FRISCO, TX - JULY 16: Zach Loyd #19 of the FC Dallas dribbles the ball past Chris Pontius #13 of the D.C. United at Pizza Hut Park on July 16, 2011 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The United States scored a nice 1-0 win down in Panama City tonight with Graham Zusi scoring the winner early in the first half on a Zach Loyd cross that pinged around in the box before Zusi stuffed it past an onrushing Panama keeper. I have a few thoughts on the match that featured four(!) FC Dallas players in the starting lineups.
Shea's night A pretty meh night from Brek Shea. The guy really shouldn't have been played 90 minutes tonight after playing 90 on Saturday. You really worry about how sharp he's going to be for FC Dallas to start the season if he is in the squad that travels to Italy and then goes to join the Olympic team for qualifying. Yeah, he's young, but it's just a worry. Also, he's thinking two steps ahead of most players on the US team, as JYJ said in the comments of the game thread, maybe he's gotten a little too used to playing with Robin Van Persie.
Blas Perez's night I thought Blas was overall pretty good tonight. He did what FC Dallas needs from him which is hassling the back four relentlessly and just being a pest in there to free up space for Shea and Ferreira while poaching his own goals. He missed a golden opportunity late in the game to equalize and had a first half chance well saved by Nick Rimando. I think he's going to be good in Dallas.
Keep readingCarlos Rodriguez's night CRod was pretty quiet overall but had a nice twenty minute stretch in the first half where got forward well and served in a couple very nice crosses. Looking at his play, I think he's going to be a very above average backup outside back and will really put some pressure on Jair Benitez and Zach Loyd to make sure they don't slip up which is the type of competition you want at every position. He's just 21 years old...
Zach Loyd's night Loyd had a quasi-assist on the Zusi goal, serving in the ball that was eventually driven home, but he was up and down for the rest of his first half, being forced to take a yellow card and then subbed off late in the half. It's not clear whether he was subbed off for injury or because of the yellow card, but it wasn't the best performance in the world from the FC Dallas right back.
Other thoughts I thought this was fantastic practice for Klinsmann to figure out how he is going to deal with being a man down and a goal up in Central America for World Cup Qualifying, a scenario that will very likely present itself at some point and I think this was a great chance to see which players have the bottle for games like this and which don't. The United States did an excellent job of killing off the game and if this was a qualifier we'd all be thrilled with the three points regardless of the performance.