Sunday, October 09, 2005

Costa Rica 3-0 USA

Can't say much about this one, because I stopped watching midway through and just looked up the result (like a lot of other people, apparently). Chris Albright needs to go, and maybe Eddie Pope as well. But it wasn't like we had a reserve team out there, like some people are saying. Almost all of our starting lineup could be in Germany:

Howard, Bocanegra, Pope, Onyewu, Albright, Mastroeni, Lewis, Beasley, Convey, Ching, Twellman

But there's no reason to get upset, as it was a meaningless game. Every team has a bad game once in a while. At the World Cup, we will be playing in front of a neutral crowd with a quality field, with the best referees in the world. In CONCACAF, we have to deal with bad fields, hostile crowds, and poor refs all the time. So we should play better in the World Cup, even if we have the exact same team.

Here is the squad for Panama:

G-Howard, Reis
D-Albright, Califf, Heaps, Marshall, Pope, Spector
M-Carroll, Clark, Dempsey, Hernandez, Mapp, Martino, Ralston
F-Ching, Quaranta, Twellman

Panama should be an easy game and a great chance to test some younger players. Since it's in New England, there are a lot of Revs. SJ is also well represented, as they have nothing to play for next Saturday. Against Costa Rica, the only starter I got wrong was Quaranta; Pope started instead as Bruce tinkered with the formation. Also interesting that Wade Barrett was dropped from the roster. Maybe he picked up a knock, or maybe Spector is due to start at LB and he's not needed.

Howard and Spector are the only Euros held over, and that means they are sure starters. I expect the guys who made the trip to Costa Rica to start. That means Albright, Califf, Pope, Spector, Clark, Martino, Quaranta, Ching, and Twellman. That leaves one spot in the midfield for Dempsey, at left midfield (I don't think Mapp will start without a cap), if Bruce goes with the 4-4-2. I think Marshall may start instead of Pope, but the others should get the nod. Quaranta could lose out to Ralston, but Q needs the experience more.

Howard, Spector, Califf, Marshall, Albright, Clark, Dempsey, Quaranta, Martino, Twellman, Ching

Should be a much easier time for the US (I really should've listened to history and picked a loss last week, but I just couldn't do it). They probably won't destroy them like last year in DC, but it should be a relatively comfortable win over an eliminated team.

Prediction: USA 2-0 Panama

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