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Better surface = better U.S. chances. Let’s talk …

Sep 10, 2012, 4:04 PM EST

Portrait of US player Brek Shea taken be

Well, look at the Big Brain on Greg Lalas!

The MLSSoccer.com ed-in-chief took in yesterday’s U.S. practice in Columbus and made himself some keen observations.

We all know the field at Crew Stadium will be a cut above the surface at “The Office” in Kingston. In fact, the patch of grass in Ohio will look like the No. 8 green at Pebble freakin’ Beach compared to the grass under foot in Friday’s loss.

And we know how a sloppy or choppy field helps level the competitive field by subtracting some edge from the more technical team. But Lalas got a word with Clint Dempsey to help explain it a little further:

You take more touches trying to get the ball under control, and they’re so athletic they’re on top of you and tackling you when you did that.”

Lalas also observed in the piece that Brek Shea (pictured) looked sharp and was singled out by one assistant for special and public praise. Pare that with all the talk about needed width and  … hmmmm.

There were three other observations on Lalas’ list; you can see those for yourself, if you’re so inclined.

  1. docstraw - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Lalas’ Parkhurst observation makes no sense. Cherundolo didn’t exactly get “Wally Pipped”. If the guy is healthy, he is back in there like you read about in the newspaper. I will say that he rarely gets up the sideline these days. The lack of consistent attacking FBs hurts the team’s width as much as anything the crappy midfield isn’t doing.

  2. Steve Davis - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    I don’t see Cherundolo up and down QUITE as much as back in the day, but I don’t see a huge dropoff, either. No, in tough matches like the one in Italy earlier this year, he won’t be as concerned with zooming up and down the wing. But in matches where the United States controls possession, I still see him doing plenty. (Especially when he partners on that side with Landon Donovan; they tend to work extra well in tandem.)

    • docstraw - Sep 10, 2012 at 9:01 PM

      I dunno … the Guatemala game back in June opened my eyes to how age is catching up with both guys. Landon doesn’t have the legs for the wing anymore and he rarely gets deep towards the end line nor does he try to take on defenders (not that it was ever that big a part of his game). There was hardly any overlapping at all by Cherundolo in that one. Granted, I am not one to go looking for heat maps, just going by what I noticed at the time. I remember most right sided attacks ended in a lame cross from a relatively shallow position by Donovan. I guess it beats Danny Williams dribbling the ball out of bounds.

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