In with a shout
1-1. A gutty preformance, and I'm really proud of the way the team has played. Italy appears to be a cut above the Czechs, so hopefully they can take care of business and let us control our own destiny.
Keller is named man of the match, while Arena also praises Convey. Donovan was named the man of the match by the Guardian.
It's sad to say, but it looks like the predictions of Pope as the 2006 version of Jeff Agoos are correct. He's starting because of the experience, but he doesn't have the speed. Hopefully Conrad can be an improvement. Who would've thought he would be a World Cup starter four years ago? Nobody.
A lot of people are wondering why Arena didn't use the third sub. First of all, Conrad came on as because of Pope's red card. So we had our four man backline. Beasley came on for Dempsey because he can offer more on defense than Clint. Plus, he was fresh. Reyna's the captain and he's not going anywhere. So the only realistic guys to take off were Donovan and McBride, who both gave great efforts. At the end of the match, we were basically trying to hold on and had given up any chance of scoring. So there wasn't a need to bring on a forward. McBride is better at holding the ball than Johnson anyway, and on defense too. O'Brien and Olsen seem like decent choices to solidify the D, but they don't offer the pace that Landon or Beasley have. With 9 on 10, I don't think an extra sub would've made a difference anyway.
Against Ghana, we'll actually have to score a goal for once. Hopefully we can get one early, because I just looked it up, and no sub has ever scored a goal in the World Cup for the USA. Beasley was so close. So we have to attack, and finish for once. 1 shot on goal in 2 games is pitiful. I wouldn't suggest changing the formation, because we need the four guys in the back. You can always add an extra forward off the bench. With the goal differential, we need Italy to win, unless we score 4 or 5 goals. So it's probably more practical to go for the 1-0 win and hope the other game goes your way.
Oh yeah. In possibly the least surprising news, McBride is wounded once again. Now there's a theme for a compilation. Just off the top of my head:
1) eye swollen shut against Mexico (2001)
2) bled against Chelsea (Dec. 2005)
3) knot against Latvia (May 2006)
4) bled against Italy
Then there's all the various injuries like a broken cheekbone, etc. What a hero for young soccer players in America.