USMNT Breakdown: vs. Belgium World Cup Round of 16
T.J. Zaremba breaks down USMNT’s World Cup ending 2-1 heartbreaker…
There is a cliché in boxing: “Styles make fights”. The US and Belgium game epitomized that sentiment. For Belgium it was their attack against the strong defense of the US.
After listening and reading the experts and the “experts” after the game, I would have thought this was the US heat map.
That surprised me because the numbers support the game that I watched. That was a close, open game in which Belgium was just a bit better.
In both number of passes and accuracy, the US were better than the Belgians.
However, during the pivotal second half through the end of the first part of extra time, Belgium took over the game.
The game for the United States was lost in how they set up for this game.
The plan was for the outside backs in Johnson (Yedlin) and Beasley to use their speed and exploit the Belgian outside backs. And that is exactly what they did
This was the best chance for the Yanks to win, but it also played into Belgium’s strength, the quality of their attacking players, specifically Hazard and De Bruyne.
For the first 90 minutes, the two center backs, Gonzalez and Besler held off the Belgian attack.
They had help from Geoff Cameron, who really was the third defender.
And Tim Howard was legendary.
Squawka said he was Man of the Match.
However, when Marc Wilmots brought on a fresh Romelu Lukaku for Divock Origi, the tiring US defense finally broke.
Quality chances for Belgium in the first half of extra time (fourfourtwo.com)
Going into the knockout round, the consensus was that Michael Bradley needed to have a huge game for the Yanks to have a chance at advancing. That did not happen.
Neither Jermaine Jones, who never was on the same page as Bradley, nor Graham Zusi was there to pick up the slack. Jones had his worst game in Brazil.
So did Zusi.
Kyle Beckerman was not allowed to help any.
Only Alejandro Bedoya picked his game up.
For most of the tournament, Klinsi had success with his substitution choices. This game could be summed up by a MeatLoaf song.
Chris Wondolowski had one job to do.
Unfortunately, he did not succeed.
Overall, this was not a bad performance for USMNT. However, the result was just, and the flight home is deserved.
And Russia is waiting with open arms.
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T.J. Zaremba was BarnBurner #110 and 1998 second-half season ticket holder in Section 8 of pre-mothership Soldier Field. After over a decade on walkabout, with a handful of guest appearances, he returned in 2011 and has been a regular (when his commitment to Uncle Sam allows it) at Toyota Park with his wife and the Hamster. Follow T.J. @TJZaremba