Well that didn't feel good. 3-1 defeats never do. The US had a decent first half and went in with a one-nil lead. Benni Feilhaber was all over the place and Jeff Cunningham had a great goal, putting him in contention for a World Cup spot. But Denmark outplayed the US, did a good job of controlling the midfield, and took advantage of some shambolic defending. The US just didn't play all that well and some mental errors and positioning break downs ultimately led to their downfall.
So what to make of the results?
1. Depth is an issue for the US. The US B and C team players are simply not at the level where they can just step in. Soccer really is a team game and when one or two of the players on the field are really not good enough it affects the whole team. Too often against Denmark players were caught out of position or lost possession, leaving the backline totally exposed.
2. We are very dependent on Donovan and Dempsey. Frankly both players just have class and are very dangerous when they have the ball. When they are not there we are definitely missing a spark.
3. Hejduk is done. I think Denmark for Frankie Hejduk will be what Costa Rica was for Pablo Mastroeni - his last USMNT game. Hejduk was abysmal. He was constantly caught out of position, either to far upfield or too far inside or outside. Denmark had a field day going after him on that side. Also his two-footed lunging tackles are just red cards waiting to happen. If we learned one thing in this game it was that Frankie Hejduk should not go to South Africa.
4. Jonathan Spector was at fault. In general the backline looked leaky and they failed to deal well with some routine balls. Much of this was because they were effectively defending with a lopsided three in the back. And with one of those three being Jonathan Bornstein, Spector and Bocanegra were frequently on an island. That said - Spector was legitimately at fault on all three goals. The first goal he let a defender get behind him on a floated ball in from the half way line. His failed clearance led to the second goal and on the third he failed to mark the Danish player who had a free look from the top of the box. It was a really bad display. But despite this, he still maybe the best option to replace Gooch
5. Altidore a non-factor. The US created some chances, but Altidore was a total non-factor again. Much of this was due to the Danish midfield preventing the service from getting to him. But Altidore looks a little lost out there. He has struggled to find space and hasn't really made any darting runs that put the defense on its heels. While Davies frequently would make wide runs, Altidore stays very central. There isn't anything wrong with that per say, but he in that position he is not having the chance to run at players. This could perhaps be a result of Phil Brown at Hull playing Altidore as a sole striker. On the bright side, Jozy's hold up play has improved greatly, but this may have worked to impede some of his attacking venom and flare.
6. Castillo should have been on earlier. Bradley should have brought on Castillo earlier and at left back. He came in for the last 30 minutes at left midfield when it was a total scrub fest and he barely got the ball. We learned nothing about him in this game. If Bradley was going to "protect" him by not playing at left back he should have been in there much much earlier.
7. Bring Cunningham back. Jeff Cunningham put the ball in the back of the net. Nuff said. Bradley needs to call him in for the January camp and give him a chance to keep doing it. He looked lively against Slovakia and dangerous against Denmark. He has emerged ahead of the others challenging for the second striker role.
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