Wednesday, May 24, 2006

We May Be In A World Of Hurt

Does this look like a team that can go on a nice run in Germany in less than three weeks? Well, if last night's 1-0 loss to Morocco is any indication, probably not.

First, yes, I realize it was only a friendly, but we looked awful. No creativity, no spark, no fire, no nothing. To make matters worse, Claudio Reyna, supposedly the midfield maestro, left the game with a hamstring injury. But then, Reyna is always injured so this shouldn't be a surprise. Besides, with that gray sneaking into his hair, he's beginning to look like Taylor from American Idol.

Meanwhile, Reyna's partner in the middle of the midfield, John O'Brien, has only recently returned from injury, meaning our midfield workhorses may not be able to do nearly the amount of work that is going to be necessary. Listen, Ghana is our best chance for max points in the first round, but their midfield studs of Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah are going to make us look silly if last night is any indication.

Try as I might - and I've tried - I just don't like Landon Donovon. I don't know why. Maybe it's his tendency to disappear for long stretches of time if things aren't going his way. Maybe it's his balding head. Maybe it's his munchkin voice. (Actually, I think this is it.) The bottom line is that it pains me something awful to have to admit that Donovon is probably our best player. Yeah, when he looks good, he looks very good, but if we're depending on him to be our catalyst, well, good luck.

Josh Wolff looks like a guy whose best days have passed. Brian McBride is useless unless someone is creating opportunities behind him, which wasn't happening last night. DeMarcus Beasley seems to be missing something. And our defense looks as shaky as ever, which is nothing new. Sure, we surrendered just the one goal, but one crack, one moment of weakness, can be a team's demise, especially when playing the likes of Italy or the Czech Republic.

This quote from Bruce Arena disturbs me...

"We weren't sharp. I think we're a little bit leg-weary. We're a little bit overtrained at this point. We didn't do a good job creating chances. Our last pass was poor. Our crossing was poor."

Les-weary? Overtrained? What the hell? Considering a large percentage of the team plays in MLS, which just started its season six weeks ago, the U.S. should be the most rested team in the entire World Cup. Leg-weary? This is laughable. Maybe Arena should take a look at the rosters of other countries whose players are just finishing seasons that began last August/September. Leg-weary? Don't make me laugh.

Who knows? Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic, but I have a bad, bad feeling about things.


Blogger Bill-DC said...

I'm not so sure this team can make it out of the first round.

In the bits and pieces I saw of this game, I thought only Bobby Convey played really well. Eddie Pope was decent on defense.

Reyna was hurt prior to the 2002 World Cup but he's what, 32 or 33 and he just finished a long Premier League season. Donovan is solid, but smack him around a bit and he becomes less and less of a factor.

Two more friendlies before they take off to Germany. They need to spank the crap out of Venezuela.

5:08 PM  

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