The first half started out agonizingly slow for Team USA and their opposition on the night Chile.  As predicted the beginning moments of the match were cagey, and definitley lackluster.  Poor touches marked the opening minutes and turnovers were aplenty as two teams of young inexperienced international players looked to make an impression on their respective coaches.  The game needed a spark, but sadly wouldn’t get one until the second fourty-five.  The only players who really did well were newbies Zack Loyd and Dax McCarty.  Loyd went from being relatively unknown to making a strong impression that he will hopefully build on to solidfiy the United States’ problems at left back.  He’s committed for sure, and energetic getting up and down the flank.  He flew into tackles which did pick up a yellow card for him, but his tackling and willingness to do the work is a welcomed site on the field for us.  McCarty was solid in the center of the pitch, and really helped to calm the game down with his tireless work, and ability to keep posession.  He’s small in stature but makes up for it in effort, and passing.  He’s got great vision and really helps the team by dictating play.  His first half shot from distance was really the only event worth mentioning, and even it would have been a bit fortunate had it gone in, with the keeper too far off his line.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s NOWHERE NEAR AS GOOD as the player I’m about to mention, but we could have ourselves a “Ginger Xavi”.  The bad luck for Dax is that he will struggle to get  a spot on the team with Holden, Edu, Bradley, Clark, Feilhaber, Torres, Dempsey and Donovan all able to play in the center of the pitch. 

                The second half was much better, and the US actually looked a little more dangerous  and looked to push forward.  This for me was in large part due to the substitions made.  Marvelle Wynn definitley made the game more interesting, by making many positioning mistakes on the field, one of which lead to Chile’s goal as he was caught out of position on a cross.  He is incredibly athletic, but he’s as dumb a player as he is fast.  I’m not saying he’s a dumb person, just not a great reader of the game.  Definitley a liability in the back if his brain can’t keep up with his feet.  The other big change was when the US finally introduced some SWAGG back onto the field.  For the first time since Charlie Davies suffered devastating injuries in a fatal accident outside of DC, the US had some athletes on the field that posessed this trait.  It truly has become an intangible in sports, and a team needs it to succeed now a days.  Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo provide the swagg that inspires this young group of Americans, and their introduction made the game worth watching.  To be a great striker you have to be cocky, conceited, full of yourself, confident, and have that swagger to run at people, and believe in your head “I’m better than this defender.”  Agudelo and Bunbury both have shown this trait.  They pick up the ball and if theres space to run at someone they think they’re getting by every single time.  I love that.  I love when the forwards on the national team have that in their head, that no matter who this is I am better than them, and they can’t stop me.  This mentality lead to Agudelo winning a penalty for running at a Chilean defender, which Teal Bunbury cooly slotted home to equalize.  The celebration that followed laid to rest any doubts about the two young strikers mentality.  Charlie Davies would be proud, as they dougied their way towards the sideline, bringing a freshness back to the team that we were so desperatlely lacking. 
                The future is bright for team USA, and though many of these guys will never play in a “meaningful” international game, the few that will I have total faith in.  I am also very excited to see #Teamagubery progress in the future, to provide the United States with true goalscorers. 

Stephen Flanagan
Twitter: @sflanagan17



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