After playing England to a 1-1 draw today the United States salvaged a point and now can turn its attention to the weaker teams in the group with the hopes of advancing still alive. The match against our rivals from across the pond yielded a mix of good, bad and even one really ugly event.
The United States has a few things to celebrate after today’s draw. The first of which is the netminding of Tim Howard. Howard kept the United States in the game numerous times. Stopping breakaways, crosses and even throwing himself into the way of danger and almost getting injured. Tim Howard was without a doubt the man of the match.
A few other positives to note for team USA were the performances of Clint Dempsy and Oguchi Onyewu. Dempsy played spectacular for the Americans. Scoring our only goal, even if it was a gift. His skill in the midfield was demonstrated time and time again and if not for a few of his defensive stops, the Americans could have very well been on the losing end of the match. Speaking of defense, the other big positive for fans to take away would be the fitness of Oguchi Onyewu. For the first time since returning from injury he played a full match. Not only was he match fit, but he helped render English star Wayne Rooney useless.
While the result is something to take away as a good thing there were some negatives that need to be addressed. First and foremost, the fact that the United States fell behind in the fourth minute is a glaring problem. They came out flat and seemed to be confused at the start of the match. That is a mistake they can not afford to make again if they hope to advance out of group play. The second thing they will have to improve on is counter attacking. With the speed of Jozy Altidore the United States defense and midfield should send more balls down the field and let Altidore run for them.
The offense. While we did have around fifteen shots during the course of the match, only a few of them really troubled English keeper Robert Green. The United States scored more goals than any other team during qualifying, so it isn’t like they can’t score. They need to get more organized and use their individual talents to get more legitimate chances on net.