World Cup Countdown: Breaking Down The USA Defense

The Americans struggled.
Defense has historically been a strength for the USA, but the Americans revealed in their latest match versus the Czech Republic that this is no longer the case. At various times, every player on the USA backline struggled, leaving the defense a huge question mark for the World Cup.

Who Impressed

At times, Clarence Goodsoon looked to be the Man of the Match. He fought for balls in the air, was tidy and organized and held his own against the powerful Czech attack. Along with Buddle, Goodson crashed the goal on Stuart Holden's freekick delivery. This helped the confuse goalkeeper Peter Cech, who missed the ball. Maurice Edu pounced and poked the ball into the goal.

Goodson also helped create the second USA goal on a corner, when he headed the ball to the front of the goal for Herculez Gomez to head into the net. However, Goodson failed to clear a ball that led to the winning goal for the Czechs, and he was beaten on the play that led to the next goal, which marred his evening.

Steve Cherundolo had a relatively steady night on the defense, though openfield play revealed that his speed is not what it once was.

Who Fell Short

Jonathan Bornstein has a bad habit of giving up poor, random fouls in bad spots, and this struck again on at least four clear occasions, giving the Czech's numerous goal chances on set plays.

Heath Pearce did not capitalize on Bornstein's gaffes, however, losing his man for the winning goal and failing to clear the ball that led to the next goal.

Oguchi Onyewu showed the rust of a long layoff from the game. He failed to elevate at all for the cross that led to the Czech Republic's first goal. He also looked weary far before the half, and it is doubtful he has a quality 90 minutes in him. He may not be completely game fit for some time.

Who Bradley Should Call

Goodson, despite his late mistakes, looks to have earned a spot, if only because the alternatives are bleak. Maurice Edu put in a short stint at centerback towards the close of the match and committed a crucial mistake. Carlos Bocanegra is still recovering from hernia surgery and JayDeMerit has eye issues that are affecting his depth perception.

Jonathan Spector has moved up the depth chart by virtue of Bornstein and Pearce looking poor, but one of the two is still likely to be given a slot for the USA just as cover. It will probably be Bornstein, no matter how that fact makes some fans cringe in terror.

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