Tuesday, June 14, 2005

US Youth System

Im highly impressed by the quality of play presented by the Under-20 US National Team.
Did anyone see the game?
Lead by Freddy Adu, US had a very good display of tactical order and some brilliant technical individuals like Adu himself and Barrett who was quite a headache for the opposite defense.
Now, there is a lot to say about their opponent, they didnt beat just any team, they beat Argentina. Argentina, winner of 4 of the last 5 or 6 Youth World Championships, and producer of some of the best talent in the world. Players that played in this tournaments include: Saviola, D'Alessandro, Veron, Crespo, Zanetti, Cavenaghi, and others. It is no small feat then that the US was able to get a lead in the game and hold such offensive pressure for long periods of time. It could have been even better if Adu had put away an arguable PK. I say arguable because although there was plenty of contact i think that Adu had lost posession of the ball, as i say it was arguable either way and i think that the offense should have the edge when in doubt.
Adu stroke the ball perfectly, he was unlucky to hit the post and miss a golden opportunity to seal the game; however, the US had to keep fighting and working to maintain the slight lead.
Once again, im utterly impressed by this game and i couldnt stop talking about it for days. This is the beggining of something big for the US i think, the number of players increases every year and with such a large pool to pick from the US should be a world contender in a few years.
What i dont understand is the lack of coverage for such event. I dont know if i am just overreacting but i think this was a huge win for the US, probably the biggest US win this year and probably the biggest upset of the tournament. Perhaps my social circle is unique but i feel that the audience waiting for soccer coverage keeps growing and it is hard to understand why the networks are having such a hard time paying attention. ESPN made a good move by bringing ESPNDeportes to the US Carriers but it still not widespread and in the meantime FOX soccer channel offers 2 or 3 games a week. And you know what drove this increase in attention to soccer? The driving factor was a small cable channel, GolTV, 24-7 soccer.
What are we waiting to embrace this game?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Qualifying round

Well this weekend was another game in the path to the world cup in Germany next year. Probably few of you know my favorite team in this Region is Costa Rica. As you can imagine last nights game was painful to watch, but i have to give props to the US team. I only watched parts of the game but what I saw was enough to see the US was far superior, especially in the way they handled the game. I was very dissappointed with Costa Rica, i think they played to get a tie and only tried to get forwad with seldom counter attacks. This style of play benefitted the US because their speed and fitness is probably the best in the world, then losing the ball in transition or tracking back to defense does not become a problem as it would for any other team in the region.
Also, probably the highlight of this game was Landon Donovan, very impresive display. I think he is ready to migrate to a better league, perhaps spain would fit him well, o even Italy, i am not sure he can deal with the intensity and speed in England. What do you think? What did you think of DeMarcus Beasley's performance? I was not very impressed although he is coming out of an injury so I'll give him a break.