Papua New Guinea 2 : 1 Tahiti Final
The USA Continues Unimpressive Pre-World Cup Run
The Americans came out with a win in their recent World Cup tune-up friendly facing Azerbaijan, but it was not an impressive win. They won at home 2-0 and facing an Azerbaijan team that is the 85th ranked team in the world according to the FIFA rankings.
In the match the USA did not score until the 75th minute when Mikkel Diskerud scored and then six minutes later Aron Johannsson gave the Americans the 2-0 lead that would stick. Both of these players are substitutes, as Clint Dempsey did not play because of a sore groin and Jozy Altidore continued his scoring drought.
The Americans did play decent defense in the match dominated the time of possession (70% to 30%), and had more shots (21-9). However, a win over a sub par squad that had one win in their last five friendly matches, which was against the Philippines no less, cannot really boost their confidence.
Since qualifying for the World Cup the USA squad has two wins, two losses, and two draws. They have not played a premier squad in that time and their last four matches, all this year, have seen them struggle. They beat a Korea Republic squad at home 2-0, but that was facing a tired team. The Americans were beaten soundly in Cypress by a Ukraine team that may be one of the best not playing this summer and then played to a 2-2 draw facing Mexico before their win over Azerbaijan.
USA has not won away from American soil in their friendly matches and that is a concern. There are two more tune-up matches for the Americans facing Turkey and Nigeria with both matches being held in the United States. The Nigeria match will be a good tune-up, as they are also playing this summer in Brazil and the African nation has a good attack and solid midfield. That is key since American will play a couple of teams that have those things as well in the Group of Death in Portugal and Germany.
The Americans had very high hopes for the World Cup this summer after they qualified. However, since that time they have been drawn into a killer Group of Death and have looked far from impressive in their World Cup friendly tune-up matches.