The Set Piece: Exhale

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  1. The old guys get it done. – Just a couple of days ago, this same column was calling out Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley as slow and unable to compete on the world stage. I called for youth and more youth! What does Klinsmann do? Sticks to his lineup and suddenly the goals start rolling. Deuce with the set piece, JJ with the slick low, hard shot across the keeper and into the corner, Zusi comes on as a sub and scores the final goal of the night, and Beckerman, of all people, the third substitution of the night makes a dramatic clearance on Costa Rica’s best scoring chance. Of course Bobby Wood also scored, credit to him, but that didn’t fit my narrative. The reality was, old dudes were getting the job done. 4-0.
  2. Our odds just improved, dramatically. – After the Colombia loss, it was hard to see daylight for the USMNT. We hadn’t challenged much at all, aside from a couple of set pieces. Defensive marking had gone out the window in critical points. Mental mistakes, like Yedlin’s handball, had all fans wondering how bad this team actually was. Skip forward to tonight and suddenly everyone is wondering how far we could actually go in this tournament. Part of that is fandom, part of that is reality. For an hour or so we were top in the group, thanks to our win and goal differential, before Colombia beat Paraguay, locking up a trip to the knockout round. 4-0 does a lot for a fragile psyche like the US seems to have. Let’s see what we do when we face Paraguay on Saturday.
  3. Colombia is that much better. – So we spanked the shit out of Costa Rica, its true. This, of course, followed us getting spanked ourselves by Colombia. I’m not going to go to far into transitive properties, but you get my drift. What I will say is that in both matches we started the same lineups (much to the chagrin of BMH hosts) with dramatically different results. This has way more to do with the other team on the pitch rather than our team suddenly going from down 2 to up 4. Colombia is a slick team and should advance in the knockout round. Hopefully we’ll do the same…

Other thoughts: Only one tonight, because it’s goddamn 2:41a ya jerks. Costa Rican National team coach, Oscar Ramirez, who can’t seem to find a suit that fits him (I can empathize), bears a striking resemblance to Paul Bearer. Don’t remember Paul Bearer? He was the WWF/WWE manager for the Undertaker. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe it’s late, but we got a win today and let’s get another on Saturday!

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Jermaine Jones image from the Denver Post. Other is a mishmash of Google searches.

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The Set Piece: Exhale

The Set Piece: Sometimes a Draw is a Win

Bruno Valdez, Joel Campbell

1. Couldn’t have turned out better, seriously. – So halfway through tonight’s Costa Rica/Paraguay match, I’m chatting with resident BMH genius Brian. “We need Paraguay to win this match” I said, thinking that Paraguay will lose to Colombia and then we beat them. Brian, because he’s a hell of a lot smarter than me responds, “Nope, we need a 0-0 draw.” And that’s what the soccer gods gave us. Sure, we looked rough against Colombia, but now we’re only one point back from advancing. A solid result against Costa Rica on Tuesday and we should be moving on.

2. Costa Rica looked less scary than I imagined. – Hearing a Central American team complain about the heat in Florida was odd. How out of shape are you guys? My favorite quote was midfielder Celso Borges “It was a little bit too warm. There was a lot of heat.” Average temperature in Orlando, 73º. Average temperature in Costa Rica 75º. Own the bad showing, dude. Best of all, from an American perspective, Kendall Watson (of the Vancouver Whitecaps) drew a meaningless red card and will be unavailable to start in the match against the USA.

3. Group B, meh. – In my preview of the Copa, I said no to expect much of Brazil after the group, but a shitty opening performance against Ecuador should at least give fans pause. Only getting a single point may bite the big boys in the ass, particularly because Peru defeated Haiti outright for 3 points. For the the record, I picked Peru to advance from this group and they won the match they should have, so now lets see if they can steal one.

Other Notes: I was shocked at some of the bullshit online after the USA/COL match. One pundit from Sports Nation went so far as to claim that Klinsmann was showing consistency in his lineup. That back line has played together THREE times including last night, get the fuck out of here…Matt Doyle continues to deliver the best analysis online. Read his shit…Anyone else see that guy dressed a tiger(?) rooting for Colombia? All I could think of was, what if USA had upset Colombia? That guy has to walk out of the stadium and to his car dressed like a fucking tiger with every American fan shit talking him. Same thing with the Peru fan with the wings (couldn’t find a picture of him, but goddamn, he looked ridiculous), there’s no room for doubt.

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So the general rule of Bury My Heart is that we focus on American soccer. During the COPA America competition, that line will be a bit more blurry. We’re in an international competition, so we’ll be discussing results from all the matches throughout.

First image from the UK’s Daily Mail. Second image from Reuters.

The Set Piece: Sometimes a Draw is a Win