Tag Archives: Clint Dempsey

Wasted chances prove costly in loss to Fulham

6 Dec

Clint Dempsey scored his 37th Premier League goal to lead Fulham to a 1-0 win over 10-man Liverpool on Monday, Dec. 5.  LFC’s Jay Spearing was harshly sent off with about 20 minutes remaining.  Anyways, onto thoughts and observations from the game…

  • The Reds are struggling mightily to put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis.  Granted, the framework isn’t helping the cause, but too many chances are being missed.  Liverpool easily could have had the lead before Spearing’s red card, which leads me to…
  • Ah, yes, the red card.  Spearing clearly got the ball first, but caught Dembele on the follow-through.  Very harsh for a red card as Spearing was just going hard to get the ball.  I thought the ref had done a good job up until this call, which obviously changed the game dramatically.
  • I am not sold on Andy Carroll at all.  I realize that a strike partnership isn’t born overnight, but Carroll looks lost out there.  He looks like he doesn’t know what to do or where to go whenever Suarez has the ball.  You could see it early on when Suarez played a through ball and Carroll was rooted to the spot.  Additionally, he is not finding enough ways to get into dangerous spaces on a regular basis.  He had a couple decent looks tonight, but after his shot right at Schwarzer, he disappeared.
  • The Reds definitely missed Lucas out there today. Dempsey and Dembele had way too much time on the edge of the area to get off good shots. That’s the kind of defensive lapses that will come back to bite you in the ass.  As a whole, Fulham had too much time to operate in the midfield.  I realize it will take some time to adjust to playing without Lucas, but who will step into that role?  They need someone in that defensive mid role to be successful.
  • I have to give props to Clint Dempsey for his goal today.  He’s now the all-time leading American scorer in the Premier League with 37 goals, surpassing Brian McBride.
  • Inconsistency is killing this team.  Coming off very solid performances against Chelsea and Man City, this was Liverpool’s game to lose.  The team has struggled to play consistently well all year and needs to learn to keep the pressure up (and for the love of all that holy, score goals) for every single game.
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U.S. outclassed in Gold Cup final

26 Jun

I’ll start by saying that Mexico fully deserved to win the Gold Cup final.  The U.S., particularly the back four, just couldn’t compete with their pace and passing.  

The U.S. actually started the game strong for once, going up 2-0 despite early pressure from Mexico.  For once, the team took advantage of the few opportunities they had with Michael Bradley scoring on a header from Freddy Adu and Landon Donovan scoring off a perfectly-placed ball from Clint Dempsey.  It was a dream start, but the way that Mexico was playing, you knew that it wasn’t going to last.  In fact, the 2-0 lead only lasted six minutes before a beautiful sequence of passing picked the U.S. defense apart.

One of the biggest problems that the U.S. faced was Steve Cherundolo’s injury in the 10th minute.  He’s been solid all tournament and losing him in such a big game was quite a blow, especially given all his experience.  And Bob Bradley’s substitute? Jonathan Bornstein. Bornstein’s entrance meant that Eric Lichaj made the switch to right back where he was clearly not 100% comfortable.  Lichaj’s played decently well since entering the lineup and it really didn’t make sense to switch him out of that position.  Why not put Jonathan Spector in at right back for Cherundolo since, ya know, he’s a right back too?  Putting in Bornstein was simply the wrong move.  Now even with Cherundolo in the game, I think the U.S. would have struggled defensively due to Mexico’s excellent off-ball movement, but it would’ve helped. 

Bornstein was smoked countless times (as were the rest of the defenders) and Mexico had all the space in the world to operate.  It was the worst I’ve seen the U.S. defense play in a long time.  There was miscommunication, missed marking and too much space given to the Mexican forwards.   Another issue is that the U.S. simply didn’t have the pace to keep up.  The Mexican team was simply faster and was able to take full advantage of that speed.

Props to Mexico for not giving up despite going down 2-0, but the U.S. needs to be able to learn how to control a game once they have a lead.  The same thing happened against Brazil in the Confederations Cup.  The U.S. never makes you feel like any lead is safe (even against Guadaloupe).

The loss  just goes to show that the U.S. truly does have a long way to go in terms of becoming a top soccer nation and competing for a World Cup title.  Even though the U.S. made the final, it was an ugly road to get there and didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the fan base (other than perhaps the resurgence of one Mr. Adu).  Things have got to change if the U.S. is going to make any noise in Brazil (or even make it to Brazil).

US needs to be better

15 Jun

So the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over the powerful French region of Guadaloupe. Woo freakin hoo.  Jozy Altidore scored on a rocket shot in the ninth minute and the U.S. basically coasted from that point on.  That is not good enough.

This was a team the U.S. should have beat by four or five goals, not one.  Who cares that it’s not Mexico?  Why can’t the U.S. get up for games against mid-level opponents?  There was no reason to take the foot off the gas against Guadaloupe and no reason to let them think they had a chance at earning a draw.  Why let a team hang around like that?

The epitome of the particularly lackadaisical second half effort was Clint Dempsey’s mind-boggling bungle of a wide-open tap-in late in the second half.  Check it out for yourself here:

That’s all laziness/showboating/being a jackass.  The U.S. can’t afford to play with an attitude like that.  Chances like that have to be buried in the back of the net.  Yeah, it didn’t matter for the end result in this one, but what happens when you do that against Jamaica Saturday?  The U.S. will get eliminated, that’s what.

It all stems from the team’s inability to play an entire 90 minutes of soccer, which has been an issue for what feels like forever.  The U.S. couldn’t play an entire game against Brazil in the Confederations Cup final or against England, Algeria, Slovenia or Ghana in the World Cup.  Same goes for all three group games in the Gold Cup.

Is that lack of intensity and preparation on the players or on Bob Bradley? The blame isn’t 100% on either party, but one has to look very strongly at Bradley as the main perpetrator.  He led the U.S. to the round of 16 at the World Cup, but I still say that’s not good enough when the team clearly had the ability to do better.  The players seem to have regressed even from last year’s so-so World Cup form.  There’s always a risk of things getting stale with the same coach for two World Cup cycles and it really looks like we are already there with Bradley.  But Bradley’s not the one on the field either and the players need to step it up too.

Will he be fired?  I doubt it unless there’s a completely abysmal performance (and elimination) against Jamaica Saturday.  But something’s got to change if the U.S. is ever consistently going to perform at a high level.  What do you think it needs to be?

USA wins group C

23 Jun

Holy crap, that was amazing.  The U.S. left it incredibly late, but Landon Donovan finally scored the winner in the 91st minute (can’t believe Landon Donovan of all people made me cry).  The goal gave the U.S. a 1-0 win over Algeria and clinched top spot in group C.  Crazy to think that the U.S. went from a tie, which would’ve sent them home, to top of the group with one strike.  England took second with a 1-0 win over Slovenia. 

My heart is still pounding. That was one of the most dramatic endings I’ve ever seen. I know that technically New Zealand left it later against Slovakia, but with what was on the line, this one topped it.

The U.S. survived an early scare after Algeria put one off the post in the 7th minute, but from that point on, the U.S. appeared to control the game.  Clint Dempsey had a goal (wrongly) called back for offsides later in the half, which had me thinking that it’s just not fair that the U.S. could get hosed again on a goal.  Dempsey also was unlucky in the second half with a shot ricocheting off the post. 

Bob Bradley gambled a little bit going into this game, making three changes from the side that drew against Slovenia, including taking a clearly not 100% Oguchi Onyewu out of the lineup and inserting much-maligned Jonathan Bornstein (I think my reaction was, oh crap).  Carlos Bocanegra moved into the middle and Bornstein played on the left.  To his credit, Bornstein played a solid game.  He looked a little shaky early on, but calmed his nerves pretty quickly.  Maurice Edu started in place of Jose Torres in the midfield and Herculez Gomez got his first start in place of suspended Robbie Findley.  Overall, the changes were positive for the Yanks and Bob Bradley is looking like a pretty smart guy.

The U.S. definitely deserved the win.  They played a smart tactical game and put in their most complete effort of the tournament.  I started to feel ill around the 80th minute when the U.S. was still searching for a game-winner.  I also started to get a little tense with Slovenia, hoping they would equalize.  This was a gutsy performance and the team played with heart the whole way through.  Clint Dempsey and Jay DeMerit both needed stitches after the game, but they sucked it up and finished the game strong (take note, Italy). The team was able to stay relatively calm despite the urgency of needing a goal.  There were a few times they tried too hard, but as a whole, the team stayed composed trying to create chances.

The positive result has to give the U.S. confidence going into the round of 16, although it will be hard to let the emotion of today go. The next round opponent is still up in the air.  Heck, group D is still up in the air.  Both Ghana/Germany and Serbia/Australia are underway now, so the U.S. will find out soon who the opponent will be.

Thoughts on USA/Slovenia

18 Jun

Quick recap: The US gave up an early goal (again) and allowed a second from Slovenia just before halftime.  Facing a 2-0 deficit, the Yanks battled back for a draw thanks to second half goals from Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley.  It should have been a 3-2 win, but for a phantom foul negating a Maurice Edu winner.

  • The U.S. STILL can’t play a full 90.  Again, I was impressed with the resiliance to battle back for a draw after going down 2-0, but the team never should’ve been in that hole to start with.  Instead of sitting back, the U.S. has to attack from the start.  If the U.S. had played the first half like the second, it would have been a U.S. victory, hands down, with no need to worry about the ref’s phantom foul call.
  • Referee Koman Coulibaly was terrible.  His biggest mistake of the day was calling back a potential game-winner from Maurice Edu with no explanation at all.  There was no offsides and no foul on the U.S.  If anything, it should have been whistled a penalty after three Slovenian players decided it was a great time for a bear hug.  His calls were inconsistent and questionable throughout the game.  He cost the U.S. one of the greatest comebacks in the country’s history.
  • The U.S. defense is poor.  On the first goal, Oguchi Onyewu got caught in no-man’s land.  On Slovenia’s second goal, the entire defense got caught napping.  If things can get this ugly against Slovenia, I shudder to think what would happen if the U.S. ran up against a team like Germany.  I’ll end this note with a stat: the Yanks have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 internationals.
  • It was a good idea to start Jose Torres as he is more attack minded than Ricardo Clark, but he looked like a fish out of water.  His passing was poor and he lost the ball several times because he held onto it for too long.
  • Slovenia is a talented team.  I didn’t know much about them going into today’s game, but they did an impressive job of controlling the ball and took advantage of their opportunities.  However, you could clearly see them wearing down as the second half went on.  I think they could cause some problems for England.
  • The U.S. already has more points (2) than in 2006.  Not that it’s hard to do as they only had one in ’06, but today’s draw leaves them in the mix for a spot in the second round.   Wednesday’s game against Algeria is a must-win.
  • Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey struggled today.  Of course, Donovan had the stellar goal early in the second half to give the squad hope, but other than that, he was largely anonymous.  His passing was terrible.  Dempsey did not have any influence on the game whatsoever.  Those two have to be on top of their game for the U.S. to be truly successful.
  • Michael Bradley, on the other hand, had an excellent game.  His equalizer was gorgeous and he constantly made dangerous runs.  His work rate has been really good for the Yanks.

Check out the video on the Edu shot below:

World Cup results – June 12

13 Jun

South Korea dominated Greece in the early game to claim a 2-0 win.  South Korea got an early first half goal from Lee Jung-Soo and Park Ji-Sung put the game out of reach with a superb effort in the 52nd minute.  South Korea put on a very solid effort, but it must be said that Greece looked atrocious and like they had never played a competitive game before. Argentina probably could have defeated Nigeria 3-0 or 4-0 if it weren’t for the efforts of goalie Vincent Enyeama.  Gabriel Heinze notched Argentina’s only goal in the shutout win in the sixth minute.  In the final game of the day, the U.S. eked out a 1-1 draw with England.  Steven Gerrard gave England a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.  The U.S. equalized in the 40th minute after Clint Dempsey’s long range effort was flubbed by goalie Robert Green into the back of the goal.

Group B Results
South Korea 2 (Lee Jung-Soo 7, Park Ji-Sung 52)
Greece 0

Argentina 1 (Heinze 6)
Nigeria 0

Group C Results
England 1 (Gerrard 4)
USA 1 (Dempsey 40)

Group B Standings
South Korea – 3
Argentina – 3
Nigeria – 0
Greece – 0

Thoughts on USA/England

12 Jun

England took an early lead off a Steven Gerrard goal, but the U.S. battled back to get a lucky goal from Clint Dempsey off a horrid Robert Green miscue.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw so both teams end up with one point.  We’ll have to see where the rest of the group stands tomorrow as Algeria and Slovenia square off at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Thoughts on USA/England:

  • Timmy Howard is the man.  Despite getting cleated in the chest by Emile Heskey in the first half, Howard came up huge for the U.S.  He made several stellar saves and also gobbled up a couple crosses destined for an English foot.  He was voted man of the match and rightly so.
  • The U.S. defense has got to improve.  The England forwards and mids had a ton of room to operate and were unlucky to do better with the chances they had.  Carlos Bocanegra got beaten several times on the wing by both Glen Johnson and Aaron Lennon, which was rather surprising because Bocanegra is generally pretty solid.
  • Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark were unimpressive.  Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan kept getting sucked into the middle to help play defense, so when the U.S. finally got the ball back, there was no one on the wing for an outlet pass.  The U.S. really could have benefitted from having a player like Benny Feilhaber or Jose Torres partner with Bradley in the midfield.  Both of them have an excellent touch and good vision.
  • Despite all the chances England had, Wayne Rooney only had a couple decent looks at goal.  The U.S. defense did a nice job of shutting him down (most of the time).
  • The referee didn’t ruin the game.  That was a worry going in due to some issues with being card happy and generally insane.  Each team picked up three yellow cards and they were all good calls.  There weren’t any game-altering decisions the ref missed.
  • Robert Green got his World Cup career off to the worst start possible, spilling a clean save on Dempsey’s long range effort into the back of the net.  You got to feel bad for the guy, but as a U.S. fan, I’ll take a goal any way  I can.
  • I was impressed with the U.S. fortitude after giving up a ridiculously early goal.  The team could have easily caved and lost 3-0 or 4-0, but they kept at and were ultimately rewarded for their efforts.
  • The U.S. plays much better when they push the ball forward.  They give up goals when they sit back, which is exactly what happened on Gerrard’s goal.
  • The U.S. still needs to learn how to play the full 90 minutes.  Like I posted yesterday, short lapses can kill you in a tournament like this.
  • For England, it’s a disappointing result.  The team came into the game fully expecting to win and by all accounts, probably should have.  They’ll go into the next game against Algeria pissed off.  David Beckham hated it too, especially the U.S. goal. Here’s proof:

What did you think of today’s result?