First, of all, I love Jermaine Jones. To me, he gets too much stick from the US fanbase. He often does the grunt work of carrying the ball despite opponents draped all over him. (See, USA 4 – B&H 2 or even USA 2 – Mexico 0 over the past year.)
That said, he’s being thrust into a role that is less than ideal for his skillset right before the test of a lifetime. Many commented that it was Jones’s distribution at issue, if any, on Sunday.
Take a look though at the sequence below. It’s a curious defensive display from the States in the least.
There are a number of issues here. (1) The US spacing between its backline and its midfield can be measured in acres instead of inches. (Arrigo Sacchi is unimpressed.) (2) There is half-commitment from Jones with no failover in midfield–that’s probably Zusi? in that final slide who doesn’t stay with a runner and (3) Jones appears to be positionally naive at CDM and gets sucked exceedingly high. (Note: I would also think that Besler should be face-guarding his opponent–or in front of him–but I’m not sure the right positioning there.)
This type of defense Ghana for one and likely Germany and Portugal will pounce on. This was–in the end–an innocuous play; overlooked by broadcasters, but scouts for the US Group G opponents no doubt caught this.