DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Despite the US being on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline for the second time in three outings, attacker Landon Donovan still finds that the team wasn't lacking in overall substance.
"I think we actually played very well tonight tactically," Donovan told YA.
Following Donovan's successful penalty conversion late in the first half, the ten-man Stars & Stripes held the lead the first brief few minutes of the second half before Giuseppe Rossi's long-range 58th minute blast seemingly out of nowhere began their eventual undoing.
"The first goal was off of a turnover, so that had nothing to do with tactics or shape," Donovan explained. "When you turn the ball over in that area, it's going to be hard to slow them down."
The Italians took the lead a few minutes later after another shock long-distance strike - from the once-elbow-happy Daniele de Rossi - again seeming to capitalize on a moment of misfortune by the Americans.
"On the second goal, [de Rossi] came down the middle," the Galaxy man recalled. "You're generally safe letting somebody take a shot from there, but I think it deflected of Gooch and it made it hard on Tim so you've got to give them credit."
Despite the US being held to their third straight game without a goal from open play, Donovan was still a noticeable presence in the attack, showing much of the predatory role which he's adopted in club play with Los Angeles as of late.
"My role here is to be aggressive and make things happen," the two-time World Cup veteran opined. "That's how I've been playing lately and I feel good when I do that, so I'll continue it."
While the heavy-handed defeat to the reigning world champions immediately puts them in the challenging position of needing to eek out a result against an ever-formidable Brazilian team, Donovan is confident that they showed the fortitude to keep up with top-class competition - as long as they don't force themselves into another unfortunate strategic disadvantage.
"It will be a very big challenge for us," the former Bayern loanee admits of Thursday's showdown with the winners of 2005 Confederations Cup. "If we have 11 players on the field, I think we have a good chance."
"We had a good attitude tonight and made a good effort, and if we do the same we have a chance against Brazil."