Man of the Match [8.12.09 vs. Mexico]: Oguchi Onyewu

MAN OF THE MATCH:  This was clearly a two-horse race.  While Charlie Davies did score the USA’s lone goal, he failed to put away his golden opportunity to get the go-ahead in the second half.  Overall, a good performance, but we had to give the nod to Oguchi Onyewu.  He continued his beastly ways in the back, showing everyone why he was picked up by Milan.  If he can continue his good run of form, he’ll have a real shot at cracking his club’s squad.

GOAT(S) OF THE MATCH:  It’s hard to single out one player here.  Clint Dempsey comes to mind for performing his disappearing act.  Our outside backs (Cherundolo and Bocanegra) got burned all day long.  And our center mids (Bradley and Clark) couldn’t hold the ball or distribute effectively.  While I disgree with some of Bob Bradley’s lineup choices–I would have prefered starts for Altidore, Spector, and Feilhaber over Ching, Cherundolo, and Clark–they weren’t clear missteps.  His biggest failure, in my opinion, was in the predictability of his substitutions, and for this reason, he deserves some of the blame.  It’s hard to believe he’s managing the game when he makes similar substitutions at similar times, regardless of scoreline or momentum.  That’s not to say his substitutes never contribute.  But look at Mexico or Brazil, for example–in both cases, their coaches made halftime adjustments and second-half substitutions that swung the game unquestionably (and ultimatley) in their favor.  Bradley failed to counter this both times out, and I’m starting to question whether or not he is capable of doing that.

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