On the morning after the WC draw, the headline on one of those Brit rags read:
As easy as a two-hopper straight at the keeper, isn't it? I had a keeper that used to let them in like that all the time. We still won the league, but I'm a hell of a defender and he wasn't the keeper for the final. With its stable of dodgy keepers, England won't be so fortunate.
The sensationalists that the media are, they will focus on that awful misplay. They will blame it on the ball. To be sure, it was a howler for the ages and it was the most telling moment in the USA-ENG match. But, as hard as it will be for people to get away from it, the Hand of Clod (those Brits are so clever) does not define the game.
In Bokolis' own matches, I always tell the lads that the first thing they should evaluate is why we didn't win the match 4-0. This is because we would too often focus on the unfavorable events in the match. As it applies to England, the reason their talent and skill didn't dominate is because they failed to control the midfield.
Structurally, the USA's relative strength is in midfield, as their two best players are the wingers. Dempsey and Donovan did enough from the wings to allow Bradley to sacrifice his offense to shore up the spine. So, you have to wonder where Lampard and Gerrard were. Typically, Gerrard has to perform the clean up for Liverpool because of the lack of wingers and skill in midfield. I'm guessing that, given his issues with playing with Lampard, he decided, especially after scoring the early goal, that he wasn't going to be the bitch. As such, the US won more than their share of the balls and won the battle in the middle of the park.
To get Rooney out of the way, that's why he couldn't get service and had to lie deeper to get touches...this isn't man united, mate.
Capello's lineup also made for less than optimal performance. Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole are effectively the same player. Both are flawed, as Johnson doesn't have the savvy to match his speed and Cole isn't in the right frame of mind to utilize his skill set. Capello fielded Aaron Lennon, who is Ashley Cole with more skill, but not as good as Theo Wolcott, who Capello left off the squad. Then, he brought on the Bastard Son (Wright-Phillips) after 15 minutes, taking out Milner. I'm not sure if he has issue with Milner or he was trying to counter the USA's wingers with speed. I don't know WTF he could've seen that early...the US wasn't even settled. In any event, that's four guys who are effectively the same; and none of them check papers.
It was also evident that Heskey's strength was giving the US problems. He was winning everything in the air and was either being triple-marked on balls in the air or, when single-marked, being conceded the ball. He made the telling pass on Gerrard's goal and was still giving the US fits. But England largely went away from that and it allowed the US to get settled. All this explains to Bokolis why England didn't have the US under constant pressure.
And...I've seen Terry get sent off for less than what Heskey did to Tim Howard. WTF?!? It's too bad no one would exact some justice on Heskey's ACL.
In the end, it could be said that the US played well enough to lose and were bailed out be a howler. Why feel guilty? We knew going in that we had three keepers that were better than anyone on the England side. I thought that England's keepers were the great equalizer; I just thought it would have been "Calamity" James that would have gifted the goal. That it turned out to be Green is no surprise; he's good for 5 of those per year.
And, there is no blaming the ball, either for Green's or the Algerian's howler. I've played with that ball about 4 months ago, but I didn't know at the time that it was the WC ball. I only remembered it because it was so awful. That ball sucks. I was trying to get it taken out of play. It's made of some weird material. I didn't get to rip into it, but that was mainly because I couldn't get it to sit still.
In any event, neither Green nor the Algerian can blame the ball for their howlers. The Algerian has no excuse for not getting in front of a side footed shot. Moreover, if you can't catch it, parry it wide, fucker...fucking up our nil-nil draw, ye sumumabich. The US will now have to go in search of goals against Slovenia.
The US still has issues up top. They didn't trouble England much, even Carragher (and WTF was Capello doing taking off Ledley King?). They had one instance when they spun around England and Altidore shot off Green and onto the post. Sure, he had (Dempsey?) in front with the goal yawning, but he was never going to make that pass. He's not capable. As I've often said about Altidore, if he ever learns how to play football, he's going to be dangerous.
Capello's substitutions may be questioned, but I'm sure his madness considered that England didn't necessarily have to win this match. Dropping points to the US is far less of an issue than dropping points to Algeria or Slovenia.
Nonetheless, with Onyewu back on, Howard sharp the and DeMerit emerging, USA's spine is really strong. I can dream about winning the group and getting on the weaker part of the draw, no?