off, push Dempsey to the center forward spot, move Zusi to the a-mid, and bring on a speedy right wing. That way you have a strong line of ball handling and distribution from Bradley to Zusi to Dempsey and the wingers. The way Zusi is played now on both the Nats and with Sporting, he has only half the field to pass to. Not good.