Reaction (Brief): US v Slovakia 11/14/09

It was a rather timid affair that saw the USMNT fall to Slovakia 1-0 on Saturday AM.

The only real surprise was Jonathan Spector getting the central defensive start alongside Carlos Bocanegra. He never looked overmatched and did a much better job of feeding the ball into the midfield than Onyewu usually does. He is not the physical presence that the AC Milan center back is but he seems to be much more comfortable with the ball at his feet and helping the US establish possession.

Due to the nature of the player pool, it was not a huge surprise that BB went with the, up to this point ineffective, midfield pairing of Bradley Jr and Feilhaber. Whereas in the past they seemed to have trouble establishing an understanding, this necessary component of a successful midfield seems to be developing with time. Hopefully BB gives them at least another half together against Denmark.

Individually, Feilhaber displayed some needed (albeit occasionally too much) aggressiveness, and displayed the quality distribution we have come to expect.

Bradley Jr. also looked excellent, producing numerous quality runs forward and winning the ball nicely.

If they aren't going to employ a traditional defensive midfielder it is important that these are able to pick up that aggressive nature and effective tackling skill.

Robbie Rogers always looked dangerous on the left hand side and provided some excellent service into the middle. My opinion is that he is still too focused on flank and doesn't venture into the middle enough, but hopefully that comes as he establishes a bit more experience.

Up front, the 4 forwards who got in didn't impress much. They have do a little more with the ball once they got at their feet or in the air. Jeff Cunningham probably looked the most positive but it's hard to gather much in a <10 minute appearance

The two outside defenders were polar opposites. Steve Cherundolo showed that he has the experience and skill to provide quality defending on that right side along with a willingness to get forward when appropriate. Jonathan Borenstein on the other hand loves to get forward but got absolutely abused in the back. His touch often deserts him as well and leaves his team rushing back after giving up possession in the offensive half of the field. He did provide some quality service into the box, which is lacking across the board for the US but that LB position is still only a massive ? for this team.

Speaking of which, BB announced his 23 for Denmark on Wednesday and included was the recent Mexican defection....Edgar Castillo. The question now is, does he start?

The 2 other new additions are Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark who saw the Houston Dynamo crash in the MLS semi-finals on Friday night.

WTWF tomorrow....hopefully.

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