US-Costa Rica Hangover Edition

photo by: Eidemontana

photo by: Eidemontana

Well I had an absolute blast last night. Despite the rain and the biting cold, the RFK parking lots were in full tailgating effect and there was a healthy back and forth between the U.S. and Costa Rican fans. Obviously Charlie Davies was on everybody’s minds and the ninth minute tribute was moving.

Oh yeah, and the game wasn’t too bad either. The two teams went at each other, with the U.S. cutting through the Costa Rican defense with ease. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hit the side of barn when we were in front of goal. Everybody shanked clear chances. Altidore and Donovan each had a couple of shanks, but Connor Casey had perhaps the most egregious miss. Altidore essentially beat three defenders and played a great ball to a wide open Casey who was one on one with the keeper with acres of space and time. Casey didn’t simply mishit the shot – he struck it well – but hit it 15 yards wide – with that much time he at least should have been close to the target. What made it even worse though was that it was in the midst of the 9th minute celebration and the crowd was ready to absolutely explode. Talk about a let down.

After last nights game I am definitely not a Casey fan. His work rate is poor and he simply wasn’t winning or controlling many balls. Whenever the ball went his way it was essentially going into a black hole. On the other hand, I thought Altidore was an absolute beast and played with an energy and intensity we haven’t seen in a while. He did botch a couple of clear cut chances, but besides that he was phenomenal. He held the ball well and was turning defenders and winning free kicks. Donovan also imposed himself and had a great great run when he flicked the ball over the defender got one on one with the keeper but unfortunately skyed the ball over the bar.

Bradley, Feilhaber and Torres also played well. Feilhaber I think doesn’t get enough recognition for what he brings. He is so calm and collected on the ball that he enabled the U.S. to really boss possession in the first half.

Defensively, we looked a little shaky. I do have to say Bornstein, despite a couple of fumbles, played well. But Gooch looked rusty and was at fault on the goal. Bocanegra also should have provided covered – in general that was highly shambolic defending.

In the end the U.S. fought well and battled back and won the Hexagonal. However, it came at a very steep cost – the freekish non-contact injury suffered by Gooch all of sudden makes the U.S. injury situation very serious. The friendlies in November and the winter have suddenly become very important for South Africa. They are no longer just about fine-tuning the squad but about finding suitable replacements for key players.

I also felt a little bad for the Costa Rican fans who showed good spirit throughout the game. They were seconds away from the World Cup and left devastated. Good luck to them against Uruguay.

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