Heaven's Gate meeting tonight
Man, that sucked. "Completely justfied," as FIFA's analysis says, but still a jolt nonetheless. They were just so much better tactically. The first touches of our guys were horrible. We still have far to go, as it says on the sidebar of this blog. Of course I was going to be optimistic and pick the USA to win. I can't help it. Although I do find that even though I've waited four years for this, the loss doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. Possibly because matching our achievements of 2002 was always going to be near impossible.
So who actually had a good game? Johnson obviously, and I thought Onyewu did a decent job. Reyna and Donovan showed some sparks as well. McBride never really got a chance to show anything, and the long balls obviously weren't working. So it was a good decision to bring on Wolff and his speed. But nothing we did was going to work.
The Italy game now is a must win slash death march. I expect we'll see a much different lineup, as Bruce might as well roll the dice. O'Brien will probably get the nod over Mastroeni, while neither Convey nor Beasley really impressed. There aren't really better options on defense, unless you want to give somebody else a shot at left back. Johnson and Dempsey could at least provide some spark, and I think every fan wants to see them in the lineup now. Dempsey has played on the left side of midfield for the USA a couple times, why not give it a shot. Up top, again there's no sense replacing McBride. Here's what I would go with:
Keller, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Pope, Cherundolo, Dempsey, O'Brien, Reyna, Donovan, Johnson, McBride