Holden Advances in FA Cup at Dempsey’s Expense

June 26, 2010 - Rustenburg, South Africa - Clint Dempsey of USA reacts during the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 26, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.

On the heels of Tim Howard’s FA Cup victory, two more gringos had an opportunity to advance in the world’s oldest soccer tournament. Earlier today, Stuart Holden’s Bolton and Clint Dempsey’s Fulham faced off for the right to advance to the quarterfinals.

The starting lineups

Fulham, despite controlling much of the action and outshooting their opponents 16 to 5, rarely bothered Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, mostly due to last-ditch Bolton defending in the penalty area. In contrast, Fulham failed to clear a number of Bolton shots in their own box. Ivan Klasnic profited from their slack clearances to tally the match’s lone goal.

With Bolton often on their back foot, center midfielder Holden had little to do offensively. He picked out a few decent passes and attempted one off-target shot, but most of his key contributions were deep in his own half. He made the game’s most important tackle, successfully thwarting Andy Johnson when the striker burst into the box and appeared to have a free shot on goal.

In the first half, Clint Dempsey was only slightly more involved than Holden. As the left midfielder, he didn’t see a lot of the ball since Fulham was attempting to take advantage of Bolton’s young left back, Marcos Alonso. When Dempsey was in possession, however, he made a few threatening passes. His header to Moussa Dembele produced Fulham’s best shooting opportunity before the halftime whistle. With twenty minutes remaining in the match, Dempsey switched positions with Dembele, a change that left Dempsey as the withdrawn forward. He thrived in the role and, if not for a last-second block from Gary Cahill, would have scored an 88th-minute equalizer.

Following Dempsey’s move to withdrawn forward, the two Americans came into direct contact on more than one occassion. Holden even picked up a yellow card for a tug on Dempsey’s jersey. The foul, though, proved to be an intelligent move, as it ended Fulham’s last chance to create a clear scoring opportunity.

For their efforts, Holden and Bolton will play Birmingham City in the quarterfinals.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. robinoz0 says:

    ah, too bad Dempsey won’t advance, but best wishes to Holden in the rest of tournament!

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