This was an…interesting…weekend of football. Let’s start with what went right.
Last night the New England Revolution put together one of the more dominant efforts I have ever seen from them. Granted, Orlando City were not able to field their “A+” line-up due to international call-ups, injuries, and suspensions, but the Revs didn’t have Jermaine Jones either.
Before New England tacked on two late goals this match was shaping up to be the most lopsided 1-0 match I’ve ever watched. New England controlled the ball for 57% of the match, but to the Orlando players it must have seemed like 75% and their passing and movement off the ball simply wore the visitors out. The sequence that led to Diego Fagundez’s opening goal (see the highlights below) just before halftime was the kind of “team goal” which is becoming a hallmark of the Jay Heap’s Era in New England and the late goals by Agudelo and Tierney served to illustrate just how tired the legs of the Orlando City defenders were by the time the 85th minute rolled around. You’ll also see in the highlights that Tally Hall is pretty much the only reason the score wasn’t 6-0 or 7-0.
Here are a few other stats that will give you the gist of things: New England, despite attacking all night, was never caught offside, Orlando only had three shots on goal (I honestly can’t remember any of them, or even Bobby Shuttleworth having to make a save), and Orlando had only one corner kick.
New England now have five wins and a draw in their last six matches- here come the Revs!
Meanwhile, on the international scene…
USA 2 Peru 1
In my life I have played a lot of soccer, I have coached a lot of soccer, and I have watched a lot of soccer, including every minute of the friendly against Peru. More than that, I’m pretty confident in my ability to analyze what I’m watching. Which is why I’m utterly confused by the plaudits that many are giving to the USMNT in the wake of this performance. No, nobody is “raving” about them or the match, but let’s just say I’ve been reading a lot about how this match was “a step in the right direction” or words to that effect. Really?
Here’s what I saw:
I saw was Jozy Altidore finally take his chances for the national team, which does not excite me because, THAT IS HIS JOB!!
I saw a defense that continues to leave me unimpressed. We’re doubling-down on Tim Ream and Michael Orozco?
I saw the midfielders appear to be doing nothing but “making up the numbers” during the match as everything was either going around them through Yedlin and Zardes running up and down the sidelines, or over them.
I realize that Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley (and several others) were not there, but even in a friendly, this group needs to do better. Unless, of course, this is actually as well as they can play- which I’m starting to suspect. Specifically, that we currently have around 5 truly “world class players” and that the rest of the squad just isn’t good enough. Nobody’s fault, just one of those things that happens every so often.
Also, just a question: How much could this team benefit from a “Brian McBride” type player? I don’t mean necessarily a goal scorer, just somebody willing to bleed for his country and inspire his teammates?
Scotland 0 Georgia 1
I have so many feelings, and none of them are good.
I think all I want to say is this: 2,000 members of the Tartan Army travel over 3000 miles to Tiblis-God-Forsake-Georgia to watch a performance by their countrymen that was bereft of ideas, lacking in passion, and without any pride. They deserve better than that.
Scotland now have to beat Germany to have any chance of automatic qualification for EURO 2016 and I don’t think any one would fancy their chances of that or of winning a playoff match to make it to the tournament through that route.
I’m just shattered.