What were the US players thinking today? Did they want to lose this game? Were they scared of those Czech Republic guys? Did the early goal and those early fouls just take all the wind out of their big blue sail?
The US team dropped lots of passes into groups of Czech players. The US team kept leaving their box empty of blue so that the Czech team could have the shots they wanted. The US team didn't attack the ball worth poo.
Toward the end of the game Eddie Johnson stepped up and finally started to try, but sadly his teammates didn't work too hard to help him out.
I won't pretend that the called fouls greatly effected the outcome of the game. The early yellow card to Onyewu was a bad call and could easily have left him a little leary of playing strong defense, and that didn't help. I don't know that I fully agree with a lot of the calls throughout this game, and it's natural to think that your team is getting shafted. It's hard to argue that the fouls may have slowed the US down some, but that was in no way the main problem they had.
I'm hoping that today was just indicative of first game jitters. I want to believe that the US will use this game as example of what not to do Saturday when we play Italy.
To win against Italy, we are going to have to push them and attack the ball. The waiting to see what happens will only lose you soccer games. Hopefully, the US will step up this next game. They need better passing as well as to take chances and shoot. There were not many shots on goal from the US, and there were not many chances due to a strong Czech defense. But even a weak defense can beat you if you don't get bodies toward the goal.
I'm very disappointed by the US showing today. I know that we have an awesome team, and I know that these guys can play as a team. That may the biggest request that I have is that Saturday, they play as a team, work the ball to each other instead of clearing it back to your opponents. Get bodies back on defense and don't leave Keller by himself to play defense.
All of this is not to take credit from the Czech team. They played a great game, and they earned all three of their goals. Most goals are not pretty; they are earned and often don't seem quite deserved. But you do sometimes get goals that result as a combination of perfect play, well placed passes and great timing. That's how the Czech team won.