As well as the United States National Team played against England, there is an overwhelming feeling that the best of the team has yet to be seen. Let’s remember that the US was gifted a goal by England’s goalkeeper Robert Green in the first half and statistically speaking had one of the worst offensive performances in the opening round of the World Cup.
There have been a lot of pundits who believe that Jose Francisco Torres or Benny Failhaber should be paired with Michael Bradley as opposed to Ricardo Clark. This move wouldn’t be prudent as so far the US has shown to be an above average defensive team and sacrificing defense in the midfield could quickly expose some of the team’s liabilities.
A better move would be to start Herculez Gomez alongside Jozy Altidore upfront. Robbie Findley’s blistering pace is a good fit along Altidore but his inability to finish or make sensible passes hinders the US attack. While both Edson Buddle and Gomez have put up similar numbers in the team’s friendlies, Gomez’s faster pace allows him to make slashing runs opening up opportunities. Buddle is a good alternative if Altidore isn’t having a good game or if the US needs size of the bench up top.
Here Are Some Key Factors Going Into Tomorrow’s Game:
Is Gooch Rounding Into Form? Oguchi Onyewu look solid if not spectacular in the US’ opening match against England. His powerful physique made life difficult for bruising forward Emile Heskey, who looked frustrated throughout the entire match. Mobility was a concern, however, as the 28-year old has never been known for his pace and at times when England had some pace behind its attack he looked lost. Slovenia doesn’t have strong attackers but they do have some pace up front. It will be interesting to see if Gooch can keep up.
Dempsey Continues To Look Confident
There is no disputing that Landon Donovan is America’s lead option on offense but don’t tell that to Clint Dempsey. It is clear that the Fulham forward is revved for the World Cup and even if his goal was a gift from Robert Green, confidence is transparent on the 27-year old. With many speculating that his current club coach Roy Hodgson might make a move to Liverpool don’t be surprised if Dempsey is one of the coach’s first signings.
The US could win Group C IF…
The Red, White and Blue figures out the Slovenian defense early. Slovenia has a strong collective defensive but there are no world class defenders or goalies playing in the back. If determined, the US could score early and open the floodgates. If the US can score two on Slovenia and possibly three on Algeria, the pressure could be on England to at least match the output. It might seem hard to picture the US outscoring England in the group but if they did they would probably face either Ghana or Serbia. Either would be preferable to the en fuego Germans who looked dominant in the opening round.
View From The Laboratory is written by Alex Labidou. Labidou joined 90:00 Soccer as a contributor in August 2009 and has worked as a journalist for VIBE, NBA.com, ABC News (20/20), Goal.com and New York Newsday. He can be reached at AlexLabidou@gmail.com