One thing I learned from Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw between the United States and Mexico: a promising but small forward – Julian Green – is not going to help patch up the central defense for the U.S.
Watching Omar Gonzalez trudge around near the goal, suffering from Gooch’s Syndrome, I could not help but think there is more of that ahead in the Group of Death in June.
Yes, the Puebla club – in Mexico, oddly enough -- did not release DaMarcus Beasley for the Mexico match. Beasley adds a lot at left back, including courage, experience and offensive range, but the U.S. is still vulnerable in front of its fine keepers. No Balboas or Popes in sight. Steve Cherundolo just retired as a right back. Trouble ahead.
Wednesday’s match was also a reminder that Michael Bradley is the core of the team, as he pretty much was in 2010. He was able to attack from midfield against Mexico, which is not the Mexico of a generation ago.
The theme of the night on ESPN was who is going to make the 23-player squad -- a seat on the plane.
Junge Meister Green showed nice pace and speed and willingness to attack when he came into his first U.S. match in the 59th minute. He is now officially a Yank, while playing in the Bayern organization.
Green is 5-8, 160 pounds, nearly infiltrated the box on a challenging dribble, but is not yet a Neymar or a Messi. So far he has played 3 minutes for the Bayern varsity.
Coach Jürgen Klinsmann, with a contract through 2018, may feel he has the luxury of bringing Green along this time to prepare for the future. But if the U.S. hopes to get out of its hideous group this time, it will need every seasoned player who might poke in a goal -- Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski.
Things happen in a World Cup. Injuries. Cards. Forwards out of gas at 60-70 minutes.
Klinsmann is fearless and has improved this squad. German fans thought he was a bit of a moonbeam in 2006 but he is not afraid to publicly challenge the Donovans and Dempseys. Show me. Get better. This week he dropped his long-time assistant Martin Vásquez because of conflicts. My guess is Klinsmann will let Bayern prepare Julian Green for 2018. They both have time.
4/3/2014 06:40:34 pm
Three and out...I don't see any way this USA team will capable of surprising Portugal the way they did in Korea. Who is going to mark Cristiano? And Germany? Forget it. Ghana? Maybe, but not likely.
4/4/2014 01:27:11 am
John, their only hope is to have Bradley distribute to players who remember how to score in the WC.
4/4/2014 08:12:40 am
In the vernacular of today’s youth, I thought that the USA-Mexico game was “awesome”. A picture perfect USA first half and an action packed second half.
4/4/2014 10:55:54 am
Lalas is a circus act whose fifteen minutes should have been over a long time ago. Ian Darke is an English boxing announcer who also happens to do soccer. He benefits from the fact that the dolts who run espn think a Brit accent conveys authority and expertise. It doesn't. The gold standard, however, is another Brit, Martin Tyler. The only American I consider to be very good is John Paul Della Camera, who espn got rid of. Taylor Twellman is showing real promise though.
4/4/2014 11:19:21 am
I came to appreciate Tyler during the 2008 Euros.
4/5/2014 04:25:46 am
Thanks for the comments on the good announcers. I'll watch for them.
4/7/2014 08:56:49 am
In fairness to Green, if he is brought to Brazil and used at all, it won't be in the same game situation. He won't be brought in to hold a lead (assuming we can even get one)--that's a job for a savvy veteran.
4/7/2014 10:53:17 am
Experience is very important, but there is much to be said about youth and enthusiasm of a talented player.
4/7/2014 01:35:51 pm
Then again, Menotti did not bring Maradona to the 78 WC -- in Argentina -- and they won anyway. Not to suggest....
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From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.