US Looks Shaky in Havana
Three points is three points I suppose. But tonight’s game unlike last months qualifier in Guatemala City has me very concerned about the state of play regarding the US Team. Against a side that in its own stadium last month gave up three relatively quick goals to Trinidad and Tobago, the US had to grind out a result again dependent on some clutch goalkeeping and quite frankly some mistakes by the Cuban team.
Right now the United States lacks the technical skill nor the clean finishing or awareness in counter attacking situations to ever put away the opposition. The bad giveaways by defensive midfielders continues to be a trademark of this team with its current lineup and the inability for the strikers to finish the chances created for them against respectable opposition is painful to watch. In the last twelve matches, the current set of US strikers, Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson have scored in only one match: the 8-0 rout of Barbados, while every US goal in the other matches has come from midfielders or defenders and typically off set pieces.
Today’s performance was substantially worse than the game many have criticized the US for in Guatemala City last month. Again thye most solid players were the keeper Tim Howard and the two center backs, Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu. The performances of DaMarcus Beasley and Mo Edu in particular were forgetable. Given Scotland’s loss today to FYR Macedonia in Skopke perhaps both players feature on one of the two big sides in the SPL because of the lack of Scottish talent, not because of their individual qualities. Beasley in particular is becoming less and less useful as a player as time goes on.
A word on the atmonsphere tonight: Give the Cuban players and supporters a lot of credit. Despite the political tensions which I am in particular familiar with because of where I live (South Florida) the event tonight was perfect except for the lighting, with a polite crowd, and some good sportsmanship among both sides. Football really can overcome the problems politicians and dictators cause.