BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Despite controlling play and having the most opportunities in the match, United States national team fell to Paraguay on Tuesday night in a friendly at Nashville LP Field.

The US entered the game on the heels of a 1-1 draw against world power Argentina. In that game, youngsters Timmy Chandler and Juan Agudelo entered the game at the start of the second half and sparked a comeback in the last 45 minutes.

On Tuesday night both Agudelo and Chandler earned their first ever national team starts and continued their impressive play.

Despite owning most of the possession early, it was Paraguay who scored first when Hernan Perez sent a corner kick into the box that Jay Demerit was unable to clear. The loose ball fell right to Oscar Cardozo who hammered it home from close range.

Later in the first half, the US was forced to make a substitute when DeMerit came off the field with a limp following a defensive clearance in the 42nd minute.

In the second half, the US opened with a very good chance when it appeared that Agudelo was brought down in the box but Honduran referee Jose Benigo waved on for play to continue.

In the 67th minute, Clint Dempsey had a shot from close range when he received a low cross from second half substitute Eric Lichaj. Dempsey was off balance and instead sent the shot over the bar.

The US thought they had the equalizer in the 75th minute when a Lichaj throw-in found its way all the way to the far post but Landon Donvan's close range shot hit the outside of the net.

Paraguay's only decent chance of the second half came in the 78th minute when Marcelo Estigarribia hit a long shot from 25 yards that rattled the far post.

In the 86th minute, Michael Bradley came close when he hit a shot from 25 yards but Paraguayan keeper Justo Vilar got a hand on the shot while in full extension.

The final chance for the US came on one of the last kicks of the game when Jermaine Jones hit a great low driving shot from the edge of the 18 but Vilar was once again there to deflect the shot away.

In addition to Chandler and Agudelo, the US saw strong play from young central defender Tim Ream, Jermaine Jones, and Michael Bradley.

On the other hand, Donovan appeared to still be getting his legs back following the MLS offseason and was not as sharp as he usually is. Dempsey tried to make plays happen but often appeared to try to do too much. Maurice Edu also failed to impress in central midfield and turned the ball over more than expected.

The most disappointing effort of the day for the US was by forward Jozy Altidore who continued to struggle to contribute to the offense and does not look like the dominate force he was prior to last summer's World Cup.

The US will now be off for the remainder of the European season and will return to action on June 4th when they host Spain in Foxboro, Massachusetts in their final game before this summer's 2011 Gold Cup.
Thursday March 31, 2011 9:26 pm
My big question is would Bradley had played that much if Stewy was not hurt? Stewy has been one of the best if not the best player this year in for America in the EPL when it comes to field players, including Demps. When the Gold Cup comes and Stewy is healthy will it be Edu, Bradley or Jones that get the boot from the starting line up because nothing justifies not starting Stewy when he comes back.
Thursday March 31, 2011 3:48 pm

As far as goals go, Bradley isn't a goal scorer, but he has 2 apps for Aston Villa a mid table team in the EPL, while Freddy is playing in tier 2 Turkish soccer. As far as Jozy vs Freddy, Jozy scored more goals in the world cup qualifiers than Adu has scored the last 3 years combined. I would love for Adu to be better but he's not good enough to play on the national level yet. if he gets better he'd be a great attacking midfielder.

Bradley doesn't get subbed that often, but neither does Donovan, Dempsey, Bocanegra, at least one corner back. etc. Generally Bradley uses his subs for guys who don't have the motor to go 90, Bradley has the motor to go 90. Hard to knock a guy who plays 90 minutes hard, is good offensively, has created scoring chances, and is excellent defensively. It's not like we have Fabregas and Gerrard and aren't starting them over Bradley. He's a fine soccer player and he deserves to start, he's a leader and him getting better will mean the US team will be dangerous in the future.
Thursday March 31, 2011 2:45 pm

The Bradley situation is obviously a very ugly case of nepotism. M. Bradley starts ever game and is hardly ever subbed for. His play does not justify this treatment. Freddy Adu can run at defenses with the ball and make touch passes to forwards. None of our mids including Bradley and Donovan can do this. Maybe Jones can and Demps is more of target man who can score. Bradley does play solid d and can occasionly get off a good shot at goal. I will give him that, but he gets the ball taken from him too much which also happens to Donovan, except on this specialty the counterattack. Adu's two goals this season is two more than Altidore and probably two more than Bradley at aston villa. I agree with scrrrnt and let Jozy come in as a late game sub until he acquires better skills.
Thursday March 31, 2011 2:18 pm

Being offensive minded, but with poor sometimes inept execution on offense is not going to help the USMT. Again Im talking about beating top 20 national teams, not concacaf teams! If I remember correctly upsetting Spain in the last Confederations Cup, we were ahead and our defense was good enough to hold even the best team in world from coming back!
We did win possession against Paraguay on home soil, but did u c the Argentina game? That is offense which will win most games against most teams in the world. We r not even in the same galaxy as that offense and we need to play better offensive players, with real offensive skills to beat these top twenty teams. Then we can stop losing to ghana in the WC and become real competitors for the WC in Brazil. Our defense including the new young guys looks impressive, but u gotta have playmakers and killers to score goals and win soccer games! Need agudelo and davies to be paired up, with offensively skilled mids to make accurate passes in the final third. J. Jones has already proven at a high level he can do this.
Thursday March 31, 2011 11:37 am
Its time for the Altidore experiment to end. The boy may be athletic but his skills are lacking and he needs to sit.
Thursday March 31, 2011 9:22 am
I thought we looked great considering we played a man down the entire match.
Ed C.
Thursday March 31, 2011 2:56 am
Sam - that must be it! BB seems to have his favorites whether they have skills or not.
Thursday March 31, 2011 12:02 am
Did someone just lobby for Freddy Adu? A man with only 2 international goals, and is sitting at like 4 goals in the last 3 years. I will say Adu learning to actually play soccer he can be an asset for us. As it is he's not worth too much for us. I also like how the first poster advocates interchanging Bradley, he's only probably one of our 5 best outfield players. You can argue him top 3. He's not physically the best but he's got the mental skills. Throw his brain in Altidore or Adu and we have one of the best players in the world. Also Onyewu really didn't contribute anything, considering he didn't see any time.

I do agree that Bornstein should see the bench for all eternity.

On that note I like the promise of Chandler and Lichaj as our outside backs for years. Both seem to have the skill to get up the field and play the ball into the box, which should help Jozy and Agudelo.
Wednesday March 30, 2011 10:03 pm
Why does Bornstein keep getting called up.....? I think he must have some blackmail on Bob Bradley.
Wednesday March 30, 2011 4:01 pm
Previous comment is nonsense. This is the most offensive minded I've ever seen the US play against top competition. The goal came against the run of play after a corner was given up on a Paraguay counter attack. We won the possession battle against a CONEMBOL team... has that EVER happened before at the senior level?

Anyway, it was exciting to see the team execute a possession oriented game plan, but the fact is... we still lost. If we hunker down and counter attack, top teams will eventually slice up our defense. If we possess and attack, they can counter, get an early goal, and sit on the lead. They can play EITHER style better than us. Simply becoming "more offensive" isn't going to magically make us better. Paraguay basically used our own typical game plan against us. Guess what, it worked and they won.

So again, it was exciting, and we finally seem to have the sort of young playmakers that get me excited. But I hope this game also shows everyone that the natural style of the USA is a defensive minded approach, and it isn't automatically inferior to an attacking style.
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