The US U-20’s shook off a rough start against Uruguay to come back and win 2-1 in extra time on Wednesday night. The U-20 World Cup team is the second most talked about issue in soccer right now. I’ll give you one guess who is talked about more.
First off, thank God I live in Niagara Falls and can watch the game on the CBC because I don’t have ESPNU. I can’t believe ESPN or ESPN2 couldn’t pick up one of these games. That to me is just ridiculous. I mean I know they single handedly want to destroy the NHL, but come on, you play Rock-Paper-Scissors, but no U-20 games? But I digress…
If you haven’t seen the recap of the game, you can check it out here. I’m not out to cover the game minute by minute but would rather discuss parts of it.
The attitude for the US for 105 minutes can be summed up in one word..overconfident. After beating the ‘highly touted’ Brazillians 2-1 last week, the US team went into this clash with Uruguay already looking to the next round. To me, the US team looked ‘lazy’ which is a far cry from any of their previous games in this World Cup.
Uruguay played 10 men behind the ball all the time, thwarting the US attack all night long. Josy Altidore had the best chance in the first half but couldn’t convert on a header in the box. The US was content most of the night with playing long balls into the corner instead of playing diagonal balls through to their strikers. The diagonal balls would have opened up the flat back of Uruguay and gave them more chances on goal. Most of the teams they played this world cup only played 4 of 5 behind the ball and attempted to score goals by their counter attack, but this was the complete opposite of Uruguay. They were afraid of a US team that put up 6 goals against Poland and were content with winning or losing a game 1-0.
The second half saw a US team come out flat again, but fought through the loss of Josy Altidore, who went out with a calf injury in the first half. Again the defense of Uruguay was frustrating the Americans, and they seemed to have no answer. Passes were not very crisp and on target, and it appeared as both teams were content playing for penalties. Uruguay scored first in the 74th minute on a ball that should have been covered up by Perk on the line but was slid in by Suarez.
The US started to fight back finding their World Cup hopes on the line, and they were rewarded in the 87th minute with what was ruled as an own goal by Cardaccio who put the ball in right near the goal line. Had their not been an own goal., the ball would surely have been finished off by Andre Akpan who was right behind Cardaccio on the play.
By far the most exciting part of the match was the last 15 minutes of extra time. Finally the young Americans started to play with some fire and saw their World Cup hopes become that much sweeter with a goal by Michael Bradley off of a corner that ping-ponged around in the box for a bit before he calmly tucked it in. This goal was reward to the US for working hard to win the corner and then finishing it off when the opportunity arose, something the Mens team should be taking note of.