I know that this is cliche and overused—but what a tale of two halves for the United States.
In the first half, the Americans were down a goal and looking stuck in neutral. But by the second half, they were firing on all cylinders.
I believe that in the first half, the United States team was trying to figure out if the Altidore-Dempsey tandem would work up top—and it didn't.
They were too vulnerable on the counter-attack because their back-line was a little too ambitious in the beginning of the game.
Howard was solid yet again, and there was nothing he could do about the first goal—one on one, there's not much a goalie can do about that.
He had some shots where he could have fumbled and given a rebound and didn't. This has come to be expected.
For the back line:
I used to have a concern about the left back position and I was concerned that Bradley would start Bornstein there but with Bocanegra playing there I was at ease, but my concern is now the right back spot.
Spector was outplayed and looked lost at time. His run up front that led to the Turkish goal, he should have distributed it out wide and let a winger do the work. I think Cherundolo has worked his way into contention for the right back spot.
Goodson was shaky but he can be a dangerous substitute who can have his say on set pieces. He was also relatively solid in the back.
DeMerit got turned around a few times but he did much better in the second half. Until Onyewu is healthy, he is still out bulldog in the back.
Bocanegra was solid, I thought that he wouldn't be quick enough to play out wide any more but I was proven wrong.
Gooch played a good 45 minutes in the second half and could start in the World Cup and play 60-70 minutes, I don't think he is ready for 90 minutes or is full match fit.
Bornstein, I don't know why he is on the team, he got turned around multiple times and shows he is not ready for the big time.
For the midfield:
Jose Torres needs to be on the pitch for the United States. Bob Bradley has been looking for a central midfield partner to team up with Bradley Jr. and I think we have found it. His control and his composure were fantastic and he rarely turned the ball over or had a bad decision.
Anyone who says he is too small, he went in for some tackles, he sacrificed his body in front of a shot.
Donovan and Dempsey were much more active when they switched from playing way out wide to closer to the center during the second half.
Bradley did work, went from box to box, he disturbed well, had some good licks and really showed some maturity and improvement.
Clark was little sloppy and a little out of it but that is what happens when you are hurt and you don't get playing time. I think he will be fine and work himself in as a sub.
Holden didn't play enough to really get a grade but I think he should have started over Feilhaber and that is all I'm going to say about Feilhaber because I almost forgot that he played.
The Dempsey plan of him going up top didn't really work. He isn't as good with his back to goal, he needs to run into space or at people like Donovan does. Both of them on the wings will do the US some good.
Altiodore was shaky in the first half and then did very well in the second half, I think that chance at the end of the first half for Altidore helped his confidence and that contributed to his play in the 2nd half.
I liked the introduction of Findley's pace late in the game, he still needs to work on crossing the ball and not dribbling it out of bounds but it's progress from the Netherlands game.
I think that you could start Buddle or Gomez(who both played well up top against the Czechs) up top and sub in Findley for his speed for the last 20 minutes.
Overall, I thought it was a highly entertaining game and the second half was probably the best the US has played since the first half against Brazil in the Final of the Confederations Cup.
Still not a finished product, but the US is starting to play well at the right time.
My projected lineup: 4-4-2
(Left to Right)
Bocanegra, Onyewu, DeMerit, Cherundolo
Dempsey, Torres, Bradley, Donovan
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!