USA Draws Canada; TSG Draws Observations

Not Scotland….

Well, you can’t say you didn’t see this one coming.

If you’re Jurgen Klinsmann that is.

The US finished up their pre-World Cup qualifying friendly series with a sluggish display north of the border in Toronto, drawing the Canadians on their home turf in a battle of scoring futility. The final a titillating 0-0.

What was unsurprising about this one is that Canada’s senior side deployed in the precise defense that it’s U-23 side used to thwart the US U-23’s march through qualifying to the Olympics this year.

Canada defended just below the halfline and sent pairs and triplets of defenders at the US player who crossed the halfline in possession. Somewhere, Caleb Porter was cringing.

The Canadian defense stymied the attack before it started. A quick check of the match data doesn’t show altogether terrible collective passing stats for Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones–the US’s two primary ball handlers in the middle of the pitch. However, a deeper look reveals a solid neutral and negative passing percentages for the Jones-Bradley combo, but a sub-50% completion record on advancing balls.

This isolated observation was indicative of a night of futility for the States.

Whether it was heavy legs from their third match in eight days or perhaps taking the opponent too lightly after beating them less than a year ago in Gold Cup group play, it was the Canadians who bent the visiting US to their will. Not the opposite.

On to our snap judgements….

• Tactics gone wrong

Oh where to begin.

It’s often difficult–especially in friendlies–to gauge the effectiveness of tactics. Maybe the coach was forcing a game plan? Maybe the team was instructed to not blast the ball of field? Questions of how the friendly was meant to be used always serve as colossal asterisk on the play and the result.

That said, it very quite easy to question some of the coaching decisions made by Jurgen Klinsmann and it can be somewhat justified given that the US manager is considering this stretch of games as a proverbial “five-game tournament.”

First, let’s summarize–including the above–what Canada’s game plan was.

» Clog the midfield at the half-line and force the US to go over the top of play quickly on the floor.

» Keep the back four extremely narrow, lay off wide pursuit and dare the United States wingers to round the corners on you.

» Get out on the counter when you can, but make sure to get behind the ball when the opportunity turns into a turnover.

On the opposite side, the States deployed in a 4-3-3 (4-2-3-1 if you prefer) using Clint Dempsey in more of a free role ahead of Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley. Ahead of a traditional back four, Landon Donovan and Jose Torres played on the touchline in the wide forward roles with Herculez Gomez spearheading the attack.

Here were some of the issues:

US wide forward deployment

Both Jose Torres and Landon Donovan could be found hugging the touchline like it had just beaten Algeria at the death.

Problem one? Neither player is adroit at taking on fullbacks in possession; precisely Canada’s defensive allowance. Torres prefers to distribute, while Donovan is better moving against the grain or in space on the counter.

Neither player focused on beating his man; both resorted to lobbing crosses into the box. Problem #2. Dempsey had to make his way in there. Dempsey is a drop above 6′. Gomez was already there, but is not typically strong in the air. Dempsey and Gomez were of course going up against 6’2” Houston Dynamo defender Andre Hainault and 6’3” Kevin McKenna–both strong in the air for their club teams.

Ironically where Donovan and Torres could have succeeded–and aided in the problems breaking down the central midfield….AND enable fullbacks Edgar Castillo and Steve Cherundolo to overlap–was in pinching into the middle. Donovan rarely ventured inward and had–by any standards–a shocker on the outside (56% passing, 17 times tackled in possession with the ball lost). Torres slid in a little more frequently. In fact, some of the best chances for the US came when he made himself available. Why he wasn’t asked to play more central is an excellent question for the interview pool. (More on Torres later.)

Going rote

And speaking to crossing the ball here….

NBC Sports sideline man Kyle Martino asked Jurgen Klinsmann what tweaks were made at halftime to open up the States attack. His response–paraphrased–“the team didn’t get their fullbacks up enough (fair) and the team would be looking to push the flanks and send it crosses.”

While, yes, this is the hallmark of German success, the focus on the cross continued to be a faulty pursuit. In-swingers and out-swingers were met successfully nearly every time by the Canadian defense and without player substitution there was little reason to expect the result of balls in the box would change.

So what did Klinsmann do as the second half progressed and the data showed outside service was futile? He dropped Donovan (fair, given his performance) and inserted Oguchi Onyewu, turning the back four into three (with Michael Bradley dropping deep) and pushed his flank defenders up the pitch. The goal? More overlapping and lobs into the box.

US fans must have really cringed as time expired and Michael Parkhurst–entering for the sacrificed Steve Cherundolo–was found on an island asked to break down a defender. Parkhurst shot a duck of a cross into the box that didn’t make it even close to the near post.

The single US service chance came on a set piece late in the match off the dome of Clarence Goodson; Goodson would be hard tasked to get in the box if it wasn’t a stopped ball situation.

No central help

With Torres and Donovan failing to pinch in, Klinsmann left Herculez Gomez as the lone striker and kept the Santos player high. It was Dempsey or bust ahead of Jones and Bradley to make things happen.

Klinsmann did push Jones up the pitch as the second half wore on, but, by that time, the movement ahead was even more stagnant and the US had little time to get into a rhythm with Jones in an advanced role.

Maestro….

• Dwayne De Rosario is terrific on the ball.

Not a US observation, but one has to wonder what De Rosario could have accomplished on a better national team or in European soccer or even if he had matured professionally earlier in his career. De Rosario was a constant threat to the US displaying silky ball movement usually befitting a player much smaller in frame.

More impressive is that De Rosario always seems to forecast the play correctly. See player cutting to the near post and De Rosario will draw out his defender and open up the lane and feather in a lead pass. Drop off and De Rosario drives authoritatively to the hole.

Simply, a joy to watch.

• The US defense keeps chugging.

Klinsmann continues to pull some clever misdirection on the “new direction of the USMNT.” Heading back as far his inaugural press conference, Klinsmann led the American populace to believe that he wanted a more possession-oriented, more attacking oriented team.

However, nearly every decision Klinsmann has made has kept inline with the onus on defense first–whether it be starting three central midfielders, reducing the reliance on the counterattack or continuing to move Jose Torres up the pitch to hide his defensive inefficiencies.

The US defense in this one continued its strong play save for some late game, heavy leg situations. They generally moved as one and the collecting spacing of the players, vertically, is vastly improved from a few years ago.

• Miscellaneous

» Addressing some misconceptions…. Saw some banter that alluded to “Michael Bradley playing further up the field.” One misguided comment concluded that Michael Bradley could play a #10 role.

The reality is Bradley has always been best when he’s face-up to the basket, not turning in possession or carrying in traffic. Bradley prefers the one or two-touch sequence and excels as such unless he is sizing up the situation from a little bit less congested (deeper) role.

Bradley is effective going forward because he outworks his mark into the box. Bradley’s best attacking act is when he is trailing quickly behind.

It seems Bradley has continually almost suffered from his big goal season (20 in all competitions for Eredivisie side SC Heerenveen in the 2007-08 season). Bradley’s best, and self-admitted as well, is a box-to-box midfielder or defensive foil, not advanced.

Torres: A hard time controlling the tempo or the ball all night.

» This was not a good night of observing Jose Torres. First, it is somewhat perplexing that Klinsmann would deploy Torres on the touchline and not ask him to in-cut to receive and dish the ball.

That said, Torres looked extremely tentative in the attack, losing possession 13 times. Often cited as the man to “unlock” a defense, Torres had 33 completed passes. Only 2 of these were forward, another 12 going forward didn’t find their appropriate destination.

Worse, Torres looked absolutely befuddled on defense. When he wasn’t getting beat up physically in one-vs-one duels, he was chasing balls played in triangles like a Keystone Cop. Torres needs a good game here soon. This was Canada as well; not Brazil.

» Solid marks for Clarence Goodson and Edgar Castillo in the back. The former became the States’s third different US starting right centerback this series and he held up well. Goodson is always solid in the air and has vastly improved in one-on-one situation in and around the box. Goodson continues to suffer on holding the line against better opponents and will need to prove his mettle there.

As for Castillo, the US got the best of all worlds when it was learned Fab Johnson couldn’t go with a bum hamstring. What more do you want from a back-up left back than a player who is ready on a moment’s notice and displays some attacking verve. It wasn’t all pristine for the Primera man as Castillo’s disregard for elementary fundamentals should have cost the US a goal.

The linesman bailed him out though.

The US face Antigua and Barbuda Friday in Tampa as World Cup qualifying gets underway. 737 days until fandemonium.

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90 responses to this post.

  1. Part of me wonders if this game was somewhat of an experiment for Klinsmann. We were all excited about the team we saw play Scotland, at least somewhat optimistic v Brazil, and then Canada causes us problems?

    We had Torres and Donovan in roles that really doesn’t fit him and the game, practically speaking, was pretty meaningless. We also didn’t seem to show any of the same sort of fire we had in the other two matches.

    The obvious fatigue issues combined with the relative unimportance of the match has me at least hoping that this wasn’t really the US squad operating on all cylinders. I guess next week we’ll find out.

    Reply

  2. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/03 at 11:05 PM

    Note. No idea why Klinsmann didn’t:

    a) Dress Beckerman. This was precisely the game for Beckerman behind Jones and Bradley

    or

    b) Move Torres centrally and float Jones outside. Torres was exactly the US needed in the center of the pitch.

    Reply

    • Totally agree with this. I thought Beckerman was his boy, Blue!! Torres started all three friendlies, and if it were possible to go back in time after seeing his performance after those games, I’d hope that JK would give Beckerman a shot at that role. IMO, that role needs to be on the pitch centrally. Which lends another thought. I think we’re better as a 4-5-1 or a 4-1-4-1. Edu or Jones as the defensive of the three centers, Landon and Demps on the wings, both cutting in.

      Reply

  3. Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/03 at 11:07 PM

    Also, what has happened to players switching positioning on the field in real-time. Brek Shea used to flip flop with Landon against Costa Rica or against Ecuador.

    Shouldn’t Torres and Donovan have at least attempted it once or twice.

    Reply

    • I miss Brek. Sigh. We need a winger on the wing, not a center mid. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but we haven’t seen two wingers out on the field at the same time since Danny Williams’ first game. Klinsmann really likes to putting center mids out on the flanks.

      Reply

      • Posted by mathmatics on 2012/06/04 at 6:48 AM

        Center mids on the wings are fine so long as they pinch in and the fullbacks can get around them routinely. They’re almost useless if they’re used as touchline hugging wide men. See: this game, Danny Williams in every game he’s played in.

        Castillo was serviceable as a backup, but he didn’t provide nearly the wide attacking presence that Johnson gave us the last two games.

        Reply

  4. Posted by Mark T on 2012/06/03 at 11:27 PM

    The term “uninspired effort” is overused, but the perfect label for this game.

    Given the success of the forechecking strategy by Brazil and Canada, the US may see this a lot going forward which means composure on the ball needs improvement.

    Thankfully, there is another match in short order so this clunker can stored in the basement and forgotten about.

    On a different note, I miss the old Gooch and it’s unfortunate we’ll never see him again.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Kay20 on 2012/06/03 at 11:45 PM

    No comments on Clint dropping way too deep to get the ball? He also caused problems by roaming everywhere positionally. He made the same runs at Bradley, sat too close to JFT, at one point he was nearly playing dmid!!!! I know you get frustated and come back for the ball, but he essentially removed himself from the attack and caused problems for midfield spacing.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Union on 2012/06/04 at 12:11 AM

    I’ve thought about this game for awhile. Tough to make an honest judgment bc so much of what will be articulated is reactionary. After beating the Scots 5-1, everyone (including a few European pundits) was incredibly positive. Brazil sobered us, but only slightly because the US still challenged the Brazilians offensively in a way that we haven’t seen in awhile. The game against Canada was by far the worst, but I think the biggest issue (at least for me) is that the US seems incapable (now more so than ever) of breaking down CONCACAF teams when they use the type of tactics we saw today. The US honestly has no answer for a team that is content to sit back with 5 midfielders and counter. This is a bit terrifying considering what is ahead in qualifying. Lastly, when you look at the US team (at least today) the one thing that sticks out to me is age. Our team is very old. In fact, when you look at the starting lineup today guess what? The majority of the players were over 30, or close to 30 (Dempsey). Those under 30? Bradley, Castillo and Torres. Does that not terrify anyone else? I mean seriously. No one talks about this but it is, IMO, huge. Because the US is not technically strong enough to make up for the lack of athleticism that comes with an older team.

    Solutions?

    As stated above, its time to get younger. Adu, Gatt, Lichaj, Shea and maybe even Gyau should be on future squads. They likely won’t break the starting XI, but their size/speed will be important as subs. I’m flabbergasted that someone like Torres is on the squad, yet Adu is left off. Tell me what Torres does better than Adu? Seriously. I’d love to hear it. Gatt, Shea and Gyau might not be “ready” for senior team minutes in the traditional sense, but theoretically they can beat people 1 v 1, and if not, they can at least outrun defenders. No one on the squad tonight has any skills off the dribble, and they definitely couldn’t outrun defenders, so we might as well take a chance on a few of the younger kids. By the way, am I the only one who thinks that Fabian is the only player on the US that can take someone on 1 v 1 and win?

    Maybe some of these solutions are a bit out there, but this game was sobering to say the least. The current squad is not as good as the 5-1 vs Scotland indicated.

    Reply

    • Posted by Matt C in Tampa on 2012/06/04 at 6:35 AM

      Agree much of what you say. Mostly the need to bring in some speed and guts on the wings…ie..Gatt…someone… Someone who has the guts and ability to take on and beat a defender. Landy is NOT that man.

      Has Johnson done such a good job at LB in such a short time that we already really miss him if he does not play.

      Reply

    • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 8:47 AM

      Philly fan here. If we’re talking about Gold Cup Adu (in fits), then you might be right. But his overall performance on the club level in no way justifies his inclusion on the senior squad — and certainly not more than Gatt and Shea, much less Torres. Can’t say for Gyau.

      Reply

  7. I have been hearing lots of positive notes on Clarence Goodman, especially since he has improved a lot defensively and has been solid in this CONCACAF match. It’s too bad Fabian Johnson didn’t get to play. He will have provided the extra width on the flanks and provided attacking support for USMNT.

    Reply

  8. The biggest disappointment for me was the lack of fluidity from the offensive “four”.

    And the fact that Howard was MOM. This should not be the case against *Canada*.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/04 at 5:06 AM

      You may need to make Simeon Jackson MOTM for the States. Goodson or Jones probably best outfield players.

      On the offensive four, I agree however I don’t think they were put in a position to succeed either.

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      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/06/04 at 6:30 AM

        I said during the game that the US lacked the final ball, or that killer pass. I thought that Klinsmann should have pushed Bradley further forward earlier. After watching the 2nd hallf again, perhaps some of it was due to lack of movement.

        One other thought – was it me, or did the US not create chances in open play?

        Reply

        • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/04 at 7:04 AM

          Sparingly few, to be sure.

          Reply

        • I agree that they weren’t really put in a position to succeed, and it appears this was an experiment by Klinsi, but at what point do you as a leader and top-level athlete decide to take matters into your own hands and play the way that you know how? Especially in a game like soccer where the week’s training sessions are building towards the game plan but intended to be interpretted by the players on game day to the best of their ability and Soccer IQ.

          It was frustrating to watch Clint dropping so deep to find the ball and the other front three continuing to do the same thing that wasn’t working for the first 60 minutes.

          With Canada sitting back and waiting for the US attack to come at them it would seem logical that the Barca method of passing the ball backwards to tease out the bunkered defenders thus creating space for the wide midfielders to run into. However, that game plan only works when the off-the-ball movement of the forwards and wing-mids are not stationary, which we were last night (I obviously understand that we aren’t Barcelona). Given Clint’s propensity for finding the correct pockets of space in the final third, it seems like swapping Torres and Dempsey on the field and giving Bradley and Jones license to push forward and wide at their discretion would’ve been the correct mid-game tactical switch.

          Hopefully we can chalk up the display last night to tired legs from 3 games in 8 days.

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  9. Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/06/04 at 5:25 AM

    Matt,
    With WQC around the corner, who do you put in the #10 role as JK defines it? Saying we play without a 10 isnt an acceptable answer as someone needs to play in that spot.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/04 at 5:30 AM

      Well it all does truly depend. I think the challenge is the #10 isn’t Dempsey’s role, but Klinsmann wants to get him the ball as much as possible. So Dempsey wanders south in search of it and then isn’t truly great in carriage with it.

      If you watch Dempsey at Fulham (and mind you he’s typically playing with a little more space), he checks back and distributes.

      Mindful of that why, I would probably resort to a 4-4-1-1 using Dempsey as withdrawn forward and pushing Jones up (sadly) Dempsey will at least have options going forward with Altidore or distributing to Jones and/or Bradley.

      The US really doesn’t have a true #10. It’s not Torres, not Donovan and I don’t see one in the player pool. So they need to mindful when game planning.

      Your thoughts?

      Reply

      • Posted by Jake on 2012/06/04 at 5:41 AM

        I think Dempsey might be better served for the USA playing as the top of the midfield triangle with Jones/Bradley as the other two. Donovan and ?? as outside midfielders/wingers.

        Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/06/04 at 5:47 AM

        Dempsey checks back for Fulham but he never checks back as far as he was last night. He typically is in the cusp of the final third when he checks back. You are spot on that he can’t carry the ball half the field.

        Given that we are playing weaker CONCACAF teams I would like to see a formation similar to what we saw against Scotland…

        Dempsey – Altidore/Gomez – Donovan
        ———-Jones – Bradley—
        ————–Edu

        I guess that means I have Jones and Bradley switching off in the 10 role depending on what space is there. I agree that Bradley isn’t a 10 but Jones isn’t a 10 either. We really don’t have one. Hopefully that provides Deuce and Lando space to operate.

        My fear with a 4-4-1-1 is that Dempsey doesn’t press well (IMO this rules out a 4-2-3-1 with Deuce in the middle of the 3) and Torres can’t really play outside. We risk playing a very narrow 4-2-2-1-1 with both Torres and Donovan cutting in

        Reply

      • Isn’t Beckerman our 10? I really haven’t been a huge fan of his (no logical reasoning behind this, just haven’t), but if we’re going to employ a system with a creative central midfielder, it’s not Torres, IMO. He’s soft on the ball, and not quick enough (decision making, not foot speed). I would have liked to have seen Michael and JJ in the middle with Beckerman going forward. Put Clint on as a wing midfielder, but let him roam. Landon on the other wing, with any one of Jozy, Herc, or Boyd leading the line.

        Reply

      • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 8:52 AM

        Pardon, but Kljestan could serve the #10 role admirably, if we decided to go that route. Dempsey isn’t a classic playmaker, but he’s probably closer than anyone who was deployed against Canadia last nacht.

        Reply

        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/06/04 at 9:21 AM

          It would be interesting to see Jones in the Edu role from Scotland, and Kljestan in the Jones role. Alas, not an option for the next two games.

          Reply

  10. Posted by Jake on 2012/06/04 at 5:35 AM

    Honest question – Is it just coincidence that our most fluid display offensively was with Boyd up top? Gomez is a solid goal poacher (as evidenced by being in the righ place against Brazil) but doesn’t really threaten anyone. Boyd has that aggressive quality, looking to create chances out of very little (albeit he didn’t convert them…) and Gomez doesn’t seem to force any issues. Someone, no matter what formation or tactics you are playing has to threaten the defense, and last night the only person you have to worry about if you’re Canada was Dempsey and he was playing far enough away from goal that there were multiple levels of defenders primed to stop him before he could get a chance. Nobody else scares you as a defender. Even Donovan, when playing his best isn’t the guy who will fashion something out of nothing. His goals come from the counter, from being in the right place at the right time, or because someone else made a great pass. (and we don’t have the guy to make a great pass more than once in a while.)

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/04 at 7:55 AM

      The inclusion of both Johnson and Edu against Scotland I think had more to do with the fluidity. Johnson was very good and Edu allows MB90 to go further forward to link up the play.

      I thought Gomez did a lot of the stuff you mentioned against Brazil but it just didn’t happen for any of the offensive players last night. It was very disjointed and it started a lot further back than Herc.

      Reply

  11. Posted by JW on 2012/06/04 at 6:31 AM

    Oi. That was awful. What is Jose doing out there – he’s a forward, supposedly- did he register even one shot on goal?

    Also, the best-looking chance of the night was Dempsey, coming in from the center right, playing a 1-2 with a central Donovan; more of this, please. Next, keep with a three midfield system – it gives the US more variability in attack – and you can rotate with Edu-Torres-Beckerman… Zusi-Kljestan-(Holden)-Feilhaber-Williams as the situation demands it.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2012/06/04 at 7:07 AM

      He was only in for fifteen minutes, stationed on the left wing, and was ignored when open. Going to give him a pass there.

      Putting Jozy on the wing was a weird one from Klinsmann. He managed to invert two players’ more natural position (Gomez cut in from the wing with Santos Laguna; Jozy is, uh, a forward.)

      Reply

      • Posted by JW on 2012/06/04 at 8:21 AM

        I would give him a pass if this were a few decades earlier. Players stationed out wide tend to attack and/or drift centrally; this gives Klinsmann’s ideal of a modern, overlapping fullback a chance to get forward, while also pulling central defenders out of position occasionally. The Canadians did this to better effect, albeit on the counter. JFT’s performance could be Klinsmann’s directive, though, and I would be really interested to look at a heat map of Donovan/Torres vs. Scotland as opposed to Canada. My impression here could be wrong, though, in the face of evidence :3

        Reply

  12. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/06/04 at 6:57 AM

    This match is disturbing due to a number of strange tactics and performances.
    We’ve learned that the Bradley/Jones box to box role is huge in driving the front four forward and Bradley locked in that 6 role is just not good for the team on many levels.

    Torres out wide is just a waste of time. And Klinsmann continues to put guys locked out on the sideline (ie D Williams, Donovan!, Klestjan…) who don’t have the speed or verve to generate the attack. I still think Torres centrally can be a good fit but out wide he’s tits on bull.

    I thought Goodson brought composure and stability to the back four compared to Gooch and feel he’s farther along than Cameron at this stage as a CB. I have NO idea why you would pair Gooch with him back there. File it under strange….

    Good point on Boyd vs Gomez and others is that defenders can play square to the attacker which allows for them to recognize and close down passing lanes and essentially defend 1 v 1 without shading over to help out. Small point but important in a packed in box that they’ll be facing throughout qualifying. Shea, in spite of his shortcomings, is also one of the few that willi go hard at a defender. I’d still like to see him play with Johnson overlapping with space.

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  13. Posted by dth on 2012/06/04 at 7:09 AM

    Let’s also not lose the big picture here. Klinsmann admitted there were heavy legs, which is a problem with two more games in quick-ish turnaround. The problem is that there’s an overreliance on guys like Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, etc. There needed to be a more equitable division of minutes.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/04 at 7:56 AM

      That was a problem that Klinsmann caused though. I keep hearing that he’s been putting the team through two a day workouts. If that’s true then he was just asking for that kind of performance at some point.

      Reply

    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/06/04 at 9:19 AM

      I am not sure what the big picture is at this point. Do we give the players multiple days off before the WCQ games so they can regain their fitness? Do we have any idea what formation we will/should use? Do we have any idea who the starting 11 is?

      The big picture looks sort of like trying to remember a night of drinking over breakfast. Bits and pieces here and there.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/04 at 10:02 AM

        A day of regen followed by three light-ish days of training, I would imagine.

        Attacking 4-3-3.

        Assuming Johnson is healthy, the only big question about the starting 11 is Bocanegra’s defense partner, I think.

        Reply

        • Posted by Berniebernier on 2012/06/04 at 10:34 AM

          So no 4-3-2-1, no 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2? What about a 4-2-3-1? Torres start? Edu start? Altidore start? I assume you are picturing Dempsey and Donovan on the wings? Worth noting that Dempsey hasn’t played on the wing yet. Bradley or Edu in the #6? Beckerman anywhere near the starting line-up?

          I wouldn’t bet money on my best guess of the starting line-up or formation for Antigua.

          Reply

          • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/04 at 11:29 AM

            See the comments on a previous thread about not obsessing over the x-y-z formation numbers. I would guess that Edu and Altidore both start, and Beckerman and Torres do not.

            Is it typical to be able to exactly guess the starting 11 and formation for a national team? Should we be concerned because we can’t ahead of a qualifier against freaking Antigua and Barbuda?

            Reply

  14. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/06/04 at 7:17 AM

    Rewatched early this morning with coffee and it was really glaring how the MF setup caused much of the malaise in the attack. Jones had no Bradley out ahead to link to, Torres is stuck out wide (and I thought he had a decent first half considering his miscast role out wide) and just started lumping switched balls to Castillo. Dempseys impatience was mostly due to that lack of flow and service through the MF and his Inner Deuce got a much too loose because of it. Similar to Rooney he becomes much less effective the further he drops to claim the ball.

    Reply

  15. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/06/04 at 7:38 AM

    Agreed on De Ro BTW and he is EXACTLY the #10 that the US are missing. So smooth and intelligent with an without the ball and he has that unique ability to make everyone around him a better player.

    Reply

  16. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/06/04 at 7:39 AM

    and Donovan’s service was horrible most of the game today as well. Just listless and weak.

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  17. Posted by Chazcar on 2012/06/04 at 7:48 AM

    The tactics in the match were off. I think Klinsmann wanted to see torres and dempsey on the field at the same time. But I am not sure that works. Torres really plays were dempsey does and not as well.

    However against a team that is going to bunker and counter I would suggest something like this:

    3-4-3 (4-3-3?, 5-4-1?):
    ===============Altidore/Boyd=============
    =========Dempsey========Donavon=======
    Johnson==========Bradley============Dolo
    =============Edu/Beckerman=============
    ===Cameron===Boca/Goodson===Parkhurst===

    Notes:
    -Ideally I would like a more midfield player for Dolo, but he is very good on the wing. Maybe in the future this could be a spot for a Gatt?
    -Johnson is a left midfielder or a left back.
    -Cameron and Parkhurst or definately Hybrid centerbacks but can handle the ball well.
    -Boca/Goodson/Gooch are all so good in the air, I don’t think we need two of them on the field at the same time. We need some recovery pace to play a higher defensive line.
    -I would drop Jones all together, he just gets too many cards to play in a tournament. He provides energy and has a better touch than Edu, but I feel like he is taking Bradley’s spot in the team. Box-to-Box All-around Midfielder. He also carries to ball for too long.

    For people who are against a three man back line I would go with this:
    ================Altidore==============
    ==========Dempsey===================
    =Johnson=========Bradley======Donavon=
    =============Edu/Beckerman===========
    Castillo==Boca/Goodson==Cameron====Dolo

    Reply

  18. Comments section is a little apocalyptic for me today. It was a lethargic performance, to be sure, but also the team’s third game in eight days (in three different cities) after running two-a-days (according to Martino) without respite since camp convened.

    I would just call it frustrating, and I think we’re being a little too reactionary here. Klinsmann is still tinkering – largely due to Clint’s groin and AZ Almaar’s stinginess – and has yet to have Clint, Landon and Jozy fully fit and into the XI. After two encouraging performances, I wouldn’t let one frustrating game – particularly in this context – bait anyone into wanting to blow up the roster and tactics and everything else as is being suggested.

    Also, how about a little credit to Canada, which didn’t allow any of the front 4 space in the final third and moved the ball around neatly when they got it? The disallowed goal was a mystery, though it did seem like the Canada player came through Castillo with his second foot as a sly how-do-you-do. Not sure it was enough for a foul, but I think that’s what the ref “saw” – his flag went up right as it happend.

    At any rate, we’re five days from real games, and I’m quite anxious to see how Jozy/Clint/Landon are deployed. My gut says as the front three in a 4-3-2-1, with Torres to the bench. Would allow Donovan and Dempsey to start faux-wide and pinch in to combine. But we’ll see. Anyone else?

    Reply

    • Posted by AG on 2012/06/04 at 10:10 AM

      I’m worried that even with what we’ve seen from the past three frindlies, Klinsmann will still break up the successful Scotland midfield(Edu deep, Bradley, Jones) just to have his favorite Torres on the field. I’m a fan of Torres, but if he can’t play a majority of the game centrally where either Bradley or Jones should start because of lower stamina and/or defensive liabilities, then he should be used as a sub there and not as a wide player. The Canada game would have been the perfect time to test him at his natural CM position and to rest Bradley or Jones, but given that he’s never played there for Klinsmann almost confirms Torres’ perceived weaknesses compared to our best CMs. To be clear, I think the Edu, Bradley, Jones combo is the only proven midfield formation that ought to be played against weaker opposition if midfield dominance is desired. I hope experimentation is the excuse, but if we see a similar U.S. lineup used against Brazil and Canada come Friday, we’ll have a problem(more anxiety, criticism, accusations etc.).

      Reply

      • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2012/06/04 at 8:19 PM

        AG,

        No one is giving the Great White North any credit and that is foolish.
        This is the best Canadian team, with some very useful pieces, that I’ve seen in a long time.
        And DeRo actually seems to be motivated.
        They still need to more time and games together to work things out but it’s not like the USMNT were playing TFC out there. Assuming, they were not just overachieving because it was the US, these guys can do some damage.
        They should have won the game.

        Reply

  19. Posted by wixson7 on 2012/06/04 at 8:10 AM

    Sorry but this was old MB role, not good. He was asked to do this, and shame on Klinsi chose this tactic.

    – MB sat back and forced to try to hit long balls to the forwards, that’s not his strength.
    – MB reverted back to his backward or lateral ball movement.

    These points were due to Klinsi’s tactics, not MB’s fault.

    Reply

    • Agreed on Bradley. His passing was very negative compared to what we’ve seen recently. Though, to Canada’s credit, they played passing lanes well. Seemed he didn’t always have positive options, and the movement certainly was not active.

      Reply

  20. Posted by SamT on 2012/06/04 at 8:15 AM

    A little concerned that Bradley and Jones are going to be out of gas by the time Guatemala rolls around. Would’ve liked to see them not go the full 90 in this third friendly.

    Those two really drove the offense against Scotland. Tactics clearly played a role here (no Edu behind them for most of the game), but I have to think also that their legs were not as fresh as they were against Scotland.

    Reply

  21. Posted by 2tone on 2012/06/04 at 8:31 AM

    Never was a Torres fanboy, and have always said he is quite average as a distributor. Secondly, thankyou for stating that Bradley is not a #10.
    Third, it’s quite clear to me that Donovan is checking out mentally and physically. He made the comment he is not very competitive anymore, and it’s starting to look like that.
    Lastly, how many times are we going to see Torres “had a bad night” before we say; maybe he just isn’t really that good. Maybe Bob Bradley was onto something when he stopped calling him in.
    We have seenTorres used as a LAM, a Winger these past few games and against Mexico, a CM distributor against Belgium and Costa Rica, and really he hasn’t looked good at all.
    Would like to see Corona used more. Would like to see Gatt and Adu brought in. I have seen more from Zusi then I have from Torres. Hell at this time I would like to see Feilhaber and Kljestan brought back in.
    Not impressed with this team.

    Reply

    • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 8:54 AM

      Remember that time he scored a hat trick against Scotland about a week ago? I wouldn’t jump to conclusions on his fitness or abilities yet. I mean, the whole team was out to lunch last night, not just Landonovan.

      Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/04 at 10:09 AM

      Yes, please, to both Feilhaber and Kljestan.

      Reply

      • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 10:14 AM

        I don’t know if Benny is justifiable at this point. I like him, but he either needs to find a better MLS team or really take control of NE in order to get that callup.

        Reply

  22. Posted by dth on 2012/06/04 at 9:22 AM

    Think the stat 4 successful crosses to 21 unsuccessful ones tells the story about this game.

    Reply

  23. Posted by Union on 2012/06/04 at 9:40 AM

    I agree that certain responses are a bit too apocalyptic, but I’m honestly a little worried about Guatemala (never thought I’d say that). I don’t think that game will be an easy victory. At this point, its difficult to say where the team is at. Sure, we can use the Scotland game, the heavy schedule, and tired legs as a vindication that Canada was an anomaly. I think its more than fair to say that while we lost fair and square to Brazil, the game was much closer than the 4-1 score. So its not entirely unreasonable to brush the Canada game aside as an offgame.

    But when you look at the current makeup of the US squad, to me it comes off as old and stale. Maybe there isn’t a true solution at the moment, but as I said earlier, look at the starting lineup last night. All but 4 players are 30 and Clint (one of the 4) is 29. I know that WC rosters can evolve dramatically in a space of 2 years, but is no one else struck by how dated our starting lineup was? Where is the youth, the athleticism and the explosiveness? Sure, some of this is due to injury (Fabian, Holden, D. Williams) and some of it is due to other issues (Chandler), but I still feel the US is overly dependent on its older generation. Its time to bring in some youth and energy. Gatt, Lichaj and Shea are the obvious options (though I admit Shea’s drop in form and immaturity is a real knock). But also, Adu (who by the way, should be starting over Torres because he does everything Torres can do and more) and Gyau (similar situation as Boyd, very few senior team minutes, but he can stretch the field). These guys won’t start and they might not even make the bench, but we might as well integrate them.

    Reply

    • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 9:49 AM

      Does your handle mean you’re a Philly fan? Have you seen Adu this season? There is nothing about his play that tells me he offers very much right now. Torres didn’t have a great outing last night, but I’d peg that to some very weird positioning first and a cascade of team-wide problems second.

      I’m not sold on Torres either, but I haven’t seen anything since the Gold Cup (minus the first half showing vs RBNY) to say that Adu merits a USMNT callup. I’m not even convinced I’d play him before Roger Torres were he not injured.

      Reply

    • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 9:54 AM

      But, by the way, your overall point is sound. I agree that we need to start transitioning to a younger team, and soon. +1 on Lichaj (still not entirely understanding how he wasn’t called in), Shea, and Gatt. I also wouldn’t mind Klinsi giving Zak Whitbread a few more looks once he’s healthy. And get Cameron better-integrated into the team and in a better club situation. Same goes for Shea, actually. I’d even be up for seeing Ream again, as I thought his play for Bolton was mostly sound.

      Speaking of clubs, I hope Klinsmann does something about getting Bedoya and Edu into better club situations. Edu needs to improve his passing game and Bedoya needs minutes. That he was called in back when he played regular time in Scandinavia is no coincidence.

      We actually have an able corps of young players, but Klinsmann doesn’t seem to be playing them too often lately. Orozco-Fiscal doesn’t count, btw.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/04 at 10:08 AM

        Whitbread will never be healthy and he’s 28 already. He doesn’t even have a club right now because he was released by Norwich City.

        Reply

        • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 10:10 AM

          I knew he was released but I didn’t know he was 28 already — yikes. He’ll land on his feet once he gets healthy, I imagine. Oh well. Still the general point stands.

          Reply

      • Posted by Union on 2012/06/04 at 10:23 AM

        I’m not a huge Bedoya guy but at least he has pace and works his ass off. As for Adu, I’m not a Philly fan and understand that Adu hasn’t done anything in the MLS to deserve a call-up. But when you say “what has Adu done since the Gold Cup” to deserve a call-up. Well, he does deserve credit for his performance in Olympic qualifying. I know that Adu always looks like a man among boys when playing with the U-23s, but he does seem to rise to the occassion when it comes to International competition. Why? Well, I like to think (based upon nothing but my subjective analysis) that Adu’s game rises the better the competition is. He shines when surrounded by talented players. Also, Adu has ALWAYS been very good at operating in small spaces. He just has that sort of skill on the ball. The MLS, a) doesn’t play the type of game that Adu excels at (finesse soccer that happens in small spaces and b) doesn’t have the type of talent for Adu to piggy back off of. I’m not saying this is a legit excuse for Freddy. I’m just saying, its how it is. I think that as a 60-70 minutes sub off the bench, he definitely has a place on the USMT. And by the way, when he came into the Gold Cup and was the best US player, the guy didn’t even have a club to play bad at. So whether or not he puts it together at the club is kind of moot for me, because he always seems to play well in the USMT kit. And honestly, the same could be said for Torres. What has he done at Pachuca to warrant a call-up? I bet 95% of us have no idea because we don’t watch Pachuca, but I know that isn’t dominating for his side. So again, Torres < Adu, I'm telling you.

        But I agree with the rest. Ream, Lichaj, Whitebread all should be getting looks. Want to know who else should be getting a look? Seb Hines.

        Reply

        • Posted by AG on 2012/06/04 at 10:43 AM

          Torres is the focal point and fan favorite at Pachuca because of his midfield mastery.

          Reply

        • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 11:02 AM

          Bedoya is a 1) true winger (!), 2) a hard worker, and 3) has some real upside. Speaking of Gold Cup play, he was one of the few bright spots in that tournament.

          As for Adu, I know what you mean and I think it’s right to point out his potential, but it’s really hard to justify his inclusion into the MNT without more on the club level. If MLS is cramping his style, then he should go elsewhere or learn to adapt better. We simply don’t have the slots to accommodate him as a vanity project.

          I’d hold the same standard for Bedoya, by the way. No one crowed about him not being brought in because he hasn’t done much for Rangers. He needs a new club situation. Maybe Adu does too (As a Philly fan, I’m tired of the turnover, but I would have sooner traded Adu than Califf, Le Toux, or Harvey any day of the week).

          I don’t watch much FMF, but Torres is a starter for a perennial powerhouse. Philly, sadly, is anything but. So, if you’re the USMNT manager, do you just take a gamble on Adu because of some promising appearances last summer despite a mediocre club campaign? I know I wouldn’t. And I say that as someone generally supportive of Freddy.

          Reply

          • Posted by Union on 2012/06/04 at 11:33 AM

            Thats fair, and as I so obviously made clear, I don’t watch much Primera Division. I had read that Torres was popular at Pachuca, but up until recently, was not a lock for the starting lineup. Maybe I was wrong in that. I still think that in terms of ability, Adu is the better player. But you are right. That is hard to argue when he is average for an average team in an average league.

            Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2012/06/04 at 12:38 PM

            I don’t know if Bedoya’s a true winger. I think of him more as a shuttler in the Ramires role. In fact, if you remember that odd Klinsmann idea to station Danny Williams as a half-CM/half-outside mid…that’s what I see Bedoya’s role as. Sadly for him he went to Rangers, which was a poor choice on its face (don’t know what other options were available to him). Bedoya isn’t really suited for that British game, and Scotland’s league sucks.

            Reply

            • Posted by LandoCalrissovan on 2012/06/04 at 12:44 PM

              My memory is a bit hazy, but he executed the winger role (like, not cutting inside) pretty well during the Gold Cup. You might be right, though. Still, he’s probably closer to a winger than anyone we have right now, with the exception of Shea.

              I think he’d grow in the EPL, but I’d sooner see him in France or Holland.

            • Posted by Alex on 2012/06/04 at 2:56 PM

              Like DTH says, he played a shuttling role i.e. Ramires. He started and defended centrally, but went wide and stayed wide offensively

          • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2012/06/04 at 8:09 PM

            Bedoya spent most of his time at Orebro playing centrally. And, of course who knows what he played at Rangers.

            Reply

        • Union,

          “Well, he does deserve credit for his performance in Olympic qualifying. I know that Adu always looks like a man among boys when playing with the U-23s, but he does seem to rise to the occassion when it comes to International competition. “

          As I recall he was mostly anonymous in Olympic qualifying. He was the captain of the team and basically had one good half out of the three games. Not very impressive when you expect a man among boys performance from the captain. Plus, the team did not qualify.

          The only time I can recall Freddy coming through in an international when money was on the line were his performances in the 2011 Gold Cup. And those were preceded by him putting in a very good run at his Turkish club, which is the reason BB called him in at all, a move that took all of you by surprise.

          And this time around I suspect JK was sending a message to Adu that goes something like this;
          ”11 games in one season for the Union? What is with this part time crap? No way man. You should be the dominant player in MLS if all your fans are right about you. Do that and you get a call up. “

          As for Whitbread you all act like Bradley and JK have something against him when the truth is every time he was about to be called in he got hurt. And he is hurt now. How is that the fault of the USMNT?

          Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/04 at 10:07 AM

      Playing in Guatemala City has never been an easy victory for us. We’ve played there in each of the last three cycles, with three draws and a one-goal victory to show for it.

      That said, we *should* get the three points if the entire team doesn’t show up with the “I just ate a large stuffed pizza before the game” look that they had against Canada. The talent gap was large enough even before Guatemala suspended three starters. As this Fire fan knows well, when Marco Pappa is your best player, you have problems. More serious problems than those that plague the USMNT at the moment.

      Reply

      • Posted by Jared on 2012/06/04 at 1:11 PM

        I fully expect the US to just get a draw in Guatemala. I pretty much expect that when ever the US goes to Central America against one of those mid tier teams that will just park the bus. The only games from Central America that I pay attention to are Costa Rica and occasionally Honduras or Panama depending on how they line up. It’s funny that the Guatemala game is on PPV and I’m not sure I would have watched that if it was free.

        Reply

        • Posted by Ufficio on 2012/06/04 at 3:35 PM

          I think a draw is a reasonable expectation. I expect the win, though, especially if Fabian starts.

          Reply

  24. Posted by 4now on 2012/06/04 at 9:59 AM

    Very very very good analysis.

    Reply

  25. Posted by Kevin O' on 2012/06/04 at 10:07 AM

    One positive from the game for me: the commentating. Despite the dullness of the game, I liked NBC’s deployment of Martino in the trenches. Somehow it gave his role more flavor. (I wonder if he came up with this suggestion?) Though I hope he realizes that along with being the color man, he is also in the traditional “hot-chick” sideline reporter’s role. All kidding aside, I really like Kyle being so close to the action. And I always appreciate his player’s eye and courage to tell it like it is – good or bad.

    Reply

    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/06/05 at 7:04 AM

      Agreed. Like umpires and o-linemen it’s usually true with announcers that when you don’t mention their name their usually doing a great job. I thought this crew in particular was very balanced in their commentary and fairly critical when they needed to be. Martino, unlike his unnamed (and thankfully less heard from ) player-commentator counterpart, has already figured out that we really don’t care what HE did but more what HE KNOWS about the tactics and performance on the field. He’s smoothed out his rough spots fairly quickly and moved miles past that other guy in a fairly short time.
      It def makes the watching more enjoyable.

      Reply

  26. Posted by il canoniere on 2012/06/04 at 1:40 PM

    I would have to rewatch the game but it seemed to me that more often than not it was Jones, as opposed to Torres, Bradley or Dempsey, who was receiving a pass in the central third of the field with time to get his head up, tasking him, in the moment, taking the space and making the successful offensive pass. I share TSG’s appreciation for Jones’s grit; however, if he is too unpredictable to play the role of disciplined, mouth-smashing defensive midfielder, and not quality enough to make our offense work in such a central role, I don’t see a place for him in our starting 11.

    I wonder if either of the following front six would help make the most of our roster

    ——–Altidore/Boyd————
    Dempsey———Donovan——
    ——Bradley——Torres——
    ——–Edu/Beckerman——-

    or

    ———-Altidore/Boyd———
    Dempsey————–Gomez
    ——Bradley——Donovan—-
    ——–Edu/Beckerman——-

    I am partial to the second line up. Right now Dempsey and Gomez strike me as our two most dangerous players with the ball at their feet one-v-one. Giving Landon the freedom to drift wide when necessary, but generally stay more central, and therefore more available, would give him the space in the center of the park that he needs to be most dangerous at this stage in is career. I also suspect he would draw his fair share of fouls. As stated by others, we need someone giving Bradley defensive cover so that he can contribute more confidently to our offense. As of right now I am probably partial to Beckerman, as I think he plays a bit simpler than Edu, which is all that is needed in a Bradley/Donovan central midfield.

    Reply

    • Posted by Chazcar on 2012/06/04 at 2:02 PM

      I agree with this point. Jones is definately too frantic to play at the international level, where one bad tackle can ruin a whole tournment. In a club team that bite and drive really can spark the whole team, but here he just seems a liability.

      Not to be too much of a MB90 homer, but going toward 2014 this team needs to be built around Bradley. Sure Dempsey, Donavon, and Altidore will be the goal scorers, but Bradley will be the guy that the team should center around. He is by far the most consistant and effective midfielder we have. He wouldn’t be a “number 10″ or whatever crap, but just the man in the middle. I keep thinking Frank Lampard at Chelsea. Torres, Adu, whoever can be the “creative” player, but the engine for the team is Bradley.

      Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/06/04 at 3:32 PM

        I don’t think anyone disagrees with you. The problem is without the “creative” player we will struggle to be a good team coming to 2014. All other teams need to do is play it safe and pack the middle once they get up 1-0. Its too big of a weakness. Over the years we have relied on set pieces but I can’t think of the last set piece goal we had.

        Reply

  27. Posted by dude on 2012/06/04 at 3:25 PM

    I’m not a big fan of Jones. If JK wants players who can win in all sorts of ways, Jones is not one of them. Edu at least provides Bradley with freedom and the backline with predictable coverage.

    Here’s a lineup that makes more sense.

    Jozy/Boyd
    GomezDempsey Donovan
    Bradley
    Edu
    Johnson Dolo
    Goodson Boca
    Howard

    Having a number 6 and a number 9 are the most important part of the setup because of passing angles. Without an anchor for the three man midfield and a target for the front line, the formation becomes frantic and the passes don’t have have clear destination.

    Against Brazil and Canada, even when the pressure wasn’t on, every pass was a chore.

    Reply

  28. Posted by twewlife on 2012/06/04 at 4:22 PM

    One of the things that stuck out to me that hasn’t been discussed that much here was the U.S.’s lack of width on the defensive end. As was the case against Scotland, and much more so with Brazil, the U.S.’s lack of width exposes them to problems on the defensive front, specifically via the counter.. Much of Scotland’s attacking, especially in the first half, seemed to come through the touchline.

    This is particularly unsettling given TSG’s commentary above: Dempsey and Torres were practically glued to the touchline and couch seemed to determined to attack from out wide.

    Aside from all of the other problems on display yesterday against Canada, our width, from a defensive standpoint, continues to be a real liability.

    How do we solve the problem?

    Reply

  29. Posted by twewlife on 2012/06/04 at 4:22 PM

    The first mention of Scotland = Canada

    my bad

    Reply

  30. Posted by Joel Gualtieri on 2012/06/04 at 9:04 PM

    Here’s my thoughts, Dempsey and Donovan are similar in that they are best when playing behind a striker and coming inside towards goal from a wide position. Most of their successes at the club level comes when deployed wide but given freedom to roam. I don’t understand the sudden desire to deploy Dempsey inside. To me the natural thing to do is to play them as the 2 in a 4-3-2-1 or the wide men in a 4-2-3-1 with a passer in the middle as a withdrawn #10. After that all the other positions sort of take care of themselves.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/04 at 9:10 PM

      Have to disagree on Dempsey. Would have agreed last year, but this year Dempsey played almost exclusively centrally at Fulham in the 2nd half of the year and had some of his best games.

      Can play wide, but it’s nice that Dempsey is not forced to track back as much anymore.

      Reply

      • Do you think putting Dempsey behind two strikers (perhaps Herc and Jozy) with the freedom to roam would work? Bradley and Donovan could sit behind as supporting CM’s and god knows who would serve as the defensive midfielder. I feel like we have the playmaker in Dempsey, but are struggling in getting him the ball. What we are missing is a quality defensive midfielder.

        Reply

  31. Posted by Joel Gualtieri on 2012/06/04 at 9:17 PM

    I could be wrong but i thought he still played left with dembele inside as a #10. I haven’t really gotten to watch fulham this year.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/06/04 at 10:31 PM

      Started out that way, you are correct. Migrated forward as Zamora first became complacent and then non-existent. Surprising to me too.

      Reply

  32. Couple of things I agree with others on:

    Jones is very erratic, not just with his tackling, but on the ball and in distribution. Time and time again, I’ve seen him drop deep to receive the ball then dally around like he’s invisible only to nearly loose it to an oncoming challenge. I can see in glimpses why at one time he was thought to be one of, if not the best, all around midfielders in the Bundesliga but I think he has physically fallen off just enough to no longer be able to hide his mental lapses.

    Second, Torres on the wing was where attacks went to die. He slowed the pace every time he received the ball on the wing. In doing so, he then took away any space in the middle of the field as Canada got behind the ball, and usually Deuce—who had led him to the touchline, was then too close for him to maneuver more centrally—he was, in essence, always looking for space where it wasn’t, and refusing to go where it was. This led then to a lot of regressive passing. I think Torres is a good player, but he doesn’t have the instincts to be a winger—you can tell he isn’t comfortable being confined to one side of the field, and doesn’t have that kill or be killed mentality of going full throttle at defenders on the wing.

    Wingers remind me a bit of cornerbacks in one respect—the good ones have short memories about their last attempt to beat a defender; each opportunity the odds look good to them that they’ll beat the fullback so long as they are ruthlessly aggressive. To add insult to injury, when he did beat the fullback, his crosses were really poor.

    I’m not blaming Jurgen just yet. I think he wants to push the limits on seeing if he can get all of the personnel that fit into his ideal scheme of possessive passing onto the field. I’ll certainly be getting more critical if he continues to push the issue in the face of very clear evidence. Much rather have that become evident in friendlies then in qualifying. Intrigued by who he decides to go with in the first game, and how much he’ll stick with that line-up from game to game.

    Reply

    • Posted by Chazcar on 2012/06/05 at 6:48 AM

      One thing I keep coming back to is that these are friendly’s. Throwing out odd formations to see how things work out is a good idea. You don’t want to be too crazy so that the results aren’t valid, but seeing if certain idea work and then looking at the film in detail to see what you have can be a great way to build a team for 2014.

      Reply

  33. [...] The US wide forwards (Donovan and Torres) were miscast, the plan to slingshot crosses into the box misguided, and the US midfield three had the chemistry of a supermodel on a date with the Stapler Guy from Office Space. To read more on the anything but sanguine affair, just click here. [...]

    Reply

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