Monday, October 13, 2008
It may not bring out the best in me, nor be real "sport," but I thoroughly enjoyed Saturday's World Cup CONCACAF qualifying match between the US and Cuba at RFK. The U.S. was clearly going to be moving past the group stage and the quality of the opposition has not been high. Nevertheless, the U.S. soccer team has neither been an entertaining nor dominant team thus far in the qualifying rounds. In the first match with Cuba, the U.S. was totally unimpressive.
Not so Saturday night. DaMarcus Beasley drilled home two, Landon Donovan scored again, Brian Ching netted a goal, and Onyewu finished off the scoring. And the standard, comfortable starting XI of the U.S. team looked dynamic and dangerous.
But the story of the match was Bob Bradley's bench, which featured former Terp Maurice Edu, former United star Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore, and debutant Jose Torres. The latter three joined the game as subs and for those concerned about the future of the U.S. team, well, the future looks pretty bright. Torres did not waste much time taking a good screaming shot on goal. Adu set up the final goal with a cross to the head of Onyewu. And Altidore was awesome. On his first break on goal, Jozy shrugged off a Cuban defender, but failed to score. On his second break on goal, Jozy showed a flexibility that Kenny Cooper could not, Altidore broke down a defender, dinking the ball off his right foot while juking the defender to his right and then laced the shot near post under the sprawling Cuban keeper.
The 18-man team for the away game against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday promises yet more new blood. Brad Guzan is joined in goal by former United keeper Troy Perkins, who did not make the cut for Saturday's game. Charlie Davies and Robbie Rogers will buttress Altidore's play up front. And Jonathan Bornstein, Marvelle Wynne, and Michael Orozco may also earn their first caps in a World Cup qualifying match.