Wednesday, February 07, 2007

U.S.A. v. Mexico: The Superclasico halftime report. The U.S. has struggled mightily, chasing after the ball and the Mexican attackers, without really putting much pressure themselves on the Mexican defense. The two best players for the U.S, have been Jimmy Conrad, who has offered solid and timely defense, and young Jonathan Bornstein, playing in his second game for U.S. national side. It was imperative to get Bornstein into the U.S.A. lineup, as Mexico was trying to seduce the Mexican-American to entertain playing for Mexican national side. Bornstein has been flying all over the field, pushing the anemic U.S. attack forward, and is doing a pretty good job of chasing Medina around on defense. Though Medina has connected with Blanco on a couple of combinations, the U.S.A. was rescued by some strong support that shut down the threats.

Landon Donovan can't be said to have had a strong half, but there have been hints of danger and he seems to be more confident than he was in the World Cup last summer. The worst performance has been turned in by the man wearing the captain's armband tonight, Pablo Mastroeni. Pablo has been scattering the ball all over the field, and few, if any of his passes have found their target. His wildly inaccurate touches have taken the threat and the flow out of the U.S offense, but Convey's unproductive touches and Chris Rolfe's tentative play haven't helped much.

The Mexican team really hasn't been able to take full advantage of their midfield dominance, but nearly took the lead off a corner kick in the 44th minute, when Borghetti directed his header just wide of the open far corner of the goal. Tim Howard has looked a bit nervous and unsteady in the U.S. goal (he dropped a ball for no reason, but was saved by Albright's clearance), but he really hasn't been tested yet. The U.S.A. is beginning the second half without any substitutions, but that is likely to change soon.

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