Tuesday, March 31, 2009

U.S. - El Salvador soccer match

On Saturday evening, the U.S. men's team took on El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier in San Salvador. From previous World Cup qualifying rounds, I had always thought that El Salvador had difficulty scoring, but they've now scored four goals in their last two matches (against Trinidad and the U.S.).

The U.S. came back in the last 10 minutes of the match to score two goals and end the match with a 2-2 draw.

Although their team is now at the top of the six-team table for CONCACAF World Cup qualifying (top three qualify for the World Cup Finals in 2010, with the fourth place team playing a playoff match against a South American team for the right to qualify), some U.S. fans are getting nervous. The New York Times Goal blog pointed out that if the U.S. loses against Trinidad at home on Wednesday and two other results come through that we could find ourselves in fourth place.

Oh no, Mr. Bill!

Calm down, people. The team showed great heart in Saturday night's match. Jozy Altidore and Jose Francisco Torres played great as substitutes. The boys won a lot of 50-50 balls in the last 15 minutes of the match, and their superior fitness showed. They earned a point on the road in a packed, loud stadium. This is great preparation for playing in Mexico and Honduras and ultimately South Africa in 2010. It was a thrilling match to watch, and I was very proud of our players at the end.

Having said that, I agree with those who are calling for U.S. coach Bob Bradley to shake up the lineup for tomorrow night's match against Trinidad & Tobago. I think starting Altidore and Torres makes a lot of sense. I think Jonathan Spector should start over Heath Pearce.

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