June 23, 2009


United States learning to cope without Bocanegra (STUART CONDIE, 6/22/09, AP)

[J]ay DeMerit and Oguchi Onyewu have started to show improvement on defense, culminating in Sunday's 3-0 win over African champion Egypt.

"They have been solid in the back," United States coach Bob Bradley said Monday. "There still are some moments when I think we lose our line too easily. The understanding between Jay and Gooch at times is such that one will drop too far off and they're not always perfectly in synch, but you can see the understanding getting better."

With Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein the fullbacks, Bradley has kept the same defense in all three group matches, although he did switch from Tim Howard to Brad Guzan in goal on Sunday.

Spector and Bornstein each set up a goal in the win over Egypt.

Mission impossible? Nothing new for U.S. team (Robert Burns, 6/23/09, FoxSoccer.com)
It's difficult to imagine a more daunting task than the one facing the U.S. men's national team currently in South Africa.

With a Wednesday date in the Confederations Cup semifinals against Spain — the world's best team — the Americans are going up against the reigning European champions who just happen to be on a record 15-match winning streak and 35-straight unbeaten run (one shy of the world record).

The last time Spain lost a game? That was way back in November of 2006.

And yet for all the obstacles stacked up in front of them, the USA has already experienced a miracle of sorts in the tournament and might just ride that luck one step farther into the final against either Brazil or South Africa.

The US picked a good time to get its defensive act together. Settling on the Jonathan's has been a huge help and Demerit looked like a completely different player against Egypt than against Brazil, plus having Clark and Bradley back from suspensions helped in the midfield. But it'd be disastrous to just hunker down defensively. Feilhaber has to start, Davies can't, and Dempsey shouldn't unless he's moved up front. Supposedly Feilhaber isn't fit for 90 minutes so Dempsey could come in for him. But they'd better be able to put some pressure on Spain or it could get ugly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 23, 2009 3:08 PM
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