Denmark return, Revolution start strong
Wednesday, August 27 2008 @ 10:15 pm ACST
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
Denmark’s return to the International Cup is welcomed by everybody, they were missed in 2005 and most observers saw this as a danger game for the highly fancied US team. They were the real unknown, would they have improved markedly in their absence? After the initial flurry reminiscent of grand final openings, the US dominated the early part of the quarter. Paul Duncan missed from a set shot. Shortly afterwards George Lakomy started what would be a great day for the Boston forward by goaling after nudging his opponent under the ball, the call could have gone against him but the umpire allowed the mark, and Lakomy played on to goal from close range. Denmark then showed some spark and the ball spent the next five minutes around their half forward line without further reward. The US rebounded and Duncan kicked another point. Dan Sarbarker for the Revolution then marked the kick in and after a quick pass to Justin Valley the US were two goals up.
Denmark got their running game going with chains of handballs but their delivery to the forward line was not well directed and made easy pickings for the US backmen, particularly Donnie Lucero and Luke Nemeth. Late in the quarter Denmark scored their first International Cup point since 2002 when a long wayward kick dribbled across the line. The US took a 13 point break into quarter time and knew they had a game on their hands.
The Revolution consolidated their lead early in the second quarter with a quick goal from Dustin Jones. Again the pressure on Denmark’s backs led to a second goal when Sarbarker’s long bomb found Lakomy 15m from the goal line, and he made no mistake with the kick. Denmark looked close to kicking a goal when Nicholai Secher hit the post from 25m out from a free kick. The US moved the ball quickly to the other end of the ground and Lakomy once again goaled after roving the ball off hands behind the pack. And to set them up heading into half time Jay Levesque kicked truly after finding space to lead to a cross from the forward flank. Denmark did manage to get the ball to their forward line again but as was so often the case the kick was bombed in and picked off by the US backline. An impressive quarter by the US to take the lead out to 31 points at the long break.
With the confidence of a solid lead and the cobwebs blown out the US again pressured the Danes early in the third quarter. Justin Valley and George Lakomy were moving well and pouncing on everything. A couple of missed shots and a rushed behind was probably not a bad outcome for the Vikings but soon after Justin Valley marked in between three Danish players and played on to goal from close range. Further goals piled on from Patrick Miller and Lakomy again at the fall of the ball behind the pack. The Vikings defence would have been happy to hear the three quarter time siren, the Revolution happy with their growing lead now fifty one points.
Just when it looked like the US could have a massive last quarter against a tiring Danish team, things looked to have changed going into the last quarter. The first five minutes was a scrappy affair with the renewed vigour in attacking the ball evident. Nevertheless it was Lakomy again picking up the loose ball off the back of the pack to goal for the US. Another goal to the US followed again crumbing in the square, this time to Dustin Jones after the ball was worked up with a number of possessions from the back flank. The Vikings responded by pushing again and now looked a little dangerous, they had another opportunity up forward only to see a rushed behind from the disciplined US defence. Danish Captain Pall Finnsson was rewarded for his tireless work with a free kick and the chance to put the first goal on the board for his team but the ball went wide. And after a little more persistence the Danish goal did finally come to Nicholai Secher and it was followed with the biggest cheer for the match. The final roll of the dice came when Danny Hansen (product of the Yankeroos program and Minnesota Freeze) marked a long bomb and finished with a major from 15m out. The US took the points with a final margin of 62 points.
The US looked very solid, particularly their ever reliable back six and at times looked very threatening up forward. They regularly rotated the bench and worked well at the stoppages. They will be hard to beat and still look likely to top their pool. Denmark put together some nice passages of play and at times were very hard at the ball. Their linkage of handball and general awareness look good, but their forward structure today was not able to compete against the strong US defence – and this was not aided by some poor delivery, but also being beaten at ground level when the ball did spill. The US should easily account for China on Friday and Denmark will have their hands full against the South Africans on Saturday in Geelong.
|2.2 (14)||1/4||0.1 (1)|
|5.3 (33)||1/2||0.2 (2)|
|8.5 (53)||3/4||0.2 (2)|
|11.6 (72)||Full||1.4 (10)|
USA Lakomy 5, Jones 3, Valley 1, Miller 1, Hansen 1
DENMARK: N Secher 1
USA R Marx, D Sarbarker, RJ Wheelock, D Sergot, J Valley
DENMARK Finnsson, Gjoerup, C Campion, Djernes, Rose