Thursday, April 16, 2015

5 Thoughts on USA-Mexico

1) Let's not get carried away. This was a big win for us because it was against Mexico, our biggest rival, and because we needed a result. But let's remember that this wasn't Mexico's "A" team, the field conditions, as the announcers stressed about a million times over the course of the match, were poor, and this was just a friendly. This doesn't mean we've fixed the glitch and all is well in the universe again. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of positives that came out of last night's game, but we didn't suddenly become the favorites to win the Gold Cup.

2) Jordan Morris appears to have a bright future. I love that Morris got the opportunity to start this game, and that he made the most of his opportunity. He certainly had some spells where he showed his inexperience, but when the time came and he was in a position to score, he made the most of it. Clint Dempsey isn't going to be able to play forever, and someone needs to be able to jump in and fill that void when he eventually leaves. I'm not ready to hand the keys of the U.S. offense to Morris just yet, but I'm excited that we're starting to build up a stable of younger guys who could potentially fill that role. On a side note, Clint Dempsey's Sounders own the rights to Jordan Morris should he decide to play in MLS. Tell me you wouldn't like to see that tandem together.

3) I think we're a better team with Kyle Beckerman on the field. I think having a player like Beckerman who can hold things down in front of the back line and distribute balls into the midfield effectively makes us a much better team. Beckerman obviously isn't the long term solution as he'll be in his mid-30s come the next World Cup, but someone like Perry Kitchen or Wil Trapp might develop into that role. Regardless, I think there's something to be said for having a defensive minded player in that position.

4) Michael Bradley looked like the player we all hoped he'd be during the World Cup. Again, this wasn't the toughest competition he was up against, but Bradley looked completely comfortable handling the ball and distributing. AND he played a part in both U.S. goals. Hopefully his confidence continues to grow because let's face it, as he goes right now, so goes the U.S.

5) This is how I would line up for the Gold Cup if it started tomorrow: Assuming a 23-man roster: Brad Guzan in net, Brek Shea at left back, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler in central defense, Fabian Johnson at right back, Alejandro Bedoya at left mid, Michael Bradley as the attacking mid Kyle Beckerman as a defensive mid, Mix Diskerud at right mid, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey up top. On the bench I'd have Nick Rimando (keeper), Bill Hamid (keeper), Greg Garza (left back), Ventura Alvarado (center back), DeAndre Yedlin (right back/right mid), Gyasi Zardes (right mid/striker), Geoff Cameron (defense/midfield), John Brooks (central defense), Jordan Morris (striker), Aron Johannsson (striker), Graham Zusi (left midfield), Perry Kitchen (defensive midfield).

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