BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Holland vs United States
Friendly - Wednesday March 3, 2010
Amsterdam ArenA
In their last game before head coach Bob Bradley names the final roster that will compete in the 2010 World Cup, the US national team fell to Holland 2-1 on a cold night in Amsterdam.

Prior to the game, the Americans knew they were in for a challenge. The Dutch team, who is currently ranked third, is widely considered to be a contender to win the 2010 World Cup. They easily qualified for the 2010 World Cup after posting a remarkable record of 8-0-0 in World Cup qualifying.

The Americans, on the other hand, entered the game ranked 14th and have won only once in their last five games.

The game started off slowly with the Dutch controlling most of the possession. Despite most of the possession, Holland was unable to create many scoring chances during the first half hour. The Americans were also not able to produce when they had the ball.

The game took a turn for the worse in the 30th minute when Bolton Wanders' midfielder Stuart Holden took a pass from Landon Donovan in the middle of the field and was fouled on a harsh late tackle by Holland's Nigel de Jong. Holden was down for nearly two minutes before being helped off the field by US staff. He was replaced minutes later by DaMarcus Beasley.

Immediately after Holden was taken off the field and while playing with only ten men, the US created its best chance of the half when Jose Francisco Torres took a pass in the middle of the field from Jonathan Spector and unleashed a 25 meter shot that narrowly missed the upper left hand corner of Holland's goal.

The Dutch would finally see their patience pay off in the 39th minute when left-back Jonathan Bornstein was caught a step out of position while guarding Wesley Sneijder. When Sneijder made a move towards the goal Bornstein was whistled for taking down the Inter Milan attacking midfielder inside the box with his hands.

One minute later, Dirk Kuyt buried the penalty to the left corner after US goalkeeper Tim Howard guessed the wrong way and the hosts had a deserved 1-0 lead heading into the break.

"The area for me is still moments when we've created a little advantage, moments in the final third [when] there's an opening," Bob Bradley said of the first half. "Can we take advantage of that? And that's the area where I said at halftime I don't think that we were sharp enough in those moments. I don't think in some cases we were confident enough. As the game wears on then we see a little bit more and hopefully that can carry over."

In the second half, the game changed as both sides began to find more of a rhythm and the overall pace picked up.

While Holland was able to continue to maintain the majority of play, the Americans were sharper than they were in the first half.

Despite the improved play on the part of the US team, the Dutch were able to go up a second goal in the 73rd minute when Klaas Jan Huntelaar's shot from 20 yards ricocheted off Bornstein, who had switched from left back to centerback, and found its way into the left hand corner of the goal past a helpless Tim Howard.

Soon after Holland's second goal, Bob Bradley removed Donovan from the game. Despite being without their best player and down two goals, the American's attack came to life. For the first time in the game, the US team was able to generate more opportunities and carry the run of play.

"Landon is such an important player for us" Bradley discussed on the transition with Donovan leaving the game while trailing 2-0. "On a night like tonight, given the number of games that he has played lately, it's good to get him off the field and save a few minutes. You have some other players at that point that are eager, there's a push at the end of the game which is necessary, and you can certainly play with a little more abandon at that point."

Late in the game the midfield of Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, Beasley, and Alejandro Bedoya, who was making just his second appearance for the USA, consistently linked up with the attack to put pressure on the Dutch defense.

In the 88th minute, the US would pull one back when team captain Carlos Bocanegra was able to convert a Beasley free kick with a header.

"They were all standing and they looked kind of confused," Beasley described. "So I tried to take the [free kick] as quick as I could. Luckily he wasn't offside. But [Bocanegra] is always a great header of the ball."

In the game's final minutes, the Americans would push hard for an equalizer. They several chances but their best was in the second minute of injury time when Jozy Altidore launched a long range drive that forced Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg into making a very difficult diving save.

The final whistle would sound shortly after with the Holland prevailing 2-1.

"We did okay," Donovan said of the game. "We had some moments in the first half that were okay but I don't think we put enough pressure on them. You always know that when you come here and play them they are going to have a lot of the ball. You hope that at the right moments you make some plays going forward and tonight [it was] too long in the second half until we made some real plays."

With the loss, the US fell to 0-4 all-time against Holland but Bocanegra's goal was the first ever American goal in the history between the two teams. Bocanegra would say that this game was far better than the last time the Americans played in Holland when they lost 1-0 on a goal by Arjen Robben.

"I thought it was night and day [compared to] the last time we came here and played them," Bocanegra compared. "I thought we made an effort to get after them a little bit in the beginning."

Since the game was the last time the US would play together before the World Cup roster is announced, it was a very important game for some players on an individual basis.

Beasley entered this game as a player highly questionable to make the final roster. The Rangers' midfielder found himself in a difficult stretch in 2009 and prior to the match, he had not been with the US team since last summer's Confederations Cup.

"Especially as he got into the flow of the game more, he was able to make some good runs forward," Bradley said of Beasley's performance. "You started to see the mobility, a little bit of the quickness, the confidence of being a threat and putting the defenders on their heels. I think those are good things. Hopefully that can be built upon."

While disappointed with the loss, Beasley said that there are positives to take away from the performance.

"Whenver you play a team like Holland it's going to be tough," Beasley analyzed. "I thought we could have gotten something out of the game. Obviously they had most of the ball but I think we created more dangerous chances than they did. In the end of the day we lost. It's still a friendly but we are Americans and we don't want to lose any game."

Bedoya is another player who improved his personal standing in his game against Holland. While having only earned one previous cap, Bedoya was able to create chances against the formidable Dutch defense.

"It's his second game," Bradley assessed of Bedoya. "The nice thing to see is that he comes on the field with a lot of energy. He puts himself into the game in a way to make a difference and try to make plays. I think that's a very good sign."

With being directly at fault for both goals, CD Chivas defender Bornstein will likely have hurt his chances to see meaningful minutes in South Africa. While he will most likely make the roster due to the lack of left backs in the US system, Heath Pearce's continued improvement could see Bornstein with reduced playing time. Bornstein accepted that he was not at his best tonight.

"I don't think I played my best, but [I hope] to learn from it and hopefully bounce back and play better the next game," Bornstein said of his performance.

"We've talked to him a lot about just sharpening up a little with the ball, seeing things a little bit faster," Bradley said on Bornstein. "It's similar to the play in Slovakia. Those are things that now we need to learn from and take care of."

With no more national teams left before he makes his roster decision, Bob Bradley will now take what he has seen in this game and consider it among many other factors. He said that he has a basic idea of who the team will be but there are many factors that will go into the final decisions.

"Obviously we have a little more time where we are sizing up form, we are assessing injuries," Bradley said of the upcoming roster decisions. "But certainly there is a nucleus of guys: 15, 16, sometimes maybe 17 or 18. But there is a nucleus of guys that I think are players that have played big roles throughout qualifying. There is always going to be tough decisions. [They are] decisions that you are going to base in some cases on form, in some cases fitness or versatility, because you've got to put a roster together where you can cover all the different situations."

While most of the US players were very disappointed with the loss, there was some feeling that there are positives that can be taken from this game.

"The guys are a bit frustrated and a bit angry we didn't get out of here with at least a draw," Bocanegra said of the team's expectations. "We don't come here just to play and get a good game. We come to try and get a result."

"Obviously in the second half it was a little bit better," Beasley said of the team's overall performance. "For a whole I thought we did pretty well. Obviously it's disappointing to lose a game. But at the same time we can take the good and the bad from the game and go onto the next one."

The team will take a break before playing again until late May when they'll face off against the Czech Republic at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut.
Thursday March 4, 2010 3:55 pm
Did ya'll even watch the game? Torres was a non factor the entire time he was out there and his play in attack was worse than Bradley's. I'm glad to know he's a great technical player but where was that last night? For 45 minutes his only move when he had the ball was to give it away or pass it back DeMerrit. His shot was nice but other than that he was a total non factor.
Shay OReilly
Thursday March 4, 2010 3:42 pm
Best thing to come out of this game was Bornstein's horrible performance. He was always going to make the squad but now you have to hope he'll be deep on the bench. I'd like to see DeMerit in the middle with Bocanegra on the wing. Come on coach, how much more do you need to see!?

Beasley looked great. Is he really back? Might be a good option for an off-the-bench spark.

Oh yeah, De Jong's a dirt bag.
BC Britten
Thursday March 4, 2010 3:05 pm
Glad to see the Beas back in action. This guy has 17 or so goals for the nats, which is close to the most ever from the midfield position. Granted he had a dip the past year- some injuries, few bad outings for the nats, limited playing time in Scotland, but it is not uncommon for players to experience spells like this. He has expericence, talent and can contribute. Rogers, even though he has shown flashes, is just not ready yet. Run DMB run.

Glad to see Paco T get the start in the middle and would have loved to see him link with Edu in the second half. Thought he was solid, covered well, showed some composure on the ball and even had a crack from range. Holland didn't have many good looks in the first half. Is it just me of does M. Bradley seem to get to many minutes. He's good, but every minute of every game good?

Too bad Altidore doesn't have another year or two under his belt. Thought he showed good strenght, held the ball and linked pretty well, just needs a little more seasoning.

LD, what happend? He has been so good in the EPL and was absolutely invisible last night on the left! Needs to be playing in the middle under Altidore so he can find the game better. Bradley seems to love the big holding center forword with a fast player. Unless Davies makes it back, Donovan is the only option.
Thursday March 4, 2010 1:47 pm
I need to watch the game a second time... but here are my feelings from what I saw...

It was a good effort by the US considering that it was a friendly against a power house on their home turf. The US was very organized in the back which was great to see but had problems distributing from the back. They also needed to put more pressure on the ball and give Holland less space in the midfield.

BB made some interesting choices to start the game. Torres and MB in midfield doesn't provide the team with a natural defensive mid.

Obviously we have a problem at left back. It has been a problem for years now. I am surprised the BB didn't look at some other options in the past couple of games.

Our other problem is finding a second striker. Don't be surprised to see CD sitting up top with JA.

Hopefully the injury to Holden won't keep him out of the Bolton roster for the rest of the season. He was looking fantastic on the ball.

The one thing that I do give BB credit for is lining up some good warm up matches. I think that if the US can get healthy they can do a little damage at this WC (if they can refrain from red cards).
Estuardo Marroquín
Thursday March 4, 2010 12:51 pm
Well, I think this was a great game, even we didin't win.
Now why i am saying this?

First of all, the game was played in Amsterdam. Another aspect that is important to focus, it is that the USA didn´t had some key players, like: Oguchi, Cherundolo (well he can be replaced), Dempsey and Davies, while the Dutch team was complete, with all their stars.
Also I think that players like Bornstein, Szetela, Pearce, and Ching are not in their best moment.

The Dutch teamwas concentrated before the US team.

There are some players like Bedoya, who are not adapted.

If Jones recovers quickly, it is an opition.

It was the first game of the year of both teams, to have all, or almost all of their best players.

I think this game against El Salvador, was not useful. It was at the US soil, it is a very weak team, you can prove that watching that they lost 1-2 against my country Guatemala, a team who had like 8 months of not playing a game, and don´t having a regular coach, in other words El Salvador lost against a dissaster team.

If the coach wanted to play against them, the game should have been played at Estadio Cuscatlán in El Salvador.

That game equals: Nothing good to the team, and a wasted game and money.

The change of a coach at this moment is not smart. The moment to do that was like after or before de Confederations Cup.

After recovering players the team would be (for me):

Howard, Bocanegra, DeMerit, Onyewu, Cherundolo, Bradley, Feilhaber, Donovan, Dempsey, Davies and Altidore.

If Davies doesn`t recovers:
Howard, Boca, Jay, Gooch, Steve, Bradley, Feilhaber, Donovan, Holden, Dempsey and Altidore.

If we recover all players and new ones:
Howard, Bocanegra, DeMerit, Onyewu, Cherundolo, Bradley, Jones, Donovan, Dempsey, Davies and Altidore.
victor 10
Thursday March 4, 2010 12:27 pm
i dont understand y bradley keeps callin borinstein??!!...y doesn he give a chance to edgar castillo hes 10 times a better player than bornestein and he has the ability to go forward and produce chances..donovan out wide gets lost and doesnt do anything...and torres didnt get enojgh playing time...i thinkout of him and bradley torrres was the better player last night...spector seemed a liittle rusty at times and nervous...we have the abilty to keep possesion against teams like this and yet we dont do it!!!!...we give them tooooo much respect and we shouldnt be doing this
Thursday March 4, 2010 12:19 pm
Pretty much agree, Bornstein has has had more than enough chances, why bring Simek to sit on the bench and watch Bornstein give up 2, nearly 3 goals as he was lucky to avoid the handball pk.

Torres has shown nothing for me, i don't understand why he's such a fan favorite, he's just not ready and has done nothing to merit more time.

Donovan was very timid but again how much of this was because Bornstein was behind him making a mess of things, Donovan would have been better off Altidore. Still Donovan didn't take the game over which was troubling, he can't sit back our whole team feeds off of him. Findley really looked poor and though he's much more active than Ching or Casey he hasn't done any better. Adu anyone? why not?

I thought ALtidore and Demerit were tremendous, both were tireless and victims of poor play around them. Bocanegra continues to impress me more on offense than defense, he's a lazy marker on crossing runs.

Holden did well, devastating that he got hurt, he as one of the few who wasn't giving too much respect to Holland. Beasley is still Beasley, which isn't good for us.

When will Bradley make a tactical switch during a half? Is he that clueless as a "coach"?

And why do we have the only defense in the world who seems coached to clear the ball out of bounds rather than relieve pressure to an outlet player? WE waste about 15 possessions a game doing this, and the same players don't do it for club, hmmmm........

I didn't expect to win, but we were afraid of Holland the first 20 minutes, that's a problem for our Euro based guys, no excuse for that.
Thursday March 4, 2010 11:48 am
I thought Beasley played really well once he was placed on the left. He really struggles on the right (remember 2006), so I'm confused as to why Bradley would leave Donovan on the left when Holden got injured (which could be a huge loss by the way).

Edu looked really solid, and I was very impressed by his touch and timing on his tackles. His shere presence will be a huge plus when playing against a team like England, while Torres (even with his poise) will get knocked around too much. To me, Edu is a no-brainer (as is Jones if he can get some games in soon). I thought Altidore looked good as well.

My last point is Borenstein. He consistently struggles at left back, and somehow Bradley is now trying him out in the center!!! This is ridiculous! He is 5'8 and can't play center back in the MLS, let alone on the world stage. Spector should be getting looks there, not Borenstein--never in a million years!

This is why Bradley drives me crazy some times. There are better players out there for these positions (Castillo, Marshall, etc.), and Bradley insists on Borenstein...
Thursday March 4, 2010 10:12 am
I don't believe that Beasley could play defense, he showed last night that he is too weak on the ball. He is best at attacking, linking passes together, and running at defenders. How comes nobody says anything about Goodson having a good game. How many shots on goal does this defender have, and also how many balls has he lost in the air? He is proving to be one of the stronger defenders we have in the back.
Also, it was good to see Edu back and playing well yesterday!
Thursday March 4, 2010 9:49 am
Jose, how many times did you cut and paste the same big post??? They did not do all to bad considering Dempsey, Davies are important players missing.... The scary part is the US are racking up injuries and that could hurt in the long run...

I wish they could have won but they did well against the Dutch... We have to start being realistic the US has decent to good players. We are not fielding 11 world class talents.... We have a dim coach and we get what we get....

Lets hope they don't make mistakes against England. I still have faith in this squad and players... NOT the coach who is a immense bore.
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