Previous
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cardiff City
AFC Bournemouth
0
3
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Reading
2
0
FT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Sheffield United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Norwich City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Sunderland
Stoke City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Everton
3
0
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Doncaster Rovers
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Celta Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz
2
2
FT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
SC Freiburg
3
3
FT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
Schalke 04
0
3
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Marseille
0
5
FT
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Toulouse
0
3
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Swindon Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Livingston
4
0
FT
Game Details
Falkirk
Rangers
1
3
FT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
St Johnstone
0
1
FT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
St Mirren
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ross County
Hibernian
0
2
FT
Game Details
Clyde
Montrose
1
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Lanciano
1
1
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
Pro Vercelli
1
2
FT
Game Details
Crotone
Catania
1
1
FT
Game Details
Frosinone
US Avellino
0
0
FT
Game Details
Livorno
Varese
1
0
FT
Game Details
Modena
Perugia
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ternana
Bologna
0
1
FT
Game Details
Trapani
Virtus Entella
2
2
FT
Game Details
US Pescara
Latina
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vicenza
Bari
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Ingolstadt 04
FC Erzgebirge Aue
1
1
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
VfR Aalen
1
1
FT
Game Details
St Pauli
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
1
0
FT
Game Details
SV Sandhausen
TSV 1860 Munich
1
0
FT
Game Details
AC Ajaccio
Le Havre AC
0
1
FT
Game Details
Angers
AJ Auxerre
0
0
FT
Game Details
Arles
Stade Laval
2
3
FT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Tours
2
1
FT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
Créteil
2
1
FT
Game Details
Nimes
Chateauroux
1
0
FT
Game Details
Orléans
Ajaccio GFCO
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sochaux
Brest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Troyes
Niort
4
1
FT
Game Details
Capelle
FC Volendam
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rijnsburgse Boys
Sparta Rotterdam
0
3
FT
Game Details
Scheveningen
Lisse
4
1
FT
Game Details
VVSB
Vitesse Arnhem
1
2
FT
Game Details
Spakenburg
NAC Breda
3
4
FT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Twente Enschede
Postp
Game Details
Ajax Amateurs
NEC Nijmegen
2
2
FT
Game Details
Almere City
ADO Den Haag
2
2
FT
Game Details
Deltasport
Willem II Tilburg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Exelsior Maassluis
FC Emmen
1
4
FT
Game Details
Flevo Boys
DOS '37
1
0
FT
Game Details
HHC Hardenberg
RKC Waalwijk
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kozakken Boys
Sportlust '46
1
2
FT
Game Details
ONS Sneek
Dordrecht '90
0
3
FT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
FC Utrecht
Postp
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Eindhoven
0
0
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Heerenveen
2
1
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
FC Vaduz
3
1
FT
Game Details
FC Thun
Lucerne
3
2
FT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Real Estelí
3
0
FT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Alpha United
2
0
LIVE 43'
Game Details
César Vallejo
Universitario de Sucre
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Independiente del Valle
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Argentinos Juniors
2
0
FT
Game Details
Atlante
Mérida
1
1
FT
Game Details
Correcaminos
At. San Luis
3
3
FT
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Oaxaca
3
2
FT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Dorados de Sinaloa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Santos
Monterrey
1
0
LIVE HT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Queretaro
0
0
LIVE 46'
Game Details
UNAM
Toluca
1
1
LIVE 39'
Game Details
Veracruz
Chiapas
0
1
LIVE HT
Game Details
ABC
Goianiense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Boa MG
Luverdense
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bragantino
Icasa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Joinville
América Mineiro
1
1
FT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Avaí
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
AA Ponte Preta
0
3
FT
Game Details
Ceará
América RN
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Náutico
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
CR Vasco da Gama
2
2
FT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Oeste
3
0
FT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Vissel Kobe
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Nagoya Grampus Eight
1
2
FT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Sagan Tosu
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rangers de Talca
Palestino
0
1
FT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Colo Colo
3
0
FT
Game Details
Next
Jun 9, 2008

U.S. shows self-belief against Argentina

When the U.S. men's national team endured a slow start to the 2007 Gold Cup, U.S. coach Bob Bradley insisted that the most important thing was for the team to show improvement as the tournament progressed. Ultimately, they did just that in claiming the CONCACAF crown.

Now fast forward one year later to the team's gauntlet of imposing friendlies against England, Spain, and Argentina. Losses to the first two opponents provided little evidence that the U.S. even belonged on the same field as those teams. Forward Landon Donovan even called the performances "timid." But in the Americans' 0-0 tie with Argentina on Sunday, there were signs that the U.S. side is at least moving in the right direction, with an aggressive mind-set the most pleasing development.

Granted, this result has more disclaimers than a bungee jumping class. The first 30 minutes seemed like a recurring nightmare, with Argentina carving up the U.S. defense, and looking every bit like the No. 1 ranked team in the world. Had U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard not delivered a quartet of stunning saves, the Americans would have been dead and buried by halftime. Howard was also lucky not to be whistled for a penalty when he appeared to clip Argentine attacker Sergio Aguero on a second-half breakaway. And the Albiceleste's 20-year-old maestro, Lionel Messi, whose defense-splitting passes caused the U.S. countless problems, was substituted after 45 minutes of work, much to the relief of the Americans.

Yet rather than use the opening half hour as an excuse to surrender meekly to Argentina, the U.S. picked themselves up and were on even terms with the visitors for the remainder of the match. A thumping header from defender Oguchi Onyewu rattled the visitors' crossbar in the second half. Some deft passes from substitute Maurice Edu allowed the U.S. to get behind the Argentine defense, and the sight of Donovan and Freddy Adu engaging in some no-conscience attacking runs showed the kind of guts and swagger that observers have long been expecting from both players.

Not even a phantom red card issued to American midfielder Pablo Mastroeni in the 71st minute could change the Americans' mentality. Prudence demanded that the U.S. close up shop and play for the draw. But there was Donovan, celebrating his 100th cap in fine style by repeatedly threatening on the counter. His stoppage time pass to Sacha Kljestan nearly resulted in a game-winning goal, only to be denied by a desperate tackle from an Argentine defender.

This is not to say that this match was a "statement game" or that the U.S. team has "arrived." There is only one tournament where those kinds of games take place and that isn't due to happen for another two years. But with World Cup qualifying set to commence next weekend against Barbados, Bradley can at least take comfort in the fact that his team will enter the two-game series with a nugget of confidence, and that they exhibited some growth against Argentina.

The primary source of self-belief will be in an attack that for once, wasn't heavily dependent on set pieces to create moments of danger. Not only were the likes of Donovan and Adu active and aggressive, but Clint Dempsey looked like a player happy to be back on American soil. DaMarcus Beasley also looked to be getting back to peak form, contributing on both ends of the field.

Of course, the same can't be said for Eddie Johnson, who in a sign of just how low his confidence has sunk, opted to pass instead of shoot when provided with a clear look at goal in the 67th minute.

It's also worth noting that as improved as the U.S. attack was against Argentina, it will face an entirely different challenge next weekend against Barbados, who can be counted on to bunker in and try to frustrate the Americans. It's a tactic against which the U.S. had a modicum of success during last summer's Gold Cup. But with the confidence gained from Sunday's result in their collective back pocket, the expectation now is that the Americans will have little trouble dealing with such an approach. The game itself may offer up something different, but that's what happens when a team shows progress. It raises hopes and gives people a reason to believe.

Player ratings: (scale of 1-10)

Tim Howard, 9 -- If not for Howard's saves, this game could have been ugly.

Heath Pearce, 7 -- Got forward well, and dealt with everything Argentina threw at him. With this performance, the left back job now appears to be his to lose.

Oguchi Onyewu, 6 -- Nearly donned the hero's cape when his second half header hit the bar, but he'll have to settle for a solid performance in the back.

Danny Califf, 5 -- Needed to give fellow defender Cherundolo a little bit more help, but defended competently, while keeping his fouls to a minimum.

Steve Cherundolo, 4 -- A tale of two halves. Was nearly overrun by Argentine forward Julio Cruz in the first half, but recovered to make some vital clearances in the second.

DaMarcus Beasley, 7 -- Provided some valuable defensive help early on, and got more involved in the attack as the game progressed. He might have earned an assist if Johnson had been greedier.

Michael Bradley, 5 -- Found life difficult in the early going, but gradually came into the game and finished his 45 minutes of work on a positive note.

Pablo Mastroeni, 5 -- Personified the team's gritty approach. I still don't know why he was sent off.

Clint Dempsey, 6 -- Much improved performance, as he was much more involved in the attack. He also drew some fouls at key times in the first half, which allowed the U.S. team to collect itself.

Landon Donovan, 7 -- Showed the kind of aggressiveness in attack that fans want to see every time out.

Eddie Johnson, 4 -- More of the same, in that he took up good positions, and even played at a faster tempo, but needs to do better with the chances he gets.

Subs:

Maurice Edu, 6 -- If he can continue to make the same pinpoint passes shown in this game, a spot alongside Bradley seems assured.

Freddy Adu, 6 -- Needed a bit more tactical awareness early, as he was stripped twice in his own end. But he quickly settled down and showed some good initiative in attack.

Jay DeMerit, 6 –--The U.S. defense didn't miss a beat when he entered the game.

Sacha Kljestan, 6 -- Helped keep the Americans' attack dangerous.

Eddie Lewis, 5 -- Has shown enough in these three games that he deserves to play a part in qualifying.

Frankie Hejduk, NR -- After playing an MLS match the night before, Hejduk is the U.S. team's new Iron Man.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPNsoccernet. He can be reached at eljefe1@yahoo.com.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.