The road to Qatar for the United States started on Thursday night, September 2nd as this young and fresh generation begins their road to Qatar in World Cup Qualification. Their first match was down in the Estadio Cuscatalan in the nation of El Salvador, as they earned their first road point with a scoreless draw.
For the majority of these players, it was the beginning of the shenanigans of going on the road down in Central America where the crowds are historically hostile, throwing garbage and other unspeakable things at them and the amount of gamesmanship that opposition will throw at you to try and bait a foul call or a yellow card.
While it was better to earn a point on the road, the truth is the style of play didn’t look even and their shape looked disjointed. There were moments of solid attacking soccer, but the majority of that time showed it was either a bit of a struggle and, too many 1 on 1’s where dispossession happened. Forcing passes to get inside the El Salvadorian’s area and not enough power or accuracy with their shots.
The only time you felt the USA Was going to convert a chance on rame was in the first half when Gio Reyna delivered a flawless free-kick to Miles Robinson, who wasn’t marked and got a free header, but sadly his header shot went wide of the near post. That chance was begging to go in the back of the net.
The two saving graces of this result for the USA were the goalkeeping of Matt Turner and the amazing play of Center Back Tim Ream. To see Tim Ream have a solid defensive effort for the first time in a long time, was exciting and gave me new confidence in his ability to continue his play for the National Team. He is not a fullback at all. He is a natural center-back who is solid playing in the middle of the park. From his days with the New York Red Bulls and his time with both Bolton & Fulham in England, Ream is showing why he was a solid center-Back when he was marked for this National Team.
While many are screaming for either Ethan Horvath or Zack Steffen to start for the National Team, Matt Turner is proving why he is doing the job for Gregg Berhalter, while no one wants to admit this, he is getting consistent playing time for the New England Revolution for the past three seasons. While Steffen is at Manchester City and Horvath who had a great moment in the CONCACAF Nations League Final as a substitute hero against Mexico, he and Steffen are not starting for their clubs in England.
Unless there is a second coming of Tim Howard, these two who ply their trade in the blue side of Manchester & at Nottingham Forest, gets consistent minutes as the starters, then I would feel better about one of those two playing in goal, and making the necessary saves, just when Jozy Altidore wasn’t getting minutes at Villarreal in Spain and was starting for Bob Bradley in World Cup Qualifiers.
But overall, this was a decent result with a poor performance, but I won’t give these kids a hard time as this will be their first introduction going on the road in Central America and once their home match against Canada will be this coming Sunday night, they will make a return visit to Central America taking on Honduras. Now that they got a taste of what they are going to expect in the future for World Cup Qualifying, they will learn from this past experience and move forward.