Three Gringos and a 0-0 Scoreline

Aug. 10, 2010 - East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States of America - 10 August 2010 - USA Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD.

Fulham and Everton’s failure to score in their 0-0 draw was due to two factors: 1) mirror image 4-4-1-1 formations and 2) a lack of quality in the final third. The latter is a pressing concern for both squads, as Everton have struggled to score all season and Fulham are without 3 of their top 5 strikers (Andy Johnson, Bobby Zamora, and Moussa Dembele). However, despite the lack of goals, the match was of particular interest for American viewers since three US Nationals were on display.

Tim Howard

Everton’s stalwart keeper did not have a ton of work to do. But when he was called on, Howard answered every Fulham question. He made two saves, though his most intelligent play came in the 75th when he pounced on a Clint Dempsey pass that seemed destined to set up a teammate for a shot on an open goal.

Clint Dempsey

Starting in place of Zamora, Dempsey was given the difficult task of hold-up play, a challenge he wasn’t up for. Fulham, for most of the first half and the beginning of the second, tried to bypass the midfield by spraying long passes to Dempsey and his fellow striker Zoltan Gera. Neither player had much success controlling balls in the air. As you can see in the below graphic, Dempsey lost 7 aerial challenges and won only 1.

by Guardian Chalkboards

That’s not to say he was completely ineffective on the day. After Eddie Johnson came on for Gera in the 55th, Dempsey moved to withdrawn forward (and later left midfield) where his direct play bothered Everton defenders. Also, some of his failed aerial challenges came about because he had to chase his teammates’ poor passes. However, this match does show Dempsey is not suited to playing as a target man. Unfortunately, Fulham, at the moment, have little choice in the matter.

Eddie Johnson

When Johnson entered the match, he heard the crowd chanting the name of the man he replaced. Thirty-plus minutes later, after creating some half-chances for teammates, he finally received cheers of his own. His best contribution occurred in the 70th: Johnson’s nicely weighted header teed up Simon Davies for a shot but Davies muffed the chance. As a whole, the American striker’s contributions were more positive than negative, but like all of his teammates, he didn’t have an excellent day when close to the opposition’s penalty area, typified by his mystifying decision to head a teammate’s pass across the face of goal instead of towards Howard’s net.

Gringos, were you able to watch this match on If you didn’t, check it out this afternoon on Fox Soccer Channel (4:00 EST) and then let us know what you thought of the Americans’ performances.

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