wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Monday, June 05, 2006

US 1:0 Angola

Deja vu anyone? Just like in 2002, the USMNT won its closed-door pre-WC scrimmage 1-0 thanks to a McBride goal. This time the opponent was Angola not Costa Rica. Can we read anything into this? Perhaps.

The pessimistic view: The US managed only a one-goal win against possibly the weakest of the WC-qualified teams, and that after playing two-thirds of the game 11 against 10 (Angolan midfielder Loco was sent off in the 30th minute after receiving a second yellow card). This team has lost all three of its pre-WC friendlies, including a recent 3-2 loss at the hands of non-qualified side Turkey. Moreover, according to the AP article, Angola dominated the second half of the game although they didn't score. If that's the best we can do against this quality of opposition, what chance do we have against Italy, Ghana, or the Czechs?

The optimistic view: A win is a win. Plus, this is only Bruce's second win on European soil, ever. The game report itself is fuzzy, and the comment about the Angolans' second-half dominance came from their head coach, so can't be taken seriously. The AP report also suggests that Reyna looked good, which bodes well in light of his injury issues, and another goal from McBride means that our top striker looks like he's coming back on form, which was also in doubt after he seemed to slump toward the end of the EPL season with Fulham. This victory means we now have a nice three-game win streak going into group play, which should give us a bit of momentum. And remember, there's no transitive property in soccer. Just because we didn't dominate Angola (in a scrimmage, where we don't even know the lineup or players) doesn't mean we won't turn it on against the Czechs.

Update: Eddie Lewis discloses a little more about the friendly. Turns out the goal came from a McBride header on a cross from the right (doesn't say by who). Also, there were massive subs--in all, 20 guys played for the US. Thus I don't think we can read too much into it. It was really more a practice scrimmage than a friendly international.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say McBride slumped at the end of the Premiership season. Rather, Malbranque and Boa Morte came on very strong late, and while he may not have scored goals, McBride did provide for many of their (Malbranque's and Boa Morte's) goals.

7:35 AM, June 06, 2006

Blogger DF said...

I hope you're right. I wasn't able to see Fulham's games, so I'm not an expert on the topic. I based my opinion on commentary I read observing that McB looked gassed in his last ten or so games, as though the long season had worn him down. But he seems to be coming on form, so we should be all set on that front. As for other forwards, I remain concerned.

9:56 AM, June 06, 2006

Blogger u8out said...

Re: pessimistic view....I get worried, too, when we dominate play (see Latvia, for another example) but struggle to put the ball in the back of the net. I fear that bodes ill for our chances to advance to knock-out round. Hopefully, someone will get hot.

10:59 PM, June 06, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home