Saturday, September 13, 2008

U.S. Thumps T&T, 3-0-0 in Group Play

The U.S. Men's National Team moved to 3-0-0 in the World Cup Qualifying Group Stage with a 3-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago last Wednesday night in Chicago. Michael Bradley, Clint "Deuce" Dempsey and Brian Ching notched goals as the U.S. recorded its 5th straight World Cup Qualifier shutout (and 6th straight shutout overall). In the process, they outclassed an obviously overmatched T&T team as they now stand way ahead in 1st place of their group with 9 points, with return legs against Cuba (in DC), Guatemala (in Denver) and T&T (in T&T).

What struck me about this game was the performance of a couple of players. One, DaMarcus Beasley is back. His pace was excellent, and he was really aggressive in creating scoring opportunities, culminating in an assist on Dempsey's goal. He was also very capable in working with the other younger players and getting them in the flow of the offense. I'm glad to seem him back to form, and I hope he can continue to work hard and continue to flow with the offense. We definitely need him.

Tim Howard was awesome as usual. At this point, I think he's one of the Top 5 keepers in the entire world. Yes, I said it, the world. The other keepers on that list: Iker Casillas (Spain), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), and maybe Dida (Brazil). Let's face it, Tim Howard is playing incredible right now, and he's the man at Everton as well. Honestly, outside of Iker Casillas, there's no one I would have more trust in placing in net than Tim Howard.

Speaking of incredible play, how about Dempsey? 4 goals in 4 games, including the game winner at Cuba. I just hope that he can translate his success on the world stage to doing well at Fulham, because he has the chance there to really dominate and lead that team back into the middle of the EPL pack. He is one of my favorite players on the U.S. team, and as high as his confidence is right now, I hope that he can use his time in the EPL to really develop into a go-to offensive option, whether it be as a striker or as a right attack mid like he's been playing.

Michael Bradley did much better against T&T than the form he has shown over the past few months. Maybe he's burnt out, but what I think he should be doing is focusing on playing well for Borussia Mönchengladbach, his new team.

Finally, as the U.S. seek to all but clinch the group stage in a game next month against Cuba (which I will be attending), I would like to see Bob Bradley bring in some of the younger players to get their feet wet against some quality international competition. Players like Freddy Adu (Monaco), Jozy Altidore (Villareal) and Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) should be brought in to work their incredible pace into the pool of talent we have on the Men's National Team. These players are our future, but they could very well be worked in now so that come 2010, our roster options will be that much greater. Word Life.

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