Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Things We Learned From This Round Of Gold Cup Action

1       The US aren’t going to win- I’m sorry, but it is just not going to happen. Missing sitters right, left and center, the US only just limped past yesterday’s opponents Guadeloupe. To describe the win as unimpressive would be grossly generous to the US boys, they should of walked all over Guadaloupe; a country with only a fraction of the population of the US, and even fewer resources. Mexico seem to have emerged from the controversial drug tests barely phased, they have been terrific despite adversity, and are likely to trounce the US by an even greater margin than in 2009.

2.       Jozy Altidore is back…again- After the first round of action he was a hero, after the second a villain, and now, a hero again. Yes, I did learn something from the past two weeks, and I do admit that making any concrete conclusion of Jozy Altidore is a silly thing to do after the evidence of only a couple of games. However, Jozy does deserve to be lauded after that goal yesterday night, it was one sorely needed by the United States, not to mention by the player himself. Against Guadeloupe, Altidore finally began to show the aggressiveness that has been so lacking from his game; on several occasions last night, he was caught out muscling his marker.

3.      Clint Demspey isn’t the magical cure to the States’ striking woes- For those of you who were convinced that the ideal strike formation for the US would involve Deuce upfront must have suffered a rude awakening last night. Dempsey put in one of the worst performances I have ever seen him produce for the national team; his finishing was simply awful. Chance after chance was wasted by the Fulham man, a lowlight reel headlined by his failure to turn Alejandro Bedoya’s cross into an empty net. After yesterday, I would rather see Agudelo up front than Dempsey, and you all know my feeling about Juan Agudelo…

4.       Canada can’t score- I really did feel sorry for the Canadians. On the verge of putting themselves in the frame for a quarter final place, the Maple Leafs were made to regret missed opportunities by the cruelty of a late concession. Seemingly cruising, Canada had taken the lead through a De Rosario penalty, one sandwiched between a slew of missed chances, ones that came back to bite in the most tragic fashion. However, it really isn’t much of a surprise that the North Americans had so much trouble finding the back of the net, their only previous goal had come courtesy of a De-Ro penalty; a disappointment to me, I had hoped to see more out of Norwich City striker Simeon Jackson.

5.       Panama are a dark, dark horse- Had anyone told me pre-tournament that they considered Panama a legitimate contender to win the Gold Cup, I would have died of laugher. However, after taking in the evidence of the last few games, I have come to regret my quick judgment on them, one which was conceived without the back up of actual knowledge of Panamanian football. Panama have proved that they are a well-organized, cohesive unit, capable of ripping teams apart on the break, and resilient enough to find a late goal. I still can’t bring myself to call them second favorites, so dark, dark horse will have to do.

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