USA – Chile Thoughts

HARRISON, NJ - APRIL 27: Juan Agudelo #39 of the New York Red Bulls plays the ball against the Philadelphia Union during the US Open Cup qualifying match on April 27, 2010 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Red Bulls defeated the Union 2-1. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

Bob Bradley and the USMNT opened their 2011 account with a 1-1 draw against Marcelo Bielsa and Chile. The South Americans went on top in the 53rd through Esteban Paredes, the only Chilean on display who represented his squad in South Africa. Twenty minutes later Juan Agudelo, who had his own moment of South African joy back in November, earned the penalty that Teal Bunbury converted for the equalizer.

The starting lineups

We’ll cover the match in more detail in our upcoming January podcast (look for it Thursday), but for now here are some initial thoughts.

  • ESPN3 is not my favorite streaming service. Not only is it a terrible subscription method, the quality can be atrocious. And there’s nothing you can do about it since they decide the quality of your stream.
  • Dax McCarty continued his fine form from the 2010 MLS Playoffs. He was involved in most of the promising US attacking sequences, even feeding Agudelo before the striker earned the penalty.
  • The fullbacks weren’t impressive. Sean Franklin struggled early but settled as the match progressed. Zach Loyd did the opposite. Loyd also lost a challenge on the Chilean goal sequence.
  • Marvell Wynne’s struggles have become a cliche: though he has all the talent in the world, he can’t stop making mental mistakes. Wynne, a second half substitute for Omar Gonzalez, was more at fault than Loyd on Chile’s goal. He completely lost track of Paredes in the box. He did kind of redeem himself in the 80th when he accidentally played Paredes offside.
  • Agudelo, Bunbury, Mikkel Diskerud, Brek Shea, and Alejandro Bedoya all showed glimpses of top-class skill. But excepting Agudelo, they rarely provided any threat to Chile’s goal. Hopefully at some point they’ll have opportunities to play with the Donovans and Dempseys to show what they can do when lined up alongside USA’s best.
  • Diskerud might have been the player on the field known most for his great touch, but Chris Wondolowski provided a few nice flicks of his own.
  • This wasn’t a match where tactics seemed to matter a whole lot. Chile stayed in their 3-3-1-3 the whole match, though it was slightly more defensive (ie they didn’t press as high up the pitch) as the game progressed. USA started in a 4-2-3-1 but switched to a 4-4-2 after some second half substitutions (Bunbury/Agudelo up top and Diskerud on the left). Chile played three at the back when the US had just one striker, something Bielsa wouldn’t have dreamed of doing in the World Cup. Bradley’s 4-4-2 was more successful than his 4-2-3-1, though it’s doubtful that had anything to do with the formation. Agudelo and Bunbury seemed more eager to run at defenders than Wondolowski/Diskerud.

Gringos, did you suffer through ESPN3 or did you watch the game on Telefutura? Were you impressed by any of the performances?

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Bradley's Receding Hairline says:

    I thought McCarty was impressive too. I wanted Shea and Bedoya to do more. None of the fullbacks really got forward either. Pretty disappointing performance for them.

  2. AG says:

    I knew that Loyd was having a decent season with FC Dallas, but I didnt realize that he was garnering national attention.

  3. bensten says:

    I went with Telefutura. Didn’t even go there with ESPN 3.

    Shea showed a lot better than in his first cap, but still wasn’t extremely productive (I’d love to eventually see passing and tackles stats). McCarty captained well but was a little frenetic at times. Why did Hyndman let him go??!! Bedoya didn’t seem present. Diskerud just seemed to languish. It was amazing the injection of danger Agudelo gave the team the minute he came on. If we give him credit for the penalty, his “point efficiency” continues to skyrocket.

    • Blake Owen says:

      There were rumors that Hyndman and McCarty didn’t get along when Hyndman first came to Dallas. Additionally, Hyndman probably feels he can replicate McCarty’s production with Erik Avila and Eric Alexander.

  4. AdamFromMich says:

    I wish my cable service offered Telefutura. ESPN3 came in terrible for me yesterday – but it was much better than nothing. I enjoyed the game, and I was pretty satisfied with the US players.

    Although I’ve read (skimmed actually) a lot of ranting about Bradley including Marvell Wynne, I don’t have a big problem with his choice. From a coaching standpoint, the purpose of this game was evaluation. Wynne must have showed enough during the camp to warrant some game time. Unfortunately, he didn’t translate that to a good showing during the game. Maybe we’ll see him again next January.

    Brek Shea is another one who has drawn a bit of ranting. I think he did better in this game than in his last (US MNT) one. I hope to see him again in another meaningless/evaluation game.

    Agudelo looked good. Bunbury also looked good, although he had a few heavy touches that gave the ball away. Diskerud looked good some of the time, but other times he held on to the ball too long and dribbled into traffic. It seemed like he was trying to do too much. Bedoya also looked good at times, although sometimes it looked like he wasn’t doing enough. I think all of these players plus McCarty have a chance to contribute in the mid- to long-term future.

    • Blake Owen says:

      The Telefutura feed was slightly better for me. The match wasn’t being broadcast in HD by either party, though that may have been beyond their control. I still can’t believe ESPN3 doesn’t allow you to pause or rewind. It’s just an overall crappy service.

      My problem with Wynne is that it seems like he never does anything to warrant his place. I have to admit that I don’t remember much about his first (Argentina) and second (Sweden) caps. But in his third (Costa Rica – an actual WC qualifier) and fourth (last Saturday) he was atrocious. To be fair, in the Costa Rica game Bob used an experimental 4-3-3 and Wynne wasn’t the only one who looked out of place.

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