Skip to main content

USMNT v. Panama: At least now we know we can beat...Panama

I'd be remiss if I didn't offer a few words on Sunday's U.S. Men's National Team friendly against Panama, in which the U.S. defeated the Canalmen 2-0. Granted it's Wednesday and anyone who cares has already read enough about it that they don't have to read this sorry excuse for an analysis blog...but I digress. If you didn't manage to see the game, here are some bullet points:

Gyasi Zardes advertising Herbalife and hair dye.

  • U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley scored off a rare "Olimpico" goal in the 27th minute; an Olimpico is when a player scores directly from a corner kick, curling the ball into the goal without the assistance of any of his players.
  • Clint Dempsey scored ten minutes later off a break-away goal from a link up pass by USMNT newcomer Gyasi Zardes, though it looked like Dempsey came perilously close to flubbing it. 
  • Speaking of flubbs...most of the rest of the game the USMNT looked like donkeys in front of the goal (I'm looking at you Wondolowski); like they couldn't even kick the ball across the by-line let alone through the goal. It was cringe-inducing.
  • Gyasi Zardes was the story of the game. In addition to providing the assist for Dempsey, he had a stellar game in the midfield. Even moreso than Bradley, Zardes seemed to be moving the ball up-field for the forwards, slowing the ball down and providing the much needed link in the chain so that the forwards can get shots on goal. This guy's a force in only his second appearance with USMNT? We'll be hearing more from him.
  • Otherwise, we were mostly playing "get the ball and kick it really hard up the field and hope the forwards can get to it" soccer. And it worked most of the time, because the Panamanians couldn't finish a box of doughnuts and were too busy shoving and flopping and dance-fighting to make any serious threats. 
  • There's still 3.5 years until the next world cup. But as this was only our second international win in 10 games (remember Ghana, way back in June? Yeah.) and it came against a team ranked 55th in the world, it does very little to inspire confidence that we're on track to make a better run at the trophy than we did this summer. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Holiday Q&A, Volume 1

These questions come to us from Grace. Thanks for sending your questions!! Answers below:
What is the most thrilling mystery you have read and/or watched?
The Eiger Sanction (book and film) by Trevanian is what's coming to mind. International espionage. Mountain-climbing assassins. Evil albino masterminds. Sex. Not a bad combination. Warning, this is completely a "guy" movie, and the film (feat. Clint Eastwood) is priceless 70s action movie cheese. But in case that's your thing...
What's the deal with Narcos?
Narcos is a Netflix show about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Thus far there are two seasons of 10 episodes each. RIYL: The film Blow, starring Johnny Depp; the book Zombie City, by Thomas Katz; the movie Goodfellas; true crime; anything involving the drug trade. My brief review: Season 1 started out a bit slow and I know a bunch of people who never made it past the first few episodes. Some of the acting is a…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…