Friday, June 11, 2010

Can the US pull off a miracle on grass?

They’ve come 30 years apart as the first came in 1950 as the US beat England to shock the world at the time. It would be 30 years later for the next one as the USA upset Russia in Olympic Hockey. So now after another 30 years the nation is wondering if we have another miracle coming on schedule. Well, let’s not look at this from a divine intervention standpoint but what realistic chance does the US have against the seventh ranked team in the world, who has won the head-to-head battle 7-2, and outscored the US 35-8 throughout their history? The US certainly has a “punchers chance” but that puncher had better have strikers that can finish the job and that is one of the big questions for the US is the health on Jozy Altidore and how quickly Edson Buddle adjust to the pace and the magnitude of the moment. Even before that comes the task of getting them the ball in a position to do some damage, which is daunting at the least with the dreamteamesque midfield of Lampard, Gerrard, Cole, and Lennon, all household names among soccer fans around the world. All of which are known to come up and create quite a strikeforce of their own behind the frontline warheads of Rooney and Crouch. But everyone can be beaten, so where are the kinks? Firstly, the English could run into a similar problem that the 04’ USA Dreamteam did in Olympic hoops, where they are a collection of stars but not a cohesive unit. If this is the case then drawing them in the first game before they have a chance to gel may play to the US advantage. Also, if you can get over the great English midfield they not quite as strong defensively and once again with little game experience between them there will be opportunities, the US just has to try and score early and then hold them off. Lastly, as often comes with a big name, is a lot of experience, and one unvarying component of experience is age. That Midfield is not getting in younger and the young guns of the US should have a decisive speed advantage which they should look to exploit early and try to get that all important early lead. Lastly, one would have to admit the US is better athletically and in a draw situation my wear the English down come the 80th minute in that climate. So, on paper it may be a mismatch, and some things have to fall into place but stranger things have happened. They just seem to come 30 years apart.

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