Three takeaways from the US U-23s’ grinding Olympic qualifying win over Dominican Republic | Charles Boehm

Two matches, two wins, and on course for the all-important semifinals.

By way of outcomes, the US Under-23 males’s national team is checking all of the packing containers they should up to now on the Concacaf Olympic qualifying event.

Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Dominican Republic takes them to 6 points from six in Guadalajara, and with the knockout stages in sight they’ll step as much as the standard depth of a United States-Mexico match with clear hearts and calm nerves after they meet their El Tri counterparts of their final group-stage match on Wednesday.

Now, by way of performance? That’s a extra nuanced story, because the young Yanks have been hardly dominant till a young, well-drilled DR side drained within the recreation’s late stages. Let’s start there.

Sharpening the stone

I exploit the time period “grinding” to explain this US outing, which carries some destructive connotations – all of us wish to see flowing, slick soccer with no sand within the gears, proper? However in some instances an influence sander can get a job executed, particularly if you’re a regional large in search of to claim your dominance against minnows and upstarts.

Coach Jason Kreis said postgame that the DR threw the US a curve with their 3-4-2-1 formation, “a very totally different form than we have seen them play ever earlier than,” and the Caribbean side’s self-discipline and depth staved off Goliath for an hour, lengthy sufficient to get some nerves twitching earlier than Jackson Yueill’s instinctive flicked finish broke the ice.

“I felt our guys have been just somewhat bit too cautious concerning the affair. I believe our guys have been extra involved concerning the transition than they have been about creating attacking moments,” said Kreis. “These two issues add as much as not a great performance within the first half. However what we noticed within the second half was a lot improved and we’re happy to stroll out with one other three points.”

Yueill doesn’t normally roam that far forward from defensive midfield. Turns out he was truly not the No. 6 on this one, with Kreis explaining that Andres Perea was assigned the single-pivot with Yueill and Johnny Cardoso the 8s, and end consequence apart, not everybody appeared utterly snug. To the coach it “appeared somewhat totally different just due to the qualities of the players,” and I’ll agree with that.

Was this a muddle of assignments and tendencies, or a team discovering its approach, step by step, to resolve problems in a event setting? Well, some players are definitely discovering their feet…

Replenish, inventory down

No prizes for guessing Sunday’s big winner: Hassani Dotson, whose entry within the 62nd instead of Cardoso coincided with the United States’ assertion of management and culminated together with his two expertly-taken goals. The Minnesota United utility man additionally played a job within the game-winner vs. Costa Rica; he’s exhibiting that he’s right here for rather more than his versatility and must be a first-choice starter from right here on.

Djordje Mihailovic subbed in on the identical time and appeared much more dangerous working from broad positions than he had as a center mid within the first recreation. Kreis will now have to think about whether or not the CF Montréal man could be extra helpful off the bench, with drained defenders and typically extra space to take advantage of.

Elsewhere, proper back Julian Araujo wasn’t as clear on the ball as he normally is and may need missed a chance to push forward of Aaron Herrera for the beginning position, whereas Henry Kessler confirmed himself to be a stable center back choice, with little to no drop-off from Mauricio Pineda. Whether or not it was his lack of impression or his teammates’ failure to grasp and reward his motion, Jesus Ferreira noticed little of the ball and appears more likely to be rotated in favor of Sebastian Soto vs. Mexico.

The humorous factor about all that is that Wednesday’s XI might in no way reflect the above. Although he maintained that the US absolutely plan to win that recreation, Kreis has each reason to marshal his assets in order to be at full bore for the following recreation after that – the must-win semifinal against a TBA foe from Group B. And if not solely qualifying, but in addition winning this event outright is a top goal as he’s said beforehand, they could well meet El Tri once more within the final.

In reward of the stragglers

The DR are observing a last-place finish in Group A, however that’s hardly the actual story. Debutants on this occasion, with its youngest roster, Los Quisqueyanos have been spectacular given the gulf between them and the US. Inter Miami homegrown Edison Azcona and his mates confirmed no concern and executed their recreation plan successfully, even when their legs and minds allow them to down within the final half-hour.

MLS and USL scouts ought to take notice of what’s taking place with Dominican soccer. Mexican manager Jacques Passy is an old Concacaf hand who’s overseeing a promising renewal of this system with restricted assets; on Sunday he left the U-23s answerable for his assistant Jonathan Himelfarb in order to jet off to organize the senior squad for his or her upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

“We played 60 minutes that I imagine have been superb, which have been on the level of the sport, which is a challenge by itself for us,” said Himelfarb postgame. “For those who have a look at our lineup, now we have six players which are 20 years or youthful and this has grow to be, due to the pandemic and no matter an under-24 event, so perhaps it is the dearth of expertise, perhaps we’re somewhat bit out of rhythm. Mentally I believe we are able to do higher, however yeah concerning the effort and the primary 60 minutes I am really proud, and positively the future is brilliant for the Dominican Republic football association.”

There will likely be extra skills like Azcona rising via the ranks, each at home and among the many massive populations of Dominican-Individuals within the States. Many of their children are discovering alternatives in Spain’s decrease divisions, and hopefully some savvy US or Canadian golf equipment will go digging for diamonds, too.

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