Tim Howard Takes On Belgium, And Almost Wins

The US dominated possession due to good play in the midfield, but Belgium completely dominated in front of the goals. Had the game gone on 10 more minutes, the US still probably would have tied it.

ScreenHunter_738 Jul. 02 06.58

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11 Responses to Tim Howard Takes On Belgium, And Almost Wins

  1. bit chilly says:

    it was a great game to watch , it is not often that a game that ends 0-0 after 90 mins is a good one,but this world cup seems to be bringing the very best out of every team. it will be remembered as one of the very best.

  2. A C Osborn says:

    Steve, like many of the teams today the US played too narrow in defence, allowing the ball to come down the wings. You can only defend against so many crosses coming in before a ball gets through.
    Tim played an absolute blinder and has proved to be one of the best Goal keepers at the Cup.

  3. Anto says:

    Soccer is a game of shots on goal. One thing I always drill into my juniors is, “Take the shot, even if there are boys in front of you, take the shot.”

  4. Alexej Buergin says:

    The USA is making slow but steady progress. Once the country has a Latino majority, and THE GAME is the number one sport here, too, the US will be a world power.

  5. TRM says:

    I hate to be the rude rock of reality that the good ship wishful thinking runs into but …. I’m a neutral observer who’s team didn’t make the big show so here goes.

    “dominated possession due to good play in the midfield” ??? 53% is “dominated”? Good one. The possession was in favor of Belgium until they were ahead 2-0 and tired. Some more meaningful stats from the game that ALL favor Belgium: Shots = 38 to 14, Shots on goal = 27 to 9, Corners = 19 to 4. The only thing that the USA “dominated” was saves 18 to 5. Yes your keeper made 18 freaking saves. Any other keeper in your pool and the game is 5-0 after 90.

    Tim Howard can walk on water sometimes. The guy is amazing and I love to watch him. The team has relied on that level of performance from him for too long. You just can’t expect that type of performance all the time to bail out an otherwise lackluster team. Given that he is 35 you will need to think about “who’s next”. He is aging like a fine wine but you will only get one more cycle out of him if he stays injury free. Here’s hoping he stays healthy.

    The style Klinsmann has you playing can only be described as bunker and counter. That is a style that relies on solid defense (which you do NOT have), excellent keeper (boy do you have that one covered) and opportunistic scoring on the few chances you get (WondoWho?).

    Maybe it was the heat, humidity or the players he has. Typically that is a strategy used by weaker teams who are unsure of themselves. You are better than that. You were out shot in every game. Your defense was not good.

    I still think the 2009/10 team was vastly superior to this one. Their accomplishments dwarf this team’s.

    That said you are making it to the big show regularly which is good and you are making it out of the round of 32 which is great but don’t kid yourselves about your level of play and don’t underestimate how much you rely on one player. Lots of room for improvement and a huge transition at keeper coming up.

    Cheers and good luck in 4 years.

    • On the other side of it though, if Belgium had scored early I think the shots & corners & saves would have been a lot more even.

    • As I said last night, I largely agree. Tim Howard was absolutely fantastic—head and shoulders above the ability of the team in the field. I don’t think I’ve seen a comparable keeper performance in my entire life.

      I also suspect that Jürgen Klinsmann thinks he doesn’t have the players to do anything better than what you call “bunker and counter” tactics.

      I always hated that kind of defensive soccer in its previous incarnations like ”catenaccio”, even when it was effective for the Italians and others. It was ugly and boring. I still remember how happy and excited I was when the Dutch destroyed it with their “total football” in the 70s.

      The puzzling thing is the heroic burst of energy after we were down against Belgium. It totally changed the game and it was the Belgians who must have wished that the game was over. Could we have sustained it for longer if we had the time? Could we have played different kind of soccer all along?

      The Colorado Rapids games I’ve seen in Denver and other MLS matches I watched online suggest that the individual technical abilities of our players have to improve across the board before it will be possible to change our game. No team can seriously compete in the World Cup round of 16 if the players cannot reliably receive and precisely pass the ball under pressure and those same fundamental weaknesses are on display in every MLS game.

      We are loosing too many balls when the receiving players can’t make the first positive touch to bring the ball under control—fast, close and into the right space. It invites opponent challenges that force us to play it safe to the back, attempt hurried and risky passes or try to beat them one-on-one. Much of the time we either lose our quick advancement opportunity or the ball. The whole thing is made worse by too many mediocre passes even when we have enough time.

      When our players can string together a few precise receptions and passes, they are effective and dangerous but the statistics are skewed in favor of opponents who can control the ball better.

      With our current team it was a great success to have made it so far.

    • I should have pointed out that our “bunker and counter” tactics was not ”ugly and boring”—-for the Belgian fans. Their team created more excitement in front of Tim Howard than they’ve seen in all their previous games combined.

  6. phodges says:

    They looked great the last 10 minutes. If they had played like that earlier in the game they might have pulled it off!

    1/2 hour until the Brazil game!!

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