Digital Headbutt

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USA vs. Paraguay Live Blog: Copa America 2007

Posted by Mike on July 2, 2007

Tonight, Team USA plays Paraguay in the second slate of games in Group C of Copa America 2007. After the whooping we took at the hands of Argentina on Thursday, I can’t keep my expectations too high. However, we do need to win one of our next two games if we want to advance out of the group of death and into the quarterfinals of Copa America.

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Once again, I am watching the game on TeleFutura, whose coverage of soccer is way more fun.

6:41 pm, 2nd minute: The game has begun. USA is back in their white shirts. After the loss to Argentina, those alternate jerseys must be bad luck.

It’s disappointing that we’re sending a lesser squad to Copa America. But to be honest, Considering our political relationship with this year’s host, if I were a team like Fulham, I wouldn’t send Carlos Bocanegra or Clint Dempsey to Venezuela either.

6:45 pm, 6th minute: Still can;t figure out which team is which? I’ll give you a hint: we’re the team making bad passes.

6:49 pm, 10th minute: Team USA gets the game’s first true scoring chance….OH! We were so close. Sasha Kljestan receives the great cross, and has a lot of net in front of him, but he can;t deflect the header enough to get a shot on goal. Frustrating.

6:50, 11th minute: Eddie Johnson receives another great pass in the box, and takes the first shot on goal of the game. Again, he can’t change the pass of the ball enough to get it past the keeper. I like the chances that we’re getting, but we need to be able to finish.

6:51 pm, 12th minute: A huge mistake by Feilhaber in his own zone leads to a shot by Paraguay. Fortunately, Keller is there to make the save, but Benny had no business trying to make that move.

6:55 pm, 16th minute: Paraguay scared me when they scored five (five!) goals against Colombia. However, their offensive attack so far has not impressed me.

6:57 pm, 18th minute: Eddie Johnson, what the hell kind of pass was that? You didn’t need to make that kind of pass, you were horrendously inaccurate with the cross, and one of your teammates may very well have been injured trying to chase it.

6:59pm, 20th minute: Paraguay gets the first corner kick of the game. They get a good shot on goal, but Johnathan Bornstein prevents the goal, blocking the shot with his body.

A scary stat: In all 90 minutes against Argentina, we did not get a single corner kick. That’s how anemic our offensive attack was.

7:03 pm, 25th minute: For the first time in this tournament, we get a couple of corner kicks. On the second corner, Eddie Johnson’s roundhouse kick goes way too high and out of play.

7:08 pm, 30th minute. NO! Bornstein gets completely faked out, Domingo Salcedo is left open in the box, and he gets the ball past Kasey Keller. Paraguay had been knocking on the door for the last few minutes, and they now lead, 1-0. USA needs to tighten up their defense.

7:12 pm, 34th minute: Wow. Some great passing by the Americans, a nera perfect cross by Johnson, a good shot on goal…but the keeper is there to make the stop and preserve the lead for Paraguay. It seems that even when we’ve made the right moves, we still can’t get a good goal in this tournament.

7:16 pm, 38th minute: I know that this is our replacement team USA, and we should not have expected too much from them. Still, I thought we would play better overall than we have so far. I will tell you that there certainly hasn’t been a lack of effort from our team; it’s been a matter of decision making, both by the team and its coaching staff.

7:19 pm, 40th minute: GOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL!!! A great pass into the zone, an even better pass by Twellman, the finish by Ricardo Clark the right side of the net, and we have our first real goal of the tournament! The game is tied, 1-1. As Pablo Ramirez said, “CLICK-CLICK-CLARK”, baby!

7:24 pm, 45th minute: I think I’ve figured out what’s wrong with our defensive technique. Our defenders are too quick to turn their hips and commit themselves in a particular running direction. Our opponents then take the other direction, throwing us off guard and creating offensive opportunities. We need to correct this error in technique if we want to play well in the future.

7:25 pm: …and that’s the end of the first half! The game is tied at 1-1. The score is the same at halftime as against Argentina, and I’m just as nervous about this one. Still, something about this game feels different. I’m not sure what it is.

**At this point, Mike’s Internet goes out. The second half ensues, with him powerless to comment. Only after the game is over does the lifeline return.**

9:38 pm: Well, my internet connection picked a really bad time to go out. If you haven’t been watching the game, you missed a lot. Justo Villar, the Paraguay goalkeeper, was injured in the second half and needed to come out of the game. Another defensive lapse by the Americans led to another goal for Paraguay to give them a 2-1 lead. Team USA got their fair share of chances to tie, but they were unable to convert (give credit to the backup goalie, who made a few great saves to bail out his team). Finally, The midfielder Cabanas put the game away with a free kick goal in stoppage time, and Paraguay won 3-1. In order to advance into the knockout stages (and to keep any of the momentum we established from winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup), we will need to beat Colombia on Thursday. I know this isn’t our A-team, but one certainly can’t be happy about our results so far, especially in the second half of games.

4 Responses to “USA vs. Paraguay Live Blog: Copa America 2007”

  1. Kenny said

    How does Bradley or the federation expect this thing to snowball for us by sending a B team to a major tournament. Let’s get the country behind the team, the A team!

  2. Steve said

    Agree that Bradley demonstrated his lack of international experience by bringing less-than-best US team.

    Unless the US competes outside CONCACAF, respect will never be given in world soccer (football) regions like Europe and South America. And, the US public will never be interested until US is a competitive force in the ‘footballing world’.

    Bradley needs to either step up to international standards, or the US Soccer Fed need to find someone who will.

    I am already dreading 2010 World Cup unless changes occur.

  3. Mike White said

    I’m disappointed that we’re not sending our best teams to the toughest competition, and it’s frustrating to see them flounder like this. But as I said in the live blog, European clubs might be more than a little reluctant to send their good American players to a place like Venezuela if they don’t have to do so. Team USA is an invitee, and clubs are not required to release their players under these circumstances, and that is at least partly why we’re undermanned. The blame is not on Bradley for this rule; however he does not seem to have made the most out of the players currently on his roster, who have made several boneheaded on-field decisions in the first two games.

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