Reactions: US v Costa Rica 10/14/09 & WCQ

It's been almost 48 hours since the US's improbable tie against Costa Rica and in a concerted effort to let it stew for a while before providing some reflection, here it is. (Ha, really just being lazy)

In the realm of qualifying for South Africa, the only real implication it had was this....

Awesome video and a great moment for Honduras; congrats on your first visit to the dance since 1982, courtesy of...Jonathan Borenstein.

In the realm of how the US team qualified, and in light of recent events, it was an excellent result and well deserved.

The team was clearly a little shook from the get go, with the only real spark coming from Jozy Altidore, who clearly wanted to score and honor his boy Charlie Davies. He provided a gilt edged chance to Game 9 hero, Conor Casey, in the infamous 9th minute but Casey could not deliver. From then on Altidore was busting his ass to get in position to score and came close a few times but just seemed unable to gain any composure when it came time. That performance showed again why he is considered such a promising young American though and he is my American Man of the Match.

The combination of size and speed and vision is unseen in an American Striker. Hopefully he can gain some playing time at Hull City and refine some of the finer points of his game moving towards next summer. Phil Brown thinks he will get his chances as the EPL unfolds.

The pressure on Altidore only intensifies with Davies likely to miss the WC now. Hopefully he can gain some inspiration from Davies, as he seemed to do on Wednesday night. There is also the question of who takes Davies spot, I will try to address in the next few days.

Moving to his strike partner, Conor Casey did not take his chances as effectively on Wednesday as he did last Saturday. It's unfortunate b/c that is how he is effective. Every now and then he will provide a random nice flick but if he's not finishing when the opportunities present himself, he isn't the solution for BB. His touch and his finishing were both lacking in DC and it was nice to see Bradley give Kenny Cooper a chance in the 72', although I would have like to see it a few minutes earlier.

Cooper will get a chance to refine his form this winter though as he seems to have a solid role at Bundesliga.2 club 1860 Munich. I think he deserves to get chances during the warm up friendlies and, barring a disaster, probably a squad spot in SA.

BB's sub which was probably the difference maker was the introduction of Jose Francisco Torres in the 62'. He hasn't gotten many chances since the early rounds of the hex but he finally got some time and made the most of it. He looks very comfortable on the ball, at multiple speeds and has great long range passing vision/accuracy. Something that is sorely lacking from many of the US midfielders. He also puts great pace on his crosses and that corner kick for Borenstein was perfectly placed.

He replaced Benny Feilhaber, who underwhelmed against Costa Rica. I am as big a fan of his style of play as you will find but sometimes he seems to try to do too much...call it Dempsey syndrome...and he ends up giving it away. I love his vision and calm nature on the ball though, maybe he can be flexed to the RM role much more effectively than Torres.

I thought Michael Bradley played well once again and love his forward thinking play. He also distributes the ball pretty well and isn't afraid to get into the fray. His eye for goal is also key as we haven't seen goals come from the CM role for the US in a long while....John Harkes anyone?

Donovan once again proved to be dangerous with the ball although sometimes his touch deserts him. This can be brutal when playing the highest level teams who will make the US earn all their possession and make as much out of each one as possible. He also seems to have only one playing speed....full steam ahead, he's gotta develop that intermediate role and look to spray the ball a little further.

Stuart Holden looked okay and I thought Robbie Rogers introduction in the 68' was a definite spark. His pace late in the game is enough to make any LB a little nervous after the 70'.

What seems to be lacking for the US is quality service though. Crosses drift over the cross bar or are floated in there way too often. Opposing GKs have a field day with them and its a total waste of possession.

In the defensive third, the Onyewu injury will hurt, especially if he can't find time to get back into match fitness/form before South Africa. What looked to be a promising year for the American Center Back has now turned into a trying 3-4 month recovery period. He did get absolutely abused on that first CR goal though.

Bocanegra was solid but seems to have problems closing on the ball and often gives up these long range bombs that leave Howard out to dry. That first goal was a beauty but someones got to be in his face as soon before he even looks tempted to shoot. How the central of defense adjusts to his absence will be interesting to watch as the US starts playing these warm up friendlies (the first one against also-qualified Denmark on 11/18 in Aarhus).

Borenstein showed some real heart in the LB role and that goal was an awesome way to cap it all off. He likes to get into the mix too and is aggressive going forward but lacks that final ball into the box.

On the other side, Cherundolo was decent but nothing worth noting other than the fact that he got beat with pace a bunch. The two wide fullback roles are still major ?s.

More on the squad moving forward coming up next....

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