USMNT vs. Italy

USA Water Polo's Mens National Teams
Horse585
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USMNT vs. Italy

Postby Horse585 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:51 am

Moving the discussion of the men’s national team from College>Men’s Season to the appropriate category...

To pick up where I left off...I’m not rescinding my opinion about Smith; he shouldn’t continue with the USMNT given his age and relative minimal contributions. However, he played an important role in game 2 to help get the W. His contribution today won’t show up in the box score, but he was the ultimate enforcer to curtail the chippy play from the Italians in the first quarter. Gonzalo’s cheap shot to Smith was a bad idea! Smith repaid the favor in the following transition, with a sly dig to the face of #3 for the eye-ties who had to leave the game with a bloody lip. Smith played it very cool with a veteran savvy... “who me?” Things definitely settled down after that, which I think, psychologically played to the advantage of the young yanks, who played with more confidence and with wind in their sails. Does this type of contribution merit Smith one of the final 11 spots for olympics? No, I don’t believe so. Keep in mind, the referees for this series are Americans and it’s well known that: 1. The visiting team always gets hosed by the refs during international friendlies. And, 2. The US will never receive favorable officiating anywhere else in the world, especially in games that count! That is all to say that Smith’s enforcement today, if done anywhere else in the world, would probably backfire. Smith was aided by Cupido’s boneheaded reaction, when he beaned his former Italian teammate with the ball (though it was kinda funny). However, the refs could not ignore what they saw and Cupido, not Smith, became the whipping boy with a game exclusion.

Other observations...this is not the best side Italy has to offer. Im not sure if some of their talented veterans are retiring from international play, but where are Molina and Figlioli? Where is Bodegas? He is the strongest center in the world...for friendlies, teams train their tails off before the matches. Nobody sees how many meters the Italians swam earlier today, or how much leg work and weights were done. To that end, it would be best to assume the Italians began the match physically exhausted. Too often, victories like today are misleading for USMNT fans as it doesn’t reflect the team’s true potential to win in games that actually matter against better teams that are actually fresh and rested...having said that, I’m genuinely impressed by the talent of some of the US youngsters, who are amateurs playing against pros! Namely, Daube (the real deal!) and Vavic (a textbook utility player)....none of the US lefties seem to be worth their salt, especially when their counterpart in this series (Gonzalo) picks apart the US defense with ease. It begs the question, why isnt N. Vavic on the panel? He’s playing A1 in Italy and has an extraordinary wp IQ...none of the US goalies blow me away, either. Have we thought about giving citizenship to a 2nd stringer from one of the Balkan nations, akin to Brazil naturalizing Pavic for the Rio games? If we’re serious about winning, then why not consider a “passport Olympian”? It is a legit strategy used by our competitors, so what’s the harm in trying? In fact, Udovicic’s greatest value to the team could be by brokering this with his connections in the former Yugoslav republics, just like Rudic did as Brazil’s skipper (bringing in a goalie AND a center!)

DinsdalePiranha
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby DinsdalePiranha » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:52 am

Glad to see Kyle Trush get a chance, score a couple, blue collar guy who’s not afraid to mix it up as an enforcer
he nailed your head to the floor? Wol, e ad to, I ad transgressed the unwritten law...

Apghrenegade
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby Apghrenegade » Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:24 pm

Interesting comments so far. My responses to Horse585 are as follows:

Table stakes to compete for the top 4 positions in the world is strong center forward and center guard play. Against certain teams this may also mean physical enforcement. On Center D the combination of Smith and Roelse is one of the best ever for the USA. On offense Hallock is rapidly improving, and by 2020 could be one of the top 10 offensive center forwards in the world. Obert as the 2nd center...he is also improving but would appear to be for now the weakest link of the 4. Hopefully the missing Roelse is nothing serious, he is big enough and skilled enough for the role.

The rule and rule interpretation changes are going to add more rewards for movement and more penalties for holding. But that still evolves to power play performance, on offense and defense. Cupido, Daube, Bowen have the potential to become shooters on the level of Vargas, Cuk, Filipovic, and Sukno. That lob by Daube at the beginning of the 4th quarter...set up by two 6 meter power shots before...is an illustration of how far along he is...at age 19? Maybe 20? It's very good news for USA men. However...after Daube, Cupido, Bowen...I still see the USA at an outside shooting disadvantage compared to Serbia and Croatia.

USA does not have a dominant superstar left hander like Filipovic, Mandic, Jokovic, or Garcia Gadea. We are going to wind up with one or two from the next level who will hopefully get better in 18 months. Tough coaching decision too...it can be a team of all right handers as well.

Reaching out to Europe for a goalie does not make sense to me when we have not one by two or even three goalies with the pure physical skills of a Tempesti. Better for Barron to get a huge increase in the amount of shots he is taking from Adriatic class shooters. Hopefully that is what is happening, or about to happen. I can not see any talent reasons why Barron would not be playing in Europe. There maybe other reasons of course.

At the moment I am much more optimistic about this teams potential in Tokyo...than I ever was for the Rio team in 2016. I think 5th or 6th is very possible. Top 4 is a long shot. But Tokyo is shaping up to be an Olympic cycle where the men start to rock and roll again near the top level.

Irvbeck
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby Irvbeck » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:51 pm

Daube is actually still 18, for another week. Baron & Roelse are gone-gone, done.

wpolo93
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby wpolo93 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:02 pm

Horse585,

For Smith to retire now you better find US defenders who are better than Jesse Smith. On the basis of the first two games I do not see any. Smith played well. If somebody on the US team has played this position better please let us know :)

Irvbeck
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby Irvbeck » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:53 pm

Just an observation about the "youngest guys".

Game 1:
6 of the 11 goals were scored by guys 19 or younger; all of which happen to be from USC.
(H. Daube 4, M. Vavic 1, J. Ehrhardt 1)

Game 2:
5 of the 12.
(H. Daube 3, M. Vavic 2)

Molthen hasn't scored, but has several assists and his entry passes are spot-on leading to exclusions. Like Daube, he's actually still 18 for a handful of weeks. Rhodes is only 19 and Hallock & Woodhead are only 20/21 aren't they?

Cavano from UCLA isn't on the roster, but has been at the games. Apparently he's hurt again. He's only 19 too.

Seems like we should have one helluva JNT.

Poloforever
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby Poloforever » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:46 pm

[quote="Horse585"]Moving the discussion of the men’s national team from College>Men’s Season to the appropriate category..

Other observations...this is not the best side Italy has to offer. Im not sure if some of their talented veterans are retiring from international play, but where are Molina and Figlioli? Where is Bodegas? He is the strongest center in the world...for friendlies, teams train their tails off before the matches. Nobody sees how many meters the Italians swam earlier today, or how much leg work and weights were done. To that end, it would be best to assume the Italians began the match physically exhausted. Too often, victories like today are misleading for USMNT fans as it doesn’t reflect the team’s true potential to win in games that actually matter against better teams that are actually fresh and rested.

To follow up on the analysis by Horse585, It is impossible to really take any conclusions from friendly games like Italy-USA. Both teams are training hard and missing players. These games are usually a test to determine who among the younger players will have a chance to make the teams for Japan in 2020. The USA is playing everybody and Italy is missing their top 5 players, all Olympians. Starting goalie Marco Del Lungo , Center Mike Bodegas , and field players Guillermo Molina, Vincenzo Renzuto and Pietro Figlioli ,

I also am impressed by Daube. He is the best pure shooter that we have had in this country in many years. International water polo is about shooting. He is going to be a tremendous addition to the USA team. With only 1 1/2 years left before the Olympics, it is a little late to be putting together a team The US has some very good young talent. All they need is some time to get experience playing together, and get the young players some international experience.

Apghrenegade
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby Apghrenegade » Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:04 pm

On a note of water polo reality/humor...there was a lot of blood spilled last night for a 'friendly match'. Tomorrow is no doubt going to be equally...or even more...physical.

IpayBar
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby IpayBar » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:38 pm

They took Hooper totally out. They drove him into set and got him rolled out. Italy defences were brutally good today.

7up6was
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Re: USMNT vs. Italy

Postby 7up6was » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:10 am

And that is the weakness of being little.

USA missed the size, strength and grit of Smith and Hallock today.

I am perplexed about all of the hype people give Vavic. I don’t see it. He can’t pass and got countered multiple times during the three games. Likewise, I don’t think Hanus has an assist.

For the US to be successful they have to start passing better.

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