USA v. Nigeria: Live Commentary

In 2006, Jurgen Klinsmann played 10 players in his final friendly tune-up who would start the first World Cup game days later.

Starting line-ups shortly.

Will Cameron contain Nigeria's front three?

Will Cameron contain Nigeria’s front three?

 

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36 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2014/06/07 at 11:36 AM

    NIGERIA XI: Enyeama, Efe, Oshaniwa, Yobo, Oboabona; Onazi, Mikel, Azeez; Odemwingie, Ameobi, Moses

    Nigeria’s starting XI.

    Reply

  2. Posted by ry on 2014/06/07 at 12:36 PM

    Looks like Cameron at RB and Brooks at CB. Brooks must have really impressed in the Turkey game. I kind of like the idea, as we can push Fab up, but it seems awfully late to push Cameron out wide. Interesting. Bedoya over Zusi. Who takes the free kicks?

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  3. Posted by Snack Time on 2014/06/07 at 2:26 PM

    Interesting midfield in Jones, Beckerman, Bradley. I expect a lot of midfield cluttering.

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  4. Posted by Tim H on 2014/06/07 at 2:28 PM

    according to ESPN

    4-2-3-1

    Altidore

    Dempsey Bradley Bedoya

    Jones Beckerman

    Beasley Besler Cameron Johnson

    Howard

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  5. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2014/06/07 at 3:18 PM

    Still feels strange to see Moses playing for Nigeria. He went to the same high school as me, albeit 15+ years later.

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  6. Posted by dth on 2014/06/07 at 3:47 PM

    Twellman’s tactical neanderthallry continues with an insistence that zonal marking sucks. Really?

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    • Posted by Arthur on 2014/06/07 at 6:11 PM

      Twellman should have explained why he thought it was ineffective for the US to play. I agree that his emphasis upon zonal marking as misguided required context: zonal marking is an advanced tactic that a team such as the US, having trouble with defensive cohesion and actually marking players, would be wise to avoid.

      Reply

      • Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/08 at 7:42 PM

        Wait….I had a bad dream that there was a nonsensical post from a 32 yr old guy living in his moms basement in this space …..I warned somebody about the Beetlejuice effect here a few weeks…
        The name that shall not be spoken…

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  7. Posted by Fellainisfro on 2014/06/07 at 4:21 PM

    Glad for Altidore’s goal. More impressed on his defensive back tracking today.

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  8. Posted by Fellainisfro on 2014/06/07 at 4:31 PM

    First touch on that second goal for Altidore was sublime.

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  9. Posted by dth on 2014/06/07 at 4:36 PM

    off topic, but been keeping one eye on the PHI-VAN game. The Union players, individually, play so dumb. It’s pretty crazy; I hope they upgrade coaches soon.

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  10. Really good performance today. I think the formation change worked very well in solidifying the defense. Beckerman’s passing was a bit loose, but he and Jones swallowed up lots of pressure. This let Bradley free to control the attack and combine with Dempsey and Altidore up front. Also, a very nice time for Jozy to get off the schnide.

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  11. Posted by Owen on 2014/06/07 at 5:45 PM

    Very good game i thought jones and beckerman but especially jones were immense today. Last 10 mins ill forgive due to all the subs. Us looked like the fitter team which will be huge in this group stage hopefully that continues. Can jones cover that much griund for all group games. I hope mixx is ready to be that two way player we need next to kyle and mikey. Thank god geoff starting over gonzo. Its hard coming in as sub but as a galaxy fan gonzos known for several sloppy plays a game today he had them all in 10 mins

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  12. Posted by Arthur on 2014/06/07 at 6:08 PM

    I liked the looks of our dreaded midfield today. Ja midfield looked strong in defense, collapsing attacks, snuffing out may attacks with simple numerical superiority. Ja midfield went forward well, primarily through freeing Bradley up to advance into the attacking third and launch shots from the top of the box. (Grant, you are now free to coin a neologism or two.)

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  13. Posted by gino744 on 2014/06/08 at 12:49 AM

    Didn’t see this midfield coming at all. I’m not sure if I’m being naïve but I can’t help thinking Jurgen is gonna keep pulling rabbits out of his sleeves in Brazil. He seems to be regaining that Midas touch that he showed during qualifying. Instead of picking Ghana to come in 2nd behind Germany, I’m really starting to believe the Nats could produce something special in Brazil.

    Reply

    • Posted by Paul on 2014/06/08 at 7:11 AM

      If today’s performance translates to next week, we should be pretty set. The other teams are going to have to play their best to beat the USMNT that was on the field yesterday.

      Reply

  14. Posted by twewlife on 2014/06/08 at 8:29 AM

    So in a pre-match interview Klinsman made it quite clear that that the starting 11 trotted out for the Nigeria game would not be the same as the starting 11 for the Ghana game.

    After watching the Ghana game, I thought that was the best performance by the US in quite some time. Any thoughts on how the starting 11 will differ on 6/16? I’m pretty stumped as to any possible changes so long as the starting formation stays the same. Maybe Zusi gets the nod over Bedoya?

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  15. Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/08 at 9:09 AM

    Well shut my mouth. We got the whole enchilada today and what a brilliat tactical switch that no one truly saw coming with the The Dreaded KB in holding role. As we all have been struggling with how to utilize Jones’ Juice while minimizing his wayward defensive tendency AND LETTING MIKEY LOOSE! Klinsi or Berti or whoever found the exact right answer. Inserting Beckerman gives you Jones in full beast mode unleashed on one whichever side of the MF that you need additional covering pressure AND Mikey in full on forward pressuring MF. Bedoya gives you one side of lockdown defensive pressuring with similar offense as Zusi and gives Johnson freedom to run with width.
    Bradley doesn’t have play half way between positions and it showed. Jones can also barnstorm when he sees it (see first goal for Jones at his best) with Kyle steady in in front of the back 4.
    This one tactical shift solves so many problems and creates positives on the attacking side it makes one a bit giddy as to the opportunities it creates. and the upside it injects into this teams chances against a Ghana and Portugal.

    Add Jozy’s Full Man goal and this is taking on the look of a side that’s starting to hum a bit going into the tournament…very enjoyable match.

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  16. Posted by KickinNames... on 2014/06/08 at 9:34 AM

    Rewatched and I’d put the the penalty on communication with the CB’s and Chandler pushing high on the previous chance without Beckerman in there to organize and cover. Besler was in an awful spot and did his best to recover for Gonz and Cameron.

    Cameron looked gassed at the end but was more exposed by the shift in MF covering in the last 20 in my opinion.

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  17. Posted by mbw on 2014/06/08 at 10:29 AM

    The first goal happened because Cameron cut out the entire Nigeria midfield with his ball to Jones. He adds so much with his passing from that position.

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  18. Posted by Larry Montanez on 2014/06/08 at 12:58 PM

    In half-time commentary, F’n said Nigeria dominated, but only in the old way of thinking, that possession is the most important thing. US played the new way, suck them in, and counter with pace, numbers and venom.

    Klinsi said he was trying to find an “American” style, and he might have found it: Defend hard, and when you have an opening, attack aggressively.

    And Toronto FC must be salivating over the offers they’re going to be getting for Bradley. Everyone thought of him as a pure holder (I did, for sure), but that tackling ability worked very well in the new way of playing, with tough high pressure, and he could turn and carry the ball very well.

    One last thing. Lalas said Klinsi never should have said US couldn’t win the world cup, that you should always play with confidence. But American pro athletes are also most motivated by that US against the world mentality (I even heard some Seahawks players saying after the Super Bowl, no one thought they could win it — when, like 3 years ago?). Klinsi was saying just what needed to be said (like the Oracle in The Matrix), and what a lot of European coaches say to psyche up their team, and psyche out the opponent.

    I just got a little giddy after the game, and am starting to really believe in Klinsi. I’m sure i’ll be cursing him at some point again….

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  19. The formation was solid! The strength of the defense and midfield just gave enough room and freedom for Jozy Altidore and the rest of the offense to score!

    Although Besler and company sort faltered in end still need to work on defensive players performance!

    Other than that… we’re ready! Brasil here we come! :D

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  20. One of the most encouraging matches i have seen the USMNT play. Jozy played hard, before the goals. He was making runs off ball, which i dont consider a strength of his. I have to give JK his due. The team looked prepared, and were the better coached side for sure.

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  21. What I really liked about playing JJ, KB, and MB together was not just that it freed Bradley to press higher up the field. It was that Bradley’s energy was also harnessed to harass laterally. He caused havoc on both wings in positions that immediately led to devastating counters. Pretty to watch.

    I also thought the tempo we were playing at was overwhelmingly at times, in part because of Bradley’s role. It just seemed like the passing was happening at another speed than what I’ve seen. We actually were playing in a way that reminded me of the way Germany played when Klinsmann coached in 2006, or perhaps even the way Dortmund have played in the last few years. A certain blitzkrieg mentality if you will that is not necessarily just a sit and absorb counterattacking style. This is why, stylistically, Lalas and others get it wrong when they call this classic “American”. There’s more of an intentional aggression here that is not the same as the bunker and break approach.

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  22. I should say “tactical aggression”. It’s direct, but in a much more technical sense than hoof and chase.

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  23. Posted by twewlife on 2014/06/08 at 8:09 PM

    Thoughts/questions about the game:

    (1) Beasley earned the left back start. I haven’t been wild about him and have tended to give the nod to Chandler, but I have to eat hat here; he played extremely well.

    (2) By overloading the midfield, the US was able to win possession higher up the pitch, leading to more dangerous balls played through the middle, rather than out and up the wings. While the absence of Zusi definitely decreases the quality of service from the wing, I think the gambit is well worth it.

    (3) Would like to hear what people thought about Dempsey’s play through this game. He looked visibly frustrated several times when he didn’t get the service he was looking for. It seems like this formation reduces Dempsey’s role in attacking movements in the final third. Thoughts?

    (4) where art though Ice Man? I’m really surprised Aron hasn’t gotten any quality minutes in the last two games. Any ideas?

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    • (4) Ice man is our secret weapon… … I hope.

      He always looks dangerous to score when he comes on, so neither do I understand why he hasn’t played in the last two games.

      Reply

  24. This was a well-drilled team that understood what was being asked of them in a system that leveraged their natural tendencies rather than demanding too much rigid tactical discipline. Clever really.

    This set up allows Bradley to press higher up the pitch and cause occasional turnovers in dangerous areas without leaving the back four dangerously exposed. Dempsey and Altidore worked hard to position themselves in passing lanes to keep the ball on one flank, leaving Nigeria with a risky cross-field switch that Jones or Bedoya stood ready to try and cut out and launch a counter. You get better out of Jones when he’s allowed to maraud forward on occasion too, and Bedoya puts in a solid defensive shift but seemed well drilled to provide advanced width whenever Bradley came deep to get the ball. The narrow central midfield three really made Fab Johnson’s overlaps a feature of the attack with Jones generally being the one to fill the space behind him.

    This scheme of defending in two phases created lots of chances and took a lot of pressure off the back four. The extra vertical cover it created allowed the back line to play deeper while not getting easily pushed too deep and mitigate the threat from wide. Also gave the US space to counter quickly when they had won the ball. Nigeria never really found a way to play through the US midfield as Turkey had done regularly and they only had limited success with 1v1 situations in the space the US conceded on the flanks.

    After seeing Spain play El Salvador earlier on Saturday, I’d say the U.S. are in with a shout of winning this thing.

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  25. Posted by James H on 2014/06/09 at 11:20 AM

    Let’s take a breath folks. Indeed, that was a good lineup started by Klinsmann, and I give him massive credit for it. The key, of course, was playing Beckerman. KB, while many may argue is individually not a WC level player – his discipline and presence lets a box-to-box Jermaine Jones do what he does best, and both together let Bradley inhabit that creative playmaker role Klinsmann desperately needs from somewhere. And don’t discount the effect of moving Dempsey over to attacking left mid, as neither Davis or Green were impressing thus far. You basically get the same thing from Demps there as you do in the hole, and now you suddenly have a goal scoring threat there. For me, while some folks are criticizing Clint’s effort, I felt he was dangerous on a couple of attacks and really had a decent match overall. For Bradley, the key for him was getting Dempsey out of the way and getting a solid DM tandem behind him (cue Beckerman).

    Now for the downside. It feels like Klinsmann just recently (like after the Turkey match) rediscovered the merits of this 4-2-3-1. So the problem becomes depth; fielding the trio of Bradley, Beckerman and Jones means you have no DM’s in reserve (say a Maurice Edu for instance). And there is a good chance the US will forced to change one for the Portugal or Germany matches. Yes, Cameron can slot up as a DM, but then you are found relying on Omar Gonzalez to fill his shoes at RCB (yikes!). And Diskerud won’t be too helpful here either; you can bring him on as the “playmaker” in Bradley’s spot and drop MB deeper but then you lose much of this newfound forward attacking creativity. Any forced changes to the midfield trio of KB/JJ/MB will have some nasty ripple effects that could have been avoided if JK had chosen his reserves more appropriately; like Goodson over Gonzalez (so Cameron becomes the backup DM) or Edu instead of either Davis or Green or Wondolowski (I would definitely drop one of our forwards for another DM or CB big time).

    JK loaded the roster up for the diamond but may have now realized the 4-2-3-1 with KB and JJ in the double pivot is the way to go. I am pleased he played this formation against Nigeria, but I am afraid the way the roster is configured will cost us when injuries and yellow cards start accumulating.

    However, in the moment, a great match for the USA. Huge kudos to Jozy, FJ, Beasley, Bradley and Jones for some inspiring performances. Couldn’t be happier for the boys!

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  26. Posted by Chazcar2 on 2014/06/09 at 11:40 AM

    I liked this formation. But don’t want to get too excited about it as Nigeria looked sloppy and slightly disinterested.

    I wonder if the line-up klinsmann published was a joke. 4-2-3-1… maybe. I’ve also seen a lot of talk calling it a 4-3-2-1.. not really. Definitely a WTF formation, but if it was anything it was a 4-4-2 diamond. It was one of those formations that made people start using 4 lines in the formation description. I could also call it a 4-3-3 with Dempsery-Altidore-Bedoya together. or a 4-3-1-2 with Jones-Beckerman-Bedoya together. or just stick with WTF, which makes sense as we have two box-to-box mids and a WTF forward as our best three outfield players. This struck me as a “just do what feels right” formation. Klinsmann selecting players with the understanding of what they will naturally do, pretending to have a formation to give them a bit of guidance and then letting it play.

    I really thought Bedoya was the key player here. Secondly Beckerman, but Bedoya provides more pace than Zusi and a stronger goal threat. I also see his ability to win balls in the air as of greater value.

    What I liked about this formation is it wasn’t asking players to run the whole width of the field. If I were to draw it up it was something like:
    –Altidore——–Dempsey————–
    —————-Bradley———————
    —–Jones—Beckerman—Bedoya—-
    Beasley–Besler–Cameron–Johnson

    It was an interesting rotation of two triangles that really made this work. Triangle 1: Altidore-Dempsey-Bradley, Triangle 2: Jones-Beckerman-Bradley. At one point of the game you can see that Jozy has dropped all the way back into Beckerman’s position in Triangle 2. Beyond that the interchange between two pairs was important as well. Jones-Beasley and Bedoya-Johnson. It was nice to see that if Johnson-Beasley were caught out, Jones and Bedoya really covered. You could also frequently see how tight to Besler-Cameron that Beckerman stayed.

    Bedoya and Johnson looked awesome together on the same flank. Bedoya really seemed to understand how to cover for Johnson more effectively than Zusi. It might be better to have Zusi on the left of the Diamond if we play without Beckerman.

    There is an interesting battle going on in the team to determine the best starting “Formation”. Davis vs Bedoya vs Zusi vs Beckerman. I think that with Beckerman playing well for the team it really pushes two of Davis, Bedoya or Zusi out of the lineup.

    Dempsey, Altidore, Jones, Bradley, Beasley, Besler, Cameron, Johnson, and Howard are all starting. From there its two places that are up for debate. Is it Zusi/Davis and Bedoya/Zusi? or Beckerman and Bedoya/Zusi? Everyone else is a sub in some role

    (Although I think Gonzalez coming in as the center of a 5-3-2 is definitely not going to happen again, Maybe Brooks on the left and Besler center? The attempt at a 5-3-2 late in the game is exactly why I wanted to see more of it throughout the cycle. Two goals up on a desperate team it would be a nice switch to lock it up, but definitely not good for this team)

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  27. Posted by Mingjai on 2014/06/09 at 11:53 AM

    While it may not be exactly the same tactically, the squad the US fielded against Nigeria reminds a bit of the squads Netherlands used in the last World Cup.

    3 attackers – Van Persie, Sneijder, Robben (Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey)

    2 defenders – de Jong, Van Bommel (Jones, Beckerman)

    1 winger who runs around a lot – Kuyt

    I guess Bedoya is our Dirk Kuyt.

    Reply

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