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ASN Weekly Debate

What Did We Learn from the Win Against BIH?

The Americans went into Sarajevo and came back with a 4-3 victory. Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon talk about what it means, what we can take away, and why Aron Johannsson is the most fun.
BY Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon Posted
August 16, 2013
1:00 PM
Noah Davis: So Ryan, 4-3 America. The win streak continues. Here's my No.1 question after the game: Where the heck did that Jozy Altidore free kick come from?

Ryan O'Hanlon: I have no idea. It was weird seeing someone wearing a US jersey do that so easily. Really, though, it'd be weird seeing anyone do that—place a ball, to quote Kanye West, "with all that power"—so easily.

Davis: Good quote. As ASN's resident free kick taking expert, I can confirm that it was awesome. His attempt in the first half, less so. But it was really, really surprising to see him take it, right? And then to do it again, and to drill it, was pretty sweet.

O'Hanlon: I'd never seen him take one before, I don't think, so yeah, it was! When he took the first one, though, I tried thinking about who else could've taken it, and I couldn't think of anyone. Although I was surprised Jermaine Jones didn't end up trying.

Davis: Michael Bradley. Because there's nothing on a soccer field that Michael Bradley can't do and he's taken them in the past and done well.

O'Hanlon: Are we sure Michael Bradley didn't actually take the second free kick for Altidore?

Davis: Hidden Free Trick Kick. A Jurgen Klinsmann special.

O'Hanlon: The most impressive thing about Jozy Altidore is his uncanny ability to let other people inhabit is body. Second most-impressive thing: he's been alive for only 23 years.

Davis: Third most-impressive thing: how he's learning to use that body to hold off defenders. He is so strong. After about 10 minutes, it was pretty clear to me that the BIH defenders wanted nothing to do with him. They couldn't compete physically, which is something every American fan always hoped would happen. Now it is. We joke about the what if the best athletes played soccer thing, but bam.

O'Hanlon: I don't know what it is—coincidence, great management, master trolling, clerical error—but it's something that Bradley and Altidore (currently, the two best players while playing in USMNT colors) were both frozen out of the starting eleven/roster by Klinsmann at one point.

Davis: Don't forget about Donovan, too.

O'Hanlon: And Donovan! Even though his exile seemed more a byproduct of his self-imposed exile—but still. Maybe it's time to leave out Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Jones. And maybe Timmy Chandler will come back and be Philip Lahm.

Davis: Brad Evans is Phillip Lahm. I got totally onboard the Brad Evans train yesterday. He's the best.

O'Hanlon: Maybe Timmy Chandler will be Brad Evans! And there were a couple plays where someone made a nice run down the right side—and that person was Brad Evans. He wasn't bad, but apparently he conceded five corners, which is a stat.

Davis: Well, the average corner is worth 0.022 goals, according to The  Numbers Game. So Evans was responsible for 0.11 goals, which doesn't seem too bad. I have two more thoughts: 1) John "Anthony" Brooks was just okay and 2) the first half wasn't as bad as people think.

O'Hanlon: Thoughts on your thoughts: 1) I'm not convinced anyone else would've done better. He also passes the ball well (48/51), which is more helpful than it might seem. 2) I agree, and the second half probably wasn't as good as it seemed.

Davis: Look at you with the stats. To me, he seemed competent, which is fine, but perhaps the rhetoric surrounding the performance could be toned down just a bit. And I would trade a few of those completed passes for not falling asleep on the third BIH goal.

O'Hanlon: He definitely made his mistakes, but that was a really nice header by Dzeko—and not-falling-asleep is something that'd appear easy to improve. While "Having foot skills while being really tall" is not.

Davis: cc: Oguchi Onyewu. I loved that goal. It was just so casual. Quick cross, incisive run, lovely glancing header, back of the net. There were a lot of nice goals yesterday, actually. That one. Bradley's to Altidore to Johnson. Altidore's laser. The fourth U.S. one.

O'Hanlon: I am partial to the goal scored by the person who thinks this website is run by a bunch of clowns because he is correct.

Davis: A fair assessment all around. I wonder if we can put that on our press page. I wonder if we have a press page. Final thoughts? Mine is that I could not be more excited about the ArJo Era, although I hope that he will shoot instead of passing in the future.

O'Hanlon: I prefer AirJo, who, as I told you yesterday, is the real-life Josh Gatt, meaning he is the Josh Gatt of Josh Gatts. Also, I don't think we'll be seeing much more Eddie Johnson, so long as AirJo stays healthy. No more Jermaine Jones, please. Oh, and Tim Howard is still pretty good.

Davis: In my head, it's pronounced AirJo. I'm going to disagree with you about Jones. He has some bad games, but this team needs him.

O'Hanlon: He still should be on the roster, but I would like to see him not-starting. The team needs Jermaine Jones when it doesn't have Michael Bradley. Or: the team needs the idealized version of Jermaine Jones, which almost never exists.

Davis: If he's not going to start, what's the point of having him on the roster? Do you really think he'd be an effective sub?

O'Hanlon: In the right situation, yeah. Or if he's replacing an injured Michael Bradley, which ... sorry, I just fainted.

Davis: I guess that ends this debate.

O'Hanlon: Did we both win?

Davis: Sure. Undefeated in 12 debates in a row.

Noah Davis and Ryan O'Hanlon continue to do this every week. What up, America?

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