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USA v. Sweden: Notes on an Early Friendly

January 21, 2008

While essentially meaningless, these early matches present a chance to examine the edges of the U.S. player pool. With World Cup qualifying starting later this year, for some of these players this is their one shot for to work their way into the team. So with that I mind, I watched the U.S. B team soundly defeat the Swedish B team.

The U.S. pressed the attack throughout the game. The Swedes were forced to play a much more direct game, bypassing the midfield for a large part of the game. Conversely, the U.S. was able to string together passes and press the attack. Donovan spearheaded the attack. Sweden did not have a way to counter his high tempo, incisive attacks. The left side was another bright spot behind the work of left back Ramiro Corrales and winger Brad Davis.

Player Observations:

Landon Dovonvan – He showed how he is able to set himself apart from the pack. Scores career goal 35 on the night too. Classy performance.

Ramiro Corrales – Made a statement with steady play at left back. He had a few indecisive moment, but a good game in all. Given the positional weakness on the U.S. team, he certainly should earn another call up.

Brad Davis – The U.S. team is fairly deep at the wing position with DeMarcus Beasley and Bobby Convey on the left side. Brad Davis certainly showed the offensive skill set he brings to the wings. His work rate and set piece skills were of particular note.

Maurice Edu – Edu is another young player developing quite fast. He anchored the center of the pitch with Ricardo Clark, stifling the Swedish attack. His defensive work was apparent. His passing was relatively quick and . He adds to the depth of the U.S. midfield while rising up the depth chart.

Eddie Robinson – Scores a goal and gets a yellow card. Robinson is a presence in central defense. He certainly is prone to picking up yellow cards which is a liability in the international game.

Jozy Altidore – He has the strength and quickness to be a top class forward. He has not shown all of his attacking prowess in his call ups to the senior national team, but he has come on as a sub both times with the team leading. He settled into the target forward role with ease. I found that especially impressive since I don’t think that is his game. He is strong, fast, skilled, and has pretty good soccer awareness. Once his finishing improves just a little bit, he will be a top class striker. At the age 18, he has time to build on his immense potential and make fans forget about Taylor Twellman or Eddie Johnson and be the first great American striker.

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