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Posts Tagged ‘CONCACAF’

Playing For Charlie

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For Charlie

Two days after the tragic events surrounding Team USA striker Charlie Davies, his teammates had to take the field for one of their last World Cup qualifying games against Costa Rica. Granted. the US had already advanced thanks to the Honduras win, but in light everything that has happened since, one could understand if Tim Howard and the gang came out a little flat. And that’s exactly what happened.

The Ticas, thanks to two sterling goals from Bryan Ruiz, jumped all over the United States by scoring twice in four minutes of match time. And for a while, it looked the US was too emotionally spent to meet the challenge offered by Costa Rica. And then the second half came and Team USA fought back. And fought back some more.

Finally, thanks to an injury time header from Jonathan Bornstein — four minutes into stoppage time — Team USA got its equalizer, sending them to the World Cup as the top team in CONCACAF. However, that wasn’t the significance of last night’s comeback draw. No, Team USA fought for Charlie Davies. In order to pay the proper respects for their temporarily-fallen teammate, Sam’s Army never quit fighting back against the Ticas. Granted, it took until the final seconds of the game for Team USA to get the desired result, but the fact they never gave up speaks volumes about their play and how much they respect Davies. Jozy Altidore, the US’ beast-in-waiting, had this to say about his injured roommate:

“Just because how close I am to the kid, you know,” [Altidore] said. “It just hurt that much more and for me tonight. That made me realize that you may not get another game so you’ve got to make sure you play every game like it’s your last. So I’m going to try and do that from here on out.”

Here are the highlights from last night’s emotional draw and a screenshot of the banner celebrating and commemorating Davies:

For Charlie

Next up for Teams USA is a friendly match against Denmark on November 18.

As for Davies, I’m offering this little pick: I have a strong feeling he’ll be back for the World Cup.

Granted, his health is the most important outcome here, but according to initial reports, his injuries aren’t career-threatening and should leave him with a recovery time of six to twelve months. The World Cup begins in 238 days. Six months equals 180 days, give or take a couple. Considering Davies’ work ethic on the field, I have no doubt he’ll attack his rehab like a defenseless goal-keeper and be available to the team when they travel to South Africa.

Whether or not Bob Bradley would/will use him is another story.

That’s How You Coach Defense (Gold Cup)

Thank goodness for this year’s Gold Cup. Otherwise, I would be drowning in a world of Major League Baseball. Much like Santino Quaranta’s fantastic strike on Wednesday night, last night’s match between Panama and Mexico provided some fireworks; although, I don’t think they are the kind CONCACAF intended. What we have is Mexico’s coach, Javier Aguirre, helping out his defense in whatever way he can think of. In this case, with his legs; against an opposing Panamanian player in the field of play.

Continue reading after the jump >>

And Jozy Altidore Shall Lead Them

Yes, I’m well aware CONCACAF soccer doesn’t necessarily match up with Europe and South America’s real football World Cup qualifying leagues, but as long as the United States continues to be the dominant team in their qualifying play group, they will continue to play in the World Cup. Winning it — or even surviving the initial group play — is another story. However, you can’t knock a team for winning, regardless of what competition level. With that in mind, all credit goes to the US Men’s team for beating Trinidad and Tobago, 3 goals to 0. The goal differential was provided solely by wunderkind striker Jozy Altidore, who tallied the US’ first hat trick since Eddie Johnson did it in 2004.

The 19-year old Altidore has six goals in nine international appearances, certainly making him the striker of the future for US Soccer, if not the present. Too bad we don’t get to find out how effective Altidore will be until next summer. Don’t you just love the four-year wait between these things?

US Soccer Plays With TNT

Tim Howard

Thanks to goals from Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Brian Ching, the US Men’s team handled an outmatched Trinidad and Tobago with their best offensive showing of 2008. The victory also gave the US a stranglehold on their CONCACAF qualifying group as their record in round three play improved to 3-0.

The scoring explosion was started by Bradley after he redirected a Landon Donovan free kick into the back of the net. From that point, the US confidently attacked their opponents, facilitated by Trinidad and Tobago’s surprisingly soft defense — not that they are known as defensive team. However, that doesn’t mean the best strategy was to play off of the Americans, allowing them to see the field and move the ball accordingly.

Perhaps some increased defensive pressure would serve Trinidad and Tobago better.

Video highlights after the jump >>