Pre-Game: Let's hope Serbia over Germany was the upset for the day. But there's a lesson in that game: Just because a team comes out poorly (or strong), it doesn't mean that's the true team. The same should be expected of the United States and Slovenia.
Bob Bradley's claim that it's a chess match: not good. Even though the U.S. isn't first in their group, the point from the England game puts the U.S. in a great position to win the group on goal differential. They need to be aggressive.
I know most will want the team to focus on winning first, then goals, but a large goal margin will put a tremendous amount of pressure on England. Remember, the U.S. plays before them.
Yes, he made the comment to the media, but I would rather a real aggressive approach for the last two games.
Will comment on Torres next.
A shrewd decision by Bradley. Many people clamored for it, and many people have already explained why he's the better choice in the middle. I agree as well.
However, morally, I agree with my earlier comments. Ricardo Clark deserves a second chance for helping to earn a draw against England. He doesn't really help the attack near as much as Torres, but is it wrong to take a player out after the upset draw? Doesn't he earn one more shot even though the best choice is probably Torres?
Side note: Is Bradley growing as a manager? A year ago he'd never have changed his lineup.
Sure, he still struggles with in game substitutions, but hey, he's tinkering with the lineup.
Obviously, he was going to play. I don't agree with the comments that the team lives or dies by Howard at this point. The team will at some point in the future, but it will be in the elimination rounds against a tough opponent.
It will be in a situation like the Swiss vs. Spain game. Switzerland's goalkeeper did everything right and was integral to the win; that's when we'll need Howard.
Play has to go through him. He was absent from the last one. U.S. beats England if he has the ball more. The team needs to make a point of getting Donovan the ball.
Again, does Bradley look ahead of the curve since his team actually practices set pieces?
Few teams are executing well from the dead ball. Bradley comes off like a genius (in this area).
Alexi Lalas not in the studio? How are we going to get his best analysis if he's at the game? He won't be able to look down at his paper and then act like he's completely ignored the comments of the other analyst and was only waiting for his turn to talk.
Also, is it hard for other people to take a man seriously that came off as a hippie while he played and conducted himself like he didn't think about the game at all?
He's done well with his position, making decent comments, and even calling out the U.S. for horrible play at the Confederations Cup (I think Michael Bradley's comments were directed at Lalas), but isn't it weird to have Lalas out of all the possible analysts on air?
Presentation of Teams
Wasn't John Harkes supposed to be relegated to radio broadcasts? I know there was some controversy around the originally chosen announcers (all being foreign).
I enjoy his commentary, excited he'll be doing the match.
Do any of the players know the Star Spangled Banner?
Love that a number of the players (Demerit, Bradley) have their hair cut short. Someone needs to look hard since Bocanaegra has his hair ready for the club.
Not a lot of experimentation in this World Cup. I'm really surprised. Big tournaments are where we get new formations. Uruguay's 4-3-3 that was actually a 4-4-2 with Forlan as the free player/attacking mid was about as intense as it gets.
Dempsey's thrown an elbow. He's broken a player's jaw with the same move. Wasn't malice, but elbows are part of his repertoire.
U.S. haven't been scored against. This is new.
Bradley with a great pass. His passing has been better than it's ever been.
Bradley's pushing with Torres. This is interesting. It adds a level of aggression, but what about spacing and defensive manoeuvres.
Don't know if it's in Slovenia's best interest to sit back. They're doing a good job pushing forward. The U.S. is clearly uncomfortable having to control the ball.
It'll be interesting to see if Slovenia opens up a little as the game progresses.
Don't know if Findley is the right choice for this type of game, short passes, control, possession. There's not going to be a lot of space for him to run onto the ball.
Goal! Slovenia 20 yards out?! U.S. doesn't mark-up tightly in the scoring third, strong shot and goal. When is this team going to get mentally focused, keep marks when they're 20 yards out, and play smart, not just with energy and passion?
The goal should never have happened.
Are the Americans waking up? A little attack. Bradley shot. They need to press.
Need more runs by Donovan.
Bradley stepped into his space, but other than that, Bradley is probably the strongest player right now.
If the forwards don't get involved soon, they need to be taken off the pitch at halftime.
Where is Dempsey?
Howard saves, no grimace. Looks decent.
Why isn't the team marking up defensively? Noone is playing very tight defensively, absolute opposite of England game. It's pretty disappointing.
No passion from the United States. A little earlier Dempsey let a man go right by him. Forwards still look lost.
Donovan comes back into the midfield to get a ball. Needs to continue that type of play.
I like the idea of pushing forward with Bradley trailing the attacking line and picking up loose balls that aren't cleared. He's been right on top of every loose ball near the box.
This game is about to get real slow.
The Slovenian game plan is right on. They hold the ball and wait. They have the lead and don't need to worry as the U.S. can't sustain any pressure.
Then they strike when the holes open up.
Altidore needs more plays like this. He has to be the one to chase down balls. Much stronger than Findley.
Torres on the free kick. Great shot.
Interesting that Donovan defers, but a good thing. Donovan is an inconsistent free kick taker. Still, what does it say that the U.S.'s best player doesn't want to take the set piece?
Hopefully it comes from what they've drawn up on the training ground.
Demerit's header really strong at the top of the box.
Agree with the commentary: get the ball to the midfielders early, especially Donovan and Dempsey.
Bad call on handball yellow.
Great build up. Great ball across. Should have scored. How many more chances?
Expected goal on the counter. Again, defense with the mental mistake.
Yes, it's difficult on the counter, but you don't lose track of the one attacker. He doesn't get that open.
Bob Bradley has a number of difficult halftime decisions. No matter what, he has to make changes, and the team needs to win. It needs three goals.
Clearly, Findley has to go. Also, he needs to get Dempsey and Donovan into the game more. The best way to do that at this point is to move their positions.
A friend recommended a 4-3-3. Move Dempsey to the middle, let Bradley roam since Slovenia isn't utilizing the midfield. Not sure if that's the call, but the point is something drastic needs to happen because a loss is unacceptable at this point.
I'd be tempted to place Gomez and Holden on at the start of the half. Findley comes off. Don't want to get into the possible formations, etc. It could go on forever just take a look at the archives for the United States Soccer section on this site.
For Slovenia, the traditional response is to not change anything, and why should they? It's not like they're being challenged.
If the U.S. scores a goal, pack it in. It's unlikely they'll score two.
They could come out and pack it in from the beginning and challenge the U.S. to score two.
Feilhaber and Edu. Interesting call.
Edu allows Bradley to continue to play the way he is. Strong defensive mid.
Feilhaber has played well as an outside sub. Controls the ball. Good passer.
Smart to move Bradley forward.
The important point is that he made the changes.
GOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!! Exactly what needed to happen. Donovan pushing up like a forward. Perfect way to come out. Unbelievable finish.
Cherundolo and Donovan same side: great offensively. Both push forward. Donovan will track back; however, Dolo has had trouble with his mark. Is it smart to push that high on the side with a forward playing so well in that space?
Slovenia looks panicked. Bad decisions. Bad crosses. Bad shots. U.S. needs to pressure.
Two major mistakes from the two best players from the U.S.: Dempsey opts for the through ball to Altidore over Donovan. It's broken up.
Donovan, bad back-pass.
Sums up the way the game has gone for the most part. Shocking inconsistency from the Americans.
Edu is Chris Rock's younger brother. I'm convinced.
It's about time Howard's been a presence in the game—Not that he should have done anything on the goals, but being a presence makes it that much more difficult for Slovenia.
Can someone get on the end of the back-door ball? The U.S. has had three chances now.
Edu is playing great. He's really taken control of the defensive duties in the middle. I wondered if he should have seen the field more in the warmups. He does play for the Rangers.
One of the comments was about the officiating: don't like blaming the refs. The United States hasn't deserved the benefit of the doubt with their play.
Findley hasn't played well enough to be needed against Algeria, not a great loss.
And the linesmen had a great call on Slovenia's second goal. He looked offside, but clearly wasn't.
Just in the nick of time the linesman comes through.
Like Harkes challenging his partners analysis of the play. Never hear that.
Altidore should have done better on the shot.
Dempsey could easily have been rewarded a penalty, but I think the ref deferred to Altidore's opportunity, and again, he should have scored.
Not a fair no call, but understood.
Again agreeing with Harkes. Is it time for Gomez?
It's a gamble. United States is doing well. Slovenia collecting cards, revealing their struggles. Will a substitution change everything?
The ref doesn't like Altidore. Has to be the explanation.
Altidore needs to go. The decision to shoot on that play. The ref's not giving him any love. He's not winning headballs. He's doing little now. Time to go with Gomez or Buddle.
Gomez for Onyewu. Interesting. Understand the change. Need to score. Onyewu may have had the worst game in two years today.
How will Slovenia react?
Will there be enough space for Donovan and Dempsey in the attack?
Goal Bradley. Well deserved for one of the best players today.
Announcers are right. Need to be careful. Stay focused.
Nevertheless, the team needs one more goal.
The ref won't officiate another game. The repercussions will be interesting.
Unacceptable lack of pressure by the U.S. It's not just Feilhaber. The team needed to step and take that ball. One thing this team underestimates: the impact of pressure on players.
What to say? Disappointing of course.
For next game:
Offensively, the team needs to score goals. Three at least.
Edu played himself into the first team. Bradley had the best game of his career at the right time. He's having a strong World Cup. We've probably had a glimpse of our central midfield for the next four years (Edu and Bradley).
The team will need a more attacking formation for the next game. Probably some lineup of 4-3-1-2, but the 1 will be Donovan playing like an attacking right midfield, sliding in behind the two forwards, tracking back to help Cherundolo.
Everyone else plays like normal.
Do you play Dempsey up top? He did well there today. It frees up a spot in the midfield. Plus, Findley is not eligible, and Altidore was not as effective as he needs to be.
As far as the ref is concerned, his judgement was worse as the game went on. He won't be in the center for another game.
But the team cannot put itself in that position.
Bob Bradley would rather wait of course. We'll see.
Defensively, the team was miserable. The back line cannot get organized. Onyewu with a really bad game. They're not a smart back-line. Their game has to improve 100%.
It's not panic time for the United States. They can still advance as long as there aren't too many surprises, and they win.
The team needs to score of course. If the team ends up tied for second, goal differential will be the deciding factor.
The U.S. needs a big plus number in this category just incase.