Wednesday morning was our first chance to watch future Sounders FC forward Blaise Nkufo in the World Cup. What do you know? He helps set up the game-winning goal in a shocking 1-0 win by the Swiss over powerhouse Spain.
Here are some of my thoughts of Nkufo’s performance, albeit in the limited about of times his team had possession. Be sure to offer yours in the comments section.
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— He has a remarkable ability to hold up the ball after controlling a clearance from the backline. Several times he won the ball — against studs Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, no less — and distributed it well to teammates to keep it.
— Incredibly fit. In the 90th minute of the game he was still chasing down defenders and putting pressure on the ball. Not many forwards can play a whole game like that.
— He wasn’t afraid to get hard into tackles. I like forwards that aren’t afraid to commit 3-4 fouls a game. That attitude, I feel, goes hand in hand with that relentless, score-at-any-cost mentality.
— The man is flawed, however. His touch wasn’t always perfect. He got beat in the air a couple times. But if he plays solidly against Spain (perhaps the best collection of talent in the world), how will he look against Chile/Honduras? In MLS?
— Opposing defenders will not be looking forward to his arrival to be sure. But leading his team into the second round can only delay his arrival and impact in rave green…
Photo credit: Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP