Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic fever

I have caught Olympic fever and it nearly made me sick when the US gave up a late lead and were forced to settle for a draw. The Dutch dominated the opening 25 minutes, but were only able to get one goal. The Americans went on to dominate the next hour and scored twice, but a bad foul by Holden in extra-time saw all their good work unravel. When the wall jumped, Gibbon put the ball right under them(a la Ronaldinho from the Champions League a couple years ago) and secured them a draw. The Dutch did have some problems, as the pitch was in horrible shape(thanks to those Chinese weather rockets) and the Dutch weren't able to play their free flowing passing game. Makaay was also supposed to be injured, but he came on at the end and looked fine.
The Dutch came out in a 3-5-2, and Marcelo Balboa pointed out that they were dominating the midfield against the America's 4-4-2. They also seemed to have an easy time moving down the right side of the pitch, and Drenthe missed a couple chances to open the scoring before Babel put them on the scoreboard. Rather than move another player into the midfield, which would have exposed the defense or left McBride alone up front, the Americans started to do their own work on the flanks. Whenever the Americans were able to get the ball past midfield, Holland's three defenders meant they were exposed on the touch lines. Wynne and Orozco did a great job getting up the field, with Holden and Rogers also pushing forward well. Adu was great cutting inside, and his passing set up Kljestan's goal. It was Orozco's cross that banged off Altidore for America's second. Nowak's one mistake might have been waiting to put in Altidore, as McBride never seemed to get involved.
The hardest thing will be the yellow cards to Adu and Bradley, which will see them miss the game against Nigeria. America only needs a draw to qualify, and could even make it through with a loss, but they will have a tough battle. Nigeria is a good team, and have a number of offensive threats. Edu had some problems in center back, and with a clean sheet the priority, he may be moved. Altidore should start, and America will need a strong performance from him to go through.

One Liners
  • Gullit and Lalas quit Galaxy, Beckham feeling pressure?
  • Kaboul signs with Pompey, Harry Redknapp probably says something like "I just hope he works out better than the Maginot Line"
  • Mourinho sees two horse race, I wonder if he'd bet his cashmere coat on that
  • Pienaar out for start of season, I would not want to be David Moyes' cardiologist
  • Thaksin Shiniwatra misses court date, call him mint jelly cause he's on the lamb