When the US team wins, US fans experience a mixture of euphoria and dismay. It seems fair to say we are grateful for the win and anxious about the team’s shortcomings. Fans know our country has a long way to go until we’re ready to challenge for the World Cup in earnest, and there are few things hardcore US soccer fans want more.
Here are Attacking90′s top 10 takeaways from the Honduras game:
(1) The US team can come back in an World Cup Qualifier when a goal down. Who knew? According to American Soccer News this was the first time the US team has done that in 24 years. Character and belief matter, and the team showed something in that regard.
(2) Trying to juke 3 defenders in the center of the pitch when your team is completely out of shape can be Costly.
(3) Finishing matters. Consider Carlos Costly’s fine strike for Honduras and Landon Donovan’s excellently taken penalty versus Clint Dempsey’s cannon ball over the bar and sliding miss from two yards.
(4) Match fitness requires playing matches for your club, training itself is insufficient. OK we already knew that.
(5) A young talented kid who isn’t match fit can still prove a handful for the opposition and keep them sweating, but there is a difference between a distraction and a threat. Imagine if Jozy were match fit.
(6) The forwards and midfielders have to be on the same page to be dangerous in open play. It seemed clear that Dempsey and Donovan had different ideas than Altidore and Casey who were looking for more direct play, rather than combination play into the 18 yard box.
(7) Defenders who earn at least a handful of starts for West Ham probably know what they’re doing. A fit Jonathan Spector was a revelation for many of us.
(8) Good holding midfielders make a critical difference, and Benny Felihaber and Ricardo Clark are good holding mids. Rico’s clearance off the line was as clutch as Bocanegra’s header, and Benny’s inclusion seemed to bring the game together for the US.
(9) Goals count the same whether they are a thing of sublime skill and beauty or if they are ugly and courageous. The Dempsey-Bocanegra goal was a gritty one and Carlos was courageous diving head first in goal line traffic; that goal was the difference in the end.
(10) If a team pulls together, has faith, and works their tails off as if it is the only thing that matters, there is always a chance for the win. Soccer is funny that way, always in some tryst with lady luck. Perseverance and moments of inattention can made all the difference.
All in all that game was alot better and encouraging. The team still needs to coordinate better, but they showed glimpses of flow as a unit on the pitch, and they showed some real resolve.
One can’t imagine how the US team will handle Italy, Spain or the other top soccer nations; still, the win against Honduras gives every reason for hope that the US team could make its fans proud. Let’s make sure we enjoy the moment.