Friday, August 22, 2008

World Cup Qualifying and RSL

While watching the US-Guatemala World Cup Qualifier this evening there were a few thoughts I wanted to share.

1. It's amazing what putting on the national team shirt does for a player like Brian Ching. When he's representing the Tang-colored Dynamo the guy plays a less than classy style of football. An everlasting image I'll have occurred when Houston last visited Salt Lake. Within the first minute of the match he was already going after Jamison Olave with a double-fisted shove. Put Ching in a match for the US and suddenly he's calm and collected. He was awesome against Guatemala. Much like Kenny Deuchar for RSL, Ching's presence was huge for the US in the Guatemalan penalty area. He never actually scored, but he was causing problems for the Guatemalan defense all night. Again, the play reminded me a lot of Deuchar for RSL.

2. Did anyone else notice the other RSL connection on the night? I didn't realize it until Eddie Lewis was lying on the grass with his face covered in blood that the man who inflicted the wound was none other than Gustavo Cabrera. Another admission on my part is that I don't remember much about Cabrera's time in Salt Lake. Can't make that much of an impression when you play all of four matches for a club.

I still can't get over how impressed I was of the United States during the second half. Collectively they managed the final half hour almost perfectly. In a hostile environment such as Guatemala, that speaks volumes of the progress of the USMNT.