2 local coaches reflect on match

Team USA still has a World Cup pulse in Brazil.

Even with a 1-0 setback to Germany, the U.S. men’s soccer team advanced to the knockout round of 16, thanks to Portugal’s 2-1 triumph over Ghana in Group G of the WC Thursday. The American booters are scheduled to play Belgium at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Germany won the group, while both Portugal and Ghana were eliminated.

“I thought USA’s performance was great against Germany,” said sixth-year Caldwell head soccer coach Troy Nething. “Yes, it was a loss, but a 1-0 loss.

“Germany’s a great team, and their passing game is phenomenal, and they interfered with the USA’s.”

Shane Hartshorn, Parkersburg Catholic’s third-year head soccer coach and a Marietta resident, agreed and added, “Germany took their time, and had the United States on its heels for much of the game. They’re a very good passing team.

“What it really came down to was Germany’s midfield outplayed the USA’s. (Midfielder) Michael Bradley looked tired.”

In a downpour on a soggy pitch, the USA and Germany were scoreless at the intermission. But early in the second half, Thomas Mueller gave the Germans a 1-0 advantage when he drilled a hard rebound shot by American keeper Tim Howard, who had just made a nice save on another shot on goal.

“Tim Howard had another phenomenal game, with a couple of great saves,” Hartshorn said.

“And Jermaine Jones was all over the field. (Omar) Gonzalez also had a nice game on defense. Defensively, the U.S. looked good.”

Germany, a World Cup champion in 1954, 1974, and 1990, outshot USA 15-4, and possessed the ball the majority of the match.

The American kickers never seriously threatened to score until late in the game when Clint Dempsey almost headed one in.

Up next is Belgium.

“You know, I think we can beat Belgium,” Hartshorn said. “Before the World Cup began, nobody gave the U.S. a chance to get out of the ‘Group of Death’ but they did it. It was a tougher group, I think, than Belgium played in.”

Nething agreed and added, “Belgium must be tough, because they played South Korea with 10 men and still won. I think the U.S. is going to fare well against them.”