It's been awhile.
I caught the first thirty minutes of the match via an online feed, but the feed was so shitty that I quit it and took a nap and waited for good news and highlights. They came, and I'm delighted.
Players Who Made Strong Cases For Themselves
First and foremost, Maurice Edu did wonderful for his first cap. What a great effort. Max Bretos indicated that Edu was fulfilling Mastroeni's role on the field, but I disagree; Edu was certainly more useful than that. Edu reminded me a little bit of young Bradley during the U-20 World Cup, except he didn't have as many messes to clean up and he was much more attack-minded. Edu certainly deserves more international minutes in the future. Great job.
Secondly, this Deuce experiment up top is working. Finally Dempsey is in a position where he can utilize his Texas build and Texas pride in tandem. I don't think it would be a stretch to compare Deuce to Zlatan Ibrahimovic: target strikers with an overabundance of pride and physicality. I like it. What's more, I was browsing ussoccer.com earlier today and watch the video spotlight on Deuce and Zimmerman mentioned that Deuce is great at holding up the ball. It's the damn truth. Deuce is a real asset up top, and I only wish Twellman was an adequate partner.
With the sudden fountain of youth flooding the pitch, it's good to see our old faithful standby Eddie Lewis is still able to turn a few tricks. He made a rather flawless jump from League Two to the Premier League and he brings that same kind of character and ability to the international stage as well. It's noteworthy that Bradley had him starting over Pearce.
Szetela has everyone abuzz yet again. Seems that kid never fails to be noticed. He definitely didn't hurt the team and his cross was quite the looker. I have a good feeling Santander will make the most out of him.
I like Brad Guzan. I genuinely like him. I think he will have a successful international career. Rumors that Arsenal are scouting him don't surprise me. As a defender, I would rather see my keeper out smothering a loose ball at the top of the key than wait for it to bounce into the area. Hahnemann is cool, too, but I like Guzan better.
I was asleep so I didn't see much of Adu, but that little beeline straight down the middle was pretty smart. Benfica is rubbing off on him. Between Edu, Adu, Szetela, Bradley and Feilhaber, the US has a healthy midfield corps that will certainly make us proud come time for the Confederations Cup.
I'm Worried About...
I think it's telling that Gooch didn't worry me much this game, certainly not compared to the anger and woe he's incurred in the past. Bocanegra is a reassuring presence, as is Cherundolo; I'm not worried about them, either. The only spot that does worry me is left back. Heath Pearce and Rostock are to the Bundesliga what Feilhaber and Derby are to the Premier League, both promising young lads on a disappointing squad who need more minutes than they're getting. We need a solid option for left back, and if Lewis is starting over Pearce, I can't say that we've found one. I don't think Pearce can become a viable option for us at left back until he cements himself as Rostock's premier option for left back, much like Cherundolo has done at Hannover.
Beasley's ankle worries me. He's been a revelation for 'Gers and he looked great for those ten minutes on the pitch. I hope he recovers soon.
...and that's it.
It's great for our boys to finally pull one out on European soil against a European side. A gritty win, but utterly necessary.
Before I go on hiatus again, I would like to hereby affirm my utter confidence in Bob Bradley as head coach of the USMNT. He has a head on his shoulders and is definitely moving the program in a positive direction, looking at longterm results rather than flashbang status. I don't think Klinsmann or Pekerman would have had the same kind of patience and foresight to turn friendly matches into the developmental tools and benchmarks that they've become under Bradley. My jury's still out on Nowak; I'm reserving judgment until post-Olympics.
Rossi, if you're thinking about joining the fold, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I have two papers due by tomorrow, so this is it for awhile.