Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thoughts on Canada - USA round 1

They were better than us. I thought that Hart's formation was the right choice, it worked well to contain the American wingers which was my biggest concern going into the match. However what seemed to happen was that our wingers would mark their wingers leaving huge amounts of space for the full backs to take advantage of, which they did. The US was at their most dangerous when they had their full backs attacking.

The first goal was unlucky, normally Lars makes that save. I expect that Milos will start the rest of the tournament now barring any further goal keeping errors.

Our marking in the box was poor. Ledgerwood noticed Dempsey was behind him much too late and Dempsey scored because of it. In the first half Carlos Bocanegra was left completely unmarked in the box but managed to miss from a few yards out. That was unlucky for the states so I felt that us being down 1-0 at the half was fair.

Problems in the midfield. Atiba is a good player but he is not Iniesta. Too often Atiba was left with no one to pass to and had to dribble his way past a few people, which he succeeded in doing a couple times. Often we would have players standing and waiting for a pass rather than moving into space and receiving the pass. Dunfield had a poor game. I know that he was starting due to an injury from JDG, his passing was very poor more often leading to turnovers than anything else.

Canada was too cautious in possession. We rarely tried a through ball and opted for a "safer" pass than a pass that put the Americans under pressure nearly every time. Specifically, when Dunfield opted to pass backwards to Ledgerwood instead of to DeRo who was in space and in a more advanced position on the right wing. There was a time when Simpson was making a great run into the box but rather than pass to where he was running the pass went behind him.

Ali Gerba was fantastic when he came on. He forced two great saves from Tim Howard. Speaking of which Howard was brilliant making a number of huge saves to maintain his clean sheet. When Gerba came on, Canada changed its formation and gave the USA more opportunities to attack us but Canada did create more opportunities. I expect that had we started that way the US would have scored more than two goals against us.

Man of the Match: Tim Howard

Play of the day: Clint Dempsey's flying back heel

I expect that Stephen Hart will go with a similar set up next match with changes bringing on Gerba likely for Johnson, JDG in for Dunfield if he is healthy, and switching the keepers.

Playing the way we did against the Americans I think that we should be able to get by Panama & Guadeloupe, but we will need to improve our passing to get through the Quarterfinals.

I am pleased that so many fans traveled to the match, I wish I could have been there. I was disappointed with the tv coverage in Canada. I would like to see Sportsnet move the Jays game to Sportsnet One and put Canada on the main network. If you are the home of Canadian soccer then act like it. The Jays play 162 games every year. This was our first competitive match in two years. I was also disappointed how many bars I had to go to before I found one that was showing it. However I was pleased that about half the Capital City squad turned up to watch as well, even if a few of them were cheering on the Americans.

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