So, USMNT vs. Canada tonight. Within relatively easy driving distance of two of the FourFiveTwo faithful. Phil/Soccer Apologist here, with allergies lighting my face on fire.
Pregame: I think they just said “best players in the U.S.” and then showed a close-up of Beckerman. And the dreads.
Our lineup: S. Johnson; Morrow, Besler, Gonzalez, Beltran; Davis, Beckerman, Zusi; Wondolowksi, E. Johnson. Nope, not worried.
The dirty Canadians: Thomas; Morgan, Jakovic, Attakora, Ledgerwood; Teibert, Dunfield, Bekker, Beaulieu-Bourgualt, Ricketts; De Rosario. (Yep, that’s a 4-5-1.)
More after the jump …
Phil’s face: On fire. I’ll keep details to a minimum.
Commentators just likened international play to being “like riding a bicycle.” Yeah, but at what incline?
Anthems: Mikes are picking up the tunelessness of the American fans. Less than 18 months to the World Cup. Step yo’ game up!
Beckermann’s hair: Stupid as ever.
Secret weapon, apparently: Brad Davis’ left foot. Not mentioned: Brad Davis’ receding hairline.
1′: It takes 47 seconds for Canada to get its first cross in. Not so dangerous, this one.
3′: First vague chance for USMNT, but Zusi can’t finish on a difficult ball.
6′: EEEEK. De Rosario has a chance for the Dirty Canadians, but Not-Howard is able to punch it away. Still, though, dangerous ball that the Best Known Canadian has a decent chance of putting away.
8′: Did you know USMNT’s got a World Cup qualifier against Honduras in eight days? This might be coming up here and again. (Fun aside: Tonight’s ref is Honduran.)
9′: Free kick fail for Davis.
10′: I think sideline reporter Alexi Lalas just asserted that it’s good that Omar Gonzalez is looking in different directions when he’s on the field. Dear God, really?
13′: Lovely, slightly cheeky bike-kick attempt from Wondo, but right to the Canadian keeper. (Caneeper?)
In the meantime, the ticker reports that Mad Mario to Milan is a done deal.
16′: Davis whistled on a pretty obvious offside call. Still, though, looks early on like ball is hanging out in the Canadian half of the field most of the time. Aside from the De Rosario shot, chances going to Oooooosa.
Bad news from ticker: Jozy target of racist chants in Dutch game. They kept the game going at Jozy and teammates’ behest, but that’s totally unfortunate.
23′: Nice idea from Davis, trying to feed Wondo in the box, but it skips to the keeper. USMNT currently playing a possession-heavy, lull-you-to-sleep brand of offense with occasional trickiness inside the box.
26′: Jozy becoming a man in the Netherlands, according to the ESPN crew.
28′: Another lovely chance — ball played wide to Beltran, plays it in to Wondo, who can’t quite finish. Is it just a matter of time before Ooooosa finishes?
34′: Dreads into Wondo, who gets a head on it but can’t quite get to target.
38′: Eeektastic free kick from Canada. De Rosario gets a head on it but can’t finish. Still scoreless.
43′: Corner won … aaaaanddd … cleared at the 6 in front of Wondo. Still, play’s predominantly in Canada’s half, but nothing near a goal. And Morrow just hits wide from beyond the 18.
45′: Another corner goes awry. Goal scoring’s tough, y’all.
PEEEEP! Halftime. Nil-nil.
Halftime adjustment: We’re going 4-3-3 with a sub, apparently? Gatt in for Wondo. Welll, okay then. Feilhaber in as well, for Beltran. And we get up to six subs tonight? Ok, then!
53′: After a lackluster few minutes to start the second half, E.J. plays a lovely ball into Davis and his shot goes tantalizingly across the goalmouth.
54′: Please God, someone score. Anyone.
59′: Zusi does some lovely things but then crosses it right to the keeper.
60′: Feilhaber starts an excellent break, but E.J. Gervinhos it into the second tier.
62′: According to Lalas, Gatt is a “speed demon.” Speaking of, Aguedelo on for Left-Footed Receding Hairline. Bedoya on for Zusi.
67′: OOOOO. Free kick about 25 out, Feilhaber takes, Gonzalez heads just over the corner of the goal. So close.
70′: More chances, more nothin’.
71′: Canada wins a questionable foul. Amounts to nothing.
73′: Nice run from Gatt, but fails on the finishing cross. Commentators are apoplectic that he used the wrong foot.
74′: Bedoya nice cross in, but nothin’ doin’. Bruin in. Morales in. Beckerman out. E.J. out.
81′: Jonke in for De Rosario.
And that’s a rap. Wow. Nilsies. This.