Friday, March 05, 2010

USA-Netherlands Field Report

OK, not quite "the field" but we were on the first freakin' row, which is pretty close. Facebookers go HERE for photos & video. Photos:

Big shoutout to Davide for getting us primo tickets! How primo? Here's an early Dutch corner:

First, let me tell you, as tasty as Indonesian food is, I'm not sure it's the perfect pregame meal. Tasty, but gassy.

Next, the game was a bit blah for about 70 minutes -- the Dutch dominated possession, but they didn't generate all that many great chances, Except when Bornstein gifted them one at the end of the first half.

But once they got their second goal (pure bad luck for Bornstein & the USA), the US seemed to pop out of their funk and take it to the Dutch. It helped that Dutch players apparently only condition themselves for 75 minutes of play.

Before the game, I predicted a 2-1 Dutch win. With the USA hammering the Dutch keeper in the last 5 minutes, I was on the edge of my seat, hoping for the tie. Of course, after the 2nd Dutch goal, I'd have been thrilled with 2-1. But Bocanegra's sweet header ("a lot of teams guard the guy right in front of the goal" was my comment at the time) and the subsequent US pressure left me feeling disappointed in the result. It was fair, though -- the USA was the better team for only about 15-20 minutes. But at least Goodson had his shot at glory:

Tobias had the line of the night after watching Spector get treated like a well-oiled turnstile for the second time by Elia: "It was good of them to put 'Spectator' on his jersey". Heh.

Other thoughts:

- Jozy Altidore is getting better, but he still needs to SHOOT more.
- Someone put Damarcus Beasley's corpse through the juvenation machine! He started slowly, likely as a result of not warming up (thank you, cheap-shot Dutch!), but played well in the second half.
- Dutch fans are asshats -- when Holden was chopped down, they started whistling & booing and didn't stop until AFTER he was helped off the field.
- Germany has almost no hot female fans. The Dutch have a LOT. Strong work, Holland!
- Being so close allowed us to see more reactions, the most notable when Spector hit a cross field goal-style in the 92nd minute when EJ and Jozy both had mismatches. They were complaining about it to each other afterward -- clearly unhappy.
- Howard is freaking fast for a keeper. He closed out one ball I thought he'd badly misplayed. his distribution is sketchy, though.
- The Dutch are better at possession than any team i've seen, including Brazil and Spain. It might be the angle from the field, but they had some amazing traps and touches -- even Davide (Italian) and Tobias (German) were impressed.

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