Confederations Cup: Man of the Tournament

3694481957_c72898cab1LANDON DONOVAN [MoM (2)]- Over the years, Landon has developed a reputation for disappearing in important matches.  He hasn’t always seemed willing to take control of our offense, distribute the ball, and run at the oppoing team.  This was not the case in the Confederations Cup.  Landon was a true leader.  He made the team click.  Even in the games where the US was outplayed, Donovan managed to look good.  American fans rejoice–Landon Donovan is starting to look like the player we all thought he could be; Landon Donovan is starting to look like a player who can lead us to success in the World Cup.  No offense to Clint Dempsey, but this should have been the guy receiving the honors after the cup final.

RUNNERS UP

TIM HOWARD [MoM (2)]Some might laugh at the idea of praising a keeper who let in over two goals per game (9 goals in 4 games), but Tim Howard was a monster.  He saved every shot that he could have reasonably been expect to (and several that he shouldn’t have).  He kept us in games when the players in front of him let him down.  While Landon Donovan is the engine of our offense, Tim Howard is the key to our success next summer.

OGUCHI ONYEWU [MoM (0)] – Oguchi Onyewu was a rock in the back.  He won every ball that came his way in the air.  He blocked every shot taken anywhere near him (including a goal-line save).  He stifled the Spanish offense in a way that few defenders could.  He earned a contract from A.C. Milan–the biggest club any (non-goal-keeping) American has ever played for.  He had an absolutely fantastic tournament.  It looks like he, just like Landon Donovan, is starting to peak at the right time.

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Michael Bradley to serve 4-game suspension

Grant Wahl is reporting on his blog that FIFA have ruled that Michael Bradley is to serve a four-game suspension for his post-game confrontation of Jorge Larrionda.  Despite the seemingly harsh penalty, it turns out that it doesn’t mean much.  Bradley will be allowed to serve his suspension during the Gold Cup–a competition for which he wasn’t even called up.  This means Bradley will be available for our trip to the Azteca.

Say what you will about the red card (I would agree that it was a horrible, horrible decision), but we here at P2010 have a very hard time feeling sorry for this kid.  He has some serious problems with aggression.  Not only does he seemingly average a yellow card every other game (I honestly don’t remember the last cup competition in which he didn’t have to serve a one-game suspension),  but he seems to be carrying that aggression off the field these days.  During hte Confederations Cup alone, he went on an angry rant about the American soccer media and picked a fight (albeit verbal) with a referee!  Someone needs to put this kid in anger management.  He’s certainly a great player with tons of potential.  I’m just worried he might throw it all away by murdering someone.

Man of the Match [7.4.09 vs. Grenada]: Robbie Rogers

Man of the Match: While we saw several good performances against Grenada–Stuart Holden, Freddy Adu, and Chad Marshall, to name a few–Robbie Rogers was the clear winner of this match’s honor.  He ran at the Grenadan defense, provided great service, set up two goals, and scored one himself.  His performance is sure to ease some worries about our depth on the left wing.

Goat of the Match: Anyone who decided to bring a vuvuzela to the game.  Never again.

USA Gold Cup roster extended to 30

As reported on Goal.com, the USMNT have been granted seven extra spots on their Gold Cup roster due to their recent participation in the Confederations Cup.  The US will still be limited to 18 men on game day.  Based on the players already selected, here the group we believe will fill out the 30-man roster:

Jack Jewsbury

Jesse Marsch

Ramiro Corrales

Carey Talley

Sasha Victorine

Ante Razov

Ross Paule

We will post an update once these selections are confirmed.

Match Preview [6.28.09 vs. Brazil]

MATCH_PREVIEWLast game was amazing.  While Spain were clearly a better, more skilled team than the USA, everyone wearing the red, white, and blue put in a good performance.  And believe it or not, we were better on the day.  Even our old foe Bob Bradley deserves credit.  Ever since he changed to a proper 4-4-2, the team has scored 5 goals and all were from the run of play!  He even fulfilled our wish of a Bocanegra-DeMerit-Onyewu-Spector back line.  This team is really clicking right now, and as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke…”  Unfortunately, a questionable red card for Michael Bradley will force us to make at least one change.  (By the way, are we the only ones who have a hard time feeling bad for this kid?  He’s a great player, but he seems to average about .5 unnecessary yellow cards per game.  It was definitely harsh, but Michael needs to work on this bad habit.)  Benny Feilhaber seems like the best choice to start.  If he looks anything like he did at the end of the Spain game, he should fit in nicely.  Then again, Benny does have the ability to disappear in big matches.  Here’s hoping for the best.

This is the lineup we hope to see, and for once, we are confident that we’ll actually see it:

————–Altidore——–Davies—————–

Donovan———————————–Dempsey

————–Feilhaber———-Clark—————-

Bocanegra—-DeMerit—–Onyewu——-Spector

————————Howard————————-

Let’s bring home the trophy, boys.  (And if we’re really lucky, Liverpudlian band the Trophy Boyz might honor us with a commemorative song of this calibre.)

USA announce Gold Cup roster

GOALKEEPERS – Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Troy Perkins (Valarenga), Luis Robles (Kaiserslautern)

DEFENDERS – Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Jay Heaps (New England Revolution), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaellands), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock)

MIDFIELDERS – Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Colin Clark (Colorado Rapids), Sam Cronin (Toronto FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)

FORWARDS – Freddy Adu (Benfica), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United)

Hmmm…

I’ll spare you the extensive commentary, but am I the only one who thinks there are a few head-scratchers in there?  When Jay Heaps is your second-choice B-teamer, maybe it’s time to start looking to the future and give a younger prospect a look.  I simply can’t wrap my mind around the concept that we might ever rely on someone like that in a meaningful international match.  I’d take a out-of-position, beach-soccer fit John O’Brien over Jay Heaps (OK–I might be taking this a little too far…).

Onyewu to Fenerbahce – Deal not done

As reported on goal.com, Oguchi Onyewu’s transfer is not yet done.  (Finishing the deal while in South Africa on international duty didn’t make sense and made me skeptical of initial reports.)  According to his agent, the Turkish giants are interested, but Birmingham City, Monaco, and others are still in contention.

Onyewu has shown a lot during the Confederations Cup, especially in tonight’s win over Spain.  The move to Turkey wouldn’t be bad–it’s a step up from Belgium–but I’m hoping his recent form will raise his stock enough to attract some attention from more teams in bigger leagues.