World Cup 2010

All things Union, English and World Cup Football.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

USA falls to Ghana 2-1 in extra time

The US men's national team is out of the World Cup.  Once again they fell to an early goal in the 5th minute and then 3 minutes into extra time.  Defensive lapses early in games have become the trademark of this team.  No team can win every game playing from behind.  They are the comeback kids, but not this time.  It is a shame because they had a very favorable route to the semifinals.  Up next would have been Uruguay.  However, for the first time since 1930 the US won their group.  They cannot hang their head too low in this tournament.  There is disappointment though.

Coach Bob Bradley made some questionably starts.  Everyone was puzzled when Ricardo Clark started in the midfield over Maurice Edu.  It was Edu who played a perfect game against Algeria.  Clark was stripped of the ball early and conceded the first Ghana goal.  Later he would receive a yellow card.  His third in three games.  He was substituted for Edu in the 30th minute.  Finley came off at halftime for Benny Feilhaber.  Finley's pairing with Altidore did not work.  They did not work together and at times Finley was hard to locate on the field.  He had a great chance in the 1st half when he was alone against the goalkeeper only to fire a soft shot right into the keeper. 

With Feilhaber and Edu the US moved Dempsey upfront with Altidore.  They controlled the 2nd half much like the Algeria and Slovenia games with this lineup.  It was Feilhaber that set up the penalty kick on a great pass to Dempsey before being hauled down in the box.  Later in the game a beaten up Altidore was substituted for Hercules Gomez who was completely ineffective. 

What lost the game for the US was the coach.  Bob Bradley did a wonderful job with this squad and will, rightly so, continue to coach this team.  He said after the game that the US was out of gas in the end.  The reason why was because at half time he had wasted two substitutions on replacing Clark and Finley.  Two players who should have not started.  He replaced Altidore with an ineffective Gomez instead of giving the best player in MLS, Buddle, a shot.  In extra time you need fresh legs, we had no substitutions left because of mistakes in the starting lineup.  Those two late substitutions would have helped us in extra time. 

I am very proud of this team.  I am proud of the job Bradley did in coaching this team.  He made a mistake against Ghana.  Hopefully he learns from this which I think he will.  I cannot help being left with a bad taste in my mouth of wonder.  We had a favorable group and a favorable table in the Knockout phase.  The door was open for us to make a run.  We did not.  There is always next time and for the core of our team, Altidore, Dempsey, Donovan and Michael Bradley, they will be around for the next World Cup.  Hopefully so will the coach.  Nice job US, were proud of you.

Until next time,

Today is the opener of PPL Park in Chester.  I will be there and reporting tomorrow or tonight with the game and experience of the park.  GO UNION!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA downs Algeria 1-0

Ninety minutes of heartache.  Ninety minutes of pain.  Another blown call for the USA.  So many chances.  Then it was Donovan.  The all time leading scorer for the USA leads a charge, the much maligned player for the U.S., the man we were all waiting for to step up and be the player and leader we all expected.   He plays a beautiful pass to Altidore, who's shot is blocked and Donovan follows his own charge to score the winner.  The crowd went wild, I went wild.  The shot heard round the world.  No more "Landycakes, no more baby."  He has finally grown up.  He has finally earned his reputation.  As he said on the ESPN interview after the game: "Were not done yet!" 

What was most impressive about this game is we did not give up.  We never figured we were out of it.  The nails were chewed to the bone we were waiting and then it happened.  No flags, no bad calls.  WE WON! 

Bradley changed the back four around and they played a phenomenal game.  Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra were perfect centering the back four.  Altidore played the game of his life.  I was not too impressed with Hercules Gomez and the switch to Buddle was perfect.  Edson Buddle came on and played a wonderful game.  Bob Bradley once again made some perfect changes in the 2nd half. 

Now we wait and see what happens between Germany and Ghana.  Who will we play on Saturday?  Who cares.  'Were not done yet!"

Until next time,
Uncle Sam's Army needs YOU!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Koman Coulibaly

Coulibaly has replaced Bin Laden as the most wanted man in the world to the U.S.  I have watched the replays a thousand times and still have been unable to see a penalty.  I should say a penalty on the U.S.  There were penalties on that play.  Bocanegra, Altidore and Bradley were all being held with Bocanegra thrown to the ground.  I watched again and could not see it.

What makes it all the more fascinating is that Coulibaly's refusal to even explain the call.  When asked by players on the field he refused to give an explanation.  He just stood there.  Landon Donovan asked him in a non threatening way and Landon was not sure if he understood what he was saying.  I can see that when you have referees from all over the world, there is always a language barrier.  But even now he still refuses to comment.  I am not a conspiracy theory type of person, but something is not right about this.  FIFA will not address the performance before Monday.  Yahoo sports reported from an unnamed FIFA person that Coulibaly was given a "Poor Performance" in the match.  He could see action again as a linesman or 4TH referee.  It is highly unlikely he will be in charge again.  He should be sent home.  He should receive the Red card for his performance.

To put it all in perspective, the U.S. should never have been in a position to have that happen.  Again they started slow and went in the hole 2-0 at half.  Landon Donovan gave his teammates hell in the dressing.  Telling his teammates; "If you do not believe in miracles, I do not want you out there."  He backed it up on a spectacular goal and helped set up Michael Bradley's tying goal.  Thankfully the football Gods have a way of making everything right when Algeria shocked a hapless England into a 0-0 draw later that day.  We control out own destiny.  We win were in.  No matter what happens in the England match.  We cannot start slow.  The U.S. team grew up a little bit on Friday.  Now we must seize the opportunity. 

In other news:
-  Marking the 60TH anniversary of Winston Churchill's famous speech to Britain in 1940 the UK Guardian's headline about the English draw to Algeria: "Never have so few, given so little to so many."  Wayne Rooney cursing out English fans and his teammates not sticking up for him.  I understand that there is going to be a "Clear the Air" meeting today in the English locker room.  Here is an idea:  too many chiefs, not enough Indians.  Too many star players and no role players.

-  France continues it's implosion.  Nocolas Anelka was sent home after telling coach Raymond Domenech to go bleep himself.  He reused to apologize.  The coach hates the players, the players hate the coach, the players hate each other and the country hates the team.  What a winning recipe.

Until next time,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

England 1-1 USA 2010 World Cup Highlights And Goals Clint Dempsey Goal R...

A picture says a thousand words.  England's keeper Robert Green lets an easy one go through him to give the US's Clint Dempsey a goal to tie it up.  Dempsey broke through the middle of a stout English defense and fired a relatively easy shot on net.  Green misplayed it and all of England sighed.  You hate to see something like that happen, but in England they are already calling it the worst goalie mistake in World Cup history.

Steven Gerrard put England ahead in the 4TH minute when Emile Heskey found Gerrard unmarked in the box who fired one past Tim Howard.  I thought it was over after that and the flood gates would open.  However I was wrong.  Thankfully.  The back four for the US were stellar.  Oguchi Onyewu was stellar.  He stood strong in the back and looked like the preinjury Onyewu who is our best defender.  The midfield was fantastic and the speed upfront kept England on their toes the entire game.  It was a great team effort for the Red, White and Blue. 

Tim Howard proved again why he is one of the best goalies in the world.  He stopped Heskey from point blank range.  He was the man of match and kept us in the game. 

I think what was more shocking was Bob Bradley out coached Fabio Capello.  Capello made some mistakes during the game.  Robert Green in net, not having the experience, was a shocking start for many.  Ledley King paired with John Terry was also a shock and King had to come off at the half due to an injury that saw Jamie Carragher come on.  His lack of pace played well for the US when Jozy Altidore blew past him and almost won the game for the US.  Green made a tremendous save that hit the post and kept the game at 1-1.  The speed of the Americans worked well against the English Defenders.  James Milner had to be substituted for the speeder Shaun Wright-Phillips because American defender Cherundolo was creating havoc down the right side and Milner could not contain him.  Bradley also came up with a great game plan against the best striker in the world, Wayne Rooney.  Rooney did not get a touch until the 17TH minute and was almost a non factor in the game.  They shut him down completely. 

The New York Post called it a 1-1 WIN.  "The greatest tie against the British since Bunker Hill."  Across the pond they were not so happy.  It was a loss for the British even though it was a tie. 

Uncle Sam's Army is in full march and ready for Friday's match against group leader Slovenia who defeated Algeria 1-0.  This is a must win for the US.  They will be ready, I will be ready, Uncle Sam's Army is ready.  Are you?

Until next time,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Buddle nets 2 as U.S. down Australia 3-1

U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley has a problem.  The kind of problem any World Cup coach would love to have.  How does he sit Edson Buddle.  Buddle scored twice yesterday to lead the US to a 3-1 victory in a friendly over the 'Soccerroos."  His first goal was a brilliant run and a rocket strike that flew past the goalie to hit the upper right of the net.  His second was a run into the box unmarked that headed in a wonderful cross from U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo.  From ESPN: "I gave [Bradley] a bit of a headache probably, but it's a good headache," said Buddle. "I think it gives us confidence going into the first match."  No one tonight was concerned that Altidore was on the bench.  Though for the US to succeed, we need a healthy Altidore upfront.

The back four for the US was a little shaky at times and still have the problem of defending free kicks and corners.  Australian midfielder Cahill was left unmarked on a corner that he tapped home for Australia's only goal.  Overall the defense played well for the U.S.  But this is no England.  Wayne Rooney and the rest of the Three Lions will give the U.S. defense all it can take next Saturday.  They will be ready.

Robbie Finley played well upfront with Buddle.  Though missing an open net will haunt him.  Finley made a great run and move on the keeper, only to sail his shot wide right of an open net.  He played well for most of the game and tracked back repeatedly on defense to help out.  He had more good moments than bad.  Gomez came off the bench in the second half to add a third goal for the U.S. in stoppage time on a great pass from Landon Donovan.  Michael Bradley had another stellar performance in the midfield for the U.S. He did the dirty work on defense and helped to clog up the middle of the field for the defense.  He will have his hands full next week with Lampard and Company, but he is up for it and will shine.  Both U.S. goalkeepers, Howard and Hahnemann played very well.

This is clearly an attacking team built on speed.  If the U.S. is to succeed, it most score goals on the counterattack.  We are not going to win anything on defense.  But we can on offense.  The midfield will need to track back next week in the opener and help out.  Michael Bradley is our best defensive midfielder and can create a road block up the middle for the U.S.  When they get the ball, they need to get up fast and to Donovan and Dempsey to run at the English and look to cut across the field and find Altidore, Buddle, Gomez or Finley.  Bradley has a problem upfront.  Too many inform strikers, a problem that any coach right now would love to have. 

Until next time,

Fire down Union 2-1

The Chicago Fire frustrated the Union last night in Chicago.  The fire played a 4-5-1 style that clogged up the middle all night.  When the Union took control of the ball they had problems breaking down Chicago's defense through the midfield.  Despite playing an attacking 3-4-3 in the second half, there was little spark from the Union attack.  Mwanga, Salinas and Torres failed to create chances and looked lost most if not all of the night.  The only player for the Union who really forced the issue was Le Toux who launched a rocket over the bar in the 44th minute and a set piece in the 69th.

Brian McBride was the lone striker for the Fire.  He played a great game and was the man of the match.  He created havoc in the Union back four.  However, Danny Cahill marked him the entire game and may have played the best game of his short Union career.  Where McBride was, Cahill was.  Seitz also played well last night.  Mwanga scored a third straight extra time goal and is becoming an instant hero for the Union faithful.  He has a knack for being spot on in the final minutes of a game.  Something every team needs at the end, especially when you play continuously down every game. 

Until next time,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mwanga scores in extra time.

Danny Mwanga scored his first goal for the Union in extra time to earn a 1-1 draw at home against F.C. Dallas.

The Union today played excellent Football. I say "Football," because for the last six games we have been playing "Soccer." Dallas got on the board first in the 13th minute when Jeff Cunningham found Atiba Harris at the top of the penalty area.

The Union controlled play throughout the game. They totalled 21 shots overall and Dallas keeper, Kevin Hartman, made some tremendous saves to keep them ahead. Seitz played his best game yet for the Union and the back four were a wall. We lasted 59 minutes until our first yellow card and managed to keep all 11 men on the pitch for the entire game. The passing was crisp and the Union controlled the game.

Moreno and Le Toux were phenomenal up front for the Union. They created havoc at every chance. The midfield dominated possession all game and the back four were stellar. What was most important was the fact that they played football. They were in possession most of the game and all the passing was controlled and spot on. Yes, there were a few errand passes, but overall I am proud of the way they played. They showed pose and maturity the entire game. Nowhere were the mistakes of the previous game. I came away from this game with hope and satisfaction.

This was the game Union fans were waiting for. Yes, they tied at home. But this was the game we expected to see at Seattle, Toronto and LA. This is the team that without mistakes is our Philadelphia Union! They do not stop, quit or give in. They fight, do not forget that we have scored 3 goals a man down. When there are no stupid penalties or passes they play wonderful football.

I left the game tonight with my niece feeling pride. Pride for my team, they did not stop and in the end against one of the best defenses in football they stole a point. It was a great walk to the car. I hope one day I can turn the car radio on and hear a UNION post game show on the radio. Congratulation to the Union. I am proud of them and after Mwanga's goal they went and celebrated a little but wanted to get back to the game because they wanted all 3 points. The "Sons of Ben" were in tremendous voice tonight and rallied the team on. I look forward to the next game at home, the first at our new PPL Park.

Until next time,


P.S. LET'S GO FLYERS!!! Way to go Flyers on becoming the 4th team in sports history to come back from being down 3-0 and win a seven game series.