You see the movie the Martian? Where they do a slingshot maneuver around Earth and back to Mars to rescue comedic genius Matt Damon? The USMNT played Paraguay on Saturday, won, and somehow managed to come out on top of the group. Dempsey hit the accelerator, Yedlin provided just the right amount of gravitational pull to keep us from landing out in deep space, then Johnny Brooks finished off the maneuver with some lock-down rocket interceptions.
After going with the same lineup for the first two games Jurgen…went with the same lineup for game 3. This is a luxury usually not on offer due to injury or card accumulation. And Jurgen lives by the phrase if you’ve got it flaunt it, which usually manifests through snazzy polo shirts, so this wasn’t much of a surprise. This starting 11 now has rhythm, cohesiveness and a feeling of real momentum. The order of the games for the USMNT now seems hugely important. A smorgasbord of results that have left me satisfied and the team ready for the next round. What follows is a succinct and direct description of each game in terms of food:
USA v. Colombia: open faced turkey sandwich, extra heavy, no-flavor gravy. no spark, slows you down
USA v. Costa Rica: cherry wood smoked washu beef brisket. goes down easy and you didn’t want it to end
USA v. Paraguay: cajun style crawfish from an east village hole in the wall. gritty, messy and hard to enjoy but glad you’re you did it
Some major moments in this game were of course the Dempsey goal, the Yedlin red card and the saves from Guzan near the end. But the most important, and part of why he was man of the match, came early from John Brooks. By somehow denying Paraguay a shot on a 3v1 he kept the USMNT from the all too common fate of going down a goal early in a match. This allowed the boys to follow the game plan while giving them a strong wake up call.
Johnny Brooks is a key part of the defense that hasn’t given up a goal in 228 minutes now. No Yedlin in the next game so there will have to be a change at the back for the first time this tourney but the core of that defense is walking tall. Credit to Brad Guzan as well. We weren’t exactly enthralled by his designation as the starter before the tourney. He is slowly removing the band-aid covering up his EPL wounds and turning us into fans. Not the best adhesive bandage removal know-how but some very solid saves in the net.
The next game for the USMNT is officially against Ecuador on Thursday June 16th at 930PM ET up in the Pacific Northwest town of Seattle.