Monday, March 28, 2011

U.S. vs Argentina: Showing True Grit

By Bagga Wilks

The United States is the sole superpower in the world but it is not yet a super-power in the world of football. Nonetheless, in the 2010 World Cup, the United States demonstrated that they can compete on the world stage. Before 78,000 soccer fans at the Meadowlands, for the first half, the United States were bedazzled by the Argentinians led by Lionel Messi who is recognized as the best offensive player in the world.

The first half revealed the limitations of the United States coaching staff and raised the question, can the United States team rise to the level of finesse that the Brazilians and Argentinians are capable of displaying?

Down 1-0 at the end of the first half, the U.S. in the second half made a technical change and resorted to a more attacking formation by bringing in 18 year old Agudelo as a second striker. The results were telling as it made the U.S. not just absorbing the relentless Argentinian movement off the ball but it placed them in a position to threaten in their last third. It is one of those threatening forays that Donovan played a free kick outside of the box that ended with Agudelo equalizing against the Argentinian giants and bringing them down to a manageable size. Triumphantly for the United States, the game ended in a draw.

Tim Howard was larger than life and dramatized his dexterity as a goal-keeper. Demerit and Onyewu were under attack from every direction imaginable but they showed true grit. The United States has players like Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley and Edu who are capable on the international stage. The young lad, Agudelo shows great promise but U.S. football is lacking in creativity and the present coaching staff might not be capable of taking the team to another level.

Brazil, Argentina, Spain and the Netherlands are the great power houses in the game at present. Barcelona has created a new game – quick short passes and constant running into spaces. Of equal importance is the Messi, the Neymar, the Iniesta or the Robben, players who are capable of doing the unexpected and the spectacular. The international players will return to their respective clubs this coming week and resume the race for winning championships or in some cases fighting to avoid relegation.

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