Monday, June 12, 2006

Reality Czech: First half diary Czech 2 U.S. 0

Time to get the show on the road. President Bush was on Espn2 telling the U.S. team to "Give 'em hell!" Well let's see if they take heed to the presidential directive.

ESPN just scrolled down the starters and U.S. is playing with just one forward and five midfielders. This is as sure a sign as any that the U.S. will be defensive in this game and hope to contain the Czechs.

Minute 4: Already four fouls agianst the U.S. Not a bad idea to be physical with the Czechs to start the game. Onyewu gets a yellow card for his foul on Nedved.

Minute 5: Karel Poborsky crosses the ball in to 6'8'' striker Jan Koller and just like that it is 1-0 to the Czech Republic. This is what I feared, Koller's size being a problem for the shorter defenders. This could be a long day for the U.S. Let's see how the react to falling behind. Interesting tidbit: the U.S. has never won a game where the opponent scored first.

Minute 11: After 10 minutes the U.S. has hardly looked threatening. Crosses are coming in from the wings but no one is getting in on them. A little combination play among the midfielders may loosen up the Czechs a bit.

Minute 14: The Czechs seemed to have settled in a defensive/counterattacking posture after getting the early goal. They are allowing the U.S. to come forward and hoping to catch them napping on the counterattack. The U.S. midfield is not doing anything to trouble the Czechs and Donovan and Beasley have gone missing already.

Minute 16: First real U.S. attack ends with Donovan getting fouled and a yellow card to the Czech defender. Looks like the U.S. team is finally awake.

Minute 21: there's no rhyme or reason to what the U.S. is doing. At some point they will have to open up play a bit and drop their midfield players deeper to pick up the ball and cause problems for the Czechs because right now there is little to suggest the current formation will trouble the Czechs.

Minute 27: The Czech defense is not giving the U.S. an inch to operate. Every attempt at attcking whether it's chipping the ball in the box or pasing it around is easily repelled by the Czechs. The Czech Republic is looking far too comfortable right now.

Minute 28: UGH! A swift U.S. counter attack ends with a Claudio Reyna shot ricocheting off the post. Easily the best moment of the game for the U.S.

Minute 33: It lookws like the only chance the U.S. has at making this game competitive is to speed up the game. As long as the game is played at a slow pace the Czechs will control the game. The only problem is if the U.S. opens up and loses the ball they could be harmed by a czech counterattack.

Minute 36: Another contender for goal of the tournament scored by Tomas Rosicky after a careless giveaway by the U.S. around their penalty area. From about 35 yards out Rosicky unleashes a rocket and there was little the U.S. keeper could do to stop it.

Minute 43: Koller goes down clutching his hamstring. Looks like he's done for the game. The Czechs bring on some guy I've never heard of. Where is Milan Baros?

Minute 45: It's halftime. The U.S. had little to offer in the first half while the Czechs scored two goals and seem to be in command. With Jan Koller out the Czechs may bring on Baros in the second half to wear down a tiring U.S. defense. The U.S. needs to come out firing in the second half looking to score before the 60th minute if they are to have a chance.


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