USA vs. Belgium Heartbreak

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Sports | No Comments

I never thought I would blog about sports.  Not sure why.  I love sports.  I have played and watched them my entire life.   Maybe I’ll start.

I love soccer.  I’m not ashamed to call it that especially since the origin of that term is England, not the U.S.  I loved watching the U.S. National Men’s Soccer Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  It was so much fun.  Along with everyone else, I was heartbroken by the tie against Portugal.  That may be the best I’ve see the U.S. play against a quality opponent I have ever seen.  And I have some thoughts about their performance against Belgium.

Tim Howard was awesome!  But so was the defense.  What was lacking was creativity on the attack.  Wait, they forced Timmy to make 16 saves, how does that equate to great defense?  In defense of my position, I would point out that none of the shots that he had to save came from a cross or a combination play.  Every shot was forced to a specific angle with no back door or cross option for the offense.  This gave Howard the opportunity to close on the shooter and reduce the shot angle.  As a coach, I would play those odds all day long.  With a team that has such quality on the attack to prevent them from combination and cross chances is an incredible achievement.

The reason for the required heroics is because the U.S. seemed to be content to play in their defensive third nearly the entire game. If they could have sustained some attack or even held possession in the midfield, Timmy and the defenses play probably could have produced a clean sheet.  But alas, it wasn’t until after Belgium scored in extra time and the U.S. was on it’s heels that any real attack developed.  Too bad.  To see what this team is capable of and to sit back and wait for the game to happen lost them a an appearance in the quarter final.  Heaven knows the defense was good enough.  Just need the offense to show up.

On a quick side note, this is also the reason the Brainerd High School boys soccer team struggles to succeed.  The best defense happens in your attacking third.  Load the front, push forward, attack…that leads to wins and even if it doesn’t, it’s more fun to play!