Recaps and game analysis to follow one or two hours after each match.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Game 5: England vs United States

What an excellent way for the United States to start off the World Cup campaign. The players had been speaking very positively throughout the week leading up to the match and they did deliver, but through a tough drawn out fight.

Almost instantly into the match, England went ahead in the fourth minute as Heskey linked up to Gerrard, creating a beautiful give and go against a flat footed US defense. Many people were still settling into their seats, taking a sip of their drink, chatting with other attendees when the goal happened, catching literally everyone off guard. However, the men of the US were not phased.

The United States started to kick into action, and the midfield performed very well, outshining England's superstars for most of the match. They provided good feeds, made good runs, and really just ran around Milner, Lennon, and Lampard, but out of all of them, Dempsey would be the golden boy for the team. In the fortieth minute he would take a hard shot at goal from outside the eighteen yard box, and Robert Green would commit an error so great that it will go down in history, an error so bad that the tabloids will beat him senseless. What should have been an easy scoop up instead ran right past the goalkeepers gloves, and I'm sure in slow motion for everyone watching, crawling it's way into the net. The United States had just equalized against England.

The rest of the match would see both sides continuously pushing, both wanting to come away with a win. England would have a glorious chance in the fifty-second minute when Heskey gets clear of the defense only to see his shot saved by Tim Howard, who made himself huge to block the shot. Thirteen minutes later Jozy Altidore would respond, by leaving Jamie Carragher in the dust to put a low-near-post shot on goal, which Robert Green just manages to knock off the post. These back and forth attacks would continue for the rest of the game, but ultimately England would be disappointed, as the United States came out with a big draw against one of the toughest teams in the world.

There are obviously some big questions concerning this match. Firstly, did the United States deserve this draw? The answer has to be 'yes'. The combination of Findley, Clark, Dempsey, and Donovan was fantastic. These guys worked their butts off, and performed a passing game that put the England midfield to shame. Don't forget Cherundolo either, who ran around Milner and Wright-Phillips like they were simple ball-boys getting in the way. Even Lampard, one of the top midfielders in the world, failed to show up all game, being completely outshines by the United States opposition. These guys worked hard, and although the goal came off of a mistake, it was deserved, because they kept pressing and pressing, never giving in to defeat. They were hungry for a victory and made sure England could not get their way.

However, the United States defense did seem to be an issue in comparison to England's. Whereas John Terry was strong and confident, Oguchi Onyewu was slow to react and cautious. DeMerit may have done a good job marking Rooney, but Rooney was also never fed the ball to actually attack, but when somebody else would leap into the box, such as a Heskey or a Lennon, DeMerit would not react to them. Coach Bradley will have a lot of work to do heading into the next games to make his defense ready, and maybe consider benching Onyewu because he does not seem to be fully fit. Regardless, on a whole it was still an excellent showing, and the United States men's national team should be proud of themselves.

Final Score: England 1 - 1 United States

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